First Media presents a glossary of branded content terms to help you learn and hone your marketing vocabulary about this important aspect of marketing.
Content is king. But with countless strategies to learn and apply, navigating the world of content marketing can be challenging. Branded content is an important approach for marketers to understand – and the concepts associated with this strategy are equally significant. Explore the fundamental terms in branded content marketing.
Definition: Branded content is a form of content marketing that emphasizes a brand’s story and values rather than only advertising a specific product or service.
Example: Branded podcasts, series, movies, and events are larger-scale examples of branded content (the LEGO movies, original series on Apple TV+, etc.). You can also see examples of branded content on a smaller but still impactful scale, with social media, user-generated content, hashtag challenges, influencer marketing, and more.
Definition: Content marketing refers to any type of advertising that happens through content a brand creates.
Example: Podcasts, TikTok videos, Instagram posts, video games, and branded TV shows are all forms of content marketing – plus dozens of others. First Media’s strategy incorporates short-form video, long-form video, and influencer marketing – different types of content marketing – to reach and engage audiences at every stage of the marketing funnel.
Definition: Every piece of media in content marketing is aimed at a specific target audience – the particular group of viewers that content is directed toward.
Example: When developing an Instagram campaign to advertise a new anti-acne skincare product, a brand determines its target audience and learns facts about their behavior and demographics. The content created for the campaign is produced with that target audience in mind.
Definition: The definition of high-quality content depends on the person defining it. However, most brands, marketing professionals, and audiences agree that high-quality content should be visually captivating, skillfully produced, engaging to viewers, and include an action-driven message.
Example: First Media’s publishing brands, like Blossom and So Yummy, display high-quality content that offers value to viewers. Leading with original content that captivates audiences and drives them to action, each piece of content is produced using the best digital storytelling practices.
Definition: A brand story is the message of a brand’s values, origin, mission, and offerings. It paints a picture for audiences about the who and why of the brand. Branded content is an excellent way for brands to explore and narrate their story.
Example: Dove’s 2004 branded “Real Beauty” campaign exemplifies the benefits of branded content for telling a brand story. The company produced a series of videos aiming to boost women’s self-confidence, creating a campaign that embodied Dove’s mission statement while gathering audiences together.
Definition: User-generated content – content created and published by consumers – is an essential tool in branded marketing. When customers create UGC, companies benefit from branded content marketing (building a brand story, driving users to action via emotional connection) at no cost.
Example: After a recent purchase, a customer posts on Instagram plugging their favorite parts of a new product. They tag the brand in the post, showing their friends, family, and followers that they believe in the brand and prompting others to purchase.
Definition: Brands often collaborate with creators, influencers, or other companies to create branded content advertising their products or services in exchange for money, products, etc. These collaborations are called paid partnerships.
Example: A sportswear brand starts a paid partnership with a lifestyle influencer known for content about outdoor sports. They collaborate on branded content that presents audiences with a message about the brand’s story and how it matches the influencer’s values and lifestyle.
Definition: Influencer marketing is popular in a variety of marketing strategies, but it’s especially helpful for branded content. With this tactic, brands collaborate with influencers or creators in paid partnerships in which influencers create and publish content on their platforms to entice and engage users.
Example: First Media employs influencer marketing to amplify content in a range of formats, from branded content to shoppable content and more. For example, influencers may make content to further enhance other campaigns, as we did in our Shoppable Walmart 360° campaign. Following a 10-episode TV series, influencers created custom content to amplify the brand story in partnership with First Media.
Definition: Branded content collaborations typically happen between brands and influencers, creators, or other companies.
Example: First Media facilitates collaborations between brands and influencers to produce content that aligns with each brand’s mission, values, and story. Collaborations typically feature content that is worked on and approved by both parties, whereas paid partnership content may be managed or overseen only by the brand.
Definition: In marketing, personas are fictitious examples of a brand’s target audience. They represent who the target audience is, including their demographics, goals, interests, and behaviors, and take a realistic customer journey.
Example: A cookware company develops a buyer persona to better understand its target audience. One persona is “Sam,” a social-media-savvy college student looking for affordable kitchenware for her new apartment. As they develop Sam’s persona, they flesh out her interests, budget, product preferences, pain points in buying new products, and other behaviors that will give them insight into how they can market to her.
Definition: Content strategy is the approach behind a content marketing tactic – the ideas and plan that make content marketing work efficiently.
Example: Brands choose which specific tactics to include in their content strategy. For example, a brand may employ influencer marketing and branded content in one campaign but leave out influencer marketing in the next, depending on budget, objectives, and target audience.
Definition: Content audits are when brands or third-party services survey the content a brand has posted on their website, social media, advertising platforms, or elsewhere to analyze its effectiveness.
Example: After a content audit, a company finds that the branded content they’ve published on their socials does not successfully convey their message and story. With that information, they can explore other ways to display that messaging more effectively.
Definition: An audience is a group of people who view or engage with published content.
Example: The audience for a TikTok content campaign is the viewers of the posted videos, including those who just watched and those who commented or engaged.
Making Better Branded Content with First Media
Branded content is an important element in a successful content marketing strategy. With the right team, brands can tell their story to an interested audience in a palatable format. Learn more about custom branded content and other marketing strategies with First Media.