Branded content goes a long way in painting your company to be an asset rather than just a retailer. Today, we will share how to do branded content, the right way.

As a marketing professional, you already know that successful content marketing is more than just impeccable storytelling. Sure, the story itself plays an ample part in your content’s effectiveness, but there are many more pieces to the puzzle. Content marketing is essentially a relationship-building tool that empowers consumers to make informed decisions regarding your brand. It’s an authentic way for organizations to add value to their customers’ lives. It’s a powerful driver for generating engagement, providing entertainment, and inspiring brand affinity.

Brands now are looking for content integration opportunities more than ever before.

Branded content offers advertisers the opportunity to truly engage with consumers in a unique and authenticated way. So, how do you master this effective branding tool and inject it into your content strategy? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Branded Content?

To understand what branded content entails, let’s start with a basic definition of the term:

“Branded content is the practice of marketing via the creation of content that is funded or outright produced by an advertiser… (it is) designed to build awareness by associating (the brand) with content that shares its values” (Wikipedia).

As definitions go, it’s a good start; but it doesn’t really get to the heart of what sets branded content efforts apart from other forms of content marketing. You want to know how to do branded content the right way? 24 Communications are here to help!

How to Do Branded Content the Right Way

Master AP Style

Let’s start with the basics:  The Associated Press Stylebook is a universal reference guide for journalists everywhere. It covers the whole shebang – from grammatical rules, to abbreviations, to the formatting of numbers and word usage.

It brings consistency to a publication so that you and your coworkers don’t have to fight over the proper capitalization and spelling of international cuisine.

These days, many organizations create their own style guide, which is usually specific to products and services to keep marketing materials consistent. Whether you use AP style or a custom style guide, it can be a tremendous asset when creating branded content, especially when multiple people are involved.

Bottom line:  Keep your content clean, concise, and consistent by using AP Style. It’s the style most publications use and those editors are more likely to choose content that’s already been formatted correctly.

Practice “Immersed Story Telling”

No one is interested in cut-and-dry information– we as consumers thrive off of personality, individuality, and what sets one brand apart from another.

Branded content typically leverages multimedia formats like audio and video, which can enable deeper topical conversations and more emotionally resonant experiences than text and/or static images alone. Use a variety of formats in your content to keep your audience engaged and constantly coming back for more.

Be Memorable

Branded content campaigns excel when it comes to capturing its audience’s interests, but they also are well-suited to contributing to lower-funnel goals.

In fact, a recent study by Turner Ignite and Realeyes found that properly branded content makes viewers more likely to consider the featured brand when it comes time to make a purchase (compared to traditional 30-second ads).

Answer these questions:  Why are we valuable to our audience/customers?  How are we more valuable than the competition?  What pain points do we solve for our clients?  What type of content would make us trust us?

Dig Deep for Better Branded Content

One way to maintain honesty and integrity as a brand is by doing your research. Whether you get information directly from a person or by digging through sources and studies online, journalists must be able to back up the statement that they load into their pieces of content.

Reporters are also good at discovering when something needs further investigation or clarification in order to be considered credible. This analytical approach benefits your branded content marketing because you know that your posts will be as accurate as possible.

The journalist-minded writer will also be able to identify opportunities for presenting the most thought-provoking material to your audience.

Focus on Interests, Not Sales Goals

Due to the fact that branded content pieces are often focused on establishing thought leadership, raising awareness, and generating positive brand perceptions, they are more likely to be viewed as worthy of the audience’s trust and attention as compared to more product- and pitch-driven formats like digital ads.

When creating and publishing content, focus on mutual interests and values as opposed to the end-game “CTA” or funneling your content viewers into the conversion tube. Trust us, the conversions will come over time as you prove your brand to be reputable, honest, and (most importantly) reliable- time after time.

Go Viral

Good branded content goes viral.

In our social mediadriven world, the idea of sharing ideas and information via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram (and the list goes on) is very appealing to people. Within social networking, there seems to be an “I read/saw/found out about this before you did” culture, which drives people to then share information with their network.

This works in a brand’s favor. When people share content that has been created for advertisers, they are in some way acting as a brand ambassador and influencer, telling their network that what they are sharing is of value. Once you start creating effective, branded content, you can expect more social shares, and in return, more ROI.

Measure the Metrics

Data can provide incredible insights for much more powerful branded content campaigns, including:

  • Applying customer data and insights to identify the best audience targeting opportunities
  • Understanding a target audience’s content interests and media habits
  • Selecting the most appropriate formats based on the content and target audience
  • Campaign optimization with testing headlines, ad formats, etc.

Know what you want to impact. Branded content is most successful when the campaign has a clear goal driven by business needs. Understand there may be unexpected ways to influence your end goal. It’s all about discovering the right lever to influence a desired action.

Similarly, be sure to measure against the right metrics. Know what metrics make the most sense to effectively measure the impact of branded content campaigns. Increasing awareness and consideration may be proven through the video completion rate, for example, while traditional click-throughs may be either less important or not even applicable to a specific campaign or goal.

Let Us Help

Building brand awareness is everything. 24 Communications has a depth of experience creating advertising that reaches both consumer and business audiences. Let us work with you to develop and execute an effective campaign that furthers your competitive advantage and builds equity with your target market.

Whether you are an established corporation, a start-up business, a government agency, a nonprofit organization or a member-based association, your brand needs a cohesive identity and unique positioning within a strategic selection of media. Let us help you achieve brand awareness and branded content success.