If so, the brand could sponsor that tranche of content or buy 100% share of voice with more traditional interstitial or IAB ads. The Odyssey just finished building that capability, which advertisers can buy starting in October.
The publisher is also wielding the strength of its publishing platform, Muse, to enlist dozens or even hundreds of writers to create content on behalf of brands.
The Muse content management system ensures that the 4,000 writers representing the 360 communities on The Odyssey submit quality content. Muse automatically filters for quality, measuring, for example, SEO and checking for profanity and spelling, , and gives suggestions to writers to ensure they meet The Odyssey’s standards.
The Odyssey relies on its writers, not paid amplification, to distribute both editorial and branded content via social media, which accounts for 87% of its traffic. It prides itself on purely organic distribution.
“A lot of these premium publishers have to put 15 to 20% of their budgets into Facebook to get views,” Burns said. “Because we have the pulse of what’s going on in communities and understand what resonates with them, we’re able to have them distributed by humans,” namely The Odyssey’s community.
The Odyssey’s sponsored content model automates some of the burden of content creation and distribution by relying on its writer network and Muse. Eventually, Nelson hopes its strategy of native and programmatic may eventually merge into one programmatic model.
“When you talk about native content, the article itself is an ad unit. The question is how you can standardize and monetize that programmatically?” Nelson asked, and that’s a problem The Odyssey is keen on solving.