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Why branded and sponsored content can be a great investment — when done right

You are likely aware of branded and sponsored content. But can you clearly articulate what the benefits of creating this type of content are — and the importance of getting it right? Below we’ll break down for you the reasons why branded and sponsored content can be a great investment, when done right.

Let’s begin with what branded and sponsored content are.

The difference between branded and sponsored content

The difference between branded and sponsored content comes down to two factors: who is producing said content and where is it being published.

Branded content is content that is produced in house by a brand, or by an external editorial partner, to be published on that brand’s channels (social media, blog, catalog, etc.). Sponsored content tends to be produced in collaboration with a publisher’s editorial team to be published in that specific publication. The former is intended for the brand’s audience, while the latter reaches the publisher’s audience. Both types of content are similar in their focus (entertaining and/or educating) and their approach (storytelling, often journalistic).

Are branded and sponsored content worth the investment?

Let’s start by looking at the problem and the opportunity it presents.

The average person is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 digital ads per day, and frankly, people are tired of being sold to. Instead, they are craving real connection. In fact, 87 percent of customers said they want to develop more meaningful relationships with brands.

Enter branded content.

Considering consumers’ increasing resistance to traditional advertising, branded content is a fantastic way for brands to connect with their audience and create engaging experiences that can lead to increased loyalty and brand recognition. But don’t take our word for it.

According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, 86 percent of B2C marketers believe that branded content is a key strategy for building trust with their audience (kudos if you are one of these people!). And with trust being a crucial factor in brand loyalty, it’s clear that producing branded content can have a significant impact on a brand’s bottom line.

Branded content can also help brands differentiate themselves from their competitors and stand out in a crowded marketplace. By creating content that is unique, memorable and relevant to your target audience, you can set your brand apart. In fact, a recent study by Nielsen found that branded content generates 86 percent higher brand recall than traditional advertising methods.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, sponsored content offers a way to promote your brand to a highly targeted and engaged audience. By partnering with publishers who have a similar target audience as your brand, you can ensure that your content is seen by the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service. This means that your investment is more likely to result in conversions and a positive ROI.

But that’s not all. If done well, both sponsored and branded content are more engaging than traditional advertising formats. Consumers are more likely to engage with content that feels authentic and relevant to their interests. Thus, by creating sponsored content that aligns with the interests and values of your target audience, you can build a deeper connection with them. A study by the Content Marketing Institute found that 82 percent of consumers have a more positive view of a company after reading custom content.

Clearly, investing in branded and sponsored content is a good idea. BUT … there’s a catch.

Branded content must be done well to be effective

By their nature, branded and sponsored content are designed to stand out from traditional advertising. But, in order to be effective, they must also blend in. Branded content shouldn’t be salesly or promotional. It should be compelling and emotional in order to resonate with consumers. It should humanize your brand and demonstrate how your values align with those of your ideal customer.

To do this well, look to storytelling.

As entrepreneur and journalist Anastasia Chernikova wrote for Entrepreneur Magazine, “The right story still sparks that primal part of the human psyche that engages our emotions and fosters a sense of meaningful connection to each other and the brand telling the story. In essence, stories are how we think and assign meaning to our lives.”

Storytelling offers the simplest, most effective path to building a connection with your audience through branded content. Business expert, marketer and storyteller Talbot Logan puts it this way: “Without an emotional connection or an understanding of what a brand stands for, the ability to drive any kind of loyalty and engender any kind of brand advocacy is impossible.”

So, the jury is in, and the verdict is clear: Branded and sponsored content can be a great investment — when done right. And, done right often means telling an authentic, compelling story.

Anecdote is a team of creative and strategic thinkers, writers and editors specializing in editorial development and management. We partner with brands that share our commitment to quality and craftsmanship to create premium journalistic content that builds connections and fosters community. 

If you are looking to outsource your blog needs or need some help on your next editorial project, we would love to hear from you. 

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