Ben Young
Ben Young
October 17, 2023

I thought I’d put together a few notes on things that surprised me, when running branded content campaigns.

Little learnings or tidbits which may be helpful.

  • Brand disclosures and calls to action make a piece of content more effective. They don’t ruin a good piece of content, if you think they’ve made a good piece of content bad it probably wasn’t that good to begin with.
  • Guaranteed reach with external distribution is usually some cheap traffic, which you probably don’t want. Interrogate plans where external distribution is used.
  • The best content is a little polarizing.
  • Long form does work and works surprisingly well, where it doesn’t work is when it’s put into the wrong media plan or strategy. Be thoughtful around where it fits.
  • Mixed format content tends to work best, as it gives consumers options, video & article.
  • Load time can be a killer on custom pieces, keep this in mind, the more custom it is the more this can become a factor, as users just leave. This is exasperated by tight deadlines and/or additional time needed for testing. If stuck, launch, delay distribution a bit to get it fixed.
  • What days you distribute the content and time of day is more important, publishers naturally have peaks and troughs. Use these to your advantage.
  • Short formats can be wasteful, not getting enough attention to have an impact. If using, you want the repetition or long enough plan to get them to work for you.
  • Email distribution for a publisher usually works really well, make sure you tap into this. Their most loyal / engaged users read them. Pubs, stop giving it away for free!
  • Local content works really well, it is also often cheaper. Supporting local pubs makes a difference in those communities too.
  • Only work with brands or pubs you’d be happy to put on your resume.
  • Constraints to make the best work, try to uncover as many of the constraints as early as possible. Keep them noted.
  • People tend to cancel year long engagements around month four, make sure the plan is robust and learnings are being actioned from the earliest pieces of content straight away. This keeps the campaign agile and responsive.

If you want help measuring and proving the efficacy of branded content, explore what Nudge has to offer.

We also have a content partnerships handbook for folks buying campaigns and a studio handbook for those selling them.