Podcasting and Native Emails, Oh My!

Sponsored email newsletters and podcasting provide additional advertising and affiliate revenue opportunities

Email newsletters have been in vogue for at least a decade (even while consumers kept denying it but continued to spend money through email efforts). However, podcasting had a little phase a few years ago before going quiet, and now it’s back with equal power.

We don’t really see the two as competitors because in terms of content they both deliver content completely differently, and in terms of monetization, well, it’s much easier to get someone to read your email newsletter than it is to get them to sit down and listen to a podcast for 90 minutes. With that said, many industries are getting excited about podcasts while the podcasting community grows, and one publisher, Refinery29, is one of them.

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According to Digiday, “[Refinery29] launched UnStyled, a newsletter and podcast focused on style that could become one of its biggest moneymakers. While the connection between the two is mostly thematic at this point, uniting the two high-engagement environments could prove immensely attractive to advertisers.”

Christene Barberich, Refinery29’s global editor-in-chief says, “Both the podcast and newsletter focus on the fuller way a woman’s interests and passions inform each other.”

Digiday notes that, “the newsletter feels like an abbreviated version of a women’s magazine, featuring full essays from Refinery29 staffers, a photo shoot from a staff photographer, links to stories on the site, plus a small collection of curated items for sale and a fun fact.” Their first big newsletter sponsor is REDValentino. Advertisers can also buy their way into a curated shopping cart, which drives affiliate revenue for Refinery29.

This is basically a form of native advertising, except the advertising is split between a major sponsor and affiliates.

As for the podcast, Digiday reports that “The show, hosted by Barberich, will release new episodes every Monday, featuring conversations with from fashion luminaries like Norma Kamali.” They say they haven’t yet secured an advertiser for the podcast yet, but this is generally how revenue is generated in the podcast world and what’s nice is that listeners expect these intermittent commercials. Some podcasters mention advertisers informally and in conversation, a bit like native ads but with disclosure. Others stop for breaks. We’re sure Refinery29 will figure this strategy out quickly since they’re putting resources toward it and consumers aren’t in a place where they’re willing to pay for podcasts quite yet.

In a recent interview with HowStuffWork’s Jason Hoch, Digiday says that “Dynamic ad insertion, audience targeting and data all used to be the stuff of fantasy in podcasting. Starting in 2017, they are poised to enter the mainstream.”

Is podcasting a strategy you intend to take on in 2017?


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