Consumers today are savvy. They know an ad when they see one, and they’re not always interested in brands that are constantly selling, selling, selling. But if you don’t advertise, how do you get your company’s name out there to a new audience of interested consumers?
Branded content and effective storytelling are essential components of a modern, effective marketing strategy. By creating truly valuable content, thereby establishing a relationship based on trust and personal connection, you can achieve your marketing goals in a way that works to get your business noticed.
What Is Branded Content?
Branded content can be a tricky concept to grasp. Branded content is funded or produced by the business, but it is not explicitly selling a product or service. The intention is to build awareness for the brand and its values and mission. For example, a business could run branded content to educate their community on a common problem in their industry that they’re an expert on. It’s not selling their services or even really describing what they do, but the content is provided by them, the expert, and is positioning them as a thought leader and trusted resource.
This makes branded content different from content marketing, which is content designed to sell a specific product or service. It’s also different from product placement, which is more passive and incorporates a business’s branding into an existing outside creative work.
Many businesses use branded content to align with their brand story or goals. In the case of the business owner educating their community, that’s supporting a brand story for a business that enjoys helping the community. And, we believe that every business has a story to tell.
What Can Branded Content Do for Local Businesses?
Branded content is a great local advertising idea because it allows local businesses to get their name out there in a different way than regular marketing or advertising. Rather than posting ads for products or services, branded content provides useful information for consumers.
Local businesses can create targeted banner ads or social media campaigns that drive consumers to content that’s more interesting than the average listicle. (Think in-depth articles, videos, quizzes, infographics, and even virtual reality experiences!)
Branded content allows consumers to get to know the values and voice behind a brand, rather than being courted to make a purchase. This helps to build trust and a personal connection — two essential components of winning over new business.
Is Branded Content Effective for Local Businesses?
Sometimes when people hear the phrase “branded content,” they think of large-scale efforts undertaken by huge brands. But this approach can be highly effective for local businesses as well.
By selecting appropriate local publications and using targeting and retargeting techniques, it’s possible to make sure a local business’s branded content gets noticed by the right audience. And because branded content is fun and not “salesy,” it’s the kind of thing that people are eager to share with family and friends and across social media.
How Does Branded Content Work with Other Marketing Tactics?
Branded content is a great way to introduce consumers to your brand’s value and mission. Because you’re not pushing products or services in front of them, they can relax and appreciate the story you’re sharing about who your business is and what you do.
Once you’ve gotten on their radar, other marketing tactics can help to keep you top-of-mind. Because most consumers are on social media daily, social media marketing and social ads are great ways to stay in front of them and begin to introduce specific products and offers.
After you’ve drawn consumers in with engaging branded content, you drive them to your website. From there, you can introduce products, services, or offers; plus you can collect contact information and focus on email marketing. You can build on that with retargeting, so you can get back in front of them once they’ve left your website. It’s a gentle reminder that 1) you exist! and 2) that they already visited your site once, and they should do it again and become your customer.
How Do I Get Started with Branded Content?
Now that you understand branded content, you want to start putting it to work for your business, right? There are a few things you should think about as you take the plunge with branded content.
- Identify topics of interest. You know what your ideal customer looks like. But do you know what they’re interested in learning more about? Research the subjects your customers care about right now. This research can include just asking a few customers what they like. Or, you can go more in-depth. From there, you can create engaging content that draws them in, while subtly sharing your messaging.
- Think about how to share your story. Branded content is all about creativity. What’s the most interesting way for you to share information with your audience? Remember, you want this content to be highly shareable “ maybe even viral!
- Find your platform and audience. Now that you know what you want to say and how you want to say it, you need to put it in a place where it’s sure to be seen. Whether that’s in a social media campaign, a series of banner ads, or placement in local or niche publications, the best placement will marry engaging content with the right audience.
The best branded content is highly creative and engaging. If you’re not sure how to create an effective campaign for your business, never fear! We’re here to help. Give us a call today, and we’ll walk you through how branded content can generate great results for your business. And, don’t worry. We can do all this for you!