I started writing this article, to promote the benefits of Brand Content over Branded Content, but actually, both serve a purpose and both must exist in your content and marketing strategy.
Ok, so what’s the difference?
If you Google it, you’ll see lots of opinions and terms for the same thing.
In my opinion, in a nutshell, “Brand Content” is content created by you, the brand. It tends to have less of a reach as it usually resides on your own platforms – website, social media etc.
“Branded Content” is content created by a 3rd party, a publisher or another brand (for simplicity I will refer to the 3rd party as the publisher as it will be going on their channels), which is branded by you, the brand. This is also known as “sponsored content”.
There are other differences:
Brand Content tends to be quicker and cheaper to produce and distribute, largely because there are less stakeholders and sign offs and it’s going on your own channels. But not always, you can still create highly produced, beautiful pieces of content that take a long time to produce and are expensive, just bear in mind the purpose and that very few pieces of brand content “go viral”.
Branded content will usually have a higher reach as the publisher you are partnering with should have a bigger distribution. This isn’t always the case, but generally it should be a larger audience or a new audience for you. Make sure the partner publisher has the right audience that you are targeting.
Branded content will be created by the publisher. As much as is possible ensure this is a collaborative effort. I’ve seen too many companies just plaster their logo on a piece of content that doesn’t reflect the brand, services or values. At best this is a waste of money, at worst it can be damaging to your brand.
Branded content tends to be used once by the publisher, whereas Brand content can be reused in the future. Again, this isn’t always the case, if you get the right deal with the publisher, you could reuse this content on your own platforms in the future, but generally the publisher will just push this once.
So why should you be looking at Brand Content and Branded Content?
Well both serve a very valuable, but slightly different purpose.
Both forms of content are great tools for your sales funnel. Branded content tends to be an effective top-of-funnel strategy because it increases exposure and drives new traffic to your owned platforms.
Brand content aids the middle of your sales funnel, as it nurtures clients and leads that are already aware of you via your website, email or social platforms, by feeding them content.
When used together, brand and branded content complement each other very well —branded content can direct potential customers to your website where more of your brand content resides.
Branded content when expertly activated, will make the audience interested in the content and become more aware of your brand and ideally lead to further interest in it.
The key, along with any piece of marketing, is knowing exactly who you want to target, what you want to say and ensure it fits in with your brand values, with some relevance to who you are and what you do. There are times when brand reach is important, but make sure you know why you are doing it and what you want to achieve, this applies to both Brand content and Branded content. Oh, and make sure it’s consistent in styling with the rest of your assets.
Branded content will be promoted by the publisher, depending on the platform. See if you can get a deal where you can put some brand advertising around the content, but you need to balance this as you don’t want it to appear like an advertorial.
Brand content can and should be promoted by you, so don’t spend all your budget on content creation, leave some for the promotion too. With social media advertising and targeting you can reach a massive relevant audience for a modest spend.
And then of course, there is “Native Advertising”, which will be a topic for another day. This is basically a marketing or paid media tactic that allows a brand to publish “brand content” onto another publisher/brand’s platform.
Need help creating or enhancing your brand and branded content into your marketing strategy? Or looking at how your sponsorship activities could be amplified using brand and branded content, then drop us a note on firstname.lastname@example.org to pick our brains and to see what we might be able to do together.