The Huffington Post is known for its relentless pursuit of mastering search engine optimization techniques and creating content that people want to read. Now, The Huffington Post wants to give extend that expertise into a new revenue opportunity by creating content sites for brands. Ad Age reports that the new content sites will likely be white-labeled versions of the Huffington Post publishing platform, and brands could either manage the sites themselves once they’re up and running or The Huffington Post can manage the sites on an ongoing basis by helping with content creation, curation (including content from The Huffington Post), and distribution.
The reason for this new push is simple. Brands are realizing they need to be in the content publishing business. Content marketing is powerful, but few brands have the in-house talent and expertise to instantly be great publishers. The Huffington Post has been perfecting its publishing strategy for several years, and brands could surely benefit from that experience.
For media companies, giving brands an opportunity to own a space on a media website has been a marketing strategy for years, but bringing the media company to the brand is a new twist that has a really good chance of working — assuming the price is right. Rumor has it that The Huffington Post will urge participating brands to use parent company AOL’s Devil ads or other AOL proprietary ads on their white-labeled sites. However, the AOL advertising team claims this won’t be a requirement (at least not yet).
Participating brands will also get access to the same analytics and content performance reports that The Huffington Post uses to manage its own content strategy. Of course, it can be assumed that much of the behind-the-scenes performance analysis that The Huffington Post does is coveted intellectual property. It remains to be seen if the reports brands will get truly are the same ones that The Huffington Post uses. Even a confidentiality agreement could be risky for The Huffington Post in this area.
According to Ad Age, a major consumer goods advertiser is already in discussions with The Huffington Post (through Razorfish) to create a branded website with lifestyle content. We’ll have to wait to see the rest of this story play out. What do you think?
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