U.S. News & World Report Puts Greater Focus on Branded Content with New Managing Editor of BrandFuse
Two weeks ago U.S. News & World Report announced that Jada Graves, former “Careers” product manager at U.S. News, will become the managing editor of the branded content division, BrandFuse. U.S. News launched BrandFuse in 2014, and publisher and chief advertising officer Kerry Dyer describes Graves’ appointment as a crucial step in the division’s evolution. “Bringing on Jada Graves is our next step in creating campaigns that reflect the integrity and spirit of the U.S. News mission -- to empower people to make more informed life decisions,” says Dyer.
Publishing Executive has documented the content marketing services boom and the significant opportunity publishers have to capitalize on these services. At Content Marketing World on September 11th, Publishing Executive will host a one-day event called the Publishing & Media Lab. The Lab will explain why publishers are uniquely situated to provide content marketing services to advertisers, the revenue opportunities for publishers, and how to execute content marketing services.
Following Dyer explains how U.S. News launched BrandFuse and why content marketing services will continue to be a growing focus for the publisher.
When did U.S. News launch BrandFuse and what was the motivation behind that launch?
U.S. News launched BrandFuse in Q1 2014 as a way to meet the growing market demand for branded content. It was important for us to have an advertising product that would allow us to partner with high quality advertisers through custom native programs while also maintaining our editorial integrity as an 80+ year old legacy brand.
What type of technology and talent investment was required to launch BrandFuse?
For phase one we utilized our own technology platform to get the product into the marketplace. Moving into phase two we partnered with a native platform to power BrandFuse allowing us to become more flexible in our execution and targeting. Bringing on Jada Graves is our next step in creating campaigns that reflect the integrity and spirit of the U.S. News mission – to empower people to make more informed life decisions.
Could you give an example or two of the some of the branded content U.S. News' BrandFuse has create for clients?
To date, U.S. News has worked on branded content initiatives with partners equally committed to helping consumers make decisions using quality advice, analysis, and news, including Chevron, The National Guard, Children's Miracle Network, Boston Children's Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
We use a mixture of media to create custom experiences; from articles and listicles, to infographics, but also photo galleries, photo essays, and videos. We collaborate with advertisers to determine the best medium to use to convey their message to our audience.
How much has BrandFuse grown revenue-wise since its launch?
As of Q2 2015, BrandFuse revenue has increased over 200% year over year and that number is only continuing to grow.
How will BrandFuse evolve under Jada Graves' editorial leadership?
Jada has worked with and learned from the sharpest people in service journalism during her time with U.S. News. Having someone with that background transition to creating branded content is a guarantee to our advertisers that their messages will be translated with the same level of care brought to all of our editorial content. Advertisers will also have first-hand knowledge of the style of content that works best with our audience.
Why do you think branded content has become so attractive in recent years to advertisers?
Branded content offers advertisers an immersive experience to put their messaging into the same format as the content our audience is familiar with consuming. It also allows brands to innovate in ways they weren’t able to before. Publishers are offering brands another funnel for producing and promoting quality content. U.S. News has a proactive audience that’s ready to engage with and learn from what they read, and that’s why we partner with brands that have empowering stories to tell.
Do you have any advice for publishers who are considering launching their own branded content division?
The most important thing is to respect your audience, and understand that this type of advertising should be enriching, engaging, and aligned with what your brand proposition is.