Industry Insights

The power and value of exclusivity


As digital advertising spending increases, publications need to set themselves apart from the crowd. One great way to do so is to provide exclusive offerings to marketing partners that are effective and will enable them to set themselves apart from their competitors.

Exclusive Website Offerings
Digital publishers should think about offering exclusive marketing options on their websites. For example, creating an exclusive sponsorship for every section of your news site. Your real estate section could be sponsored by a local realtor or mortgage consultant. Your police and fire section could be sponsored by an insurance agent or a criminal defense attorney. The sponsorship could include their logo or ad in the section and all articles, with a clickthrough back to their website. Not only is this a great branding opportunity for them, but it will also enable them to be the dominant player in their field on your site.

Consider having a dedicated video ad spot on your website “above the fold” and selling that exclusive spot to a business that has a professionally produced commercial. If they have such a commercial, they have spent a lot of money developing it, and you can provide the audience to watch it. As an exclusive spot at the top of your site, everyone who visits your website will see the video.

Exclusive Newsletter Offerings
Consider offering exclusive sponsorship and advertising in your newsletter(s). Enable a marketing partner to be front and center in your readers’ inboxes every morning and fence out their competitors. And it’s trackable so that you can demonstrate performance for your marketing partner.

Exclusive Email Offerings
Beyond your newsletters, think about offering exclusive promotional emails for advertisers. It’s a great way to get in front of your audience and not be in a coupon envelope with 30 other companies. And it’s trackable - you will be able to tell the advertiser how many people opened the email, how many people clicked on it and even where they clicked! That’s accountability and transparency that few other marketing vehicles can match. Of course, you should limit them so that your readers open and click on them and do not unsubscribe.   

Other Exclusive Opportunities
Think about other exclusive opportunities you can offer. One suggestion is to hold a monthly roundtable with your reporters on Zoom that you can invite your audience to attend and offer a marketing partner an exclusive sponsorship.

Also, put together a “best of” series and offer an exclusive sponsorship of the series.

With COVID restrictions loosening, consider holding live in-person events for which you can offer exclusive sponsorships and speaking opportunities.

Lack of creativity is your only barrier to success when it comes to developing exclusive opportunities that are effective and provide real value for your marketing partners. As you think about the digital space and the clamor for ad dollars, think about how you can set yourself apart and break out from the crowd to capture the hearts and minds of potential marketing partners with exclusive opportunities to market with you.

Michael Shapiro is the founder and CEO of, a network of 80+ franchised online local news sites in New Jersey, New York and Florida. These sites often represent the only daily news source in their respective communities.


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