The Dos and Don’ts for Brand Content

Brands creating their own content isn’t a new thing at this point, but brands creating good branded content is something new and something that needs work. It’s not easy trying to create content that people actual want to consume and that also somehow has something to do with a brand and its message.

We asked people on both sides of the issue, brands and publishers, to share their dos and don’ts when it comes to creating branded content that is actually valuable to their audiences.

Jonah Peretti, CEO, BuzzFeed 
Do push for your own interests, but do it in a way that isn’t anti-user. The classic conflict is wanting a takeover and pushdown unit. “I want to make it so people see our ad, not the content.” We spend a fair amount of time advising, You say you want this, but you really don’t.
Don’t not have a point of view. It’s hard to create content from a vague wishy-washy position. A struggle most brands have is they don’t have a point of view.

Erich Marx, director of interactive and social media marketing, Nissan North America 
Do make sure that the brand has a role to play — a role that is authentic and organic to the content. Doing this will enhance brand linkage and message=recall among viewers. And do produce content that is appropriate for the media on which you plan to promote/distribute it. For example, videos should be no longer than two minutes (ideally less) if Facebook is a primary point of distribution.
Don’t produce content in which the brand is the punch line. Brands should never play the fool. Brands should never be Gilligan. And don’t expect every single piece of content to “go viral.” Patience is key. Building a brand is a marathon, not a sprint.

John Shankman, publisher, The Awl
Do think about branded content as any producer, editor or creator at a media company would think of any project they work on. We’re all in the production business now, including marketers.
Don’t force a production with huge budgets. Great productions are fueled by passion, timing (right time, right place) and talent, not necessarily huge budgets. While huge brand budgets are amazing and can certainly make a production great, it’s not a guaranteed silver bullet for success. Excellent producers and talented creators is what makes a production worthwhile and shareable, and the Internet can easily tell what’s made which way.

Linda Boff, executive director of global digital marketing, GE
Do value relevancy over eyeballs. We aren’t after the largest audience, but rather the most relevant one and be real-time whenever possible.
Don’t interrupt and hit people over the head until they get the message. Find a way to be part of the dialogue, or else just listen. And don’t forget: Branded content doesn’t necessarily mean content about our brand!

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