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Can You Hear Me Now? Avoiding Miscommunication When Creating Brand Content

Educate yourself about the different offerings of a content creator and ensure your expectations are met.

When a company is disappointed by the brand content it receives from a publisher, it’s usually because there were too many cooks in the kitchen without the same menu.
Brand content creation can involve the client, a content broker, a publisher, an editorial staff at the publisher and a writer. If any of these don’t communicate correctly, the final product can be a disappointment. Here’s how brands and publishers can ensure everyone’s on the same page when creating brand content.

Review the different options available

The publisher should provide the client with a list of the brand content options it offers with a clear description of each. These can include:

  • Native advertising
  • Sponsored content
  • Advertorial
  • Blog post
  • SEO article
  • White paper
  • Ebook

Explain the differences between each

Publishers should not just explain how each type of content works, but also how the forms differ. For example, what’s the difference between native advertising and an advertorial?

Show correct and incorrect samples

An easy way to make it clear what a client is getting and what it’s not is for the publisher to create brand content samples that show how the same piece of content might be handled correctly and incorrectly. A “correct” native ad would not include a call to action, while the “incorrect” sample would contain an overt request to purchase or call for more information.

Fill out a client project sheet

The client should provide the publisher with the following:

  • Type of content requested
  • Target audience (demographics)
  • Goal for the campaign
  • Product, service or company description (links)

Fill out a writer assignment sheet

A content writer must understand his or her primary goal is to create an audience and to motivate it to act in a specific way. Writers should not work with sales staff but editors who are part of the publisher team. Effective brand content needs strong writing and strong editing, writes Sarah Mitchell, director of content strategy for Lush Digital Media, at the IABC blog. “The best editors nurture writers, brainstorm ideas and guide authors to produce content the audience needs and is willing to pay for, even if it’s free.”
A writer cannot create the most effective brand content unless he or she understands the marketing goals of the client. A brand content writer should receive an assignment sheet that includes the information on the client project sheet, as well as:

  • Working title for the piece
  • Points to be covered
  • Potential sources
  • Competitors to avoid mentioning
  • Word count
  • Deadline

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