When it comes to communicating your product or service, something to consider is how to best distribute your message. Would you prefer to hire a trustworthy and reliable third party, or take the leap and directly distribute your message? Nonetheless, there is no right or wrong answer, but rather your own preference as an advertiser or publisher. Today, we would like to share our creative recommendations for inspiration on how to best communicate to your audience. Let us have a look at branded content vs. advertorials.
First of all, what is branded content, and what is an advertorial? Before deciding on which approach is best, it is important to distinguish the two. Branded content is a paid content piece that is generally found on publishers’ sites in the editorial style, written by the publisher itself. Or, for a more abstract definition from the Branded Content Marketing Association, it is “any content that can be associated with a brand in the eye of the beholder.” Meanwhile, an advertorial directly addresses the brand it is promoting and appears similar to an editorial. External agencies and advertisers from the brand often book these campaigns.
Both are inclusive to all online marketers and fall under native advertising. The idea is to blend in with the respective platform that these branded content and advertorials hold a place in. Let us have a closer look of what to consider when thinking of how to communicate your brand.
Branded content: brands communicated through publisher platforms
Often the case, these two leave confusion with one another as they visually resemble one another. However, with branded content, the giveaway is that the content piece is written, produced, and distributed by the hired publisher of the brand and its platform. For instance, the New York Times published a content piece about women inmates on its site, where it discussed the need for better-suited policies and programs featuring facts and figures. Not once dropping name of the hit Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, the piece includes visuals of the show, which holds relevant to the story presented.
As defined above, branded content in this industry is essentially an editorial or written piece that associates its content with a client’s brand. As a brand, consider how to connect to your audience through captivating storytelling. How can you connect to your audience? Through branded content, you are not directly flashing your brand to your audience. Instead, you give the audience flexibility to freely approach your brand through association. New York Time’s piece talks about women’s problematic incarceration, which connects to the readers and latches them on. Although branded with Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, the article does not mention it, despite the logo being attached; however, this piece is great because the story links the reader to the Netflix brand through association.
When booking branded content, strategizing your story is key. What do you want to communicate? Think about how your brand can, at a subtle distance, attract your audience. What better way than to leave your audiences organically approaching your brand than to captivate through storytelling?
Advertorials are visually similar to branded content as they appear as an editorial. However, the written piece’s story narrates around the brand. Unlike branded content, advertorials are more direct with the brand and connects to the audience by sharing an anecdote or direct description of the service/product. Consider using advertorials if you intend to be direct and clear about your brand. Book an advertorial if you intend to communicate that you as a brand fulfill your audience’s needs, whether they know it themselves or not. Some perks about booking advertorials are that its placement and distribution falls on numerous platforms. Also, advertorials give your brand a chance to be relatable as the written piece around your brand personifies it. Audiences have an opportunity to freely read the piece have more exposure to your brand, however, without an aggressive, “blinking” ad experience.
Advertorials allow room to essentially explain your brand in a story-like and communicative way towards your audience. By offering advertorials as a way to communicate your brand and message, you get closer, and thus also build an organic connection to potential consumers of your product or service.
So, which approach should one take?
Branded content and advertorials are both excellent ways to communicate and promote your brands, and what makes it even better is that you can freely decide on booking either one. The key is to simply brainstorm and strategize how you would like to best communicate. Do you want to use the power of familiarity and perhaps an emotionally-charged story that captivates your readers through story-telling? Or do you want to be more direct and proudly discuss and expose your brand to your audience in the most authentic way? Either way, both branded content and advertorials commit the act of relating well to your audience; through these, sharing your carefully-crafted message will surely yield you a traction of your intended audience.
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