Aug 04, 2021

What Publishers Are Looking For in Brand Partners

Bethany Cowan

One of the most important things to understand about the relationship between publishers and brand partners is that they take significant effort up-front to "get it right."

Both parties need to think holistically about what a successful relationship actually means to them. They need to be able to think about and properly communicate what success looks like. Is a brand looking for a chance to get their products in front of editors? Do they want to be able to tell more people about their deals? Are they trying to reach new customers, or do they just want equal coverage to their competitors?

This process also requires a deeper understanding of what publishers are looking for in brand partners to begin with. All content performs differently and not every situation will be a "best fit" given your goals.

The Relationship Between Brand Partners and Publishers: An Overview

By far, one of the biggest things that publishers are looking for in brand partners involves solutions that create a mutually beneficial situation for all involved.

Publishers aren't going to give your brand coverage out of the kindness of their heart. Obviously, they want something in return - there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Therefore, you'll know you've found "the right fit" if your solution works equally well for both your business and the publisher moving forward.

As mentioned above, publishers are also looking for partners who understand that not all publishers are created in the same way. Content strategies and performance will obviously vary from one publisher to the next, therefore you shouldn't try to cram them into a "one size fits all" box that doesn't exist. You should be willing to adjust your techniques and larger strategies to play to the strengths that make that publisher unique.

It's also important to understand that over time, publishers tend to develop their own niches - meaning that they start to look for similar products and brands. This is a big part of the reason why it's so important to do research ahead of time. If a publisher isn't already covering similar brands, it's likely that the two of you might not be a good fit for one another. If they are, however, you'll probably get similar coverage and see similar performance results - which is a very exciting position to be in.

In the end, you also need to be willing to provide a publisher with the necessary resources for success as well. That means not only robust product feeds but also product level reporting, sharing promotional plans and markdown sheets well in advance, and more. You'd be shocked to find out how much inconsistency usually exists among advertisers - particularly in terms of which resources are available and which aren't. Publishers are looking for brand partners who will allow them to clearly communicate what they need and why. All of this helps them optimize the advertising program more effectively, which in and of itself can make all the difference in the world.