some great advice from a successful association publisher and an association
content marketing expert on how to drive revenue growth with a strategic
content marketing plan.
editors, writers, and self-proclaimed protectors of content, the thought of
advertising masquerading as editorial is almost sacrilegious to many
association publishing professionals.In "Drive Revenue Growth with a
Strategic Content Marketing Plan,” Stephanie Holland, manager, advertising
sales and marketing for American Chemical Society, and Mike Winkleman,
president of Leverage Media and a member of the Association Media &
Publishing board of directors, delivered a session that truly gave attendees of
AM&P’s Annual Meeting something to think about.
association publishers have warmed up to the occasional advertorial, few have
gone as far as approaching their current and potential advertisers with an
actual plan to publish more. This session explored the benefits of creating a
content marketing plan to do just that — offering suggestions on how editorial
can work hand-in-hand with their sales team and advertisers to meet the growing
needs of advertisers, as well as the need for association publishing teams to
identify alternative revenue channels outside of traditional
presenters began by defining branded content, which can take many forms such as
inserts, native advertising, white papers, posters, webinars, and more. They
discussed the fact that the revenue model is changing, not only because
traditional ad sales are on the decline, but because advertisers are actually
demanding new channels to get their message out to potential customers — and
they want the metrics to prove that message was received. Speaking of channels,
the presenters also noted that for branded content to make an impact, it needs
to be multichannel and multiplatform, and most of all, you need a
some publications like the New York Times and Forbes have
created actual "content studios,” an association can begin by exploring the
options and getting its ad sales team and organizational leadership on board.
Sales reps and executive teams like statistics, so here are few you can
out of 10 organizations now market with content.
spend about one-third of their budgets on content marketing.
billion was spent on native advertising in 2014, up from 4.7 billion in 2013.
native ads drive more responses than banner ads.
percent of members surveyed prefer to learn about a company through content,
not an advertisement.
need convincing? Not surprising: The presenters pointed out that editorial and
advertising is almost like church and state to many people — the two shouldn’t
mix. Branded content, some feel, is the "end of journalism as we know it.”
While this is a bit dramatic, Holland and Winkleman say this shift does
indicate an end to advertising as we know it.
want more than a typical banner ad. They are not just buying off the shelf,”
says Holland. "We need to get advertisers to buy into ideas.”
consumer attitudes have changed, as has the way in which they access and
process content. Association members don’t seem to mind, they say; our members
expect to be marketed to. In fact, 75 percent of those surveyed stated that
they know branded content is attempting to sell them something. This is fine — as
long as said content is "informative and entertaining.” In addition, many of
the new channels for advertisers often offer better metrics, which is
beneficial to advertisers and publishers of content alike.
publishers are starting to see their editorial properties as brands, and are
looking increasingly to use branded content to generate revenue. This trend has
even resulted in the emergence of a new title in the editorial world: chief
content editor. As editors and content publishers become more like salesmen — sometimes
being the one to start the sale — it’s important to have members of your sales
team in agreement.
get that needed buy-in from your internal team as well as potential advertisers,
the presenters suggested beginning with a Guinea pig — meaning, start by
getting one advertiser to produce a native ad. Publish it on your site so other
advertisers have a sample, and track its progress so you have numbers to share
with them. This is a first step, but the presenters stressed the importance of
going all-in with branded content, making sure your plan is strategic, and your
content can work on multiple platforms and channels.
content can and does work. There are numbers to prove it, and commercial
publications find its potential and return so great that they have created
full-fledged content studios dedicated to making advertising work within
editorial. These facts indicate that association publications should at least
take a closer look at the possibilities.
R. Alexander is editor in chief, ACC Docket, Association of Corporate
Counsel. Association Media &
Publishing sincerely appreciates her coverage of this Annual Meeting session
for our members who were unable to attend.