Where’s the buzz around custom media?
Publishers often talk about their plans to negotiate the new media landscape with innovative web strategies, live and interactive events, and other programs to “engage” their target audience. But as it becomes harder and harder to sell traditional advertising, why is there not more buzz around custom media?
The most valuable assets a media brand has are its audience file and the relationship readers have with the brand. Think creatively about your database not as a mass market, but as a collection of niche audiences. Are there advertisers who would pay a premium for just a special slice?
Media companies can build off of that asset by creating custom media channels for their clients to talk directly to segments of their audience. A custom media channel consists of advertorial or original edit that is customized to a specific topic and created in partnership with the sponsor. Because the content is relevant to the audience and delivered to them on a preferred platform (the media company’s site), the potential return on investment for the advertiser is high.
This is also an opportunity for publishers to drive greater value to the people who are part of their social media community. Just as publishers are creating Facebook fan pages, LinkedIn groups and Twitter followings for their own brands, they can also make these communities part of the custom media channels they are creating for advertisers. Social media networks are dependent on having fresh content to keep members engaged, and custom content can be utilized in this manner.
Many publishers are wary of custom content, as it shifts the advertising-editorial paradigm. Some editors are concerned about the editorial integrity of the brand, while publishers worry that custom content programs may eat into their traditional advertising revenue.
The fact is, selling print ads in a B2B publication is a growing challenge, and custom content– webcasts, web sponsorships, events, and the like – are a better way to demonstrate ROI. (In our soon-to-be-published study on marketing, media and measurement, 74% of our survey respondents said original content and media is the most effective method for generating marketing ROI; only 4% cited traditional advertising as the most effective ROI vehicle.)
Traditional media companies need to take a hard look at their business models and think about custom media as an integral part of the mix rather than an ancillary business. When you get right down to it, marketers want your readers as customers and prospects. The best way to survive this crazy market is to give them access in as many ways as possible.
Gordon Plutsky is director of marketing and research with King Fish Media, a custom media company.