This post is tip # 5 in the Earned Media series

What exactly is a content partnership?

According to Wikipedia, it’s a new term describing a joint venture between brands, broadcasters, publishers and producers to create original audio visual programming across any media platform.

It’s not such a new idea – think of Soap Operas and sponsored radio shows. Since so many media websites today are multimedia platforms, and bloggers with a large reach abound, content partnerships make perfect sense for PR. So how do you find a good partner who will be interested in your content?

  1. Figure out who you are and what you stand for
  2. Decide on the type of content you plan to produce and share
  3. Now look for partners who have readers/viewers/visitors that would be interested in that content
  4. Find partners that share your audience
  5. Get to know them and make sure your core beliefs are a fit

Here’s one example: A company that manufactures vitamins and supplements had long been producing content in the form of a print magazine available in stores that sold their products and by mail to subscribers and customers who bought their products online. The decided to make the content available online and actively seek out content partners. Since the majority of their customers are seniors, it made sense to look for online publishers with a similar demographic that might be interested in health content.

Several senior websites showed interest – there are sites don’t have a large editorial staff and would love to have a resource for good content. They settled on two that best suited their needs and they became the provider of health content for those sites. All content was clearly identified as being sponsored by the brand.

Next they went after influential senior and elder bloggers. Rather than a partnership, where every piece of content will automatically be published, working with bloggers can be a little more demanding. You have to produce interesting content with something of value for the blogger and her readers. But if you consistently produce the goods, you can develop a long term relationship and become a trusted resource for content. That increases your earned media mentions from bloggers.

If you don’t have the capability to produce the content in-house, you’ll have to find an outside partner write the articles, make the podcasts and/or videos. So in many branded content partnerships, the brand ends up between the publisher and the content producer. The balancing act is to keep producing great content that delivers value to the readers and still provides the brand awareness and messaging that you want.

A good content partnership can go a long way towards improving your earned media mentions.