Today’s consumers are more discerning than ever before.
The internet grants anyone the ability to search for specific solutions to your unique problems and make calculated, informed decisions about the products you buy. The demand for customized content that meets any particular need continues to rise, yet most people are turned off by invasive online ads that disrupt the user experience.
In fact, 46.2% of people use ad blockers to avoid seeing ads on their computers. That’s why today’s advertisers must optimize branded content as part of their content marketing strategy to attract a loyal audience, drive quality traffic, and hit revenue goals.
What exactly is branded content?
Branded content is essentially a paid ad that uses storytelling to connect with an audience on an emotional level. Rather than push a sales agenda, branded content is engaging and typically does one of three things:
- Addresses a social issue
- Educates and informs
- Provides entertainment value
With branded content, audiences become aware of the brand, but don’t feel as though they’re being sold to.
So what’s a good example of branded content?
Remember The Lego Movie? The film is clearly a promotion for Lego products, but the brand name isn’t mentioned until after the end of the movie and nothing in the content actually tells people to buy the product. It’s simply a fun escape from reality that the whole family can enjoy, and is a prime example of branded content.
Of course, branded content doesn’t have to be delivered in the form of a feature-length film. It can range from podcasts and videos to infographics and articles. It’s hosted on a company’s own channels, so it isn’t affected by ad blockers. More importantly, it’s non-intrusive and stimulates user response, helping to boost conversions and generate revenue.
Benefits of Publishing Branded Content
In addition to connecting with audiences on a deeper level and circumventing ad blockers, branded content helps to:
- Build trust: Because branded content adds value to your audience’s lives, people trust you to provide relevant, meaningful information.
- Generate retention: Branded content is memorable and leaves a lasting impression so people can easily recall your brand when they need the solutions you provide.
- Set yourself apart: Stand out from the competition with clever, witty, or beautifully emotional messages that attract your audience’s attention.
- Share your values: Sixty-six percent of today’s consumers want to interact with brands who have a strong social or political stance. Show your followers your beliefs, your values, and what matters most to your brand.
- Broaden your marketing approach: Reap the benefits of emotional storytelling while continuing to capitalize on your other traditional marketing efforts.
A form of native advertising, branded content draws viewers in and delivers relevant information that resonates with their values, needs, and expectations.