Describe your initiative, what you see as the strongest elements of your program, and what makes it unique:
This initiative will have MinnPost create and sell our first topic-specific sponsorship bundle that combines website, email, and live event components. Its greatest strength is the way it looks to build on products and relationships we already have, since we have at least some experience doing all of the things we aim to do in this project on a grander scale. MinnPost is unique among the current generation of nonprofit news startups both for our relative age and for the extent to which our business relied on advertising and sponsorship revenue right out of the gate. MinnPost launched in 2007 — predating the founding of the Institute for Nonprofit News by two years — and for most of our history about a quarter of our revenue has come from advertising and sponsorship, a line of business many of our peers started to explore only recently. I think the depth of relationship we already have with some of our sponsors gives MinnPost a unique opportunity with this project.
Branded content is an important revenue opportunity for media groups and advertisers because …
It creates a deeper connection between the sponsor and the media brand. As an ever-larger share of traditional advertising migrates to digital platform companies, developing these kind of deeper relationships becomes ever more important to the long-term financial success of news organizations and other local media.
The aspect of the Branded Content Project Beta Group that excites us the most is …
We’re particularly excited by the opportunity this project will give our team to connect and learn from our peers in other markets and other media. In our experience, a lot of the best professional learning comes from speaking with colleagues at other organizations that are tackling similar problems. We expect the Branded Content Project will introduce our MinnPost advertising and sponsorship team to peers and potential partners we would never have otherwise met and connected with.
We hope to learn [fill-in-the-blank] through the Branded Content Project:
Practical strategies for how to successfully develop and roll-out new branded content products at a small- to mid-sized media organization.