The content link revenue has started adding up, says Lerner. Recently Breaking Media added two other sales partners, Newsmax and Content.ad. "For the past two months we've been experimenting and fine-tuning this, because it's become worth doing." The comments sections of its sites are highly popular, so sponsored links are positioned right above them, the click equivalent of retailers placing candy by the front counter.
In addition to the headline link format, Above the Law now has a section of heads with thumbnail photos. So far they are slightly outperforming the non-graphic format. Lerner said the frequent bikini-clad images and occasional puppy photo did not seem to be a concern. "If it's successful from a click-rate, then it's working for the audience."
Text Messaging and Coupons
If your market has a need for fast-changing information, there is a humble technology you may be able to tap for not-so-humble profits: text messaging. Farmers, for example, have a crucial interest in the commodity price swings occurring each day. With prices rising and falling based on the Chicago Board of Trade, the difference between selling a crop at 10 a.m. versus 3 p.m. can have a significant impact on profits.
Farm Journal Media (FJM) has 75,000 subscribers who receive reports on commodity pricing from one to nine times each day delivered via SMS texts to their mobile phones. Mitch Rouda, president of FJM's eMedia division, gives three reasons this content is perfect for phone delivery: "Commodity prices change frequently, farmers care about that data and it's short."
Called Commodity Update, the service is priced at $10 per month. (Doing the math should have you rushing to figure out an equivalent need in your market.) "The vast majority are sponsored subscriptions," says Rouda. FJM sells advertisers on providing this service for, say, 1,000 of their best customers. Each text starts with "Sponsored by Monsanto," for example. Also, farmers must specifically opt-in as texting rules are more stringent than email regulations.
Andy Kowl is a journalist and entrepreneurial publisher with more than 30 years developing, marketing and growing publishing companies. He is senior vice president of publishing strategy for ePublishing Inc., the leading enterprise publishing system (EPS) provider which manages content, audience data, workflow, newsletters and e-commerce for hundreds B2B online publications. He helps publishers increase reader engagement and response by integrating behavioral data with contextual content, and shows them direct ways to monetize the results. Andy writes the B2B Beat blog for Publishing Executive magazine. His background in B2B includes publishing, editing and/or owning magazines and information products covering specialty retail, horse breeding, real estate, credit unions, Wall Street compliance and wireless technology.