AOL's content strategy seems to be paying off, as the company reports growth in display ad revenue for the last quarter.

AOL's first-quarter profits may be down, but the company is seeing gains in the revenue around its content. Marketers might take this as a sign that investing in high-quality newsroom content pays off.

The company's overall revenue declined 17 percent to $551.4 million in the quarter, but display ad revenue gained 4 percent, reaching $130.5 million. AOL executives note that this is the first time 2007 that the company has seen growth in display ad revenue, and it attributes this to its new content focus.

“I am proud of the work completed thus far and we remain focused on accelerating our momentum through continued execution of our strategy to become the premier digital content company,” said AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong.

As Brafton has reported, the new “AOL way” marks the company's transition out of the standard search market and into high-quality news content. Following AOL's purchase of The Huffington Post, it launched a full-time newsroom, employing journalists to write search-friendly content of the highest editorial caliber.

SEO-savvy marketers might want to follow AOL's lead. With Google's Panda update necessitating high-quality content, turning to professional writers can help brands keep their websites up to par and up in rankings. Plus, a number of B2B marketers are already turning to journalists to help with their content marketing.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.