The Secret to Making Your Branded Content Stand Out

Marketers have found branded content to not only present a better return on investment than traditional methods but it also has a much lower barrier to entry and can be implemented with limited teams. 

5 mins to read

One of the most commonly used marketing tactics in the modern digital age is branded content marketing. This can come in many forms but typically refers to written and visual content created specifically for “new media” outlets such as your company blog and social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Many marketers have found branded content to not only present a better return on investment (ROI) than traditional methods but it also has a much lower barrier to entry and can be implemented with limited teams. 

This makes it particularly appealing to startups and small businesses operating with limited funds. Any business can participate in branded content marketing, something that was definitely not the case with previous marketing trends such as commercials or physical billboard advertisements.

Additionally, studies suggest that branded content helps audiences remember brands and products 59% better than other digital ad types. With the added chance of “blowing up” and going viral, it’s one of the best strategies to incorporate into your marketing plan.

In today’s article, we will be taking a deep dive into the world of branded content marketing, and exploring how you can practically begin to effectively implement it into your business’s core marketing efforts.

What is Branded Content Marketing?

Branded content marketing is the process of sharing pieces of content about your brand or company with the intent of increasing awareness of your core values and mission as a business rather than making sales of any one given product. This creates positive associations between your target audience and brand, leading to much better long-term outcomes and higher customer lifetime values (CLVs).

This style of marketing takes viewers on a much deeper, more meaningful journey with your brand. It shows them the “why” behind your products and services, telling them why you matter and why they should care rather than bombarding them with yet another over-the-top sales pitch.

Long-Term Benefits of Branded Content

Authentic marketing may take a longer time to convert viewers to paying customers than more direct sales approaches, but the ones that do convert will be more closely aligned with your brand’s core mission and values. 

The easiest way to achieve this is through real, down-to-earth storytelling and speaking to them as intelligent equals. One useful mental trick to help put this into practice is to think of each piece of content as an opportunity to have a conversation with your target audience, not to sell them something. Doing this regularly makes them much more likely to both convert and stay long-term.

What Does Branded Content Need to be Effective?

All effective branded content relies on two key components: authenticity and emotional appeal. This is a complete shift away from how traditional marketing outlets work, which rely on tactics and convincing. Play on the core human aspects we all share to connect positive feelings with your brand and influence sales without selling directly.

Remember, nobody likes to be overly sold to. Instead, you want to hook the customer or audience through stories that are interesting and do not feel like advertisements. Don’t make your audience feel like you are trying to get something from them. 

Subtly slip in information about your company, brand, and products in a way that isn’t intrusive to the story they came for. This will ensure viewers do not walk away feeling cheated or taken advantage of.

This is much easier said than done, of course, but is entirely possible with the right amount of research and overall market awareness. Think critically about the largest problems and deepest feelings bothering your target audience, and create a relevant narrative addressing them with a subtle link to your brand.

4 Branded Content Tips

Although it can feel intimidating at first, creating effective branded content does not have to be an expensive, time-consuming, or even difficult process. Due to its deeply authentic and honest nature, you do not need a lot to run a successful campaign that resonates with your audience. 

Sometimes, the simplest ideas can explode and grow your business’s overall awareness. All it takes is one piece of content to resonate at just the right time to completely change the trajectory of your entire company. Try implementing these four branded content tips to improve the quality of your next campaign.

1. Understand Your Target Audience

When creating any branded content campaign, this is where you should start. If you don’t understand your target audience, it will be impossible to create content that is specifically relevant to them and their individual pain points.

Some businesses find it effective to use a templated approach to identify their ideal customer profile (ICP). The more detailed and specific you are when creating these documents, the easier it will be later to target your campaigns and get the messaging just right.

2. Utilize User-Generated Content

Some of the best brand content materials come directly from the actual users of your product. This user-generated content (UGC) can serve as informal, unprompted testimonials and provide an incredible ROI with little to no additional ad spend.

Brands can encourage UGC by running contests or creating a campaign that asks its viewers a probing question or provides a fun or interesting prompt that they can respond to on their personal social media accounts.

3. Leverage Influencer Collaborations

One way to “hack” growth and significantly increase your marketing reach is to partner up with relevant influencers within your niche. It is crucial, however, to always do your research before partnering with an influencer, as they become an extension of your company’s brand once they begin posting for you.

Anything negative or harmful that becomes associated with them could also have run-off effects on you and your business. This makes thorough vetting a top priority when considering any partnership with any influencer.

4. Don’t Overly Rely on AI Tools

In the past year, this has perhaps become the most important thing to consider when implementing any new marketing strategy. With the invention of AI tools such as ChatGPT, it can be incredibly tempting to cut corners and have AI create all of your marketing materials. However, when done incorrectly, this can prove detrimental.

While AI technology is improving in quality with each passing day, viewers, especially those who are digital natives, can easily spot when something was generated by AI rather than a human. This is not to say that you shouldn't use AI at all, but rather that it is best used as a supplemental tool or to help generate ideas. This allows you to create things faster without losing that critical sense of authenticity and voice.

Brand Content Case Study: Dove “Real Beauty”

A great example of brand content done well was Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign. In it, a series of women describe themselves to a sketch artist, who then draws them without ever seeing them. Next, a group of complete strangers describes these same women to the artist, who draws another sketch.

After both sketches were complete, the women were shown them side-by-side and shocked by how different they were. This difference showcased the disparity in how we view ourselves versus how the rest of the world sees us, and, coupled with the underlying message of self-love and acceptance, resonated incredibly well with the world at the time.

This campaign was a massive success for Dove, organically generating more than 70 million views on YouTube, with countless comments about how important the video was for them emotionally and how pleased they were that it was made.

While this might not have led to many direct sales upon release, the women moved by the video (many of which fell within Dove’s ideal customer profile) are much more likely to buy Dove products in the future because of it. This is the power of branded content marketing and why it should be at the forefront of your digital strategy.

Get Started Brand Marketing With Alan and Company

Alan and Co. is a full-service marketing agency with decades of experience in digital marketing agency. If you are looking for a digital marketing agency in the US that can help you introduce elements of branded content marketing into your campaigns, reach out today and schedule a free 45-minute consultation with Alan and Co. Marketing.

For additional free resources on digital marketing best practices and to get a better idea of new strategies you could implement to take your business to the next level, check out our blog full of hundreds of free articles just like this one.

March 20, 2024

Jackie Rosu


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