SEO-Driven Content Marketing Campaign5 Tips to Improve Your Branded Content Strategy

Few things go together as well as marketing and buzzwords, and while you’re free to roll your eyes at all that low-hanging fruit while you work on your synergy and pivot to the next micro-moment, there is one buzzword that you probably should add to your vernacular and preferably to your marketing strategy: branded content.

What is branded content? In short, branded content is creative and purposeful content, like articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc., that serves as a link back to a specific brand.

This content is used to establish trust, industry authority, and position your brand in a way that captures the audience and breeds loyalty. In essence, branded content is content that tells your story in the context of your audience and their needs or wants. One thing it isn’t? A gratuitous and blatant sales move.

branded content tips contentmenderBranded content isn’t necessarily new. John Deere used the concept to design their agricultural magazine, The Furrow, in the late 1800s, and other brands, like Proctor and Gamble and Ford, have dabbled in this story-telling-based marketing effort over the decades.

However, today’s consumer market, sick of, or at least immune to, the thousands upon thousands of ads they receive per day, have forced a rejuvenation of the effort; after all, few like to knowingly be sold to and processed like the dollar signs they represent.

Today, in an addition to pushing products and promotions, brands must gain the trust of their target audience if they want to rise above the highly saturated feeds, search engines, and digital existence of today’s consumers. And for many businesses, that’s what branded content can do.

How can you effectively leverage branded content in your marketing campaigns? What’s the key to good branded content that works for, not against, your ROI? Here are a few things you can do to help build and improve your branded content.

5 Tips to Improve Your Strategy

Determine Your Story

Who are you? What is your company about? How does your brand fit in with your target audience? If you can’t answer those questions, your efforts at branded content will be disjointed, and your identity crisis will make it harder for first time buyers or site visitors to transition to loyal customers.

Take for example Patagonia and Moosejaw, both of which sell outdoors supplies. Both have similar products but appeal to different audiences. Patagonia is notably environmentally conscious, and Moosejaw thrives off being carefree, fun, and unconventional, and their content fully supports those notions.

They’re marketing campaigns are successful because they have a true understanding of “who” they are and what story they want to tell, and their respective audiences know and endorse that.

Move Past the Sales Pitch

Today’s consumers can spot a sales pitch a mile away, and good branded content should not be a blatant sales pitch. That doesn’t mean you can’t write about the benefits of your product or service, but it does mean creating content that considers the needs of your targeted audience at different points in the funnel.

Your primary goal should be to gain credibility as an industry leader and to do that, you’ll need to produce branded content that makes that claim without shameless product plugs. As you draw your audience in and bring them closer and closer to the cart, you can leverage content that completes the full picture, but the relationship between pitches and branded content should be built on the notion that “less is more.”

What is Branded Content? 5 Tips to Improve Your StrategyLeverage the Right Social Media Accounts

By now, most marketing strategies include social media, but what some fail to miss is that social media platforms aren’t created equally. And while distributing your branded content is important, it’s also important that you share it with the right audience.

A B2B company may have plenty of followers on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but more likely than not, it’s their LinkedIn account that will serve as the primary pathway to engaged audiences and ROI.

Similarly, it’s not only about the audience, though that should be a driving consideration. It’s also about the content form. For example, a short,30-seconds or less video may perform well on Instagram, but a longer video may perform better on Facebook or YouTube.

Becoming familiar with the best ways to use your social media accounts can propel you branded content efforts to the next level.

Think Problem & Solution

Every customer has a problem. Branded content is your chance to prove that your company knows enough about a given industry, issue, social situation, etc. to offer a solution. You may think this is counter-intuitive to “drop the sales pitch,” but that doesn’t have to be the case. How is that so?

Imagine you own a company that sells camping equipment. You know that your target audience consists of parents. You also know that camping with kids is completely different than camping with adults – therein lies the problem.

How exactly do you return to the campsite once you have kids in tow? I bet there are some great tips out there or general products that may be useful – therein lies the solution and your opportunity to show your audience that you understand their needs and as an authority on the great outdoors, can offer a few pointers.

Leverage Quality, Original Content

Even if you solve a problem, correctly leverage all your media accounts, drop your sales pitch, and tell your own story, your efforts will be for not if the content is poorly written or lacks originality. To truly engage your target audience, you’ll need to give them something worth engaging with.

The relationship between your brand and the content you disburse is not one to be taken lightly and it’s certainly not one that allows room for shortcuts or shoddy work. Make purposeful decisions about the topics and mediums you use and leverage solid content creators and resource that can take your story and turn it into a series of well written and thoughtful posts. Anything less will push your brand below the radar.

Brand content may not be new, but its role in modern marketing strategies has been cemented. If you want your audience to relate to and rely upon your brand, then you need to give them a reason to do so. Good branded content will do just that.