Why You Need Branded Content & How to Get It Right
Content marketing has truly reached its peak, and brands can no longer attract and engage customers with only content in their campaigns. Customers are looking for more in terms of value addition, which has given rise to branded content in marketing. However, branded content is not as new as you might think. It has been around since the late 1940s, but has become more mainstream recently. If your business hasn’t jumped on the branded content bandwagon yet, it is high time to do so.
Read on to know more about branded content and incorporating it into your business.
What Is Branded Content?
Before we move on to how and when to use branded content, it is critical to understand what it means. Many people confuse branded content with adding logos and images of their brand to showcase their content. However, branded content goes far beyond that. Branded content is about sharing your company’s value and vision with your customers through your content.
Branded content is not simply about generating sales or revenue, but eliciting an emotional response from your customers so that they feel connected to your brand.
How Is Branded Content Different From Content Marketing?
Content marketing is using your content to achieve your marketing goals. It is created with the audience as the focus in mind. However, branded content is more about showcasing what your brand stands for to attract people who share similar ethics and values.
Branded content usually generates relatively quick and effective actions from the customer, whereas content marketing produces more gradual results.
Why Does Your Business Need Branded Content?
If your content marketing strategies are doing well, you may wonder why you even need branded content. There are several advantages to introducing branded content to your marketing roster. The major ones include:
1. It Helps Build an Emotional Connection
Humans are emotional beings who listen to their emotions more than anything else. By creating branded content that speaks to people’s emotions, you can build a solid and lasting connection with people and turn them into loyal customers. It is seen that users who feel an emotional connection to a brand spend 2x more on that brand than those who don’t. Therefore, it can significantly impact your business if you build that emotional connection with your audience.
2. It Acts as a Reminder
In this age where competition is remarkably stiff, leaving your mark is one of the most challenging things to do. Market monopoly is not something brands achieve easily, so you have to rely on standing out from the crowd to be memorable to your audience. Branded content has 59% more recall than other digital ads. It leaves an imprint on people’s minds that makes you unforgettable long after a specific ad campaign is over.
3. It Helps Improve Your Branding
Today, almost everything is digital and competition is cut-throat. Hence, the customer must be aware enough of your brand so that they pick you over your competitors in a flash. Branded content helps you frame your brand identity and makes your business recognizable to people quickly. Studies show that people support brands that take a stand for social causes.
4. It Creates Engagement and Loyalty
If you are tired of making posts after posts and running campaigns after campaigns with no real attention from people, it is time to switch to branded content. 27.5% of millennials block ads, and your audience often won’t even see your ad. However, branded content is created in such a way that it pushes the consumers to give a response. People are more likely to support a brand after consuming its branded content through purchases, social media promotions, and other forums.
5. It Can Go Viral
In this age of digitization, becoming ‘viral’ is one of the easiest ways to capture market and audience attention. Branded content can easily make your brand go viral on social media platforms and snowball your popularity in a short amount of time.
6. Promotes Traffic and Leads
Getting traffic and leads for your website from various sources is critical to achieving business goals. They help you generate sales and revenue for your business. Branded content, although not created to generate leads and traffic, can produce enough curiosity among people to visit your website and even convert to your customers.
How to Create Branded Content for Your Business?
There’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to creating branded content, as no two businesses are alike. It is all about connecting with your audience at an emotional level. However, there are some specific tips you can implement to create the perfect branded content. These are:
1. Create Meaningful Content
When talking about branded content, quality will always overrule quantity. You need to focus on creating content that touches the minds of your audience so they remember you for a long time. That can only happen when you incorporate emotions, values, and knowledge into the content, no matter the format. Taking a social stance over an issue is one of the most common ways brands try to create branded content.
Here are some must-haves to create meaningful branded content:
- A unique and original concept.
- An emotional facet that connects with the audience.
- A gripping story.
- A big NO to sales pitches.
- A focus on current social and cultural issues.
- A drive to engage the audience.
2. Choose Your Platforms Correctly
Your platform also plays a vital role in establishing your brand identity. Creating excellent content isn’t enough to reach your audience. You also need to find them at the right place to send your message. Be strategic about choosing your platform and ensure you have the right audience group on your chosen forum.
3. Have a Definitive Tone and Voice
When creating branded content, it is essential to set the tone of your content, as it will reflect your brand values. You need to follow a consistent style in all of your branded content, so be careful about what you want to depict and ensure that the message you’re conveying is clear.
4. Have a Deeper Understanding of Your Target Audience
For your branded content strategies to work, you need a deeper understanding of your target audience’s psyche. Consider their opinions on various social and intellectual issues and find out what would resonate with them the most to capture their attention.
5. Ensure the Content Has Visibility
Creating a single video or blog post on your website may not gather enough attention to achieve the desired results. You must build your branded content frequency across various platforms to ensure it receives ample visibility.
6. Diversify Your Content
Although your brand values and ideologies remain the same, giving your audience similar content will reduce its impact. You must find diversified and unique ways to send your message to your audience. Think out of the box and create innovative ideas for your content.
7. Look Out for Your Competitors
Your competitors play a vital role in the effectiveness of your branding strategies. You must ensure that your branded content is different and better than your competition’s. If all of your competitors are saying the same thing, you won’t be able to capture the attention of your audience. Studying your competitors’ branded content helps you determine what to do and what not to do.
8. Monitor and Measure Your Content
Like every other marketing strategy, having measurement mechanisms in place is also critical for branded content strategy. You need to determine the effectiveness of your branded content campaigns. For this, you can utilize various social media listening and other digital tools to monitor your progress.
How to Create Branded Content for Different Platforms?
Branded Content on Instagram
Instagram is the choice of platform for many brands to showcase branded content, and not without good reasons. It is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, with over 1 billion monthly users!
Branded content on Instagram is often created with the help of social media influencers. These influencers have many millions of followers who place a certain amount of trust in them.
By collaborating with these influencers, you can post videos of them using your products/services to capture the attention of their follower base. The influencer can tag your brand in their posts and share links to your products/website to promote your brand.
A great example of branded content on Instagram is the #meetanowner campaign run by the high-end automobile brand Subaru. For the campaign, Subaru found a few existing customers who had an influence on Instagram and asked them to post pictures with their Subaru vehicle and hashtags of the brand. The campaign was intended to show people that Subaru vehicles are designed for adventures and are reliable partners to take on your thrilling off-road travels. The fact that the people who owned the vehicle championed it made the claims much more reliable and realistic among adventure seekers.
Branded Content on Facebook
Right behind Instagram is another social media platform that rules the branded content forum. Facebook is one of the most influential social media platforms, with over 2.934 billion active users globally.
Creating branded content on Facebook is different from Instagram. Facebook requires you to get permission to become a sponsor or creator of branded content. The influencer who uses your content or products and tags your brand must also announce their partnership with the brand before they post your branded content.
We can see one of the best examples of using Facebook for creating branded content with Nike, one of the most popular sports brands in the world. If you check out the Nike Facebook page, you’ll see that there is a great balance of product launches, scientific research around their products, charitable events that they are a part of, and sports personalities who wear their brand as they cross milestones in their career. Their page shows they are reliable and way ahead of time than their competitors with the efforts they put into each product, all without even directly promoting any product through over-the-top sales pitches.
Branded content is one of the most prominent ways to leave a mark on your customers in today’s times. It shows the customer who you are and what you believe in, creating bonds far deeper than a high-quality product shoot or an engaging sales pitch could ever do.
You can get started with simple yet effective forms of branded content – such as videos and banner ads – before building up toward other forms of content gradually.
Ultimately, it is all about what you want your customers to believe about you.
Whether you are a small business, startup, or a multi-national corporation, branded content is effective for all.