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Branded Content Engages, Informs and Connects

June 6, 2019 | By Lucia Blackwell

Readers are looking for content that meets their needs. Answers a question they have. Solves a problem. Gives them an advantage. Makes them look smarter, funnier, more in touch. Branded content offers readers information that’s of value to them and positions businesses as expert resources who can help meet those needs. Branded content can include articles, video, podcasts and events, but whatever form the content takes, the needs of the audience come first. It’s all about building connections.

Why would a business want to build connections with readers?

  • A recent IPG Media Lab-led study shows consumers are 14% more likely to look for more content from an advertiser after being exposed to branded content.
  • Seeing how consumers engage with content offers brands valuable insights into their customers and potential customers.
  • A Roper Survey of business decision makers found that 80% prefer to get information about a purchase from articles rather than advertising.
  • The same survey found that 70% say content makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company and 60% say content helps them make better buying decisions.

Tips for successful branded content

Branded content can serve multiple roles and live in multiple places. Branded content on SeattleTimes.com. A blog post on your website. A Facebook post. A widget or RSS feed on your site. A video on YouTube. A podcast episode. You’ll likely use a different mix for different campaigns, tailoring each to suit your needs, and to suit the medium on which it is distributed.

Know what you want to say and why you want to say it – then let that guide how you say it and where you say it.

  • An inspirational profile of a student who worked closely with college advisers and professors and then graduated with honors despite personal challenges can be powerful content on a college website, where the audience is already interested in learning what the school has to offer. But that same profile may fall flat outside that context, on a news website, for instance, where the audience is looking for content of more general interest.
  • A travel story with beautiful photos is sure to inspire readers on social media and in digital or print formats where those photos can shine. A travel story with few photos but a compelling expert Q&A might work better as a podcast, listicle, or even a quiz.

Branded content produced for SeattleTimes.com is written in a journalistic style, using interviews, data, case studies, professional expertise and personal stories to create articles that inform or entertain readers. These articles are designed to fit in with what readers expect to find when they see a Seattle Times article page, whether that’s on the website, on social media, or on the extended network. We know this audience well, and use a variety of metrics to keep our finger on the pulse their interests.

The Seattle Times is the region’s top publisher and news source, with more than 120 years invested in building community trust. Our rich experience with story development and audience engagement helps us deliver content that’s both useful to readers and connected to our clients’ goals. Contact our team and let us help tell your stories.

If you would like to learn more about this, please feel free to join us for our upcoming Lunch and Learn here at the Seattle Times office on June 17. Click here to sign up and for more details!

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