Branded Content Marketing. The Game Has Surely Changed.
The days are limited for traditional advertising as we have come to know, learned to love, but eventually taught to despise over the last several decades. Branded content marketing which has been around for many years casually hiding in the shadows, is now a prominent big league player. Gone are the days of one-way commercial advertisements being forced upon the eyes and ears of the entire television viewing public. DVRs and on-demand options such as Netflix and Hulu have all but turned the industry of making expensive commercials into a one-day event called The Super Bowl. Gone are the days of waiting rooms around the world being filled with people glued to magazines and their corresponding advertisements. Smartphones forever changed that tradition. Gone are the days of spending tons of money building flashy web banners and fancy buttons to lure the once curious and easily intrigued online audience. Most people unconsciously ignore these forms of online advertising, making them less and less effective each and every year. The key is integrating branded content marketing into your marketing mix.
Is Your Brand Still in the Dugout? It’s Time for Branded Content Marketing.
The key to reaching your target consumers is having them find you. Social media has created a genius brand discovery search engine and the largest walkie-talkie in the world! When brands provide valuable content to their social media channels whether it is Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest, consumers seeking such value will discover them. As with any relationship, a consistent stream of value leads to trust, which will hopefully lead to acquisition, loyalty, and evangelism for your brand. This is the basic principle of branded content marketing. Share and communicate with your customers and prospective customers without the sales pitch, and in return, you will be rewarded with their business (and hopefully the business of their friends as well). Many brands have been hitting home runs for years now by marketing through social media. Look around. Has your competition been devising their content marketing strategy while you’ve been hiding in the dugout warming the bench?
Branded Content Marketing and the 4 E’s of Brand Storytelling
At ImagiBrand, we believe that every brand has a story. In fact, that is the tagline by which we hang our hat. While there are numerous tactics by which your company can use social media for business, the story that you tell along with any branded content marketing should follow at least one or all of “The 4 Essential E’s For Brand Storytelling:”
Entertaining. Is your brand creating enjoyable content? Is the content evoking emotions from your audience? Are you taking them on an adventure, a thrill-ride or a mystery? Are you creating laughs or making them cry? Building strong, emotional connections between your brand and your consumers can drive the decision-making process and provide a rationale for brand loyalty that extends far beyond mere product features and benefits.
Educational. Have you ever purchased a product merely because you were shown how best to use it and in which specific situations? That is the art of content marketing. When done correctly, it doesn’t feel or sound like a sales pitch, but a free and zero-pressure product tutorial explaining the features, benefits and situational use. A brand can also use content marketing as a means to promote their unique culture, their upcoming special programs, and initiatives, as well as showcasing the social causes they support.
Engaging. Online engagement is probably one of the most abused buzzwords out there, and I must admit it sometimes makes me roll my eyes when reading about it over and over again. Everyone has been jumping on this engagement bandwagon for many years now, but so many still struggle with achieving genuine engagement. Is your brand requesting active engagement with your audience? Are you helping your customers solve their most pressing issues with your content? True engagement encourages consumer learning and embracing of the brand, which is essential for long-term relationship building.
Easy to Share. This sounds simple, but sharing is an extremely complex science that will make anyone a zillionaire if they can crack the code on why we definitively share what we share and why. Social media is all about sharing: the power of the share icon, the power of the retweet. This concept can be quite perplexing for some brands. They spend valuable time and resources creating what they think is great content, they publish it, and wait, and wait, and wait, but no one shares their content. What happened? Maybe they were not the creative savants they thought they were. Maybe the content wasn’t right for their specific audience. Maybe they posted at the wrong time of day or the wrong day of the week for their followers. Maybe the content added very little or no value. Maybe the title of their post was not conducive to sharing. It could be one of a number of reasons why the content didn’t take off. While it is important to fully understand the reasons behind your content failures, it is just as important to make sure your brand doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
Are you making it easy for your customers to find you? Are your brand stories entertaining, educational, engaging and easy to share? If not, you might want to take a closer look at your social media marketing strategy.
If you are interested in learning more about branded content marketing, we encourage you to reach out to our social media agency, ImagiBrand, where we will work closely with you on developing your brand story and provide your company the customized social media branding and/or daily social media management services to make sure your brand story is heard and seen every day on social media.
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