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Understanding the value of branded content

Brands and marketers alike have struggled to come up with a definition for branded content, partly because the industry is constantly changing. At Pressboard, we define branded content as any published media that a brand has had a hand in producing. This means content created specifically for the purpose of publication with a publisher, such as NBCUniversal, USA Today or Bustle. Brands leverage the trust, expertise and reach of premium publishers, allowing them to connect with new, highly targeted audiences.

Keeping up with an evolving industry

Branded content has become way more than a buzzword. This form of advertising has transformed since the early days of advertorial, with more publishers and advertisers investing in it than ever before.

Whether you’re a startup aiming to disrupt an industry or a Fortune 500 company like IBM or JP Morgan Chase trying to build relationships with new generations of customers, both small and large businesses are looking for innovative ways to engage with audiences — and the best way to do that is through stories, not ads.

In addition to being a tool for relationship-building, branded content is proving to be an answer to concerns of long-term sustainability by becoming a major revenue opportunity for most publishers. The biggest names in the business have overhauled their teams to make branded content an essential part of their digital ad revenue.

Banishing the banner ad

Regardless of what you create, your content must strive to do more than traditional advertising. Why? Because consumers are no longer interested in banner ads (and possibly never were).

Data shows that an estimated 25% of internet users use ad-blockers; between 2014 and 2018, Netflix, which is ad free, grew from 50 million to 125 million subscribers. The simple truth is that people just don’t like ads, and they’ll pay to avoid them both online and while watching their favorite shows. So marketers need to provide them with something that communicates their brand values in a way that truly resonates with them.

Consumers like branded content because it’s less about selling products and more about providing value. Ascend Integrated Media reported that 70% of consumers wanted to learn about products through content and responded positively to brands that provided them with thoughtful subject matter expertise.

Consumers like branded content because its less about selling products and more about providing value.

Branded content is the new way to build relationships. It intentionally serves the reader without interrupting them. It aims to communicate what the brand stands for, the kinds of stories it likes to champion and the kinds of ideas it wants to stand next to. It’s marketing for the 21st century.

70% of consumers wanted to learn about products through content and responded positively to brands that provided them with thoughtful subject matter expertise.

In the name of branded content love

Why are more and more companies investing in branded content? It’s not just a vanity tool — though having your byline on Fast Company or The Wall Street Journal is an amazing feeling. Branded content is the most effective way to capture the attention of and build trust with new audiences — and as all marketers know, time (a.k.a. attention) is money.

Branded content is often a premium product with prices ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 and above depending on your partners and the size of the campaign. As such, more teams have taken it upon themselves to prove the effectiveness of branded content. The good news is that beyond being a powerful awareness tool, content can translate directly into more eyes on your brand’s website and more cash in your till.

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