Today, content is king. Most of us living in the world today expect every second of our free time to be occupied by on-demand television shows, endless YouTube videos, and funny pictures. If we see something we don’t like, we simply keep swiping until we find something that makes us smile or ponder. This is where branded content comes into play.
What is branded content?
Branded content is the new face of internet marketing. We don’t want people to sell to us anymore. Many of us grew up in a world of advertisement overload. We can recognize an ad from a mile away, and when we see one, we push it away as quickly as possible.
However, if you saw Verizon post a picture of the latest iPhone with a headline that promised to tell you 5 reasons why it’s a revolutionary device, you just might click on it. That’s branded content in a nutshell.
Branded content appeals to a brand’s audience. Instead of trying to sell something to them, it gives something to them. Branded content offers some kind of value. It can be entertaining or funny or educational or any number of valuable traits. The most important aspect of branded content is that it’s useful to a specific audience.
How does branded content grow a loyal audience?
One of the reasons we use social media is to find content that is useful to us in some way. Branded content draws attention to a brand by being useful.
Let’s say you’re the type of person who regularly scans your Twitter feed to find links about new gadgets. There’s a good chance you’d follow someone who regularly posts links to great articles about the latest mobile devices. It doesn’t matter if the user is Big Brand Number One or Joe Schmo—if their content is useful, you’ll follow them.
Now imagine that every time you visit Twitter, Big Brand Number One has posted a new article with a headline that catches your attention. They seem to know exactly what you’re looking for. Over time, you grow faith in the content they post. Before you know it, Big Brand Number One is a regular part of your day.
That is an ideal relationship for a brand to have with their audience. Branded content builds that relationship by providing consistent value.
Why is branded content useful?
If you’ve read everything up to this point and you’re still asking that question, you better not be a business owner.
Returning to the Twitter example, imagine you’ve been following Big Brand Number One for a few months and have been consuming their content just about every time you see it. It’s probably safe to say you like their brand. They’ve provided you with so much value, free of charge, that you almost feel like you owe them. Well, that’s just perfect for Big Brand Number One.
By the time Big Brand Number One is ready to sell you something, you’re a lot more likely to buy it than you were before encountering their content. That is the goal of branded content: Brands give to their audience and, eventually, their audience gives back.