What is Branded Content? And why do you need it?
If you’ve read anything about marketing trends for 2014, you’ve probably read that social media – which has been a valuable marketing tool for the past several years – will likely lose its status as the leading avenue for content marketing. You may have also read our recent blog, The days of easy SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing are over. What this means is that business-owners need to find new ways of successfully engaging their customers.
What, exactly, is Branded Content?
Simply put, branded content is content that is designed to build brand awareness and affinity, not simply to sell a product or service. Typically, branded content seeks to educate or entertain, while avoiding the “direct sell” that is the hallmark of many other marketing avenues. You want to position your company as a trusted source for information.
Content is still King
It’s still important to create and/or curate content that is compelling and valuable to your customers. But simple blogs and social media updates are no longer cutting it. So much “content” is created each day, that most of it gets lost in a sea of noise. And regardless of how interesting and compelling your content is, you likely need to step up your game.
Creating Branded Content
What will grab your user’s attention?
The whole purpose of branded content is to be useful and/or fun for the intended user. A good example of this is Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” series. These videos have become hugely popular, and introduced me to a brand I had not heard of before. Has the popularity of “Will it Blend?” translated into increased sales for Blendtec? According to a case study, Blendtec’s retail sales increased 700% as a result of the campaign.
How will you disseminate the content?
I mentioned the “Will it Blend?” video series as a good example of branded content. Obviously, this was an idea well-suited to YouTube. But it’s important to be open to a medium that’s compatible with your brand. In other words, don’t automatically focus on a video series or an app – brainstorm and see what you come up with organically.
What kind of options do I have?
Blogs, YouTube channels, and mobile apps are the primary content branding tools. But the possibilities are open – you may be able to find an avenue that nobody else has thought of. Whatever you do though, make sure you are consistent. If you decide on a mobile app, then neglect to keep it fresh, it’s not going to give you the results you want.
Make sure you are always serving your brand
Branded content must serve both your customer and your brand. Again, it’s not a direct selling tool, but you should always be focused on creating a positive image for your brand.