March 22, 2021

Branded content FAQs every writer must have answers to

branded content

Branded content drives 86% brand recall as compared to pre-roll ads (65%). It has also proven to be 22 times more engaging than display or banner ads. But what really is branded content? Simply put, branded content is content created by a brand to share its brand messaging while also providing information, entertainment, or both to their audiences. Now that may sound like almost any other type of content, but there are subtle differences between them. As a content creator or marketer, it is important to understand these differences so you can create the right types of content for the right purposes. To get you started, we’ll try to answer 15 of the most common questions asked about branded content creation.

Q1. What is the objective of branded content?

Branded content primarily aims to drive brand recognition and build emotional connections rather than hard-sell a product or service. It uses storytelling as a powerful medium to express a brand’s values and generate trust among its audience. This is even more effective when a brand’s values are aligned with its consumers’. 77% of consumers say they would buy from such brands. 

Dove understands this. Their ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ campaign, aimed at shattering beauty stereotypes, struck a chord with millions of women all over the world. The results? 75 million views for this short film! 

Q2. What is the difference between sponsored/branded content, content marketing, and advertising?

Sponsored/branded content

Content marketing


A part of content marketing that focuses on demonstrating brand values through customer-focused content.

It encompasses different types of content that are focused on lead generation and authority building. 

A one-way communication where brands explicitly promote themselves. 

Q3. What are the different formats in which branded content can be created? / How can one choose the right format for branded content?

You can choose any format – from videos to white papers – as long as it fits your communication style or goal, target audiences’ preferences, and demographic structure. 

Q4. How can one create branded content that doesn’t seem too ‘advertisy’?

Follow these tips to make sure your branded content never seems like an in-your-face advertisement:

  • Ask yourself if the content provides any value to the audience
  • Check whether the content is product-focused or customer-focused
  • Make sure your content follows your brand’s guidelines and reflects its core values

How? A great example of this is Volvo India’s campaign ‘Make Your City Safe’ that aimed to draw attention to making nighttime safe for women. This video promotes Volvo’s core value – safety – while being extremely relatable. 

Q5. How can one integrate the brand into branded content?

A reader spends 12 seconds longer reading a branded post when the brand name appears somewhere in the middle of the piece than in the first 100 words. If possible, it is best not to mention any specific products/services the brand offers directly. That’s why brand integration should be very subtle and come naturally rather than seeming forced and irrelevant.

Q6. How to make branded content interesting?

Here’s how you can make branded content interesting:

  • Your content should either answer questions your audiences are already asking or has never thought of before
  • Build relevance by leveraging elements that can make your brand more relatable for your audience 
  • Display strong values and talk about ways your brand can add value to your audience’s life 
  • Be authentic

Try to find what your audiences care about – their interests, social causes they support, improving their standard of living – or questions they seek answers for that are relevant for your brand. Build yourself to become a reliable source of information that develops trust and drives engagement.

Q7. How can one create the best-branded content?

People prefer buying from brands that are both relatable and believable. So strike a chord when creating powerful branded content. Use real-life stories when creating branded content to make the audience believe in messaging. 

Gatorade aced branded content through an animated movie series that included renowned athletes like Usain Bolt, Lionel Messi, and Hirving Lozano. It showed the ups and downs faced by these athletes during their journey to success and the importance of pursuing one’s dreams. 

Q8. How does one create sponsored influencer content?

Influencers can be paid to promote a brand and its products to drive awareness among their followers. It is a 1 billion dollar industry on Instagram alone. Use the power of reach and the social media fan following of an influencer to create branded posts and increase trust. 

Q9. Where does branded content appear? / How to decide where to host branded content?

Branded content can appear on multiple platforms depending on the message, audience demographic, and intent. Some of the most preferred choices are a brand’s social media handles or their website and blog. Instagram, at the moment, is buzzing with branded content and is allowing access to over a million millennials and Gen Zers who actively spend a minimum of an hour on the app. 

Q10. How does one create a branded content strategy?

As a brand, you will share a part of your story with your audience through branded content. Here’s what your strategy must include: 

  • The content plan must consist of pieces that resonate with the voice and values of the brand 
  • Create innovative and creative content ideas around trending events
  • A mix of primary emotions and informational value in content ideas will help strike a chord with new target groups
  • Garner maximum visibility by promoting your branded content on multiple portals in different formats
  • Original ideas will ensure your brand and content stands out from the crowd 

Q11. How can one measure the success of branded content?

Monitor the performance of your branded content through a mix of different analytics tools, like Google Analytics. You can also use social media metrics like shares, likes, and comments to measure the success of branded content. 

Q12. Whom to create branded content for? / Who is the target audience for branded content?

Since every brand has its own niche, you need to identify your target audience along with their preferences before curating branded content. Start with an age group or segment that is already purchasing from you. 

Q13. Do you need a brand book/style guide to create branded content?

Yes, creating a brand book or style guide will help you identify and follow tips to succeed.  It will also ensure that you stay away from making common mistakes like: 

  • Not creating audience-specific content 
  • Making the branded content sound like an ad
  • Selling a product directly instead of sharing a story
  • Not creating an engaging experience that drives two-way interaction

Q14. What’s an example of successful branded content?

The Lego Movie is one of the best examples of branded content. A fun animated movie for children, it improved brand awareness and increased sales by 25% after the launch. 

Here are some more examples of branded content executed extremely well.

Q15. How to use keywords in branded content creation?

A secret weapon of success, here’s where to include keywords in branded content creation successfully: 

  • In the title tag of your articles or website pages 
  • Meta descriptions
  • The first paragraph of textual content 
  • Organically embedded throughout the textual content 

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Contributors: Meher Afroz, Preeti Mishra and Swapnil Adsul