You're probably familiar with several methods of audience monetization, and you've probably read (or written) special reports. However, did you know you can use a special report as a terrific tool for audience engagement, development and monetization? Consider the special report as an adjunct to online CPM ads in which you can showcase a product made by your advertiser, such as consumer electronics. Your report could be a "Holiday Electronics Gift Guide," or perhaps a "Guide to the Electronics You Really Need for Your Start-Up Business." Your advertiser gets exclusive sponsorship of your report, and your audience gets a product that helps them solve a specific problem. It's a terrific way to package content that's more profitable to you, more valuable to your audience, and more valuable to your advertiser (meaning more ad dollars for you).
What Exactly Is a Special Report?
Your reader is looking for top quality information that helps him or her (or his or her business), and it should be "special" in that it provides significant value for your reader by helping her solve a specific problem. A special report is going to be significantly longer than a typical blog post or article on your website, and it is often provided in the form of a downloadable PDF. Yes, the special report requires extra effort, but it also brings significant payoff for your readers, your advertiser, and you.
How Your Audience Benefits from Your Special Report
Your audience has massive, overwhelming amounts of information at their fingertips, but it's not always easy to separate out the valuable information from the chaff. Your special report should do that for your audience by helping them solve a specific problem. Your report should state the problem and state exactly what that problem costs the reader (time or money, generally). The report should state a general solution that sets you up to lay out a specific solution. It should conclude with a call to action, which may be shopping with a special discount code or subscribing to a publication. Ideally, your special report strengthens the relationship between you and your reader, letting him know that you understand his problem and you have a way to solve it. Deliver on that, and his loyalty increases significantly.
How Your Advertiser Benefits from Your Special Report
Your advertiser benefits tremendously from your special report too. The advertisements that are carefully curated and folded into the report are being put in front of the eyes of people who already have an interest in the products or services advertised. With exclusive sponsorship, your advertiser is not competing with other similar companies during the time it takes your reader to read the report. You could also include a print version of the special report in your trade publication in addition to the electronic version on your website, extending the advertiser's reach even more.
How You Benefit from Your Special Report
With an exclusive sponsorship, you're going to get a bigger chunk of advertising dollars than you would with your usual CPM ads. If you make your special report easy to share and promote it on your social media pages, you can reach beyond your usual readership. Special reports are high-value content that readers genuinely appreciate, and when you wow them with this kind of great content, they will trust you more, are more likely to bookmark your page, and are generally "warmer" as leads. Creating a killer special report is a bigger undertaking than creating your usual content, but the benefits to all parties concerned make it a worthwhile effort and something you should definitely consider.
In many industries, the special report is an underutilized type of content that can benefit companies tremendously. It's a proven thoroughbred to keep in your audience monetization stable, and makes a great adjunct to traditional CPM advertising, product sales, and affiliate sales. Special reports require you to plan ahead, and to convince an advertiser of the value of sponsoring such a report, but the effort pays off. Plus, after the first successful special report, you'll have an easier time finding sponsors for future ones.