In a session at our recent BIMS event, Christie Bardo (pictured), chief revenue officer for Brief Media, joined host Tom Cintorino of The Next Chapter Consulting and Rob Keenan of Keenan Media to discuss Five (At Least) New Revenue Ideas You Can Be Selling in 2021. “Content is still king so all B2B operators can do really well because of our expertise with content and talking to the audience,” Bardo said.
As an example of the choices they want to offer audiences, here’s what’s on the homepage for Brief Media’s Clinician’s Brief brand:
Links to articles from their superlative 84-page, monthly, peer-reviewed journal; a welcome to their Continuing Education platform; unobtrusive ads; an interactive daily quiz question about animal bites (that I missed!) with a link to an article about bite wounds; a social media calendar; links to the Clinician’s Brief podcast, Career Center and COVID-19 resources; a video segment featuring a dog with one of those protective lampshades; a testimonial; and a place to offer feedback.
It’s an impressive array of places to engage, visitor value and ways to increase their database and qualified leads. The Clinicians Brief website exemplifies much of what this dynamic panel spoke about during the session. That you need many ways to engage and market these days, personalizing and productizing when possible, packaging innovatively and giving your customers a choice to do what’s most comfortable for them.
“People take in information in different ways,” Bardo said, referring to a series they do called Read Watch Listen. “We’re taking a content package and doing a podcast on it, or creating a virtual event or webinar and having it in print. It’s a way to expand—if someone was just going to do a native article, it’s getting more revenue, getting maybe triple the revenue. You need to have it in different platforms. So we’re doing some things like that on the product side.”
Similar to the variety on the Clinician’s Brief website, Keenan showed a food website he’s worked on with a flywheel of content where a visitor can choose between six topics—from Savor the Flavor and Evolve Meals to Smart Choices and Image Matters.
“You’re able to dive deeper into an area so now the audience is basically interacting with the content,” Keenan said. “This does two things for us. It allows us to reinvent our native model because the current native model is a very flat content model—[where we] put an article out and hope someone reads it. But here we’re creating content that people can go through. It lets you digest what you want from the story. We’ve seen publishers having success with the crafting of immersive content.”
“I was reading one definition of flywheel, and it was a tract engaged delight,” Cintorino said. “What that does is it merges the content itself with the visual or engaging experience. And that makes all the difference.”
Bardo also spoke of immersive content. “It’s hard to keep growing one piece of your business year over year. [So it becomes more about] expanding marketing services and doing some of the things we’ve always done but pivoting and elevating them. So elevating lead gen, elevating content and making it more immersive, making it more customized to a client with the lead generation. We’re trying to find new streams in marketing services and more operate as sales enablement for our customers instead of straight marketing. So really helping our marketing clients become revenue generators and using data to attach their efforts with revenue.”
The conversation tilted towards packaging—are you presenting your content in the best forms to attract dollars? “One of my mantras—and I think everybody should take this back to their company—is to productize your customized solutions,” Cintorino said. “It’s not intuitive to think of it that way but custom becomes hard to communicate through sales to the client and then by the time it comes back to your delivery teams it’s what are we actually delivering. It’s creating products out of your event brands. A lot of them will be digital products. You can bring that to the customer in marketing services.”
Keenan agreed about the importance of packaging, suggesting publishers try a weekly series of webcast-type events. “What I just talked about wasn’t a webcast; it was a content series—just how you would do [a series] in print,” he said. “What can we learn from print? We can learn about packaging. Webcasts are okay if you’re doing one-offs. But if you’re doing something that’s packaged together where you’re aligning it around a singular topic, you can create some interesting white space where you can generate revenue, you can generate content interest and you can generate really qualified leads on a topic… We have to do more with our webcasts. We can’t just put an audio presentation out any more. It’s just not going to be good enough [in 2021].”
The panel was confident that if any industry can find new revenue sources, it’s media companies and publishers. “Content is still king so all B2B operators can do really well because of our expertise with content and talking to the audience,” Bardo said. “…It’s [also] important to keep finding partners that can elevate your game and create more experience on your site. Anytime someone is self-selecting or engaging, that’s someone easier to take down the funnel and have [important] conversations with.