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What is branded content?

bigstock-Success-In-Work-Winning-Onlin-413799554At its core, branded content is a strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating valuable, relevant, and engaging content that is aligned with a brand's identity, purpose and values.

Unlike traditional advertising, which often interrupts the consumer's experience, branded content seeks to enhance it. It seamlessly integrates with the consumer's interests and provides them with something they find valuable, whether it's entertainment, information, or inspiration.

The power of storytelling

One of the cornerstones of effective branded content is storytelling. A compelling narrative can captivate your audience and create a lasting impression. It allows you to connect with your target audience on a deeper level, building brand loyalty and trust.

Storytelling in branded content is not just about pushing your product or service; it's about crafting narratives that resonate with your audience's aspirations, challenges, and desires.

The versatility of branded content

Branded content can take various forms, catering to diverse audiences and platforms:

  • Blogs and articles: Well-written, informative articles that offer solutions to common problems or address industry-related topics can establish your brand as an authority in your niche.
  • Videos: Engaging video content can provide tutorials, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or compelling stories that showcase your brand's personality.
  • Infographics: Visual content can simplify complex information and make it more shareable on social media platforms.
  • Podcasts: Audio content allows you to reach an audience on the go, discussing relevant topics and featuring expert insights.
  • Social media content: Strategically planned social media posts, contests, and interactive content can generate buzz and engage your audience.

Distributing branded content

When it comes to ensuring engagement with your branded content, The PESO marketing model is worth bearing in mind – it stands for paid, earned, shared, and owned media. Essentially, most brands can’t rely on solely on owned channels and will need to earn coverage through PR activity or viral social content.

The alternative is to put paid spend behind a campaign, either on social media (Meta, TikTok, Snapchat, X), or via sponsored content (native advertising) in the publisher environment.

Is branded content native advertising?

There can be some confusion between the terms branded content, native advertising and sponsored content.

Native advertising, in essence, is a form of paid media where advertisements are designed to mimic the look and feel of the platform they appear on. These ads blend seamlessly with the content surrounding them, making them appear less intrusive and more engaging. This could be a social post on a network like Facebook or Instagram, or a sponsored headline unit on a publisher site.

Native advertising is often used to distribute branded content as it feels more in line with the content (headlines, images) than traditional display ads. “Sponsored content” is just a more consumer-friendly way of describing branded content in the paid media environment.

Building trust and credibility

One of the primary goals of branded content is to build trust and credibility with your audience. When consumers perceive your content as valuable and reliable, they are more likely to trust your brand. With this in mind, it’s essential when running paid campaigns that you properly disclose they are just that.

Measuring the success of branded content

An essential aspect of any marketing strategy is measuring its effectiveness. With branded content, you can track success through various metrics:

  • Engagement: Monitor the likes, comments, shares, and click-through rates on your content to gauge audience engagement.
  • Traffic: Analyse website traffic to see if your branded content is driving more visitors to your site.
  • Conversion Rates: Assess whether your content is leading to desired actions, such as sign-ups, purchases, or inquiries.
  • Social Media Metrics: Track the growth of your social media following and engagement metrics.
  • SEO Rankings: Monitor how your organic content is performing in search engine rankings for targeted keywords.

Building your brand online

Remember, success in branded content is an ongoing journey that requires dedication, creativity, and a deep understanding of your target audience. As you embark on this path, keep the user experience at the forefront of your strategy, and you'll be well on your way to building your brand online.