The case for unbranded content marketing

By Lyndsey • NewsCred Blog • Aug 27, 2012

There’s a difference between “regular content” and content that truly reaches its potential in the world of digital marketing.

As Twist Image president Mitch Joel pointed out in an August 11 blog post, the difficulty with branded content marketing is authenticity. The alternative is unbranded content, marketing that doesn’t overtly reference the brand turned publisher.

Below are a few tips to maximize your content marketing strategy while maintaining the integrity of your brand:

Make your social media content substantive

Except for die-hard fans, most people don’t need or want to hear about every move your company makes. Rather than focusing only on press releases and shameless self-promotion, compose tweets that reflect an interesting element of your business or the industry as a whole. This will bring an extra dimension to your marketing strategy; fans will actually follow you, care about the content released, and eventually become customers. For example, Kayak tweets content from third-party publishers like Yahoo!, Lonely Planet, and Travel + Leisure covering everything from the best summer festivals and useful airline travel tips, to beautiful world photos and quotes from experts.

Don’t shield customers from facts

Using a blog to employ your content marketing strategy makes it very easy to feed an audience the perspective of your brand. But content marketing can get tricky when it comes to providing “the facts” because readers are aware of the company’s position. When reading branded content, readers are automatically more skeptical about its credibility and authenticity. It’s okay to introduce multiple viewpoints and a healthy debate, in fact, audiences like that. Unbranded content makes the blog look more like a thought leadership portal than a cheap advertising ploy. It’s also important to think like a journalist when selecting and curating the content. As studies have shown, the most important factor that influences social sharing of an article is its source. As a result, a brand can boost its credibility simply by using quality sources.

Be patient, it takes time

An effective content marketing strategy involves articles that are connected loosely to reinforce the way the business works, its goals, mission, and target audience. Weaving together layers of content creates a fabric that characterizes the company. This fabric does not feel cheap. Rather, it is a complicated web of digital content that is valuable not just to the brand but also to the customer consuming it. Seemingly contrary to today’s high-speed digital transfer of information, the results of unbranded content marketing are not immediate. The goal is not to inspire a customer to impulsively buy a product; rather, it is to subtly position the brand as an indispensable source of both information and services or products. Over time, the brand becomes amplified.

As the Internet becomes saturated with more content, it is increasingly important for brands to differentiate themselves. Brands that direct their marketing efforts towards delivering high-quality, unbranded content will maximize their potential as reputable sources of both information and products.

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