How a unique program is going to help news organizations grow their branded content business


News organizations seeking guidance in building out their branded content business can now get help through a unique program from the Local Media Association, Local Media Consortium and the Facebook Journalism Project.

We caught up with Julia Campbell, who is overseeing the project on how the program will work, what’s happening in the branded content space and more.

First, tell us a little about your background?

I spent the first half of my career in journalism focused on news, television production and marketing. After taking positions across the country in small, medium, large and national TV organizations, I was presented with a unique opportunity to lead a parenting branded content initiative for Gray Television called MomsEveryday. We were lucky enough to launch MomsEveryday in 60+ markets across the country, helping thousands of businesses in those communities tell their stories and share how they can provide solutions for families.

After 8 years of building content and revenue for TV stations across the nation, we now have the opportunity to take the lessons we learned with MomsEveryday and combine that knowledge with successful branded content initiatives from other broadcasters, publishers and creators involved in the joint LMA/LMC Branded Content Project. Armed with the generous funding from the Facebook Journalism Project and the expert resources from both the Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium, we will truly push new revenue growth for local media organizations and help them create engaging branded content in a sustainable model.

What will you be doing in your role with LMA and the LMC?

The amazing thing about this project is that the media organizations will be determining how we help and what my role will be with each of them. We’re here to help them advance their initiatives, increase revenue and create engaging content.

The way we will best serve each organization will be different for each team and each project. For some it will be helping find companies to provide deeper analytics and more efficiently monetize their branded content inventory, for others it may mean sales team training or building in-market sales presentations, and for others it will be securing content creation resources or discovering technology tools to help build effective content. We’re ready and able to help in all of these ways and more!

The best part about this role will be sharing our discoveries industry wide so that all organizations can learn from this project.

What are some of the more exciting aspects of the program?

One of the most exciting aspects of the program will be the ability to help organizations learn and grow by connecting them with each other and with businesses focused on branded content.

We realized that many folks have collected almost all the pieces to the puzzle and others may be just starting. If we can help local teams find the last piece of their puzzle or help those taking their first steps with their branded content initiatives get a clear picture of the whole puzzle, we’ll be able to make major industry change for all types of media.

How will you work with local media companies who take part in the program?

Our first goal for this project has been to learn from media companies who are seeing the most success from branded content initiatives. Hearing directly from organizations working in this space, has helped us determine where we can best assist and where there may be the most potential for revenue growth. We’ve taken the information we’ve gathered from publishers of all types and formed an application process that is now open for entry.

We’re going to engage with 3 to 5 media organizations as a pilot group and help them test and implement new processes, technology and training to grow their current revenue and meet new financial goals. The exciting thing about this process is taking what we learn from the first Alpha Group and rolling out proven revenue growth strategies to another 20-30 organizations in early fall as a Beta Group. We’ll be able to snowball all the knowledge and success with those groups and share with all local media organizations, truly helping the whole industry find a sustainable growth plan with branded content.

Why do you think branded content is so critical in today’s media environment?

There is urgency for all media to find new revenue models that are sustainable and create winning scenarios for the audience, the advertisers and the publishers. Branded content certainly isn’t new. In fact, it’s roots go back to the early days of broadcasting. As our traditional and legacy revenue models undergo transition, this is a fantastic time to revisit the concepts that worked in the past and realize the enormous benefits of this type of revenue for our future. Local media has an incredible advantage with branded content since it utilizes two areas that we do best: storytelling and helping businesses grow. Bringing these two tools together is a powerful and effective combination and a perfect growth area for all media outlets in our communities.

Anything else you would like to add?

We are still looking for applicants for the Alpha phase of our Branded Content project. We would love to hear from everyone working hard and succeeding in this space. Learn more about the program here.