What makes your content stand out?
The world is social. The relationship between brands and customers is no longer one way communication; we have developed from companies telling us what to think to consumers taking control.
The tone of the conversation has developed from ‘buy this, buy this’ to being about content in real time, responding to events and talking about things that are compelling & shareable. Brand relationships now need to be formed around values and outcomes.
The challenge lies in understanding the shift from classic marketing to new marketing, one which big brands struggle to understand. Big budgets don’t equal excellent thinking, strong content and successful campaigns. Traditional marketing has evolved and your brand should be growing with it.
Conversation is key and branded content marketing is the door, brands today need to unlock.
Branded Content marketing:
What is it?
There are as many interpretations & definitions of branded content – from branded news, digital hubs, radio, online video, publications and TV show. Content marketing is about creating and sharing valuable content that educates, informs or entertains an audience. The result? Leads, sales or advocacy (Baer).
Branded content is no more different than any other form of brand advertising; however the emphasis is more on the content with the brand playing a much smaller role. As Martyn wrote in his article, ‘Business in a connected age: First-mover advantage is up for grabs in most categories’;
…branded content can be ‘anything a brand produces that, were it unbranded, would still hold value and be of compelling interest…
Examples of companies who successfully created branded content:
Red Bull has taken its men’s lifestyle magazine ‘The Red Bulletin’ online with the recent launch of redbulletin.com – Offering content in the form of videos, large photos, parallax scrolling and moving images in the following categories, sports, culture, life & bullevard.
Another example is from renowned online retailer Net-A-Porter’s and their launch of ‘Porter‘ print magazine which sells on newsstands worldwide. The magazine is fully integrated with a shopable digital edition available. The Independent have claimed it to be a rival to Vogue, “The devil wears Prada – but may just fear Porter.”
See the connection here to what we were saying before? Take away the brand name and these examples would still be great, interesting content. Branded content presents an opportunity for brands to become the medium.
How is it done successfully?
1. The right platform: Many throw their content (usually in the form of a campaign) out onto social platforms and then sit back and magically wait for the audience and engagement to flock to it, like they’re throwing out a chip to a pack of hungry seagulls. It does not work that way.
Fish where the fish are…Rather than spending money creating content and building just another website or Facebook profile to house it, put it where the people are.
2. Resourced: Branded content works in the same way as other elements in the marketing mix in that, in order for it to be successful, it needs to be resourced ongoing.
3. Relevant: Branded content strategy must fit in with your brand. No point in doing it just because you want to!
4. Long Term Investment: Think long term instead of short term. We at FRANk are about helping our clients with content strategies that are long term rather than short term. Why? Because short term is short term and the results are irrelevant in the long term. Success is going to come down to the content that is built on strong strategy with long-term thinking that can build over time (Stoddart 2014).
To sum it up, content needs to be relevant, at the right time, on the right channels, in the right environment and looking long term.
Social media’s role in content:
If content is king, then distribution is queen – and she probably wears the pants in the relationship.
We all know the importance of social media in business today. Social is the end product whereby promotion and engagement are focused around that great content you have already created. The two work hand in hand or are at least more powerful when combined together within your strategy.
Social media is a place to have an ongoing conversation with your customers, provide them (incognito) brand content rather than just shouting “LOVE ME!” at them during each campaign.
As well as distributing content, social media can often aid into finding new content such as news stories. It’s a place to gauge where your target market is, what your target market likes and where your brand can fit in that.
The goals of content marketing are consumption, then behaviour. The goals of social media are participation, then behavior (Baer)
People want valuable information, and if that comes from a brand than that’s okay. Great information at the end of the day is great information no matter where it comes from.
Branded content marketing is a way to get an audience to know and trust you. It all comes back to how your brand is getting that content into people’s hands and in front of them, otherwise what’s the point?