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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hayes

Best practices for mastering branded content sales presentations

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Delivering a persuasive and impactful sales presentation requires careful planning and execution. Whether you're presenting branded content or any other sales initiative, it's essential to adopt a customer-first approach, focus on selling benefits, and address any potential objections.

Recently, Nannette Fevola, senior director of national sales marketing & client solutions for Newsday, joined the Branded Content Project's sales boot camp on presentation skills to share best practices that have helped her sell major campaigns.

Best Practices

1. Start with a Customer-First Approach

Whenever you are presenting a sales package to a client, you must think of the customer first. Tailor your presentation to highlight how your news organization and brand studio will help your customer achieve their goals.

"Clients are justifiably self-centered and time sensitive," Fevola said. "So, you really need to position your presentation to answer that eternal question, 'What's in it for me?'"

2. Avoid Chest Beating

Avoid the common mistake of too much self-promotion without addressing your client's needs. Don't waste much time boasting about your organization's achievements; instead, focus on showcasing how you can provide solutions for them, reach their target audience, or align with their interests. Make the presentation about them, not about you.

"Your prospect doesn't care unless you're talking about them or their business," she said.

3. Keep it Concise

In today's fast-paced world, attention spans are shorter than ever. Because local business decision makers are busy, Fevola recommends keeping your presentation to 10-12 slides at the most. Convey your message succinctly and efficiently, highlighting key points and benefits that matter most to your advertiser. Be mindful of their time and avoid overwhelming them with unnecessary information.

4. Address Possible Objections

Anticipate common objections your client might have and address them proactively. By acknowledging and resolving objections before they arise, you build trust and credibility. This approach shows that you understand their concerns and have already considered them, making it easier for prospects to trust your recommendations.

5. Reinforce Affordability

While emphasizing the benefits of your content studio, make sure to reinforce affordability. Tell your prospects that your solution is cost-effective and offers a great value for their investment. By addressing potential financial concerns upfront, you can alleviate any hesitations they may have.

"You'll want to reinforce your affordability, because while you're impressing them with all your great attributes, you want to make sure that they're not thinking, 'Yes, but can I afford it?'"

6. Ask For the Sale

This one seems obvious, but it is crucial. Always ask for the sale at the end of your presentation, and give a deadline on when you'll need a decision if they can't say yes right then. Then, follow-up (more on that below)!

Preparation and Getting the Meeting

1. Do Your Homework

Before the meeting, gather valuable insights about your client's industry, recent challenges, and upcoming opportunities. Visit their website, study their competitors, and explore market reports and industry-specific economic outlooks. If you're prospecting a large company, consider listening to earnings calls to gain deeper knowledge about their marketing challenges and future plans.

2. Think Outside the Box

Sometimes it is tough to get in the door, and securing a meeting with certain prospects may require creative strategies. Consider sending customized items, a handwritten note, or an engaging video to capture their attention. Be inventive, but take sure your approach aligns with your brand's image and the prospect's interests.

Previously, while working for a popular magazine, Fevola was trying to secure a large advertiser, but the publication had a very difficult time getting the meeting. This is where creativity can go a long way, not only to secure the meeting, but to show that your imagination and efforts will help their brand succeed.

"We could not get the meeting, but we knew this prospect was an avid outdoorsman, and so, to get his attention, we sent him a canoe. We sent him a note that we were literally up a creek without a paddle, trying to get a meeting with him," Fevola said. "Well, we saw him the next day. We got the business."

Structuring the Presentation

1. Create an Engaging Deck

Organize your presentation in a logical order that leads your audience down the primrose path. Start by discussing the changing market landscape and the need for new approaches. Illustrate how branded content can serve as a powerful storytelling tool, showcasing the success of competitors who have adopted this method. Present your content studio and explain how your expertise can alleviate pain points and generate results.

2. Use Bullet Points and Avoid Text Overload

Bullet points are your allies when structuring your presentation. Avoid lengthy paragraphs or reading directly from the slides. Bullets should serve as reminders of the main points you want to convey, allowing you to deliver a more engaging and effective presentation. Use your spoken words to complement and expand on the bullet points.

3. Utilize Animations and Videos

If you incorporate animations and videos into your presentation, ensure that you are comfortable with the timing of transitions and that the media will work seamlessly across various platforms - including in-person screens and virtual meetings. Use these visual elements sparingly and strategically.

"I use a lot of stats that reinforce the growth in video and the stats that your prospect really wants to see, not how national companies are using this, but rather how video and branded content are really leading the way in converting qualified applicants, in generating leads and helping them in their selling cycle," Fevola said.

Newsday's content studio, Brand 360, has a robust portfolio to showcase their work to prospective clients. This is a great practice. Fevola also recommends showing your client exactly how their brand will be represented in the campaign.

She also recommends using the meeting to sell beyond branded content and offer an integrated multimedia package. At Brand 360, all branded content presentations include upsells and add-ons. They also like to show prospects how they can translate custom content into print, email, social media, and even events.

"We really tie our branded content back into our full roster of offerings, and it's a great way to let people know that you have these, and it's also a good way for them to see that once they make this initial investment, they can leverage it across a variety of different platforms."

Delivery and Follow-up

1. Practice, Volume, and Enthusiasm

Practice your presentation beforehand to familiarize yourself with your deck and delivery. Pay attention to your volume, ensuring everyone can hear you clearly. Infuse your presentation with some enthusiasm and energy to get your client excited. Consider rehearsing with your colleagues until you feel comfortable.

2. Follow-Up and Reinforce Your Message

After the meeting, follow up with your prospective client promptly. Take the opportunity to answer any questions, provide additional information, and reinforce the key selling points discussed during the presentation.

"The very last thing we do is we outline the next steps so we both have a clear plan of action. We've all had meetings where we got to the end of it, and we kind of just say goodbye and we don't know what we're doing next," Fevola said. "It's really important to summarize your expertise and to outline your next steps."

Send a thank-you message within two days to show your appreciation and keep the conversation going. A hand-written note is a thoughtful way to show your thanks.

Need help building branded content sales presentations? We are here for you! Reach out to or for more advice and content marketing strategy.


The Meta Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Meta Journalism Project, Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium to help facilitate additional growth, engagement, and revenue success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.

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