Most of the time, you’ll see new sponsored series pop up on our website without a lot of fanfare. Maybe we’ll put an intro on the first piece explaining what we endeavor for the series to cover, but that’s about it. That’s why I want to tell you the story of two new series, in hopes that you’ll appreciate seeing them in the spotlights as much as I do.
Normally the way a sponsored series works with us is that an advertiser pays to have a set of their ads appear in the series, and sometimes in an email that may get sent out informing readers a new piece has been published. Usually their goal is to get their business name in front of as many potential customers as possible. Ours is to keep the site going, and to draw in enough to pay for the time of whoever writes the articles for us.
Avion Law contacted us recently because they wanted to do something a little different. They wanted to sponsor a Charity Spotlight series that would profile the great work of a different racing non-profit each week. While their name appears in the title of each post, they also donated the advertising space to the charity highlighted. Non-profits often have little to no budget for buying ad space (and yes, we do provide a non-profit discount), so this is great exposure for them. Our first subject, California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation, was thrilled with the results, which you can see here.
The other new series I’m really excited about is The Horse Comes 1/ST, which is presented by 1/ST Racing. This one will be a monthly feature that highlights a different accredited aftercare organization – their work, what makes them tick, how their approach may differ a little from others. Again, great exposure for the hard-working folks out on the front lines. 1/ST also asked us if they can use space at the end of each profile to plug an accredited aftercare organization in need of donations, and if we’d be willing to match donations up to $100. We thought it was a great idea. You can find the first piece in the series here and support their chosen organization this month — Second Stride — here.
What I like about both of these is not just that they’re both filled with feel-good stories; it’s that they’re both examples of sponsors helping support the kind of coverage they want to read. You’ve heard the phrase ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’? These companies are leading the change they want to see in racing media by helping us tell these stories.
I’ve written before about a familiar critique of our publication – that we’re too negative. While I take issue with the categorization of news this way for a lot of reasons, one of them is that it’s simply untrue. We’ve had a couple of similar series through the years – Good News Friday and the OTTB Showcase come to mind. (Click their names to read those archives.) Those were great series, but eventually our sponsorship contracts for them ended, and they weren’t getting reads/clicks/shares the way they had at the beginning. Their trailing off wasn’t an intentional editorial shift, it was just something that had run its course at the time.
After the above-linked editorial came out, we heard from 1/ST to say they wanted to sponsor the reappearance of a regular aftercare feature.
I’m really glad to see that these kinds of feel-good features matter to advertisers, and I’m really hoping readers will take this opportunity to read and share these new pieces among their friends.