Here at Wardour, we see a range of approaches, from actively minimising brand mentions to being a central voice in the narrative.
Recently, we came across a piece of research from BBC Worldwide’s content marketing arm, StoryWorks, which brings some interesting data to the debate.
A 2016 study found that readers experienced heightened emotional engagement with a piece of content marketing when it was clearly branded.
In particular, when looking at the various emotional responses readers had to the content, levels of rejection were above average when the content carried no branding and below average when the content was clearly branded.
The study found that two-thirds of readers were happy to read the content as long as it was clear which brand it was presented by.
A 2017 update to the study found that when content was clearly branded, there was a 25% uplift in the number of people who understood and could recall the content.
So while some brands may shy away from appearing in their own content for fear that it’s too much of a hard sell and will turn readers off, it seems that readers appreciate a more transparent approach.
There are plenty of ways to ‘own’ your content while retaining its editorial integrity.
1. Put your own experts up for comment
Your people are your USP. Use your subject specialists as expert voices in your own content. Their thoughts and opinions are the unique contribution that you bring to the conversation. Readers won’t be able to get this from anywhere else. One note of warning though – only use them if they have something interesting to say!
2. Invite independent commentators to join the debate
Being a voice in your content is great; being the only voice isn’t. As with a piece of editorial you’d find in an independent title, invite a variety of expert voices to contribute to your content. And don’t be afraid to include opinions that might not chime with your own. Being a facilitator of frank and open debate can only add to your brand integrity and credibility.
3. Show, don’t tell
Telling readers about your expertise is a turn off. Showing readers your expertise in action is infinitely more interesting, and useful, to your audience. Client case studies are a brilliant way of doing this. Everyone loves a good story and if it’s about a peer facing similar challenges to their own, readers are much more likely to take notice. If your clients are happy to talk about the role you played in their success, all the better. There are plenty of other ways you can build trust amongst your readers. If you’re interested in learning more, get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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