One of the first pieces of advice that you will come across when learning how to create content for a business is to avoid purely self-promotional pieces and focus instead on information that is useful and interesting to your audience. However, content also needs to lead to conversions, which means getting your brand message across, and the best way to achieve this is through branded content. This is not a contradiction: it is possible to create branded content without constantly advertising your company and its products or services.
1. Find Inspiration from Your Audience
Go beyond simply answering questions that your followers pose on your social media pages and find what they are consuming online overall. Use your knowledge of their passions and interests to create content that links aspects of this culture to your brand — and try to start a conversation flowing instead of simply selling yourself.
2. Tell Stories
People are addicted to stories, particularly ones that include characters to which they can relate. By telling stories that feature the personas of your target audience, you increase the likelihood that readers will become customers. If you are stuck for ideas, HubSpot has a number of examples of how major corporations have used stories for their branded content.
3. Be Unique
Everything you create for your content marketing strategy should be unique, but this is extra important for branded content. The style and context of your posts should mean that it would be impossible for any other company to use them; for instance, your content may reference your core values or relate directly to your niche market.
4. Use the Right Tone
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when creating branded content is to write posts as if they were sales pitch. Instead, use a conversational tone of voice and directly address your readers — never write from the point of view of a corporation pushing a sale on customer. Aim to pique your readers’ interest in a topic rather than force information upon them.
5. Learn from Your Successes and Failures
Even the most experienced marketers struggle to know how successful branded content will be before testing it with consumers. Carefully monitor pieces for engagement to create more in a style that your audience likes and avoid wasting your time with content that will probably fall flat.
Oftentimes, emphasizing the opinions and personality of your company is sufficient for creating branded content. By providing your readers plenty of posts filled with information that they want or need, you set yourself up as a source of trust. Later, you can begin to include more heavily-branded pieces that directly market your products or services but will still receive plenty of engagement.