It’s not often that newspaper salespeople hear this kind of reaction from local ad agencies during a new product pitch when discussing the cost of the programme: “That’s it? Are you sure? I don’t want to take advantage of you guys.”
But that’s one reaction we received from an advertising agency during a recent meeting discussing our new “Storytellers” video profile sponsored content programme.
At The Register-Guard, we’re tip-toeing into the “sponsored content” realm with an experiment that partners us with a group of students and former students at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.
Utilising the strengths of our print and online advertising reach, combined with the unique power of video storytelling, we’ve come up with a packaged programme that, so far, shows promise of a new revenue stream.
The partnership with UO came about via some long talks between me and one of the journalism school professors, whose title is assistant professor of media partnership management. He works hard to find professional outlets for current and former UO J-school students.
We have wanted to strengthen the pipeline between the Register-Guard and our award-winning university for some time now (beyond the already expanding use of these students as interns). And we felt this project was a good way to move things to the next level.
The programme gist: We created a monthly print and online ad campaign centered around the promotion of a series of video vignettes of local businesses that we’ll place on our Web site, clearly labeled as “sponsored content.”
Our hope is to have dozens of businesses profiled here before the end of the year and prove out a totally new kind of ad model. This model will show the strength that we uniquely possess in our market — to create something new and draw an audience while generating new revenue at the same time.
If it works as we hope, we are likely to invest further into the infrastructure and take a deeper dive into video creation for marketing purposes.
The talents these students possess as they leave college is astounding. Some seem to be born with digital cameras in their hands, and their passion for utilising technology knows no bounds.
The education today’s UO journalism students are receiving is truly building the journalists of the future, and we at the Register-Guard are thrilled to play our part in their evolution.
Here is a video from the group of students we’re working with that illustrates their passion for and commitment to multi-media storytelling. We show this to our potential advertisers, as well, along with a sample business profile video they created for us, which illustrates how this strategy lights up the business owners.
It’s early in the project, but we’re getting some good nibbles. And we’re definitely turning the heads of advertisers who have grown all too comfortable with the idea of the stodgy old newspaper pitching another special section or standard banner ad campaign.
If nothing else, this new project pitch is alerting them that our creative juices are flowing.