Newsday hits a home run with the Do It Downtown! content series

By Nannette Fevola


Melville, New York, USA


Long Island, New York-based publisher Newsday needed a way to attract smaller local businesses to content marketing.

Our already successful Brand360 content studio had been creating custom content and video for mid-sized clients since 2017 but needed a way to make it easy and affordable for local merchants.

Do It Downtown! took advantage of the rise in localism since the pandemic and the pride of place Long Islanders feel for their neighbourhoods. The multimedia programme spotlighted select villages and hamlets to create awareness, convey information, and stimulate traffic. The goal was to highlight local merchants and drive natives to explore area attractions and visit select businesses during an important sales period: Q4.

The secondary goal was to drive new business and generate incremental revenue for Brand360 by making branded content affordable for small local businesses.

Making Main Streets matter

Do It Downtown! appeared on in the Brand360 studio. It showcased one Long Island community per month for four months, from September to December 2022. The digital programme was formatted as a modular photo listicle that offered several large images and captions. There was one multi-sponsor photo listicle per month, and all the featured communities appeared on a dedicated landing page that remained on the Brand360 site for a year after its active promotion.

The Do It Downtown! content series appears as a modular photo listicle with multiple images and captions.
The Do It Downtown! content series appears as a modular photo listicle with multiple images and captions.

Sole and multi-sponsor model

The Do It Downtown! programme was funded by an overarching sponsor, a utility with a B2B initiative. The sole sponsor appeared as the “proud sponsor” on each month’s branded content photo listicle, as well as on all the tactics that drove viewers to the content. The traffic-driving tactics included digital display, print ads, and social media. In each community, four to five non-competing local businesses received two dedicated blurbs and visuals each to tell their stories. Shared sponsors included local restaurants, retailers, professional services, area attractions and events, and local organisations such as chambers of commerce.

Results beat benchmarks

Over the four months, more than 20 advertisers participated — 18 of which were new to branded content — and 12 sponsors represented new business for Brand360. More than US$80,000 in incremental revenue was generated by the programme in the fourth quarter of 2022.

In addition to its bottom-line success, Do It Downtown! also resonated with consumers, exceeding all of Brand360’s performance benchmarks. Every month of the promotion, Do It Downtown! received higher pageviews, click-throughs, social engagement, and longer time spent on a page than average.

Do It Downtown! was a great example of a hyper-local promotion that drove new business and matched users’ interest. Based on its success, Newsday Brand360 is launching Let’s Go!, a multi-sponsor branded content travel programme.

About Nannette Fevola

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