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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hayes

7 tips for creating a successful branded content initiative

Branded content creation is an important tool every local media publisher and organization needs to have in their toolbox in today’s rapidly changing and competitive landscape. Done correctly, great branded content can deepen your relationship with your audience, strengthen your connection with your advertisers, and generate new revenue.

Mike Mocklar, President and Chief Creative Officer of Mocklar Consulting, an innovative content strategy and production company based in Atlanta, G.A. shares seven tips to help your branded content initiative get off to the right start.

  1. Get Support at the Top - The difference between having leaders who understand and believe in a branded content project and leaders who don’t is the difference between success and failure. You’ll need resources, patience and creativity to make this work. Make sure you’re getting it from above.

  2. Find Key Evangelists - Identify the cheerleaders for your initiative… the people who will keep leadership excited, educate the sales team and be the experts who preach the benefits of branded content. Find your passionate people and empower them to lead and spread the word.

  3. Create a Specialized Sales Package - Don’t just take an old sales deck or powerpoint and slap a new title on it. Branded content is different and exciting, and most importantly, it needs to be sold in a different way than traditional advertising. Take the time to make your presentation unique to create buzz.

  4. Break Down Silos - Your sales department can’t handle this on its own. They need to partner with your content, marketing and social teams to make this work. Branded content can also live next to editorial content, so those teams need to be on the same page. The real benefit here is that different departments bring different perspectives to the project. Collaboration and communication spark creativity, which leads to increased revenue.

  5. Make Sizzles and Samples - You can ask ten different people what branded content is and get ten different answers. That’s why it’s crucial to show, not tell. Show clients what a successful branded content campaign will look like through a sample article, video and social post. Once you have some campaigns under your belt, pull together a sizzle reel to delight clients and colleagues.

  6. Simple is Better - Branded content is a big sandbox to play in and the temptation is to keep adding elements to the project. Resist! Don’t overwhelm your sales team with 15 different variations of branded content when they’ve never sold one before. Create 2 or 3 simple sales packages that are well defined and created in partnership with your content and marketing teams to ensure their success. Focus on creating a simple, great product and expand out from there.

  7. Know Your Value Proposition - At the end of the day, you are trying to create engaging content which works for your audience, advertiser and organization. Start with the value proposition of your audience. What do they want? What can you and your advertiser create which will entertain and engage them? What value are you bringing them? Answer those questions and your branded content initiative will work for all parties.


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The Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Local Media Association, the Local Media Consortium, and the Facebook Journalism Project to help facilitate additional growth, engagement, and revenue success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.

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