The Huffington Post UK is launching branded blogs at the start of next year, mirroring a service already offered by its US counterpart and Forbes.
The US version of Huffington Post already offers brands the chance to blog, providing a new form of advertising to clients like BMW.
Forbes’ contributor platform is a repackaged result of the company’s acquisition of True/Slant. It allows handpicked bloggers, journalists and experts to have their own space on Forbes.com. Like Huffington Post, each writer’s content is edited, but not restricted, and the 700-plus members of the community are all allowed to update whenever they like.
At the time of acquisition, True/Slant had no source of revenue, so Forbes created AdVoice, which basically does the exact same thing – but for brands instead of individuals.
Forbes staff provide consulting services to help position AdVoice content. In the old days, those employees might have produced advertorial for marketers, which was usually ofairly obvious due to the tone and style of the writing. But with paid and unpaid bloggers as well as the self-published musings of staff writers circulating among magazine content, a good post from a marketer might have a chance for eyeballs.
True/Slant founder, now chief product officer at Forbes, Lewis DVorkin told AdWeek that, "Marketers need to reach the audience. This is where publishing is headed."
Now, SAP, Dell and Microsoft are all AdVoice users. Even though Forbes initially faced some criticism about the blurring of lines between editorial and advertising, its been a huge success for the company. It’s no wonder that Huffington Post is now following suit.
The New York Times’ Nate Silver analysed HuffPo’s content at the beginning of the year, and came to the conclusion that the average blog post was worth $13 to the company in ad revenue. Signing up a brand, giving them a platform, is more likely to be worth thousands. It makes total sense.
This week, the Huffington Post also announced that it would be creating a 'celebrity and culture' section, signing up Susan Boyle, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, and Carol Vorderman to write for the site.