Branded content is not for every brand. There. I said it.
There will be brands reading this that won't be happy with me saying it. But it's true. So I'm saying it. There you have it.
For me, there needs to be two key elements in the decision-making process for a brand when deciding whether to jump into branded content. Does your brand have a genuinely interesting story to tell? And does your brand have the resources to invest in doing the telling of that story justice? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then branded content isn't for you I'm afraid. Sorry. It doesn't mean I don't love you.
Firstly, your story. Is it genuinely, compellingly informative? Does it entertain? Would non-consumers of your brand's products/services actively seek out your story, love it, share it? These are the questions you have to sit down with and objectively consider. But there is hope. Most brands have a genuinely interesting story in them somewhere. Do you have a really positive impact on someone who really needs it? Are you a hero to someone, although you might not realise it? Do you do brilliant CSR work that never gets enough credit? Are you the very best in the world at what you do? Can your brand bring people together like no other brand can? If so, happy days. Move on to question two.
Resources. Bloody resources. It's all well and good having a brilliant story to tell. But unless you commit to investing in the telling of that story, then you're just going to undo all of your good work. Obviously, as an ex-publisher, I would recommend investing in a smart, targeted distribution plan to get to your key demographics. But you might be happy to use your own website and/or social channels if you believe they have enough reach. But please, for the love of all that is good, invest in creating really good content to tell your story. Invest in a great writer to produce your copy. Invest in high-quality imagery and videography. The difference between investing in a cheap, gif-driven listicle that will get 50 views and a gorgeous multimedia native article that will get 50,000 views might a couple of grand, but the difference in brand uplift will be stark.
If you think your company could benefit from branded content above is a minute-something of what brands with a great story to tell and the resources to invest in doing their stories justice looked like in 2016. Enjoy.