“Content marketing” is a phrase I hear more and more these days, as brands increasingly create their videos, blog posts, and other forms of content to promote themselves, rather than just relying on traditional advertising. Now a startup called PostRelease has built what is, essentially, an ad network for content marketing, so that advertisers can ensure that their content gets distribution, while publishers can make some revenue.
CEO Justin Choi says that publishers just add a few lines of code to their site (or install the PostRelease plugin for WordPress and vBulletin) and create a template for sponsored posts, then the sponsored content starts running automatically. He argues that PostRelease should be more appealing to publishers than a service like Outbrain, because it isn’t linking people to content on other sites, so they aren’t necessarily driving readers elsewhere. Right now, for blogs, the sponsored posts always appear as the second post from the top, though Choi says the placements may become more customizable over time.
Advertisers, meanwhile, just need to upload their content and it starts running on relevant PostRelease partner sites, automatically formatted to match each publisher’s layout. The content is marked as sponsored, and both publishers and advertisers can access a dashboard showing how it’s performing (and, in the case of publishers, how much money they’re making).
As a reader, you might not be thrilled about seeing sponsored content mingling with the regular content on your favorite blogs and other sites. But hey, it’s something that happens already — PostRelease has just created technology that helps automate and optimize the process. Speaking of optimization, Choi says the company also adjusts the placements in real-time based on reader response, so if the readers of a given site don’t seem interested in a particular blog post or video, it should eventually disappear (perhaps replaced by something more relevant).
PostRelease only started its sales efforts in earnest in the second quarter of the year, but Choi says it has already signed up a number of partners, including community app Tapatalk, Source Interlink Media (whose brands include the Motor Trend Automotive Group), and Entrepreneur.com publisher Entrepreneur Media.
The company’s investors include former Playdom and Adify co-founder Rick Thompson, Ed Cluss of Kauna Ventures, and Adify co-founder Russ Fradin.