Branded Content: 5 Keys for Effective Storytelling

Think of your favorite piece of video content over the past year. Odds are, you didn’t think of a commercial. You probably thought of a TV show, a movie or even a piece of branded content. When it comes to branded content, it’s important to remember that it’s not the same as advertising.

Consumers are savvy, they know when they’re being sold to and with technology, they can often avoid watching anything that interrupts their desired program. The key is to create something that people actually want to watch and share.

Here are five tips to enable your storytelling without compromising the story. 

1.) Don’t force feed the product to your viewers. Branded content should reveal something about who you are and what you stand for—it shouldn’t be used to hit your audience over the head with product placement and promotional language. Use other tactics for the selling, this one is for engaging viewers, building loyalty and ultimately advocacy for your brand. 

2.) If you’re going to use a click-bait title, you better deliver. Titles are important. Sure, using some click-bait elements might be necessary to generate initial interest. But keep your viewers’ expectations realistic. Don’t use titles that are over the top in terms of what your video delivers. You might have a short-term boost in eyeballs on your content, but if you make an outlandish claim in a title that your video can’t satisfy, you’ll damage your credibility. Content marketing is a long-term play to build consumer relationships. Don’t erode your audience’s trust; it’s not worth it.

3.) Partner with the right influencers. All of our lives are public nowadays. So, if you’re going to partner with an influencer on a video project, make sure it’s someone who has a real connection to your brand, or you may risk having it ring hollow or even result in a backlash. Don’t go with someone because of their high follower count alone.


4.) Have a promotional plan in place. If you create the best video in the world and nobody sees it, was the video ever made? With social platforms constantly  changing their wonky algorithms, it’s not enough to produce high-quality video content. If you’re investing in video, you need to invest in a strategy and a roll-out plan that ensures that your content has the best chance of being consumed.

5.) Remember your target audience. We all need to keep something very simple in mind: we’re talking to consumers, not our fellow marketers. As such, it should come as no surprise that agencies and brands are tapping people who come from outside the marketing bubble for video support. People from TV networks, film and journalism, who have different perspectives and skill sets than classic marketers. Their storytelling expertise paired within the framework of marketing can help form authentic connections with consumers through quality branded experiences—as long as we remember who the content is intended for.

Following these principles is essential to produce content that breaks through to target audiences. At Big Brick, everything we produce is built to amplify what makes our clients genuine, different and appealing. Focusing on authenticity and delivering value to the viewer are the pillars of great content. We could chat about this stuff all day—want to join the conversation? Hit us up.

Matt Doyle is executive producer and director of Big Brick Productions, experienced crafting campaigns and branded content for a wide range of brands including MasterCard, PayPal, Red Bull, Mountain Dew, New Balance, Timberland and more. Before founding Big Brick, Matt spent 13 years at ESPN as a feature producer for SportsCenter, College Gameay, Sunday NFL Countdown and Outside the Lines. He also served as executive producer/co-creator for the award-winning series“Gruden’s QB Camp,” “Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports” and “Training Days.”

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