Content Marketing, Publishing a Match Made for Growth

For The Atlantic, content marketing + publishing = expansion; plus, is Facebook playing favorites and is email the answer to ad blocking?

When it comes to content marketing, publishing executives know how valuable native advertising can be to their revenue stream. More and more, though, digital magazines are taking matters into their own hands and producing that branded content in house, adding staff and other resources to their operation in order grab a larger slice of the pie and future-proof their properties.

We think this is a fantastic idea, if you can pull it off. Labs help you maintain quality control, and with native advertising content standing a better chance against ad blocking, it gives you some flexibility if you depend on digital advertising as part of your internet revenue model. What’s more, we’re starting to see content marketing publishing companies expand, even internationally, as is the case with The Atlantic.

Digiday has an article on that phenomenon is its recent coverage, along with news on Facebook and more. Let’s get started this week!


Content Marketing: Publishing Companies Mastering the Art

The Atlantic is finding some significant success with its content marketing publishing arm, Digiday reports.

“At the end of April, it launched ‘Nepal, One Year Later,’ branded content paid for by Cathay Pacific. The campaign revisited Nepal a year after its devastating earthquake and followed the work of not-for-profit U.S. organization Possible in rebuilding the region’s health care services. The piece, which takes readers to its own web page, is a mix of video, charts and text, created by four Atlantic staffers who traveled to Nepal to report. The campaign is still running, but [Atlantic Re:think Head Mike] Monroe said the performance has exceeded internal native content benchmarks, and dwell time is close to six minutes. The Atlantic offers a number of native solutions, and its investments here have the publisher forecasting that branded content revenues will account for 75 percent of its digital ad revenue this year,” Lucinda Southern writes.

“Monroe is in the U.K. shooting an ad campaign for a British car manufacturer, contracting with a team of 30 local people for video and in-depth reporting. He makes the point that the campaigns are about international regions, by international people and for an international audience. The Atlantic’s international expansion is gaining momentum: By next year, a U.K.-based global business team will be in place, including staff in marketing, sales and ad operations. It may feel a little overdue. The 160-year-old media company claims that 30 percent of its readership is from outside of the U.S. In the U.K., its monthly uniques have grown by 26 percent in the past 12 months to 1 million readers, according to comScore.”

The Best Email Marketing Campaigns Can Combat Ad Blocking Programs

Anyone who knows us knows how much we love email as part of a multiplatform publishing strategy. Digiday reports that the component could have another bonus: helping to beat ad blockers, or at least work with them!


“These tactics are a response to the rise of ad blocking and the need to find other sources of revenue outside of advertising while deepening the publishers’ relationship with readers. Most people are unwilling to pay for news; asking for an email recognizes there are other ways of exchanging value. Advanced publishers are using the log-in data to sell targeted ad campaigns, along with letting people bypass paywalls or enable them to comment on stories or get a more personalized reading experience, said Craig Ferrara, director of identity strategy and consulting at Gigya, which manages user authentication including via social login or email,” Lucia Moses writes.

“There’s risk, though. Any time you ask people to type in personal information, there’s a chance they’ll leave the site. Social log-ins reduce that process to a click, which cuts down on the friction. But then Facebook collects data on those users, to the benefit of the social network, Benkoil pointed out. Publishers should also keep in mind that when they ask readers to sign in to their site, they may expect something in return – and it might not be what the publisher is giving them, as The Washington Post found when it pushed an email newsletter on people who gave their email.”

Facebook’s Preferential Treatment of Digital Publishers

Some publishers are beginning to bristle at what they perceive as Facebook playing favorites with publishers, Digiday reports.

“A small group of high-profile publishers have the equivalent of a platform black card: they’re called on to help create and test new features and are first to launch them, giving them more time to test and learn. Three indisputable platform darlings are The New York Times, CNN and BuzzFeed. All are regularly tapped to launch major initiatives including, variously, Facebook Instant Articles, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages and Snapchat Discover, and reportedly were the most highly paid by Facebook to produce live video. They have audiences (all are top news properties in terms of monthly direct traffic) and have resources to spare,” Moses writes.

“Some publishers grumble that while The New York Times gets consulted by Facebook, they can’t get a call returned. This raises suspicion that the big ones get favored by the network’s algorithm, though some publishers believe the platforms are only doing what’s practical and that they’re committed to having a level playing field.”

Is content marketing publishing gold for your magazine? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

To read more about content marketing + publishing and other industry trends, visit Digiday.


Leave a Reply