I know everyone is talking about content. But I urge you to take time to read the eBook, Branded Content Marketing. For a start it is free.  Better still, it collates the very best insight, thinking and case studies from around the world.

According to the authors, “Branded content is any content that can be associated with a brand in the eye of the beholder”. It is not just about content that a brand controls. Nor is it content that audiences control. But instead, branded content is an association (purposeful or otherwise) between the content and the brand. It is a good definition for the evolving content marketplace.

Beyond defining branded content, the book journeys into the depths of branded content. It’s detailed. It pushes you to think beyond formats, distribution and brand messages. It demonstrates and discusses the possibilities and the future of content.

And frankly, from a social perspective that is a good thing. There is already too much content in social media for audiences to consume. There is an ever increasing need to stand out. Brands need to take a good look at what they create and how it delivers value.

Looking through a social lens at the book, it strikes me that there are some key perspectives.

Content in context is more relevant than ever

With audience data now at our fingertips, there are no excuses. Content must be relevant to the audience. That doesn’t mean you don’t sometimes take the lead and do something different. You don’t always have to follow trends. But you do need to know your audience behaviours.

Emotional has impact

For years I have been saying that social is driven by passions. Passion to connect, passion to discover, and passion to communicate. Unsurprisingly a common theme throughout the book is the creation of emotional content. For some brands this is a leap. It goes against the traditional message structure. However, the case studies prove again and again that it works.

It’s a narrative not a single content piece

So much is said about creating stories. The ebook goes one step further and explores the ongoing narrative of a brand. This is fundamental in social. Bursts of great content have an impact with audiences, but real game-changers are the brands that take the story on. That means taking the customers on a journey that lasts beyond a campaign.

The real world is the content

Looking at all the case studies and examples there is a common theme. Great digital content is grounded in real life. Either events, personalities or experiences. Last year at IF we ran a survey of consumers to see how they connected the real world and social. You can download our Live Brand Social report if you are interested in what consumers have to say.

Live also means real-time

Real-time marketing is significant. It ensures context, it resonates with audiences and it taps into the zeitgeist. It is the cornerstone of relevance and engagement. This is possibly the most significant development in social content. It is hard to implement, it disrupts ways of working and it forces brands to think about the value of content. We know as we asked brands in our latest report – In the Social Moment! Feel free to download it and benchmark your own performance against other brands.

So grab your tablet and a hot drink and have a read of Branded Content Marketing; you will definitely learn something new and better still, it will inspire you to focus on making your content better.

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