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5 Keys to Branded Content

Focus on engaging your audience. Posted on Monday, February 5 in Making Your Marketing Work.

When branded content is done well, it evokes an emotional experience: stellar branded content entertains, informs or inspires. A secondary effect is positive brand association for both the sponsor/author brand and the host platform/publisher.  So, how do you ensure branded content success? Let’s break it down a little, by looking at the 5 keys to successful branded content.

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1. Understand the Difference Between Advertising and Content

Advertising comes in every format imaginable, and one commonality is typically a very clear brand message or promotional message. Most ads include a clear call to action and are pretty obviously an ad.

Content on the other hand – whether content marketing or branded content – is different. Content does not have a brand or promotional message at its core. Instead, content is meant to inform, entertain or inspire. Content is often useful or helpful to the person consuming it, but sometimes it’s just plain entertaining. When creating branded content, keep in mind that the content’s core message should not be interchangeable with an ad.

2. Know Your Audience

Your customers and prospects are also content consumers. And they each have a unique point of view. Successful advertising and marketing campaigns speak to people from their point of view.

Branded content goes further by engaging the audience outside of your core brand message. It may support the message, but the point is to provide something useful and interesting to the audience. So, get to know who your audience is, and what type of content they want.

3. Know Your Format Options

Branded content comes in many formats from more traditional articles (digital or print), to videos, quizzes, infographics, interactives and more. The key is to determine which formats are best suited to a) present the content effectively, and b) reach and engaged the audience. Some branded content platforms may not support or offer all formats.

4. Know Your Publishing Platform

There are 3 things to consider when evaluating which publishing platform to use for branded content:

  1. Audience: Is the audience a good match for your business? If not, it doesn’t matter if they provide good reach. You want both.
  2. Reputation: Is the publisher/platform reputable? Branded content takes on the reputation of the site(s) where it appears.
  3. Format & Add-Ons: While branded content is not the same as an ad, that doesn’t mean traditional digital ad formats can’t be used in combination. Boost awareness of branded content by adding on digital display banner ads linking to branded content pieces. Incorporate boosted social media posts that do the same. Both should be add-on options with the publishers/platform you choose.

5. Know How to Optimize

As with other forms of digital marketing, it’s always a good idea to test different variables so you can optimize performance over time. These variables could include: audience targeting, headlines, format, topics, ancillary creative ads, publication day and publication time.

Above all else, for successful branded content to break through the clutter and achiever higher engagement and brand lift, you will want to ensure you have a clear strategy focused on engaging the intended audience. Data insights can help you get there.

We Can Help

We combine the resources and reach of a national network, including branded content and video production services, with the heart and soul of a local partner, including a local optimization team. Contact us today to get the conversation started. 

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