The easiest way to think about branded content is “sponsored content”. This can take the form of written content, videos, webinars, tv commercials, or images and infographics. Although the main purpose is to be interesting or entertaining, by nature, it can often be highly self promotional. There are pros and cons to using branded content in marketing so it’s wise to set a goal before getting started.
Written branded content is often prone to feeling overly self serving. The advertorial style of branded content is not very effective or popular. Depending on your business and industry, this can still be done. Take Adobe for example, they have tons of branded content that includes their products but also have branched out completely with a separate site CMO.com. This is a hub that is separate from their core products but completely sponsored by Adobe to deliver marketing insights and inspiration for and by marketing leaders.
Other branded forms of content are becoming more popular and effective. Some common forms you may have seen are webinars or whitepapers. The goal is to be helpful but ultimately, the goal is to make a sale. There is a fine line when it comes to branded content and advertorials.
Branded content may seem duplicitous, especially if you are promising answers to one question but selling your product/services as that answer. What may seem like an effective branded content marketing campaign for a big company may not work so well for a small business. Bigger companies have the benefit of brand awareness and a wider audience, so that they might not even have to put their brand name on the branded content in order for it to still be effective.
At the end of the day, branded content can be innovative and interesting but it can also be stale when overdone. Take a look at competitors and big players in the industry to see how you can incorporate effective pieces of branded content into your marketing plan.