At a time when engagement marketing has quickly overtaken interruption marketing, branded content is one of the most effective tools for marketers to connect and engage with people. But just because your brand creates content doesn’t mean it’s properly branded. We’ve seen marketers across the board miss the mark in all sorts of ways, which is why we’re here to help you do it the right way. Here, we’ll cover why branded content matters, along with the simple steps you can take to make sure your branded content hits the mark.
Why Does Branded Content Matter?
Your brand identity is communicated through every touchpoint, from your product design, to your sales material, to your homepage. That’s why it’s important to present a cohesive, unified identity through all content, whether you’re creating an annual report, infographic, or video. Branded content isn’t about slapping your logo on something; it’s about creating a brand experience that reflects who you are and what you do.
Luckily, in a crowded space where you have to fight for attention, branded content gives you a leg up in many ways.
Well-designed content intrigues people and entices them to interact with your content. This helps you grab their attention before your competitors do.
Branded visual content is easier to synthesize than plain old text, simply because our brains process visual information faster. The more effectively you apply your visual identity, the easier it is for people to consume, comprehend, and recall your content.
The more consistent you are, the more people see you as a credible, reliable source for content. This is the key to building trust and, as a result, a long-term relationship with the right people. If the content you create is segmented, siloed, or scattershot, with no thought to design or presentation, it’s much harder to nurture that relationship.
Branded content elicits stronger emotions than a traditional 30-second advertising spot, according to the 2018 study The Emotional Impact of Branded Storytelling by Realeyes/Turner Ignite.
When compared to traditional advertising, the study found that branded content made viewers:
- 62% more likely to have a positive reaction
- 31% more emotionally engaged
- 17% more likely to buy
If you’re looking to make meaningful connections with the people who need your product or service, branded content is the way to go.
How to Ensure Your Branded Content Reflects Your Brand Identity
Good branded content serves both your viewer and your brand, but doing it well requires some balance. Unfortunately, much of the branded content we see falls into one of the following categories:
- Overbranded (branding overload)
- Underbranded (little or no branding visible)
- Misbranded (inconsistent branding)
To make sure your branded content works the way it should, follow these 5 steps.
Note: If you have multiple content creators, this can serve as a helpful checklist to ensure your team always creates cohesive, consistent content.
1) Choose the Right Subjects
No matter what your brand does, the type of content you create should always be relevant to your brand. (Translation: It should relate to your field or area of expertise.) Identify topics that you can speak authoritatively about, then focus on how you can provide value through content.
Tip: Follow our tips to create high-value content, and use these 5 ideas to tell your brand story to launch your next brainstorm.
2) Use Your Voice, Tone, and Personality
The way you speak, write, joke, etc. are all unique to your brand. Whether it’s an e-book or a tweet, inject your brand personality into every piece of content. This helps you humanize your brand, and become an accessible resource.
Tip: If you haven’t clearly identified and articulated your brand voice, answer the questions in our brand voice template to find it.
3) Clarify Your Messaging
Beyond your voice (the way you say things), you need to make sure that what you’re saying is aligned to your brand goals. Everything from your value prop to your CTAs should tell the right story.
Tip: Build your brand messaging framework to make sure you’re talking about your brand the right way.
4) Design According to Your Visual Identity
From your products to your website, the way your brand “looks” tells its own story. (Good design isn’t just a differentiator; it’s what people expect these days.) Make sure you have a comprehensive, cohesive visual identity that includes all of the elements designers need to create branded content, including:
- Data visualization
Tip: Follow our guide to build a comprehensive brand identity, use our visual identity checklist, and bookmark these 100+ tools to build a brand identity.
5) Create a Style Guide
The easiest way to ensure your branded content accurately reflects who you are is with a brand style that includes examples, tips, and guidelines for applying your brand identity. This type of resource provides a guide for all designers and content creators working with your brand, empowering everyone in your company to produce more effective content.
Tip: Follow our guide to build a brand style guide that’s easy to use. You can also follow our guide to improve your content creation process to ensure your content is on brand and on time—every time.
Focus On Telling Your Story at Every Touchpoint
Telling your brand story is an ongoing process, so look for ways to improve or enhance your marketing as you go. If you want to start now…
- Learn about the 5 ingredients you need to tell a good brand story.
- Get inspired by these 7 examples of creative brand storytelling.
- Find out how to tell the right story at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
And if you need help at any stage of the process (from ideation to design), consider bringing in some reinforcements. Follow these tips to find the right creative agency for you, or holler at us.