Once Penda Howell, vice president of advertising and sales at the New York Amsterdam News, became aware of the vast benefits of branded content, he became extremely excited about the potential revenue that could be generated for the 111 year-old Black-owned and operated newspaper.
The advertising executive says he immediately identified three potential advertisers who could sponsor the content series Active Aging, which is now available in The Branded Content Project’s storefront.
Howell presented an exclusive sponsorship of Active Aging, one of four lifestyle content series available at zero cost for LMC/LMA members during 2021 thanks to funding from the Facebook Journalism Project, which provides whole body and mind wellness tips and creative living ideas for older adults through digital long-form articles.
“I went with somebody who was already doing a small amount of digital advertising with our products, already had a presence in the paper and had a history with us,” Howell said.
Because the paper and advertiser, a large membership organization, had an established working relationship and because he used The Branded Content Project’s customizable presentation deck and accompanying sales collateral, Howell felt confident to have a candid conversation about the benefits of an exclusive sponsorship of this type of content.
“Their team saw the value in it right away,” he said. “Pre-written content, no expense with creating collateral, massive exposure across every platform, website, social. One thing I did do to kind of push the deal over the hump was give them a discount on our newsletter exposure.”
Howell was wise to give the client what they wanted. In addition to the weekly long-form articles provided by The Branded Content Project, the advertiser also will receive discounted advertorials written by their senior executives and a social media presence.
Because any potential advertiser would want to see how their brand would look as the sponsor of Active Aging, creating mock-ups was another key element to the sale.
“I shared the first four weeks of content with them so they could read it, see it. I doctored up a couple of dummy pages with their logos on it. I had a page staged like it would look on our website with their logo on it, with a banner, with a tagline dispersed within the article. I really wanted to give them a solid visual of what they could expect with the sponsorship.”
The custom mock-up, trusted relationship and high engagement potential cemented a lucrative sale for the newspaper, a $7,500 per month sponsorship for 13 months.
“It was very helpful to identify who those firms are that like to position themselves as thought leaders in your marketplace and then to appeal to the exclusivity of this opportunity,” Howell added.
Since selling Active Aging, Howell has sold another series, Finances FYI, which has been sold exclusively to a bank for $40,000 over the course of six months and he isn’t stopping there. Just having conversations with clients about branded content has created new opportunities. One client was so impressed that New York Amsterdam News could provide this type of sponsored content, they secured a large digital deal.
“It all started with a conversation around branded content.”
BIPOC publishers who would like to receive training, support and access to sales products are encouraged to apply to the Branded Content Bootcamp. Applications are being accepted now through February 5th, with the Bootcamp set to begin in March. You can apply here.
The Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Local Media Association, the Local Media Consortium, and the Facebook Journalism Project to help facilitate additional growth, engagement, and revenue success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.