by Kristin Savage
Today, you can rarely find a business that doesn’t have at least one social media account. Not to mention that it’s almost obligatory to be active across all popular social media platforms.
However, being present on social media doesn’t guarantee you the recognition and popularity. It’s content that’s behind your social media success.
We all do agree with the phrase ‘Content is king’. Indeed, those who make the best high-quality content, rule social media.
And the solution to creating great content, remaining relevant and still staying true to the values and the objectives of your business is to make your content branded.
What Is Branded Content and Why Is It a Thing?
In brand content marketing, branded content means a marketing technique that you follow to create content that represents a brand in the eyes of its target audience.
How did branded content come about?
Creating branded content is a response to a highly saturated, competitive market, where quality content has become a rare thing. Thus making branded content is a response to the desire of consumers to receive high-quality unique content.
Branded content is:
Value-oriented – brand content is not oriented at a product or a service that brand sells, but rather on the value that this brand brings to the consumers.
Thought-provoking – brand content doesn’t intend to force the consumers to buy a product or a service, but rather to spark a conversation about the brand, thus being a driving force that generates conversions.
Appealing to certain emotions – brand content is tied to a certain emotion, that’s why a target audience often associates content with a certain brand.
Omnipresent – brand content can be shared through a variety of channels without losing its value.
Not invasive – brand content is consumed voluntarily, even though it’s omnipresent.
Because it’s value-oriented, branded content marketing has become one of the key strategies in modern-day social media marketing. There are also some performance-related reasons, why branded content marketing is becoming more and more popular:
Brand content is 22 times more engaging than traditional ads
Brand content drives higher brand recall
Consumers are 14% more likely to purchase from a brand with branded content on social media
People react more positively to branded videos than traditional video ads
You may think that a set of ideas and perfect social media writing skills will get your brand’s content to the top of the charts.
This is not the reality, however.
The creation of brand content involves many other aspects that need to be taken into account.
So, to help you get a better understanding of branded content, let’s take a closer look at these aspects as well as some content writing tips and examples to guide you.
Table of Contents
Study Your Audience
Determine What Works and Use It
Experiment to Find Your Unique Style
Visualize Your Branded Content
Take a Stand with Your Brand Content
Use Branded Content Marketing to Connect
Keep your Branded Content Relevant
Pay Attention to Branded Content Descriptions
Provide Ways for Sharing Branded Content
1. Study Your Audience
You cannot go on with creating your branded content without thoroughly studying your target audience. Any brand content marketing campaign is already a failure if it doesn’t rely on targeting a certain audience persona.
A target audience persona is a generalized character that is an ultimate consumer for your product. The description of a target audience persona usually includes:
Demographic and biographic information
Background info (values, motivations, education, etc.)
Challenges and needs
The main aim of describing a target audience persona is to help shape your content around the challenges that this persona goes through. Your end goal is to help them overcome these challenges with the help of your product through your content.
Besides creating a target audience persona, you can also take a look at who follows your business on social media. Here’s an example from Facebook Analytics:
This information can help you determine your niche audience, their gender, age, language, and location to set up the best time to post on social media. With this data, you’ll be able to create more targeted branded content as well.
2. Determine What Works and Use It
After you’ve studied your target audience and put together your audience persona, the next step would be determining which platform will work best for your brand content.
It is true that not every social media platform is fit for every audience. For instance, in terms of the distribution of global audiences by gender, you can see that:
Twitter has a predominantly male audience, with 69% of male users and only 31% of female users.
Instagram, on the contrary, has a predominantly female audience, with 52% of female users and 48% male users.
Facebook is used mostly by females as well, with 55.4% of female users and 44.6% of male users.
You can also take a look at the distribution of global audiences by age to see how different the use of social media is among different age groups:
As you can see, not every social media platform can be in line with who your target audience persona is. The choice of a social media platform will depend on:
The general audience that uses this platform, and
Whether the platform corresponds to the needs of your audience
Now, how can you determine what works in terms of content?
After you’ve selected one or several social media platforms, it’s time to analyze what format to choose for your branded content. You can do it by going over to the Analytics section to see, which content is already performing well:
There you can study each content type separately in terms of reach and engagement to determine what your target audience will be excited to see.
3. Experiment to Find Your Unique Style
In the introduction, we talked a bit about why branded content is gaining popularity. Because it’s aimed at pointing out your brand’s uniqueness, this content works best to attract the eye of your target audience.
Thus, you should use the unique features of your brand to determine your unique style and experiment with it to create the best-branded content.
Developing your unique style will help you create a set of standards, which you will go by to create branded content in the future. Content style itself is a set of standards for writing brand content which a brand uses to enhance its online and offline presence. Just take a look at Nike’s example.
In their branded content marketing efforts, Nike took its well-known slogan to another level when social media emerged.
Their Instagram, for instance, is a storytelling tribute to all (not just famous athletes) who chased their dream by following a ‘Just Do It’ mindset:
They also took advantage of Instagram Stories, using it in the most creative way which still resembled Nike’s core content style. On a daily basis, Nike posts a Wake-Up Call to motivate the followers to get up and exercise:
Remember: you’ll need to put some time and effort just to figure out your style. But as a result, you will have a polished brand content style that will communicate value to your target audience.
4. Visualize Your Branded Content
It’s a well-known fact that people perceive visual information better. A study from 2014 has shown that visual information is stored for a longer time in our memory.
This means that visuals are the perfect choice for a brand content marketing strategy.
The best way to visualize your branded content is to make it interactive. By doing so, you create added value, which your target audience can benefit from. For instance, Hello Fresh has created the Flavor Generator to inspire people to cook at home:
The users generate the flavors for the food they desire, and, based on their choice, they get the recipe to cook the dish right away. In addition, Hello Fresh, as a meal kit delivery company, offer their services to deliver the products to cook these dishes.
Hello Fresh’s Flavor Generator is a great example of implementing the best-branded content practices, making content interactive and bringing great value to the target audience.
5. Take a Stand with Your Brand Content
Consumers want brands to be socially active. A recent report by Inc. has shown that people want brands to take stand on societal issues:
90% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product from the brand that is socially active
80% of consumers will pay more for the products from the brands who actively support important societal issues
48% of consumers believe that brands should act in the public’s best interest
Supporting important issues that your target audience is concerned with is a great way to stand out.
Take a look at IKEA. Being one of the most socially responsible companies, IKEA took a stand on equality issues, standing up for the LGBTQ+ community by launching a special bag to commemorate the Pride month.
As a brand, you have more outreach and influence than others. It’s understandable why people expect you to be active when it comes to important societal issues.
So, pick the cause that fits the values of your brand and build your brand content strategy around this cause.
6. Use Branded Content Marketing to Connect
Being an active supporter of social issues is great. However, you can turn your branded content strategy around by inviting your followers to contribute to creating branded content.
User-generated content is one of the top content strategies in branded content marketing. More and more brands recognize the value of the personalized approach and user-generated content as a way to achieve it.
Some companies build their branded content strategies around the experience of their followers. For instance, Halo Beauty, a brand of vitamins for healthier skin, often posts the results of the treatment shared by their followers:
Why does it work?
User-generated content boosts trust. As with the example from Halo Beauty, real-life results will have a greater effect on people than a pretty picture that has zero value.
It inspires. Branded content strategy built around user-generated content can boost creative and engaging marketing campaigns.
User-generated content is relationship-oriented. Having your target audience contribute to creating your branded content is a great strategy to build a strong relationship with them.
It’s a win-win for both you and your followers. They get to participate in brand content marketing campaigns, and you get high-quality user-generated content and better relationships with your audience.
7. Keep your Branded Content Relevant
Remaining relevant on social media is one of the most important tasks and biggest challenges for the brands. You should keep up with the current social media trends, which guarantee your brand the leading position and popularity on social media.
The current top 3 trends for the businesses to follow include:
Live video. Reportedly, 87% of businesses now use live video as a marketing tool, and 80% of consumers prefer to watch live videos from a brand than to read a blog.
Entertainment chatbots. With AI and machine learning evolving, 53% of companies recognize chatbots as a tool for creating the customer-first culture. Entertainment chatbots, like Game of Thrones’ chatbot that discusses with you the deaths of your favorite characters, are not aimed at providing customer support but rather to strengthen the connection between a brand and its consumers through entertainment:
Influencer marketing. Brands are going to invest more in collaboration with influencers. 89% of brands say that ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels. Influencer marketing gives brands an opportunity to produce content and gives them access to new audiences.
All three trends can be used to produce the best-branded content that will help your business stand out from the competition.
8. Pay Attention to Branded Content Descriptions
Descriptions play an important role in social media writing and the creation of brand content. They help search engines to rank your content.
Thus, using it right helps your SEO results.
Let’s take a look at some writing tips on how to create descriptions for your branded content:
Optimize post length. In social media writing and blogging in general, post length plays an important role in SEO. For this purpose, a content description should be between 80 and 120 words. Longer content description affects engagement.
Use emoji. There’s a list of emoji that can increase click-through rates by at least 57% and boost shares by 33%. Emoji also make content descriptions look more relatable.
Apart from the above-mentioned writing tips, it is important to stress the accuracy of branded content descriptions. Proofreading is an essential step, and you can automate it with the help from several online tools, like Grammarly (checks spelling, grammar, and style), TrustMyPaper (an online writing service), or WhiteSmoke (an online resource that offers editing and proofreading).
These tools can also help you check the readability of your content descriptions to make them more engaging.
9. Provide Ways for Sharing Branded Content
An important strategy in social media writing and brand content marketing is to provide ways to share your branded content.
To increase the chances of your content getting noticed and shared, you can include hashtags.
A hashtag is the quickest route that connects your brand’s content and your consumers.
Your main task is to help your brand content go viral, and hashtags will give you a push in that direction.
Social media writing and creating branded content isn’t an easy task. Apart from the creative process, you need to keep in mind
Your target audience
The demands of different social media platforms
Keeping your content in line with your unique style
Making your content visual and interactive
Complying with the demands of the consumers, etc.
Hopefully, our guidelines and writing tips on creating the best-branded content will help you channel your creativity into creating something that truly stands out.