Over the past 10 years, all major media groups in Brazil have invested in creating departments that produce and distribute content to their clients.
Editora Globo has a branded content studio called G.Lab that has been producing content for companies since 2017. The latest results are remarkable, registering a 100% revenue growth in the last 18 months.
In a world where traditional advertising has come to compete for audience attention across multiple electronic devices, especially smartphones, branded content is seen as an efficient way to engage users.
Initially, publishers’ main argument for convincing brands to partner with them in a content strategy was that only they, the publishers, were able to offer safety, context, credibility, endorsement, expertise, and reach. Today, publishers have focused their efforts on measuring and demonstrating the effectiveness of the content they produce for brands.
The truth is companies have been using content for different purposes, carefully observing the changes in media consumption patterns.
The following is an evolutionary development of the various uses of the content produced by Editora Globo for its clients. The following topics can serve as a modest toolbox for branded content producers.
1. Be native
Branded content, regardless of format, needs to be published in the best context and seamlessly integrated into a publisher’s editorial content. This ensures editorial endorsement, which is essential for brands with advocacy purposes or that want to lead the conversation on a particular issue.
The content dissemination strategy must also be native, using “native ads” that have a look and feel much closer to the content than to the advertising. The content should be clearly communicated to users as “sponsored,” “paid,” or “branded content.”
Guaranteed reach is an important point: The client knows the content will generate a minimum audience threshold — for example, pageviews ranging from 5,000 to 10,000.
2. Have in-depth conversations
Content can support traditional advertising efforts and deepen the conversations brands have with their audiences around their priority themes and causes.
Many brands today want to know how their content investments can improve an audience’s perception and consideration of them and/or in the territories they want to occupy. An interesting case is what O Globo and Valor Econômico did together with Bradesco bank.
Over the course of eight months, a series of 40 videos about the start-up accelerator Inovabra was produced and distributed, addressing themes like entrepreneurship and innovation.
A brand lift survey could prove that users impacted by the content changed their consideration regarding the association of the brand with the proposed themes. The work earned G.Lab a distinction with a Native Advertising Institute award in the “most effective native advertising campaign” category.
3. Have a stock of answers
What should guide the production of branded content is the understanding of consumer behaviour in the digital environment. In general terms, people are:
- Looking for good content to consume via streaming.
- Searching for information about products and services.
- Buying, renting, booking, and exchanging.
- Interacting with content feeds.
- Looking for answers about everything.
As such, brands should be concerned with providing answers to the questions people ask online all the time. For this, producing content observing SEO techniques is a fundamental principle for publishers.
4. Get out of the “noise” in the search engines
Brands have invested in content to get rid of annoying noises on Google. When publishers with a high authority score on search engines produce content and reference a brand through backlinks, they are indirectly helping to improve the brand’s domain authority score on Google.
At the same time, the content produced for the brand increases the capacity to neutralise the occurrence of other undesirable content in a given search. Thus, branded content helps brands control the narrative about themselves and their products.
5. Share “brandformance”
It is possible to measure how a branded content strategy is able to influence the audience and contribute to a brand’s goals — and disseminate its results in real time.
A good example of what we call “brandformance” can be seen in the “Investe Safra” project, carried out by the newspaper Valor Econômico together with the bank Safra. Focused on finance and investment news, the project’s mission is to give Safra the opportunity to offer relevant content to a very qualified audience on a daily basis. The various components of this campaign include:
- A branded channel with more than 400 articles, including the distribution of the “Morning Call” daily video across Valor’s social platforms.
- A customised cluster for the advertiser, based on audience members that interact with the advertiser’s message.
- Measurement of engagement (time spent and interaction on social) and reach of every content unit as guidelines for decisions concerning format, tone, and themes.
- A chatbot survey embedded at the bottom of every article that assesses contents’ net promoter score (NPS), brand recognition and advertiser’s interaction score.
- All the results (pageviews, unique views, time spent, social engagement, clickthrough rate, NPS, etc.) are integrated in real time in one dashboard
Sharing the results of all content efforts in real time and in a unified dashboard gives the advertiser an accurate sense of return on investment.
6. Brand as a publisher or getting data in the “cookieless world”
Brands have long wanted to be publishers, and many of them have a real vocation to do so. The decision to produce proprietary content serves different purposes, such as generating your own audience, accessing the first-party data, and creating your own marketing funnel.
Publishers can also help with the “brand as publisher” plan. They can provide expertise in content production and/or distribution as well as accelerate audience growth of the proprietary platforms by supporting a “link building” strategy.
It is to be assumed that the evolution of the different uses of content by brands directly implies the set of professionals’ skills who work in the teams of branded content studios.
With the rise of formats such as podcasts, live video streams, and social posts, it’s imperative to have multi-media creation experts and social media analysts on your team. Likewise, audience growth and research specialists capable of integrating metrics into user-friendly dashboards are highly wanted profiles.
Fortunately, journalists, designers, and videographers are increasingly interested in the branded content universe.