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Time = Money: Shaw Media Focuses On Time Saved With Reporting To Improve Retention, New Business

The Branded Content Project, funded by the Facebook Journalism Project in partnership with Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium, has challenged the project alpha group to create large action plans and take giant leaps toward new revenue possibilities with branded content.

The first projects are big jumps toward revenue growth, streamlined processes that save time and money, and content production for new audiences. The alphas’ innovative plans are already paying off.

These seven teams have jumped into enormous initiatives and are seeing the first round of results come in with exciting success. Graham Media Group’s Taking Off initiative was our first feature; our second was The Dallas Morning News and their FWD > DFW initiative; and our third is Shaw Media and their work toward improving reporting for advertisers.

Shaw Media is the third oldest, continuously owned and operated family newspaper in the nation, dating to 1851. More than 550 employees put their very best into Shaw Media’s award-winning daily and weekly print and online publications located in Illinois and Iowa.

A large part of Shaw’s success has been in their branded content program sold at each of their publications. What are the biggest strengths of this initiative?

“A few strong elements to our program include having a content calendar locked in, having topics for the next campaign on reporting during renewal period and the client having direct contact with their Branded Content Project Manager,” said Tom Shaw, chief revenue officer for Shaw Media. “We have check-ins with quarterly calls and touching base to ensure all aspects of the campaign are being fulfilled.”

Evie Kevish, project manager for Shaw, explained that their uniqueness comes down to how they position their product for the sales team. “We are unique because of the way we package and sell the campaigns. They are yearly contracts that include print and video.”

Annual strategies and creating a long-term client content calendar are paying off with engagement from their audiences. Their branded content native articles consistently see twice the engagement of their editorial articles. Engaged audiences make their advertisers happy and keep their retention rate high.

Kevish explained the challenges she saw facing her team and many of the other teams in our alpha group: “Over the past six months we have learned a wealth of information about branded content. Each alpha’s initiative was unique and proved how branded can be used across any vertical if done correctly. After our research meetings with Magid, it was interesting to find out that all of us are in the same boat and the No. 1 problem is the education of branded among sales reps and advertisers. Now that we have the branded content guide, hopefully other companies can use this to help them launch their branded campaigns.”