Attracting advertisers to sensitive content

25 Jan Attracting advertisers to sensitive content

As long as advertising dollars are the lifeblood of most media companies, there will always be a need to focus on advertiser friendly content. This has become especially apparent in the digital space due to YouTube’s crackdown on content it doesn’t deem advertiser friendly. Obviously, this would be a concern on a platform built by user created content with more than 300 hours of video uploaded every minute. What was once a lawless landscape for creative upstarts is becoming a curated library ripe with revenue.

So how does this issue apply to traditional media, which is no stranger to the business of advertising? If ad friendly content rules the land, how can media companies ever tackle sensitive subjects?

What is and isn’t “advertiser friendly”?

To start, let’s break down what truly falls outside the realm of ad friendly content. The main offenders include hateful content, inappropriate language, sexualized content and violence. There are exceptions, such as when news media covers events tied to these subjects. But advertisers will generally stray away from content that utilizes these topics with no real purpose or context.

Then there are subjects that are typically less attractive to advertisers, without being entirely damaging. Without the right framing, advertisers will avoid sensitive subjects that they don’t want associated with their brand. Such topics could include domestic violence, drug abuse, depression, global warming and many other real issues that have a serious impact on lives around the world.

Finding the right advertiser

These subjects deserve to be explored. And finding the right way to show that to advertisers can be challenging. The natural starting point when selling ad space for sensitive content would be to go to companies that offer help with the issue being covered. Take, for example, a magazine focused on obesity in America. The first advertisers that a seller would go to are weight loss clinics. This is a great fit, and the seller would likely have an easy time booking the space.

But where does the seller go for the 5 remaining ads in the publication? It might become more challenging than usual to attract a local restaurant to advertise. Even if the reader isn’t suffering from weight issues, reading about it might spur them to start counting calories. It can help to guide the client in the creation of their ad. The advertiser can take a new approach by focusing on the health value of their dining options.

Focus on the positive impact of sensitive content

One of media’s greatest strengths is the ability to shine a light on taboo subjects within a community. Becoming an authoritative voice for sensitive subjects can lead to advertisers having confidence in the importance of your featured content. The biggest reason why advertisers shy away from controversial topics is because of the negative association the content might create with a reader. Turn this around by focusing on the powerful impact that sensitive content can have on the topic at hand.

A publication with an important message is appealing to advertisers who are also out to aid their community. Our Opioid Awareness special section is a great place for community-focused organizations like family support groups, planned parenthood or a local goodwill store.

Simply raising awareness of an issue such as the opioid epidemic can save lives and bolster your company’s reputation in the community. But this isn’t just something for sales reps to focus on. Your media company can even build whole campaigns around a community-focused run of content. Just publishing impactful content isn’t always enough to show your audience that you care. You can even give your community a lengthy heads-up on the content you will be bringing out. Seeing your active effort to tackle tough subjects, advertisers may even come to you, hungry to be a part of change.