How to Make Branded Content – the easy way

Branded content is one of THE hottest uses of video and everyone’s keen to make sure they’ve got a hit on their hands. We’ve been watching the best branded content videos from around the world – and here are our tips for making sure yours is a success.

1. Generic Branded Video: Dissolve

Make sure you’re making branded content and not bland content. This tongue in cheek film from stock footage agency Dissolve makes hilarious use of the tropes and memes of bland, generic films.

One idea, done well. The most striking and successful films usually have a single strong creative vision and usually focus on a concept that expresses the brand, rather than pure information. It can be hard to manage the demands or inputs of all the teams involved in an organisation but we’ve certainly noticed that the most shared and watched films go easy on the branding and keep the CTAs to a minimum.

Show. Don’t Tell. The best branded content videos nearly always show people doing things, not people telling us things. Have a look at Mankind Initiative’s Violence is Violence or States United Against Gun Violence for some great examples of this.

Give to get. You’re asking people to do your work for free – to share your message, promote your brand and show your film to their friends. Rob Blackie of OgilvyOne says that people share to demonstrate that they’re part of a social group or tribe, so give them something that helps them do this. Your content needs to be funny, clever or informative.

2. The Great Wi-fi experiment: F-Secure

Shrinking newsrooms and greater pressure on journalists to produce, means there’s never been a better time to take advantage of the huge boost that branded content can give you. Finish computer giants, F-Secure used a savvy video to get coverage in 22 countries around the world.

Opportunity. The shift to digital means that journalists are now expected to produce 3 times as many stories as 10 years ago (Cardiff Uni: Journalism & Public Trust) I’ve been told that in an average shift a writer will be expected to produce up to 30 articles…. so if you provide them with a great story, with written word, pics and video, you’re likely to get great coverage.

Trust and engagement. The old truth is that a picture is worth a 1000 words but that’s been updated by Forester Research – a minute of video is worth a million words. Another striking fact is that consumers trust branded content almost as much as they do editorial articles: 35% of people trust editorial and 33% trust branded content. (Vibrant Media)

Build relationships. Branded content is seen as a good source of information with up to 90% of people finding custom content useful and 75% of consumers seeing organisations behind the branded content as being interested in building relationships.

3. Valentine’s Nightmare: Tesco

There are a few technical things that you need to keep in mind to make sure that your branded content is watchable and shareable. These vines from Tesco show perfectly the power of a short, funny film.

Keep it short or pay the price. All the stats point to the brutal fact that if your film is too long, then people won’t watch…. up to 30 seconds and you’ll keep 80% of your viewers, up to 2 mins and up to 70% will watch to the end but more than 4 mins… and you’ll be lucky to keep 40% intersted.

Naming is vital. YouTube is the second largest search engine so SEO is just as vital here, so it’s no good calling your film ‘our great film’ it needs to be punchy – ‘the best brand video ever’. Or make use of trends to piggy back off their trend power. Save the Children did this with their phenomenally successful Syria appeal: originally it was to be called “If Syria were London” but that was dropped in favour of “Most shocking second a day video” to capitalise on the huge youtube trend….

Dial back on the branding. Just because it’s branded content, it doesn’t need to have your brand all over it….. films are more likely to be picked up by TV and more likely to be shared if it’s not all corporate message. One trick is to keep the overt message to the end, so it can be trimmed off by TV stations or to offer them clean versions of the interview rushes.

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Jeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy

Magneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with the charity sector, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with casestudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

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