One of the signature visits planned for the Branded Content Innovation Mission in NYC is a trip to Vox Media. As Digiday’s 2019 Best Content Studio, Vox will share their secrets and strategies behind educating and preparing sales teams for effective branded content selling. We asked Alexandra Hartz, senior account director, enterprise at Vox, and Sara Reinis, associate director of creative strategy at Vox, a few questions about their views on branded content and the opportunity out there for media organizations interested in growing initiatives.

What are the most important trends you’re seeing in branded content today that media companies should be aware of?

Content for the sake of content isn’t enough. Advertisers, especially those working on branded content for the first time, really want to know the why. Insight-driven strategy should be behind all branded content campaigns you pitch—whether that’s surfacing cultural trends, performance metrics from your site, or finding unique audience overlaps.

Media companies now more than ever are paying more attention to branded content. Why do you think it could and should be a significant part of their future business model?

When done right, branded content can be an effective tool for marketers looking to grow an engaged audience, shift perceptions, or generate awareness for a new product or service. Based on brand study results, we’ve found that memorable branded content can sometimes achieve better results than standard display advertising as it can capture attention in different ways and bring an advertiser closer to an editorial voice, building trust with the audience.

Are there niches or areas of focus that you think media companies should be looking at when they’re considering their branded content strategies?

Advertisers come to media companies to leverage their unique connection to audiences. So, take advantage of what you do best and what audiences love about your work. Is there a niche type of content that works particularly well for your audience? That’s exactly where you should focus. Editorial best practices should inform and shape branded content strategies. Think creatively about how to tap into your editorial successes to create a meaningful advertising experience that also provides value for your readers or viewers.

What will attendees learn from the Vox team on this unique branded content focused innovation mission?

The Vox Media session will educate attendees on our best practices across creative development and sales strategy. Learn from the experts about when to pitch branded content, who to speak to on the client side, what a winning creative concept looks like, and how to harness the unique voice of your company or brand to produce the most effective and engaging content for your clients.

The Branded Content  Project Team also spent time with Armando Turco, Vox Media’s SVP of content and commerce, to learn more about how Vox structures its branded content initiatives and what has worked for the organization from street-level sales through the production and distribution process. After sharing his wealth of knowledge of branded content creation and sales, three main points stood out to our team.

1. Signature formats

Every publication has tried-and-true formats and franchises that can be replicated for brands. Using signature formats is an easy way to build a product brand and build efficiency through production scale. One example that has proven to be successful at Vox is explainer content. Explainers break down what a business does in a visual and simple way for the audience. Vox has created The Explainer Studio and its site reveals that “the world doesn’t just need news. It needs explanation. That’s why curious audiences have flocked to Vox Media Explainers — over 1.5 billion times in 2017 alone. Blending research, reporting, insight, personality, and humanity, Explainers help people understand the most complicated topics swirling around us every day.”

But why do explainers work so well? In the video below, Armando explains that it comes down to the sales team.

Although video is often the most widely used explainer method, you can use many other forms to implement successful explainer content for your clients. Vox uses a variety of content distribution paths to help explain a client concept to the audience. Armando explains how to turn one explainer element into six.

2. Refined scaling strategy

Determining when to present branded content to an advertiser can be difficult. Vox has created a unique and effective way for sales teams to decide when and if to pitch branded content. Armando explains how to listen for key words and phrases from advertisers.

3. Improved scaling process

Branded content implementation can be difficult. How can we improve the client experience on the post-sales side? And how should we structure client management teams for success? Armando shares some solutions from his team at Vox.

We’ll discover more solutions, ideas and strategies to better position your initiatives for long term revenue success during our upcoming Innovation Mission. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to peek behind the curtains at Vox, T Brand Studio, IAB, Facebook and Wavemaker.

You can’t afford to miss this collaborative event as you plan your revenue strategy for 2020!