Why Publishers Can Succeed With Sponsored Content

Over the last 6 months, we’ve experimented with a new model for publishers on our platform to earn revenue from writing sponsored content. So far, the results have exceeded our (and the brands’) expectations, so we plan on honing and refining this model in the next few months. If you are new to Cooperatize, our sponsored content opportunities have a “Unique Page View Target” detailed on our Helpdesk here.

We have received mostly positive feedback about the structure of our sponsored content opportunities, but we have also received criticisms as well. While the Helpdesk gives you a glimpse into how the model works, we would like to dig deeper into the motivations, reasons, and forces that led our team to construct this model and why we believe it will lead to more revenue and opportunities for you (the publisher) and a better experience for the brands whom you work with.

Accountability

Brands need readers (or in advertising speak, impressions) on their sponsored stories. If you write an engaging story with images and great keywords for SEO and no one sees it, there’s little value to the brand (and to your blog). From all the companies we’ve talked to since the start of Cooperatize, the number one question is: “What is the return I get on a sponsored post?” Think if you were to spend money on a piece of advertising, wouldn’t you want to know ahead of time what you would receive from that given investment? By being transparent with the numbers of readers a story will receive, brands have a much easier time deciding whether to work with you.

We believe in delivering results to the brands we work, and the most effective way to do this is ensuring the story will be read by a targeted audience. Our team is crazy about delivering a good experience for the brands, so we actually don’t get paid unless you hit your targets and you get paid as well!

Your Built-In Audience

Likewise, your story needs to be promoted. As Facebook mentioned to us prior, today’s glut of content results in many stories never being seen. However, this is an opportunity for you to further promote your story to your audience. Utilizing your influential networks, you can get your fans and followers to see the sponsored content. Your audience is one of your site’s most important assets and effectively distributing your stories to your audience is one of the primary reason brands we’ve spoken to believe in sponsored content.

We Want You To Achieve Your Targets

We know writing a great story is tough as it is, and getting your story read by a certain number of people sounds daunting. Most of our team have maintained blogs themselves or contributed to a larger online publisher, and know that serious work goes into crafting a story. We’ve found that promoting the story is the easiest part of the whole blogging process since your blog should already have an audience (otherwise you wouldn’t be accepting sponsored content in the first place!). Trust that your audience engages with your stories; they crave them.

We’ve purposely set the bar relatively low if you are working on your first opportunity with us. It typically comes out to a percentage of your monthly page views (depending on your traffic, anywhere from 1-5%). We want you to achieve this goal. In fact, we need you to achieve this goal because of the guarantee we make to our brands.

So far, we haven’t had a single publisher miss their target. Having said that, if you need a helping hand, we would be glad to help. Everyone is not on the same playing field when it comes to story promotional strategies, so we would use our marketing resources to drive traffic to your story to help you reach your target. And in the meantime, we’ll revise these targets to ensure that you can reach them without our help.

Working With Advertising & PR

You may have worked on PR projects and other press-related activities, which are great strategies to build your network and brand! In the advertising world, where there are bigger budgets and more opportunities for you to earn from writing stories, the expectations are a little higher. This is one of the main reasons we instituted the unique page view model so that our goals are aligned with advertisers’ goals. Need another reason to reach your targets? Advertising budgets tend to be bigger than PR budgets so you’ll have more opportunities to work with brands.

The End Game

Our goal is to create a long-term ecosystem where bloggers and online publishers can make money. We do not want to replicate what has happened with banner and display ads where publishers are making fractions of a penny per impression. The display advertising industry is now host to various issues such as robot traffic, unviewable impressions, and just plain ugliness in terms of content readers will engage. Do we want this? We hope not. We hope that we can create a sustainable ecosystem of sponsored content. Help us do that.

Online publishers large and small realize that sponsored content is a real way to earn money from doing the one thing the love: writing great stories. At the end of the day, we are regular people too who understand the hard work, dedication, and even frustrations that come with working on a creative story. We are on your side, and together we can tell amazing stories and deliver tangible results.