How publishers can stop leaving money on the table with content licensing

by Brian Kolb, COO  Wright’s Media

As a publisher, your brand has real monetary value. Sponsors are prepared to pay for it, and without content licensing your publication, and your bottom line, may be missing out.

Consider Business Travel News, a business-to-business publisher covering corporate and managed travel.  BTN has worked with us for over 2 years on content licensing, and in that time their royalties have increased year-over-year, by upwards of 35 percent.

By diversifying licensing revenue and creating programs that extend BTN’s brand equity, content licensing revenue began to flow. Reprints, eprints and promotional items were part of the mix, however, licensing the BTN logo and award logos generated the bulk of that revenue. The conduit for successful content licensing is value.

I recently attended the Digiday Publishing Summit – one of my favorite annual media events. The thought leadership, valuable sessions, networking opportunities, and frank conversations make it one of the best. But those conversations never fail to surprise me. I frequently find myself picking my jaw up off the floor when I talk to media executives who lead brands that enjoy  loyalty and value built over decades of hard work, who  don’t even realize they are leaving money on the table.

Advertising, subscriptions and events likely make up the bulk of their bottom line and drive their revenue growth. To be successful in these three primary areas, publishers must cultivate and maintain a valuable brand. It’s critical that marketers see value in your brand and audience if they are to invest ad dollars in your publication. The same is true of subscribers – the content must be relevant and trusted for loyal readers to become paid subscribers. Similarly, events are successful when a brand is successful. Bringing together thought leaders, attendees and sponsors requires that same value.

Generating revenue from this “big three” model is the sweet spot for digital publishers hoping to succeed. Because you have spent years building a valuable brand, content licensing has a place in your revenue model. Licensing takes advantage of all the things that a successful  publication is already doing to build loyalty. Revenue from licensing revenue is essentially found money that is tied directly to your bottom line.

Currently, many publishers are giving away valuable assets like their logo, awards, and reviews away for free. The problem here is that the brands that leverage your content are doing so to garner trust, and to align their products and services with your valuable brand in order to generate revenue.

As a publisher, what do you get from that? Absolutely nothing.

Sponsors routinely budget for both licensing of earned media. Without a content licensing strategy and your publication is likely to miss out.

By forming a partnership with a leading content licensing agency publishers can take advantage of this opportunity to open a new stream of revenue with little or no investment. Don’t let your publication miss out.