Branded content is more than the latest local media buzzword or a new shiny object for your sales team. It is a time-proven revenue strategy that is starting to gain momentum in media organizations of all shapes and sizes.

But the old saying “if it was easy, everyone would do it” is especially true for effective implementation of long-term strategies and initiatives in the branded content space. The good news is, you don’t need to start from scratch or venture into unfamiliar waters alone; the Branded Content Project, with support from the Facebook Journalism ProjectLMA and LMC, are all here to help. The team has created a branded content guide filled with best practices, innovative solutions and great ideas from 12 industry leading experts in this space. To help guide you through this detailed guide, we’ve listed 5 reasons why you need to grab this guide and share with your team today.

Looking for a couple quick stats to show the value of branded content campaigns with potential advertisers? Maybe you have been asked to prove the opportunity with branded content to your management team. Are you having trouble convincing your sales team that this type of marketing can and will work for their clients?

We have you covered! Discover “16 branded content stats that prove its value” (page 14) from Jerrid Grimm at Pressboard Media. Broken down into simple, digestible numbers that can be used to convince, sell and position your initiative to external advertisers and internal teams. A couple of our favorite stats include:

  • Branded content is 22x more engaging than display ads
  • Brand recall is 59% higher for branded content than other digital ads
  • Branded content drives higher brand recall than pre-roll ads
  • 90% of media groups expect their branded content revenue to increase over the next 12 months

Find the other 11 numbers inside the guide.

Before you build it, you better have a plan. We also know that starting an initiative can be hard work and a little scary. But, you are not alone! The branded content guide can help you create an action plan with advice from experts who have built, managed and sold initiatives at organizations just like you. Wondering where to start?

Find out why Eric Brandner from Creative Lab @McClatchy recommends “6 reasons why you need branded content now” (page 11) or why Mike Mocklar from Mocklar Cunsulting suggests “7 tips for creating a successful branded content initiatives” (page 19).

We’re also seeing success with organizations using cause marketing as a backbone for branded content. Rachel Watkins from Dallas Morning News’ FWD DFW explains why corporate social responsibility (CSR) matters and shares “5 reasons CSR should be considered as a branded content strategy” (page 22). And we’re learning how promotions can give your advertisers the results they need, so we asked Liz Huff from Second Street about her “3 reasons to make promotions part of your branded content strategy” (page 24). Find all these articles in our section named “Develop It” (page 10).

We’ve discovered that a challenge and an opportunity for branded content is that it crosses all departments of an organization. It touches the sales team, the editorial team, the promotional team and even the product and technology teams. Don’t let that turn you away from executing and growing what could be a revenue stream that will continue to rise year over year and give you something unique to sell in your market. And don’t venture out alone. We have experts in the areas of sales, production, social media and distribution. Discover a wealth of real world advice such as:

It wouldn’t be a great field guide without a couple of tricks and tips to save you time and ensure you are successful starting from Day 1.  We’ve stocked up the guide with advice on video production, social media and mistakes that can ruin campaigns.

A few highlights include:

  • Adrian Fulle from Variety explains why your first frame of video should always be a face. Find that trick plus 8 more in “9 branded content production tricks” (page 28).
  • Carolina Esbaile from Creative Lab @McClatchy shows us commons mistakes made with branded content, like thinking it should be all about your brand, in “5 common mistakes that can ruin your content campaign” (page 32).
  • Apryl Pilolli from Social News Desk drives home the importance of thumb-stopping creative in “8 branded content creative best practices for social media”(page 35).

What’s the first step? We created checklists to cover our four categories – develop it, selling it, creating it and promoting it. At the end of each section of articles on those topics, you will find a checklist to help you conquer that category of interest. These are a great place to get started or help those looking to improve and grow initiatives.

Don’t miss the fantastic content marketing history lesson at the front of the guide from Steven Goldstein of Amplifi Media (page 5). Sometimes to create the best road forward we need to look who built the path behind us.

Take a tour through the guide and let us know what’s missing or needed to help your team. We’re starting with a first edition and expect more additions including an appendix of R&D partners, new articles and experts, and more one-sheet solutions for your teams. Reach out to us at or email with fresh ideas or contributions.

Don’t build, sell or create alone – get the guide!