We all have that one brand that makes us say, “Wow, they seem to be everywhere.” Their promotional content appears everywhere, from social media to billboards, and it always seems to catch your eye. In fact, instead of feeling annoyed or overwhelmed by the ads, you find yourself intrigued.
Well, the answer mostly lies in their branded content strategy. You’re not alone. Branded content gets 62% more positive reactions from people.
Branded content is any form of promotional content that has a clear association with a brand. It goes beyond directly selling the product or service. It aims to engage and captivate the audience by telling a compelling narrative. This content can be anything from blog posts and videos to social media posts and podcasts. But creating branded content that truly stands out can be a challenge. You need to strike a delicate balance between promoting your brand and offering value to your audience.
That’s why in this guide, you’ll find four easy steps to create visibility-boosting branded content campaigns.
1. Define your brand’s voice and style
Your brand’s voice is how you communicate with your customer base. Meanwhile, your brand’s style is how you present your brand visually. You must define both elements before you can create compelling content.
To define your brand’s voice, start by asking yourself: “How do I want my brand to sound?” Do you want your brand to sound professional, friendly, or humorous? The answer to this question will depend on your audience and what resonates with them. For example, the Dollar Shave Club is a men’s grooming brand that uses a humorous tone to engage with its audience.
In their viral video, the company’s founder delivers a hilarious monologue about the absurdity of overpriced razors. This approach did not only resonate with the brand’s target audience. It also helped the company gain millions of views and social media shares.
Your brand’s style is just as important as your brand’s voice. It’s the visual representation of your brand and includes elements like your logo, color scheme, and typography. To define your brand’s style, you need to understand what visual elements best represent your brand. Do you want your brand to have a bold and modern look or a classic and timeless design? Your brand’s style should align with your brand’s voice to create a cohesive message.
For example, Coca-Cola is a brand with a classic and timeless style (shown below). Their iconic red and white color scheme, along with their distinct typography, has remained largely unchanged for over a century. This consistency has helped establish Coca-Cola as one of the world’s most recognizable brands.
Once you’ve defined your brand’s voice and style, it’s important to ensure consistency across all your content pieces. This includes everything from your social media posts to your packaging design. Consistency helps reinforce your brand’s identity and makes it easier for your audience to recognize your brand.
2. Identify your target audience
You can’t please everyone; else, you’ll end up pleasing no one. This life hack applies to every marketing effort, including the content for your brand. So, identify whom you want to reach with that content and focus on them.
You can use various tools and methods to find your target audience. These include:
Extensive market research
Social media data analysis
Use the insights from these tools to create an audience persona. This is a fictional representation of your ideal potential customers. Think about their age, gender, occupation, location, interests, and pain points. This information will help you understand their motivations, preferences, and challenges.
Imagine you’re a fitness brand targeting busy dads. Your audience persona might be a 47-year-old man who works full-time and struggles to find time to exercise. He’s interested in quick and effective workouts that he can do at home or during his lunch break:
With this persona in mind, you can create content that speaks directly to their needs and preferences. You might create a series of 10-minute workout videos that he can do at home with his kids or share healthy and easy-to-make recipes that fit into his busy schedule.
Plus, always keep in mind that your target markets may shift over time. As your brand grows and evolves, you may need to adjust your content strategy to reach new audiences. Don’t hesitate to do that when the need arises.
3. Develop engaging content
Once you have identified your target audience, it’s time to create engaging and entertaining content. This is content that makes customers feel something – whether it’s amusement, curiosity, empathy, or inspiration. Ideally, your content should provide value and encourage interaction.
Start by brainstorming content ideas that align with your brand’s messaging and your audience’s interests. Think about what kind of content your audience is already consuming and what gaps you can fill with your content.
You can use tools like Google Trends and BuzzSumo (see below) to see what topics are currently trending in your industry. Then, develop unique and informative content that stands out from the competition.
When creating your content, note that the average attention span is just 8.25 seconds. So, make your content easy to consume. Use visual elements like images, videos, and infographics to break up the text and make your content more engaging.
Another important element of engaging branded content, as I mentioned earlier, is storytelling. People are naturally drawn to stories that appeal to their emotions. So, let’s say you’re a SaaS company that provides project management software. Your target audience is project managers who are looking for an efficient and streamlined way to manage their projects. You can produce compelling SaaS content in the form of a success story, for example.
Here’s another example of great branded content with this storytelling component: Dove’s #ShowUs user-generated content campaign. It tells the story of beauty stereotypes of women across the world. This story made people view Dove as a customer-focused brand, allowing for a new level of trust. That’s not surprising, as 82% of customers believe emotional connection drives brand loyalty.
Like Dove, use stories of real people in your branded content. People relate to other people, and stories about real people are often more compelling than abstract concepts or statistics.
BONUS: Promote your content
Great content creation is only half the battle. To boost your brand visibility, you need to promote that content so that it reaches as many people as possible. Without promotion, your content efforts may go unnoticed.
To start, promote your content on your owned channels – your website, social media accounts, and email list.
Don’t forget to use eye-catching graphics and headlines that grab your audience’s attention and entice them to click through to your branded content. Here’s an example from AirBnb on its Instagram channel:
You can also promote your content through influencer marketing, i.e., collaborating with other brands or influencers to promote your content. You can use an email finder to find the mails of influencers within your niche. Then, pitch your collaboration to them. By partnering with brands or individuals who have a similar target audience, you can leverage their reach and credibility to amplify your message.
Paid advertising campaigns using Facebook, Google Ads, etc. can help you, too. These platforms allow you to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. This ensures that your content reaches the people who are most likely to engage with it.
It’s not always easy to create branded content. However, with the right strategy in place, you can achieve this effectively.
Begin by defining your brand’s voice and style. This is a part of your identity. Then, identify the specific audience you want to target. With this information, it becomes easier to develop branded content that appeals to your audience. As a bonus, promote the content across various channels.
By following these steps and continuously evaluating your content strategy, you can create branded content that yields the results you’re looking for.
About the author
Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.