Emily Bratcher is a contributing editor at Associations Now.
How Associated Builders and Contractors found a new revenue stream in a content strategy based on personalization and simplification.
A year ago, the Associated Builders and Contractors found a new revenue opportunity in a content strategy based on two principles: simplification and personalization.
First, the backstory: ABC’s Construction Executive publication lived on its own website, but content also appeared on three separate newsletter websites where articles were posted every other week and emailed in a newsletter format to subscribers interested in the topics of tech trends, risk management, and managing their businesses.
But what National Sales Manager Donald Berry realized was that the content silos were diluting the main brand. The newsletter sites featured more new content and, as a result, got more web traffic.
“Obviously, we wanted to get back to where everything was in one place,” Berry says.
To create a central content hub, ABC migrated more than 3,000 articles from the newsletter sites to ConstructionExec.com, organizing the content into seven categories: business; technology; workforce; safety and risk; legal and regulatory; markets; and equipment, fleet, and tools.
Those categories also became the basis for a weekly CE This Week newsletter, which subscribers can personalize based on their interests. In the move, ABC transferred subscribers to the categories that made sense based on their past reading habits. For example, subscribers to the previous risk management newsletter received the new safety and risk content in CE This Week, and subscribers to the tech trends newsletter received the new technology content.
The new structure gave Berry the opportunity to sell more ads and provide better value to sponsors.
“We sell up to eight ads in each weekly issue, plus up to three additional sponsored content ads,” he says. “By allowing marketers to advertise only in the content category that most closely aligns with their offerings—technology, for example—they reach a subscriber who is a more qualified prospect.”
The new advertising model is more work to manage, but the payoff has been significant: Year over year, ABC’s digital ad revenue has increased 46 percent.
Berry attributes some of that success to the robust reporting on ROI that Construction Executive has been able to provide its advertisers.
“Your advertisers want to know what they got for their money,” he says. “If you can’t report statistics to people, and they can’t track activity in a digital advertising environment, you’re not going to be competitive.”