There are still a lot of questions people have about branded content. It’s easy to confuse it with advertising, voice, and content marketing. However, when you can get a good grasp on what branded content is and utilize it to your advantage, it can be a very effective tool.
What is Branded Content?
Branded content is articles, videos, infographics, and other types of content designed to support or promote a product or service. Unlike advertising, it should serve as a tool to provide information or entertainment while also representing the overall brand.
To explain more in-depth, look at advertising as something that delivers the features and benefits of a product with story, while branded content starts with people first—in essence, focusing on the things that can help brands connect with their audience.
The good news is if you still don’t fully get it, that’s okay. Industry experts don’t always feel like they do either. Instead, they believe that branded content will never have a full consensus as to what it is. But the bottom line is, it’s more about the people (audience) than the product or service (features and benefits of). In your marketing plan, there is more than enough room for both advertising and branded content, and you can even weave the two together.
3 Strategies to Help You Create Branded Content
There are a few essential things to do to help you create branded content. Each is a step in designing your overall plan.
1. Get to know yourself (or your client) better
One of the places companies fail is not having a clear mission, voice, and vision. With branding, this is crucial. There are several aspects you’ll want to look at so you can define what the brand will look like. This will help you create effective brand content. Start by asking yourself (or your client) some questions:
- Why do you have a business? What is its purpose?
- Who is your business? Who are the primary players and their roles?
- How did you form your business? How did you shape what you became?
From there, you can determine your voice. What is the company like? Is its voice funny, passionate, authentic, or intelligent? How can you get that characteristic across? For example, if you’re passionate, what are you passionate about: changing the world, improving people’s lives, protecting the environment? Create some statements about your characteristics and why you chose them. Then list some do’s and don’ts on how to get them across to your audience. A statement may say something like, be a cheerleader, or don’t be flexible in your stance—instead, take a firm position and hold it. Do everything you can to find out who you are.
2. Get to know your audience
Since your audience is who you are creating a brand and brand content for, you need to know who they are. You are trying to connect with them. Connecting with people is simple once you understand them, so ask some questions:
- What are the buyer’s issues or pain points?
- What do they want? What are their goals?
- Where do the buyers hang out (online)?
- What types of content do the buyers like?
- How do they connect with you (or your client) or give feedback?
All of these answers can provide you more insight to creating branded content.
3. Explore your branded content options
Hopefully your audience has pointed you in the right direction of what types of content to explore. Maybe blogs are their preferred content, or social media posts. Whatever you discover, use it to research how others in the industry are doing it successfully. If you’re going with a blog or posts, what topics interest your audience? What are the customer’s experience with the product and services and how can you use those to create branded content?
Most importantly, you’ll want to understand how other companies in general use branded content. This is pretty easy with the extensive articles written about it. Use sources like Adweek to discover who they thought did branded content well and how they did it. Or you can simply Google “best branded content” to get inspired.
Branded content has a lot of potential. The more you adapt to today’s world of marketing, the better your chance of being successful. The key to doing anything well is to learn as much as you can about it and adapt it to create your own unique strategies.