BuzzFeed employs a creative-services department of 40 to produce
content for advertisers and consult on how to write stories in the
BuzzFeed vein. Sponsored content is the site's only source of
The team, led by Melissa Rosenthal, consists of designers,
writers and animators, according to Jon Steinberg, BuzzFeed's
president-chief operating officer. "They pretty much do all of the
legwork on programs we create," he said. The team doesn't sell
directly to clients, but they advise on requests for proposals.
They're paid a salary and don't earn commissions on ad sales or
bonuses based on traffic or page views.
, a team of 16 full-time employees, develops content
for advertisers whose overall spending on the site is $50,000 or
more, according to James Del, the group's exec director.
Within the group of 16 are four writers who create sponsored
posts; Gawker also uses freelancers.
The remaining employees handle overall strategy, design and
production. The team isn't charged with selling ads, but they do
consult with salespeople.
Most employees in the group are paid a salary with a bonus
structure tied to the financial performance of the advertising
team, according to Mr. Del.
The Washington Post
Within The Washington Post's marketing and ad-operations department
is WP BrandConnect Studio, which helps advertisers create sponsored
content for the Post's website. "We are building out a team of
experts with modern journalism sensibilities," said Kevin Gentzel,
chief revenue officer at the Post. The team sits under him and
includes designers, producers, videographers, writers and
The team does not handle sales, Mr. Gentzel said. And they are
paid a salary.
Hearst has carved out a team of five people to produce sponsored
content to run across its websites.
The nascent effort introduced this year is led by Hearst Digital
President Troy Young. It produces content for digital-only buys and
for the online components of broader ad packages sold through
Hearst Integrated Marketing.
The team hails mostly from editorial backgrounds, Mr. Young
said. What they share is the ability to think conceptually.
They are paid a salary, he added, and do not receive a
commission or bonus tied to page views.