Jan 20, 2017

5 Things to Know About Branded Content

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If I’m right, branded content is going to have its heyday in 2017. I think we’ll see brands who formerly invested in traditional advertising start to pour dollars into relevant, useful content in an effort to connect with their customers.

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Here’s what you need to know about this rising trend.

  1. Advertorials are Dead. Think back a few years when you read a certain kind of newspaper article. At first, you thought it was a real article, but then you started to notice that it centered around a particular product or brand. That was an advertorial…kind of like a written infomercial. It took a while for advertisers to realize that consumers weren’t responding to them, and finally — finally! — they’ve seen the light.

Because consumers are now controlling the conversation, advertorials are dead. So if you’ve been using them in your marketing strategy, it’s time to let that go in favor of more effective branded content.

  1. The Rules are Still Being Formed. In 2016, Facebook announced that all sponsored content (another name for branded content) would have to be identified as such, and the advertiser tagged. It was a subtle move, but a lot of publishers got up in arms about it.

I think we’ll continue to see rules created around branded content, the way we did sponsored social media shares and sponsored blog posts a few years ago when the FCC intervened.

3. Branded Content is Just Going to Get Better. As publishers realize that consumers don’t want fluffy content, they’ll have to come up with more engaging and informative content to keep people’s attention.

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We’re in a content war right now, with every website struggling to be noticed above the rest. That, by necessity, forces content marketers to get better at what they publish. If you’re going to get in the game, make sure every single thing you publish has value to your audience.

  1. Branded Content will Create Content Brands. Branded content isn’t just going to be published on social media and a brand’s website. We’ll start to see more launches of separate content brands, sponsored by companies who want to create an ethos around content. Here’s an example: UK paint and wallpaper company Farrow & Ball has a separate site, The Chromologist, that publishes content on design and decorating. It’s not at all obvious that the company is involved, and yet it’s a brilliant marketing tool. Expect to see more of that in 2017.
  1. Branded Content Will Take on Other Forms. We’ve seen branded blog posts, so this year, I expect that we’ll see infographics, GIFs, videos, and other forms of content produced by brands trying to reach their audience.

It’s an exciting time for branded content. I look forward to seeing how it evolves this year.

Images: Pixabay 1, 2

Susan Payton is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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