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Branded Content: It's the New Marketing

Here’s a marketing approach that’s a win-win for your web store and your customers.

"Branded content" is an increasingly common term in the business media, and for good reason: It's becoming a well-established, powerful marketing strategy to improve business results. Thanks to search engines, blogs and social media captivating your customers' attention every day, the internet and branded content are a marriage made in heaven. With a little understanding, you can use content marketing to take your business to new heights.

What is branded content?

Branded content is not about directly promoting your product — that's advertising. The two can certainly complement each other, but they aren't one and the same. Branded content is customer-focused material (blog, article, newsletter, white paper, video, etc.) that answers a question Now that you know what and why, you just need to or fulfills a need. Instead of disrupting customers' lives, know how. When you decide to move into the content- you're providing something of interest to your customers that marketing arena, these four key ideas can help you create causes them to willingly engage with you. effective content.

Why you should use branded content

Traditional marketing communications tactics — advertising, direct mail, public relations — help you make customers aware of your product and service. Content does more than that. Done well, it becomes an integral part of your customer value proposition.

Branded content also has the added benefit of being attractive and awareness-building in its own right, thanks to search, social media and word-of-mouth/mouse. In other words, if you put great content out there, customers and prospects will find you, whether you advertise, do PR or send direct mail.

Keys to effective content marketing

Now that you know what and why, you just need to or fulfills a need. Instead of disrupting customers' lives, know how. When you decide to move into the content- you're providing something of interest to your customers that marketing arena, these four key ideas can help you create causes them to willingly engage with you. effective content.

1) Truly pinpoint your target audience. Residential construction professionals are not a target audience. Remodelers? OK, you've set your sights a bit more precisely. Window-replacement contractors? There you go. Now you've got an audience whose persona and interests you can truly focus on and seek to serve with your content.

2) Strategically choose a theme. Use it to help concentrate your content planning and development. Ideally, your theme will have two things going for it: First, it's of high interest and importance to your audience (even if it might be quite arcane or esoteric to people outside the audience group). Second, it resonates with your products, services and brand value proposition — but isn't all about your products and services.

3) Drill into relevant and compelling content topics. Focus on subjects, within your theme, that are most likely to draw in your target audience. While you're at it, be sure to consider your audience's level: Will basic "101" how-to topics be most interesting and useful to them? Or is yours a sophisticated audience where it will take deeper, more advanced subject matter to get them engaged and seeing you as a thought leader?

4) Tailor your content delivery. Be sure to deliver your content, or make it available, via channels that work well for your audience and their lifestyle.

What about traditional marketing

Branded content and marketing communications tactics like advertising, direct mail and PR can be extremely complementary and symbiotic. Instead of using traditional marketing communications tactics to tout your product's latest bells and whistles, or offer a discounted trial period of your service, consider using them to promote your branded content.

Now, instead of thinking of the two as separate or in opposition, you'll be using each to do what it does best. Traditional media and marketing communications to drive reach and build awareness. Content to create a relevant, engaging, value-adding experience for those who follow through on the call to action presented via your traditional marketing touch points.

In other words, branded content and traditional media don't have to be an either-or. They can be an integrated, powerhouse combo.

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