In 2007, Lauren Luke was a single-mom working as a cab dispatcher. Because she was a skilled make-up artist, she decided to start selling make-up on eBay as a side business. She also developed a series of YouTube videos to help people use her products. This videos drove massive amounts of traffic to her electronic storefront. Eventually, she quit her day job, and now she has her own line of makeup that is distributed through Sephora.
Marketing gurus call the key to Lauren’s success branded content. Lauren produced content that was so valuable to her customers that they kept coming back to her store and sharing this content with her friends.
Maybe your business could be next!
What Is Branded Content
Branded content is a blend of information and advertising. Most people don’t trust pure advertising. Its credibility seems to be undermined by the interest that the company has in getting new customers. Traditional advertising does not offer much value to its audience. Today, the Internet and other communication technologies has disrupted traditional advertising. Customers can talk back and let people know that a business has failed to deliver.
It is possible for companies to offer content that is purely informational and educational without any vested interest. This is a good strategy, but it can take a while to work.
Branded content offers value to the audience but also promotes the business brand. For example, Lauren Luke’s videos offered real value. They showed women how to effectively apply eye makeup. The videos also engendered trust. Lauren was no supermodel, but her willingness to appear on video and use the makeup one herself lead everyday women to trust her. But she was not just teaching women to use makeup in general – she was teaching them how to use the products that she sold in her store. Thus, her videos are an example of branded content.
Branded content can build trust and rapport with your target market as well as promote your products and services. So how can you get started creating branded content for your business?
Identify Your Brand
The first step in creating amazing branded content is to identify your brand. If your brand is high-end and elegant, then producing content using slapstick humor is not going to work. Your content needs to reflect your brand identity. You have to develop a consistent voice for all your content. Otherwise, it will be tough for your audience to identify your message.
Develop Valuable Content
Once you have your brand identity, then you can focus on content. Offer something of value that your customers want. Here you might want to interview and listen to your best customers.
Lauren Luke noticed that her customers were asking her questions about how to apply the makeup she was selling. By answering these questions, she was able to create a steady stream of effective branded content that was really valuable to her customers.
So what are your customers asking you about? For example, landscapers might get questions about keeping a lawn healthy. A contractor might get questions about protecting the surface of driveways and patios. A health store might get questions about nutritious and healthy cooking. Building content around these questions adds value for your customers. Showing how your products and services can help advocates your brand.
Tell a Good Story
People enjoy a good story where the hero saves the day. They want to see the transformation that can accompany the use of your business’ products and services. Lauren Luke’s videos told a story about going from bland to glam with eye makeup. A home remodeler can tell stories about how his work transforms kitchens from bland to drab. Think about the stories that your business could tell. Put those in a dramatic and entertaining form to grab the attention of your audience.
Your branded content may not turn you into the next Lauren Luke, but it sure can help you grow your business. By producing valuable content, with great story telling, you can attract new customers and drive sales and profits.