What Is Branded Content? Definition, Examples, and Tips

Branded content helps you create content that stands out and leaves a lasting impression. But what is branded content, and how can it benefit your marketing strategy?

In this post, we explore the concept of branded content and its valuable role in modern marketing. We dive into the various types of branded content, share tips for content creation, and give some inspiring examples to help you elevate your brand’s messaging.

Key Takeaways

  • Branded content is any form of content that promotes a brand or product by providing value or entertainment to the audience.
  • Different examples of branded content marketing include sponsored social media posts, branded videos and web series, branded articles and blog posts, and user-generated content.
  • To create branded content successfully, align your brand values and story, identify your target audience, balance promotion and entertainment, and measure success.
  • Some of the best branded content examples include The New York Times’s T Brand Studio, Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, and LEGO’s YouTube channel.
  • Potential challenges to be aware of when creating branded content include ethical concerns and transparency and platform-specific guidelines and restrictions.
  • As technology advances and audience preferences evolve, staying abreast of emerging trends is key to creating relevant and engaging branded content.
what is branded content

Branded Content Definition

Before we dive in, let’s first define branded content. At its core, branded content is any form of content that promotes a brand or product by providing value or entertainment to the audience. It goes beyond traditional advertising methods, such as banner ads and pop-ups, by focusing on engaging storytelling and authentic connections with consumers.

Unlike traditional content marketing, which primarily aims to educate and inform, branded content seeks to create an emotional connection with the audience, ultimately building brand awareness and leading to loyalty and trust.

When done correctly, branded content can blur the lines between promotion and entertainment, providing an experience that feels genuine and meaningful rather than overtly sales driven.

Types of Branded Content

A banded content marketing strategy can take many forms, from sponsored social media posts to compelling short videos. Let’s explore some common examples of branded content and how they can enhance your brand’s marketing efforts.

Sponsored Social Media Posts

One popular approach to branded content is through sponsored posts on social media platforms. Creating these posts in partnership with influencers or brand partners can help amplify your message and reach a wider audience.

By collaborating with influencers who align with your brand values and target market, you can create authentic and engaging content. When done well, sponsored social posts help build brand awareness and credibility while driving engagement and conversions.

Branded Videos and Web Series

Storytelling is a powerful tool in marketing, and branded videos can provide a compelling platform for sharing your brand story. From short-form videos on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to full-fledged web series and documentaries on YouTube or streaming services, branded video content can capture the attention of potential customers and leave a lasting impression.

Many businesses have started to harness the power of these sites to reach new followers and explore new ways of showcasing their brand stories. With unlimited possibilities and a growing platform, YouTube and TikTok are fantastic ways to discover new customers.

An excellent example of branded video content is Red Bull‘s extensive library of action sports videos and documentaries. By focusing on the excitement and adrenaline associated with its brand, Red Bull manages to forge emotional connections with its audience while subtly promoting its products.

Branded Articles and Blog Posts

Another form of branded content comes in the shape of articles and blog posts, which you can publish on your company’s website or third-party websites as native advertising or sponsored content. These articles should provide valuable information or insights that align with your brand’s products or services without being overly promotional.

For instance, a fitness clothing company might publish articles about workout routines, nutrition tips, and wellness advice. By offering valuable content to its audience, the company builds trust and loyalty while discreetly promoting its products.

When creating blog posts for branded content, take care not to publish articles just for the sake of keyword stuffing. Your content should represent your brand and offer something valuable to your audience and not just exist for the sake of search engine rankings.

Not sure what to write about? Conduct research with your ideal audience to learn what they are interested in knowing more about. If you can answer some important questions or provide real value to your audience, you’ll become a thought leader and a trusted resource.

User-Generated Content

Encouraging your customers to create and share their branded content can effectively generate buzz and build a sense of community around your brand. User-generated content can take various forms, from product reviews to social media posts featuring your products.

User-generated content provides social proof that your products are worth buying and allows your customers to become brand ambassadors, spreading your message organically. Nothing is more powerful for a business than capturing that viral moment and realizing the strength of a well-orchestrated social media post.

Creating Successful Branded Content

branded content definition

Now that you’re familiar with different types of branded content marketing, let’s discuss some key principles for creating branded content that engages your audience and delivers results.

Aligning With Brand Values and Story

A crucial aspect of creating branded content is ensuring it aligns with your brand’s values and overarching story. Consistency is key; your content should feel like a natural extension of your brand while weaving in elements of storytelling that resonate with your audience.

For example, if your brand focuses on sustainability, your branded content might tell stories of the environmental impact of your products or showcase partnerships with eco-friendly organizations. Ultimately, you should always think about how branded content fits with your overall marketing strategy and how your audience will perceive it.

Identifying Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is essential for crafting content that appeals to their interests, needs, and desires. By conducting thorough market research and creating audience personas, you can tailor your content to resonate with your ideal customers on a deeper level.

Additionally, considering your audience’s demographics, preferences, and online behavior will help you determine the most effective platforms and formats for your branded content. You connect with the customers who are most likely to connect with your products and services through deep market research and data analysis.

Balancing Promotion and Entertainment

Striking the right balance between promotion and entertainment in your branded content can be challenging, but it’s crucial for success. Your content marketing efforts should provide value to your audience, whether that be through education, entertainment, or inspiration.

At the same time, product placement should be subtle and unobtrusive, allowing your audience to enjoy the content without feeling bombarded by promotional messages. This balance sets branded content apart from traditional advertising and makes it a more effective marketing tool.

Measuring the Success of Branded Content Campaigns

To evaluate the success of your branded content efforts, you’ll need to analyze various engagement metrics, reach, awareness indicators, conversions, and sales figures. Here are some key areas to focus on:

Engagement Metrics

Tracking engagement with your branded content, such as likes, shares, comments, and views, helps you gauge how well your content resonates with your audience. High levels of engagement indicate that your content is compelling and your target audience is connecting with your brand’s message.

You can also gain valuable insights into how effectively your content strikes a chord with your audience by analyzing the emotional responses and connections that your content generates. This way, you can make adjustments to ensure the content you create speaks to the right people.

Reach and Awareness

You can better understand how well your content resonates with your audience by monitoring the visibility and reach of your branded content across multiple social networks and platforms. By tracking brand recognition and awareness metrics, you can assess the overall impact of your branded content on your brand’s reputation and image.

Conversion and Sales

Ultimately, the goal of your branded content is to drive sales and grow your customer base. By evaluating the effectiveness of your content in generating conversions and sales, you can fine-tune your marketing strategies and future content efforts based on performance data.

Examples of Branded Content

To inspire your own branded content efforts, let’s take a look at some notable examples:

  • The New York Times’s T Brand Studio creates compelling branded articles and interactive graphics for brands like Google, Netflix, and Airbnb that integrate seamlessly with the publication’s editorial content.
  • Dove’s Real Beauty campaign showcases powerful stories about body positivity and self-confidence that resonate with its audience while subtly promoting its skincare products.
  • LEGO’s YouTube channel features engaging short films, web series, and product demonstrations that entertain and inspire their audience of children and adult fans alike.

Branded Content Challenges and Considerations

branded content

As you plan your branded content strategy, there are some potential challenges and ethical considerations.

Ethical Concerns and Transparency

It’s essential to disclose paid partnerships or sponsorships clearly to maintain trust and credibility. Transparency is key, and your audience should never feel deceived by the nature of your branded content. Not only can this trust not be replaced, but it can jeopardize your future content marketing efforts and make it harder to launch successful campaigns in the future.

Platform-Specific Guidelines and Restrictions

Each social media platform and content distribution channel has its own set of guidelines and restrictions for branded content. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these rules and adjust your content to avoid potential issues.

Also, be aware that rules and guidelines change all the time, so check back frequently to ensure that your branded content doesn’t suffer when an inevitable platform change is greenlit. If you are working with an account manager on a specific social platform, staying in touch with that person is a good way to stay ahead of changes to platform rules and regulations.

The Future of Branded Content

Advancements in technology and evolving audience preferences are continually shaping the future of branded content. As marketers, it is crucial to stay abreast of emerging trends and innovations, such as virtual reality, livestreaming, and new social media platforms, to create relevant and engaging content.

Final Thoughts

So what is branded content? By going beyond traditional advertising methods, branded content offers an effective and engaging way to promote your brand while providing value to your audience.

By understanding the different types of branded content and implementing best practices for creating content that connects with your audience, you can develop a powerful marketing strategy that drives results and fosters lasting customer loyalty. The world of branded content awaits, and it’s time to elevate your brand’s storytelling to new heights.