Writing content is not enough. Content that is not seen is worthless. Every marketer must think about developing content – organic or paid — that not only drives engagement, but also compels prospective customers to act.
With the rise of branded content studios from publishers like Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, and Bustle, marketers have more choices than ever for branded content partners. Marketers must move past the basics of page views and industry average indexes (i.e., “Your article performed 20% better than your industry index”) for determining the success of the branded content campaign. Marketers must demand more for each branded content campaign.
Every marketer should consider these 4 A’s of branded content before buying their next branded content campaign. Scoring a branded content proposal along these four A’s will help you – the marketer — decide where to deploy your ad dollars. Marketers should never buy a campaign where at least 3 of the 4 A’s aren’t fully met.
Branded content on a site without the authority is no better than buying a large display ad. Authority establishes creditability. Every brand wants to transfer the authority of a publisher, writer or influencer to its products or position. Using someone else’s authority offers the brand the endorsement – or at least the guise of an endorsement — needed to become more creditable.
Content riddled with disruptive ads, awful widgets, and page view advancers should be avoided at all cost. Your audience does not want to be annoyed by your content; rather, they want to be delighted by it. Going the extra mile to create content that’s not only useful, but also delightful and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes goes a long way in building brand affinity.
On a scale from beautiful to awful, think of Quartz and WP Brand Studio’s branded content as beautiful and Buzzfeed’s as annoying and awful.
Content not seen is worthless. Content seen by the wrong audience is worthless. Branded content campaigns without scale rarely justify the cost of production. Marketers should choose publishers who have the right audience or can guarantee the right audience engages with the content. If all of the audience has to be purchased via Facebook or a content network, then you may want to consider other branded content studios so you get the most bang for your buck.
Content should be developed both to test messages and deliver those messages. Understanding how a certain message performs is an important consumer insight. Measuring the attention made per message element via a viewer’s taps, clicks, dwells, or views by their respective audience segment is powerful.
By measuring element level attention, marketers are able to optimize content campaigns and evolve their segment-level messaging. These insights should also be used to improve secondary and tertiary phases of campaigns that inform targeted ad buys for mid-funnel and last-touch before acquisition.