A New Outlook on How Publishers Should Interact with Advertisers that Publish

Within the marketing and publications industry, we have gone through several periods of change – each bringing with their own assortment of assets and challenges.  The latest trend that has appeared is advertisers becoming their own publisher.  While several legacy publishing companies are fearful of this new trend and how it will affect their revenue strategies, they shouldn’t discredit the position they have made for themselves in the industry. The amount of time and experience that publishers have accumulated in creating content and building a strong relationship with their audiences holds tremendous value. These audiences can help advertisers to drive new revenue and new opportunities – even those that decide to become their own publishers. Two areas where they can be extremely beneficial are in:

  1. Custom Content
  2. Digital Promotions

Custom Content

Custom content is where media companies help advertisers drive success. As the old saying goes, “content is king,” but most people quickly forget that the “audience is the kingdom.”  Just because someone creates content doesn’t mean it is well suited for an audience.

Who better to create content for those audiences (the kingdom) than a publisher that knows all about a target audience and so much more?

Alright, so maybe too much on the “king and kingdom” references, but you should be starting to see the point.  Advertisers are looking to develop their own content and drive their own traffic. The problem is, they are lacking the confidence to get the job done.

On24 and Heinz Marketing did a study in January 2019 with over 150 B2B marketing professionals across various roles, industries and organization sizes to understand the state of content marketing.

Some of the key findings from the study:

  • Their own content is not effective: Only 10% of marketers say their content marketing is effective.
  • Content marketing is getting stale: 63% of marketers said their content marketing strategy was either not very effective or only somewhat effective, compared to just 35% in 2017.
  • More content doesn’t mean more results: Two-thirds of respondents said they were either not confident or only somewhat confident that their content is driving revenue results.
  • Conversion is key: 75% of respondents said that either lead conversion or sales opportunity conversion was the most important content engagement metric.
  • Spray and pray? Just 13% said they were extremely or very confident that their content was driving desired results.*

The findings from this study all mean one thing for publishing and media companies: a huge opportunity. If we are still talking about how “content is king,” then just like ruling, creating content isn’t as easy as it looks.  You need someone who understands the audience. Publishers have the experience, knowledge, and capabilities that advertisers are looking to find.

Digital Promotions

Digital Promotions are a way that publishers can help advertisers because of the audiences they have. Publishers need to be strongly highlighting the point to advertisers that they can get their content campaigns in front of the right audience to ensure it is of interest to them.

Some tactics publishers can help with to get advertiser’s content in front of their target audiences:

  1. Dedicated Emails – creating a sponsored email directly to the target audience the advertiser wants is an easy win for both sides.
  2. Retargeting – being able to target specific readers that publishers have in their database base on the criteria the advertiser is going after.
  3. Social Media – using the communities publishers have and pushing them out to social sites to be used for content campaigns.
  4. Newsletter Ads – embedding a content ad within a weekly newsletter.

Take Action

Using the points from the research study referenced earlier, let’s create a problem and solution comparison to show exactly how current publishers can step in and help those advertisers who want to become their own publishers.

Advertiser Problem: Content is not effective.
Publisher Solution: Create custom content.

Publishers and media companies have the industry expertise and experience. Change the model and approach the advertiser for their own content to promote on your media company’s website. Publishers can offer a service of creating content for the advertiser in a way that is the best fit for them and will help them to achieve success.

Advertiser Problem: Content marketing is getting stale.
Publisher Solution: Provide research opportunities.

What better way for an advertiser to learn more about the audience they want to start a content campaign for than providing a service that allows them to talk directly to them? New revenue streams can come from the research executed and provided to the advertisers. This research can also easily lead to custom content creation through using the results.

Advertiser Problem: More content doesn’t mean more results.
Publisher Solution: Create a timely voyage to engage with the audience at the right time.

Creating a solution to allow the client advertisers to promote content based on trigger points on your website or even retargeting campaigns.  Timing can be everything when it comes to advertising placement, and is a much better strategy than overwhelming an audience to get the right content in front of them.

Advertiser Problem: Conversion is key and Spray and Pray.
Publisher Solution: Create a full plan from start to finish for targeting an audience to avoid the spray and pray model.

These two problems go hand in hand which is why we decided to combine them. An integrated campaign with custom content coupled with an engaging promotional campaign will lead to more conversions for sales and overall success. Create custom content, promote it, and then run a drip campaign to delivered ready leads.

Publishers Can and Should Take Matters into Their Own Hands

We are in the next phase of evolution in marketing and publishing.  Advertisers will always be looking for the next best thing.  At the end of the day, publishers can capitalize on being the experts in their own field to help get advertisers where they want to go.  Today’s situation is very similar to 20 years ago when print ads ruled. Now we are simply in a more technologically advanced phase, where content marketing and digital advertising are the tools for success and new dollars.

The reality of both of these mechanisms is that in order to generate revenue with them, the right audience has to be targeted. Publishers have the business structure set up and the capabilities needed to effectively target the right audience at the right time. Through the relationships they have built with their content offerings, publishers have a better grasp on what their consumers are looking for and what peaks their interests. As advertisers continue to create their own content, publishers should work with them in a way that makes themselves valuable to advertisers. They can prove that their offerings and solutions are effective and will drive revenue so that advertisers don’t have to start trying to do what legacy publishers already do best.

Resources for this Article

Marketers Lose Confidence in Content Marketing Effectiveness, According to New Report


Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash