How Content Marketers Can Benefit From Partnerships Live

Content distribution will see the biggest increase in share of content marketing budget over the next 12 months, according to a report from the Online Publishers Association. Content partnerships deliver significant audience engagement, reinforce brand values on average by 15 percent and educate consumers in a trusted environment, according to research from the Association of Online Publishers.

What do content partnerships mean to companies? Businesses with limited content creation resources can boost their exposure and engagement with partnerships. The key is finding one that aligns with your business goals.

On July 30, Rory Strunk, Managing Director of Global Content Partners; Roger Wu, co-founder of CooperatizeMeghann Farnsworth, Director of Distribution and Engagement at the Center for Investigative Reporting; Felicia Alexander, Senior Director, Business Development of Content Solutions at Demand Media; and Hayes Ferguson, Chief Content Officer at; discussed successful content partnerships and how companies can benefit from them.  

As brands look to diversify their marketing approaches, they’re tapping into other content sources beyond their own companies. The panel defined what content partnerships can mean for businesses.

Partnerships = Relationship + Distribution

"For us, content partnerships are when two or more organizations collaborate on a story together, creating different pieces of content (radio, video, text, etc) that reach and engage different audiences,” said Meghann Farnsworth

"Content partnerships, in my opinion, is a very broad term, for me and for our company Cooperatize, it really means utilizing another person's audience to get your message across,” said Roger Wu

"For Demand Media, content partnerships are all about building long-term relationships with our brand partners, immersing ourselves into the brand, developing brand/editorial guidelines, defining goals, and delivering ongoing value for the end consumer,” said Felicia Alexander.

Business goals should define the content partnership -- what is the company trying to accomplish? That in turn will help outline the platform and specifics about the partnership itself.

Brands Tap Into Publishers’ Skills

The impact of content sharing arrangements on multiple platforms can go beyond simply exposure and awareness.

“Long-term relationship with the audience -- going beyond selling and provide value. Establish the brand as the expert. Efficiently drive more eyeballs to your site,” said Felicia Alexander.

"We are starting to see a great example of content partnerships developing with brands producing the content and retailers using their social/digital channels to use the brand provided content to educate the retailers consumers,” said Rory Strunk.

"What we first thought was that as the world becomes more social everyone becomes a publisher, what we quickly realized is that there are still "advertisers" and “publishers" ... content partnerships let "advertisers" utilize the audience aggregating skills of "publishers" so they can have their story told,” said Roger Wu

What Type of Investment is Needed? 

Defining the business goals is just one part of the process. There are several elements to consider when looking into content distribution arrangements.

"Before getting to the tactics on a content partnership it is important to understand the business need that is driving the partnership. Are you looking to attract a new audience, increase time on site, drive new sales?” said Felicia Alexander. 

"Who you want to reach, what channels you want to activate, the message you want to impart and the creative/storytelling to make that message come alive,” said Rory Strunk.  

"The most important thing is authenticity. You want to be fully transparent that one or the other is involved in the partnership,” said Roger Wu. 

"No matter who you are, you should always ensure that your content partner has similar values to you. Make sure you talk beforehand about what the expectations are for the partnership, who is going to review content, and other things that could get lost as you move forward,” said Meghann Farnsworth.

"We're singularly focused on the category, so our newspapers don't have to think about it. By becoming members of our partnership network, newspapers are able to reach a broader audience, and provide their users with more information. They also can take advantage of services that would be hard to do on their own, e.g. monitoring guest books 24/7,” said Hayes Ferguson.

Content partnerships vary by platform and subject matter. That's why it helps to define the goals, which will help identify and narrow down the target audience to a specific niche. Not only that, outlining the goals and audience will help narrow down the types of content partnerships you wish to seek out.

What's Working With Content Partnerships

"A good example of our work on content partnerships is our America's Worst Charities investigation -- we worked with the Tampa Bay Times and CNN to tell this story -- we produced text, interactives, broadcast video, and more out of the collaboration that reached a wide audience we wouldn't have reached otherwise,” said Meghann Farnsworth.

NPDF had been named one of the nation's 50 worst charities by the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Tampa Bay Times. Read our release here: View the "America's Worst Charities" database at
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDanielArkansas Attorney Generalvia Facebook on July 15 at 3:45 PM

"'s partnership model is not typical -- we manage obituary solutions for our newspaper partners. They supply us with obituary content and we enhance it with features such as moderated guest books, grief support communities and original editorial stories,” said Hayes Ferguson.

"I think that as audiences have gotten more savvy, content partnerships have needed to become more creative. My favorite content partnership is between ABC and Geico and their Caveman TV show,” said Roger Wu.

Cavemen T.V. Series: Episode1 : Her Embarrassed of Caveman: Part 1
by thedisneylandkid via YouTube

"As a nonprofit news organization, content partnerships are really important for us to reach different audiences so that our stories have impact and reach the people who need to see it. For example, our project Subsidized Squalor looked at housing conditions in Richmond, California. In order to make sure the community saw the story and to ensure the story had impact, we partnered with the San Francisco Chronicle and KQED to tell this story. The result has powerful images, text in the Chronicle, video on KQED TV and powerful audio on radio,” said Meghann Farnsworth. 

Content partnerships are nothing new, but as companies see the increased brand value and other positive effects with their targeted audience, they will undoubtedly explore more ways to distribute and create content this way.

Want to learn more about measuring your content marketing efforts? Join our chat at 11 AM EDT on Aug. 6 on Content Marketing ROI with
Jeff Marcoux, CMO Lead, Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft and board member of the Internet Marketing Association; and Michele Linn, Content Development Director at the Content Marketing Institute.

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