Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium open application process for Branded Content Project beta testers


The Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium, two of the local media industry’s most innovative organizations, today announce a call for entries, inviting media organizations to apply to participate in a beta project designed to help local newsrooms develop successful and sustainable branded content offerings and related revenue streams. Twenty or more beta testers will be selected to receive grant money made possible by the Branded Content Project, a partnership between the LMA, the LMC and funded by the Facebook Journalism Project.

Local media companies who are currently showing profitability, revenue growth and producing quality content are encouraged to apply to participate in the beta group. For more information and to apply, local broadcast, digital and print media companies can visit the application page. The application will close on Oct. 21, 2019.

The call for applications was announced earlier today by LMA President Nancy Lane and LMC CEO Fran Wills from the main stage of Elevate!, the organizations’ first joint conference focused on innovation, transformation and new business models to sustain local journalism. Being held Sept. 17 – 19 in Chicago, a significant portion of the conference is focused on the Branded Content Project findings as well as the industry’s commitment to expanding diversity in newsrooms across the country.

This beta test builds on findings from the program’s seven alpha testers, a mix of broadcasters, print and non-profit publishers that have been working since March to test go-to market strategies with brand partners and advertisers in their local communities.

“We are encouraged by the initial progress from our Branded Content Project research, which has shown this powerful revenue stream is helping many media organizations succeed and grow,” said Julia Campbell, Branded Content Project lead. “We believe there is potential for more growth, more engagement and more success for publishers of all shapes and sizes, and we look forward to working with this expanded group of betas to further hone and test our findings with the ultimate goal to expand industry wide.”

The alphas have identified best practices and effective branded content business models that can be rolled out industry-wide and will be employed in the beta testing. This includes branded content templates to ensure transparency with customers, producing events with the dual purpose of educating sales teams and advertisers, implementing valuable R&D partners to assist with reporting, demonstrating the importance of cause marketing, and maximizing content that is attractive to audiences and advertisers.

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.

Why are media organizations so excited to participate in this unique partnership?

Certainly the generous funding from the Facebook Journalism Project is attractive but that is just the start. The benefits of this project are deep and will truly advance an organization’s opportunity for branded content revenue growth.

Our beta group of partners will have the opportunity to test products or elements in the branded content space that they may not otherwise be able to do using financial and human capital resources provided by the project, as well as:

  • Access to R&D partners interested in assisting organizations with branded content revenue growth.
  • Resources from the project manager, LMA and LMC helping the company increase branded content revenue.
  • Media mentions of partners as leaders in the branded content space, highlighting each initiative’s positive growth and innovation through the Branded Content Project.
  • Consultation from the LMC and LMA branded content teams as well as other alpha and beta partners during this project.
  • Guidance and planning from the branded content manager helping the teams meet and exceed revenue goals.
  • $5,000 in grant money to facilitate testing and advance revenue growth for the initiative.

Why are we focused on branded content?

Because it combines what publishers and local newsrooms do best, storytelling and helping businesses grow. These two things will help our communities, help our advertisers and help our media business models succeed.

Branded content can help our audiences understand WHY someone is in business, HOW those businesses solve problems and WHEN and WHERE they can provide solutions. In this era of advertising interruption, branded content doesn’t have to distract from the action but instead will serve its place as important and relevant information.

So the big question will be: How significant can this revenue stream become for media organizations? Well, it’s time we all find out.

APPLICATION IS NOW CLOSED