FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —
Publishers to receive Facebook funding to create revenue strategies around branded content initiatives
FORT WORTH, TEXAS, Feb. 19, 2020 — The Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium, two of the local media industry’s most innovative organizations, today announced, in coordination with the Facebook Journalism Project, an expansion of the Branded Content Project to include five independently owned publishers serving communities of color and diverse audiences in a pilot group.
The Branded Content Project, a partnership between the LMA and the LMC, and funded by a $1 million investment from the Facebook Journalism Project, commenced in March 2019 with an initial alpha test group, and in November 2019, selected 22 more local media organizations to participate in a beta group. These organizations will develop best practices in branded content and will receive grant money to build and develop successful and sustainable branded content revenue streams.
The LMA and LMC define branded content as any sales initiative that uses content to engage the user and is paid for by a client who participates as part of the content, helps supply the content, or sponsors the content that is distributed across any platform.
“This pilot will offer a group of independent publishers an opportunity to define, develop and grow branded content revenue strategies. The Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium have been doing great work in this space and the Facebook Journalism Project is happy to support their efforts,” said Josh Mabry, local news partnerships lead for the Facebook Journalism Project.
“We are thrilled to bring this innovative pilot group into the Branded Content Project and work closely with their teams in the coming months to build and refine their branded content strategies,” said Julia Campbell, Branded Content Project lead. “As part of the Branded Content Project initiative, this pilot group of independently owned publishers, will build on the knowledge gained in the first year of the project and will share their progress in case studies and white papers to highlight their findings and results with the broader local media industry.”
The Branded Content Project independently owned publisher pilot group includes the following (listed in alphabetical order):
The AFRO American Newspapers
The Oklahoma Eagle
The St. Louis American
“The AFRO is thrilled to have been selected to participate in the Branded Content Project. With the ever-increasing demand for advertising versatility, we are confident that the training and strategic direction we’ll receive will be of great benefit to our advertising clients and result in incremental revenue growth,” said Lenora Howze, executive
director, The AFRO American Newspapers.
As part of the pilot project, Peter Lamb, president of Lamb Consulting, will conduct extensive sales training and provide in-depth sales strategy for each publisher which will include onsite work with advertisers.
“I am incredibly excited to be a part of the Branded Content Project and am chomping at the bit to implement and accelerate a brand new, highly profitable revenue stream for the participants,” said Lamb.
Many of the organizations will focus on the common challenges identified across all organizations in the alpha and beta rounds, including the need for education of the sales teams and advertisers, providing ROI for clients, and improving the process and workload of branded content teams.
“We know our small business clients are eager to tell their stories, and get their message out, in unique and cost-effective ways,” said Tracy Baim, publisher of the Chicago Reader. “We believe branded content can assist many diverse businesses trying to stand out in a crowded digital world. We are looking forward to learning more effective ways to make this happen.”
The pilot group will work together virtually and in-person through the summer, with plans to share learnings and results industry-wide at the October Elevate conference in Chicago, jointly hosted by the LMC and LMA.. The ultimate goal will be to create playbooks and workshops that will guide every size and type of local media organizations toward more efficient and effective branded content programs and revenue streams.