We've heard it before; we'll hear it again: "Content is King." This three-word phrase is being thrown around left and right in the marketing world.
The relevance and the context of the content are also important factors for businesses to consider as they develop their content marketing strategies.
Content marketing is an inbound initiative that marketers use in an effort to build brand awareness, thought leadership, traffic and profits. You might ask, "What type of content are other businesses using and what can my business do?"
A MailOnline study found that about two thirds of brands (66%) and agencies (65%) say that branded content marketing has become very important or most important to their marketing mix. (Tweet this stat!)
Here are key findings from the MailOnline study as well as takeaway tips your small business can use now.
Related: Need help with your branded online marketing? Get a quick quote
Branded Content = Brand Lift
Agencies and other businesses continuously look to build brand awareness. Whether its via digitals ads or social media, marketers look for ways to build brand awareness among their target audience. In the MailOnline survey, branded content was listed amongst the most effective branding tactics, virtually tied with video as a leader. Branded content can lead to a brand lift, i.e. an increase in brand awareness, attitudes, favorability, intent, and preference. When it comes to branded content, three steps are a must: creation, action, and measurement. MailOnline found:
- When it comes to creation, 71% of agencies said they partner with the publishers that they are buying the media from. This tactic leads all others. (Tweet this stat!)
- 83% of respondents take action by using branded marketing content for their website or email and over two-thirds have partnered with content providers to create and distribute branded content beyond their own websites.
- To measure effectiveness, the top response for agencies (30%) was "Brand Lift," and the top response for brands (32%) was "Sales Lift."
Branded Content for Small Businesses
By now, your small business should be honing in on its content marketing strategy. However, a solid content strategy needs to incorporate branded pieces, from infographics to white papers to tutorial videos. Branded content provides you with the opportunity to showcase employees and company culture, the mission and objectives of your business, and allows you to start the conversation with a potential customer. There are 4 steps your small business should take to get started with branded content, or take your current branded content strategy to the next level.
- Evaluate your target audience. What type of content will, or does, your target audience respond positively to? Consider how you can integrate your branded content pieces into the types of content marketing that will be successful.
- Invest in one way or another. The MailOnline survey revealed that brands are increasing their investments in content marketing with 72% saying their spending on branded content increased in the past year (Tweet this stat!) and 69% predicting a budget increase on top of that in the coming year. If you can't invest funds, invest your time to create more compelling branded content.
- Focus on the conversation, not the pitch. Branded content builds brand awareness. If you use branded content to pitch more often than you use it connect with customers, that brand impression you're building won't be a positive one.
- Distribute the right content across the right channels and to the right customer base. It's all about getting your content to the right people at the right time. Make sure you are distributing your branded content in the right places, such as social networks and via email, to get it in front of the audience it's created for.
Creating and distributing content will allow your business to build brand awareness, new impressions and it will provide you with the opportunities you need to reach your ideal customers. Determine the metrics your business is most interested in and the type of content your customer wants and values to take your branded content strategy to the next level.