In today’s digital landscape there’s a massive amount of content being created and shared online every day. Consumers who’re already leading hyper-connected, mobile-first lifestyles are becoming much better at filtering out things that aren’t useful or relevant to them. They are blocking ads, avoiding pop-ups, and so on. In this age of information overload, no consumer wants to suffer through a 60, 30 or even a 15-second pre-roll ad on YouTube unless it’s giving him or her something of value.
Traditional marketing and advertising has rapidly evolved from being a transactional push communication to a delightful interaction between the advertiser and the consumer. This paradigm shift has pushed brands to embrace the need for creating content that informs, entertains and delivers value to their audience.
Brands, essentially, have to look at marketing as the ability to make a genuinely valuable connection with a consumer. This deeper emotional connection between a brand and a consumer can be fostered via great content. Beyond a mere fleeting impact, great content truly provides the foundation for a trusting, sustained relationship with your customers.
In fact, quality content has become a critical tool in a brand’s marketing arsenal. Now to produce content that’s memorable and rises above the clutter, marketers need to not only possess a nuanced understanding of their audience’s unique interests and needs, but also know what content formats and types they prefer.
To begin creating branded content that sparks an emotional connection with your audience, follow these key principles:
1. Be authoritative
Consumers value the opinion of brands or people who exude a sense of authority and influence. You can do that through the content you create. Authoritative content is simple, offers your readers valuable insight into a topic, and solves a problem for them.
2. Don’t focus on selling
Your audience is smart and they can easily determine whether your content lacks sincerity or authenticity. Avoid staying preoccupied with selling your brand, product or service. Instead, offer your customers something of value.
3. Focus on quality instead of quantity
Churning out more and more content is not the answer to enticing and sustaining your audience. Throw too much information at your customers and they can be easily overwhelmed. Instead, abide by the mantra of less is more. Be tactful by providing your audience with the best possible content; just don’t overdo it.
4. Incorporate innovative content formats
The goal of branded content is to spark a conversation with your audience. Make it engaging and interesting by going beyond predictable content formats like articles and static images. Instead, think about how you can make your content more interactive. For example, formats like videos, GIFs, cartoons and memes are a good way to add a healthy dose of humor and entertainment to your content.
5. Be honest
A big part of humanizing your brand is to stay real and honest with your customers or audience. Storytelling is a great tactic to attract your audience, but make sure you’re not fabricating tales. You have to not only demonstrate credibility and integrity in the content you create, but retain it as well.
Quality content designed to meet your audience’s unique needs and interests is the perfect way to humanize your brand and to show your customers your brand’s unique personality.