Branded content marketing: what is it and should you be doing it?
Perhaps you have a brand that you would like to market in a slightly different manner. Branded content marketing is an interesting option for your brand to pursue, as it could result in improved prominence, popularity and success for your brand. Branded content marketing somewhat fades distinctions between entertainment and advertising. Alternatively referred to as branded entertainment, branded content marketing uses creatively generated content to emotionally resonate with consumers. The entertaining content, which is funded by the brand, can be in the form of videos, TV shows, films, games, music, websites and events. The promotion of the brand is subtle, rather than being blatantly sales-orientated or focussed on specific products.
Branded content is a great way to get people talking about your brand. It is capable of creating hype, sparking interest and even etching your brand into the subconsciousness of your audience. Effective branded content will ignite the audience’s interest in your brand.
In most circumstances, brands or companies will outsource a specialist to create branded content that will add lustre to the brand. Don’t cut corners and try to save a few bucks by attempting to formulate your own branded content. There have been many examples of people committing this folly and failing miserably. It can be embarrassing and it could actually be detrimental your business. Rather seek a prominent professional that can get the job done. It may cost you a little more, but you always have to look at the bigger picture.
Effective branded content needs to display certain qualities that are going to align your brand with the right things in order to attract the attention of your target market. You not only want your brand content to be relevant, but it should be engaging, measurable and shareable. The advertising message that is being conveyed should be blended to a point whereby the reader almost perceives it as a story unravelling. Effective storytelling translates into effective branded content. SEO, social, email and content marketing strategist Alex Wall highlighted the importance of tone in branded content in the article “3 Simple Lessons about Branded Content”, which appeared in Business 2 Community. He wrote, “To connect with your target audience and influencers, your content must clearly convey the essence of your brand, and it must demonstrate the fulfilling of a need.” Wall is spot on. The worse thing that you could possibly do is send out an ambiguous statement to your target audience, which will confuse them.
If your product is going to sell you are going to have to make believers of the masses. The content created has to be captivating and still encapsulate the essence of the brand. For this to be achieved, make sure you do your homework! Research, research and research. You have to bring your A-game and get your facts in order to ensure that you are not just firing off hollow comments. If you make a statement that can easily be disproved, you are going to embarrass the brand and yourself. When putting the content together, ask yourself a few questions pertaining to how you would perceive the content if you were on the other side of the fence. Would you want to read that copy, watch that video, play that game, attend that event or listen to that song? Does it appeal to you? Do you buy into it or is it too much? Being able to sell off something to yourself is a great litmus test to gauge how others will react to it.
You also have to develop a distinct voice when formulating your brand content, wrote Coleen Jones in her article, “How to Make Branded Content More Credible”, which appeared in Content Marketing Institute. She stated, “When so much content is text, you need a verbal identity as strong as your visual identity. Voice is your verbal identity. When your content sounds like your brand, even when visual cues are limited (think SMS, for example) people can recognise you faster.” Creating a distinct tone separates you from the rest.
The biggest challenge is to create branded content that perfectly balances entertainment with promotion. You can’t just stick a logo on content. It needs to make sense. And it is not just content marketing, which is more focussed on specific products and services. Branded content marketing is more emotional, as we have said. According to Paul Roberts writing for Our Social Times, here are a few examples of brands that have done branded content marketing extremely well:
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