4 Tips for Publishers to Start Growing Revenue by Selling Marketing Services

Becoming a master of diversification as a publisher has become absolutely necessary for future-proofing growth and outpacing the competition. In ‘5 Strategies Leading Media Companies Use To Drive Digital Revenue,’ we highlighted publishers’ aim to expand sales efforts and create a multitude of revenue streams. One of these revenue streams is quickly gaining in popularity: managed marketing services.

Working with some of the industry’s most forward-thinking media companies, we’ve witnessed the pivot to new strategies like this one first-hand. Represented by Star Metroland Media, Torstar is one such well-known media and data player. Reaching nearly 15 million people each week, they’re paving the way for audience strategy and the move to managed marketing services to become standard practice.

In addition to its host of traditional offerings, such as print and digital display, Torstar provides a full suite of marketing services and buying options driven by innovative audience solutions. Some of these services include:

  • Over 350+ Behavioral Segments & Custom Segments
  • Owned & Operated Inventory and Exchanges
  • Display, Social, Search, Video, Audio Units
  • Custom Content Marketing
  • Programmatic Buying, Selling & Reporting
  • Geo-Fencing & Location Based Marketing
  • Strategy, Planning & Full Funnel Execution

This publisher-as-agency model is gaining in popularity, with buy-side and sell-side working closely together to solve problems. Tools that allow publishers to manage a multitude of platforms and inventory packages in one interface are making it easier than ever to adopt this model, and with the need to diversify on everyone’s minds, it’s no wonder that Torstar and others are jumping on the opportunity.

Interested in Selling Marketing Services? Here are 4 Tips to Get Started:

1. Leverage Existing Relationships

Publishers have the unique advantage of established relationships with their advertisers, especially those who are local. The same local businesses advertising on publisher websites also need marketing services such as a website build, local and organic SEO, Google Ads and programmatic managed services. They see the publisher as someone in the digital industry they can trust. And as we well know, in this business trust can be difficult to obtain.

A local restaurant will have multiple outreach emails in their inbox per day from marketing agencies attempting to secure them as a client, but it’s easier for them to go with the media experts already helping them reach their audience in the local paper. The restaurant has already seen results, trusts the publisher they’re working with, and is more likely to choose to expand an existing relationship.

2. Leverage First-Party Data

Given the rapidly evolving digital industry and new technologies arising each day, it’s important to embrace change and think strategically. Leading publishers understand that they must offer more than display and video inventory on their websites, or even print and digital display multimedia sales packages.

Publishers are realizing that their access to proprietary data has become a valuable commodity that they can use to drive additional revenue. Increasingly, they’re investing in tools that allow them to tap into that data, either to further target their own editorial and marketing efforts or as something that can be packaged and sold to advertisers. In addition to new tools, leadership teams are also investing in highly skilled talent, such as analysts and data scientists.

Every publisher has their own way of collecting, organizing and monetizing data as a product. Of course, publishers have opportunities to leverage their legacy of high-quality content and audience relationships as long as they adapt to shifting digital trends.

3. Prepare to Sell Well

Marketing services have become a tactical approach that begins with developing an internal team well-versed in the totality of a publisher’s offerings. Selling these services succeeds by promoting industry expertise, leveraging audiences and a consultative approach that allows for customization.

As brands reconsider their media investments, these types of white-glove services are expanding the traditional publisher/client relationship, but not every advertiser will see these benefits right away. Media sales representatives must prepare to take a consultative sales approach by understanding how to communicate campaign ROI, create robust multimedia packages and engage in an active value exchange with advertisers.

4. Ask Yourself Key Questions

The first step in selling marketing services is preparing your team to do it well. Start with these thought-provoking questions:

  • Is your sales team fully trained on selling a suite of new and complex products, which may evolve again in 3–6 months?
  • As a sales manager or lead, are you informed enough to train your team?
  • Does your company invest in ongoing education and training?
  • Are your teams adaptable and up-to-speed on programmatic buying and selling, CTV/OTT and streaming audio?
  • Do you have dedicated resources to vet, test, and implement new products and initiatives?

Optimizing these critical components with today’s technology and the right insights will set businesses up for success.

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