Blog content

Branded, paid and organic content: what are the main differences and why are they important?

When it comes to creating your content marketing strategy, it helps to know the key differences between organic, paid, and branded content — and which ones are right for your business. As part of The Drum’s Focus on content marketingGavin Jordan (editor of The drum’s open mic) defines the different types of content, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

We live in a content obsessed world. Content has never been easier to produce or consume. But for content marketing, this is a problem. 38% of end decision makers are now saying the market is “oversaturated” with thought leadership content and there is too much to track. With so much content, how do you cut through the noise to reach your target audience?

Here we look at three key content types that every marketer should be aware of: organic, paid, and branded content. We explain how they can help you target your audience, along with the pros and cons of each.

What is Organic Content?

Organic content refers to content created and published for free. This is usually content hosted on your company’s native channels (website; blog; social media) or content published or shared on a third-party platform on a non-commercial basis (for example, a publisher who commissions your article after a successful editorial pitch).

Third-party social media accounts may also share/repost your company’s social media content for a number of reasons. It may align with their values, be likely to resonate with their own audience on social media, or simply be something they find funny. Either way – if a fee hasn’t been paid for the privilege, third party social sharing is something that happens naturally and is therefore ‘organic’.

Benefits of organic content

The obvious advantage of organic content is that it is inexpensive. Without paying third parties to host your content, organic content won’t eat into the marketing budget (unless a freelance content writer/creator is required to create the content).

The other is that it can drive traffic straight to your website/social media page. Without a third party involved, you don’t rely on readers to click on a CTA to be redirected to your website. In other words, you cut out the middleman.

Disadvantages of organic content

The downside, however, is that your target audience may be harder to reach because you rely on your target audience to discover your content naturally. This can be especially challenging for smaller, less established businesses with minimal website traffic and a small social media count. In this case, having a good SEO strategy is absolutely essential, because you rely not only on users finding your content via search engines, but also on a results page that could be populated by content from your competitors.

What is paid content?

Paid content, also known as sponsored content, is content that you pay to post on a third-party platform. Content is traditionally created by you, but hosted on your platform of choice (eg, a publisher or social media channel) for a fee. Paid content can take the form of a single publication, a series of articles or a membership package that includes published content.

Benefits of Paid Content

The primary benefit of paid content is that it allows businesses, large or small, to access large, hard-to-reach, or niche audiences. If, for example, an online automotive publication had an audience of one million drivers per month, then a company that sells car air fresheners may choose to publish their content on that platform to tap into that large and relevant audience. that she encounters otherwise. achieve organically.

Publishing on established platforms also has the advantage for your business of being able to back link (i.e. a hyperlink) to your native website. Referencing a website is improved by the quality of its backlinks, and if an authoritative domain is linked to your business website, your website is more likely to rank higher in relevant search results. If your content strategy is based primarily on organic content, investing in paid content on authoritative domains is still worth considering, as improving SEO will help your target audience naturally discover your native content.

Disadvantages of Paid Content

The downside, however, is that unlike organic content, paid content comes at a cost. But, depending on the audience quality of your chosen platform, this cost is likely to generate a good return on investment based on the new reach of your content.

If you want to search for paid content on The Drum, you can learn more here.

What is branded content?

While branded content is a type of paid content (in that you pay a fee to post content to a third party site), the main difference is that in this case you are also paying for that third party to produce the content. with you. or on your behalf.

Benefits of Branded Content

The main benefit here is that not only will your content be able to reach the audience of your chosen platform, but it is more likely to resonate with that audience. For media platforms, like Battery, that means you’ll have content produced by an in-house journalist who understands their audience and can create the right type of content to meet their needs. This means a higher level of engagement from the exact audience you want to reach.

An example of The Drum branded content

Likewise, leveraging Instagram branded content through influencer marketing can be advantageous. Here, not only are you tapping into the influencer’s followers, but you are also using the influencer (i.e. social media content creator). When it comes to Instagram, audiences may be drawn to a particular account because of the content creator’s personality, appearance, status, talent, or content creation style. So, by using the content creator, you maximize the chances of your content again. success with their audience.

Disadvantages of branded content

A downside with branded content is again the cost. Branded content is likely to cost more than paid content because it requires additional labor from the publisher. The value here is twofold: you reach your desired audience and get the content created with or for you – and so the price is naturally a bit higher. But again, the ROI is likely to be high if the right partner, with the right audience, is used.

The downside to leveraging influencer marketing through Instagram branded content is that you associate your brand with an individual. If the wrong choice is made, or if that person is then subject to some kind of controversy later on, it could tarnish your brand image, having a negative effect on the one you set out to create.

Integrate all three into your content strategy

While each type of content has its benefits, it’s likely that a good content strategy doesn’t just focus on one type of content, but incorporates different types for different purposes.

Organic content, for example, can be used specifically to drive traffic directly to your company’s website or social media page, where your products and services are easy to find.

Paid Content can then be used to market your business to an otherwise hard-to-reach audience. This reinforces your position as a thought leader with the audience that matters, improving the success of any lead generation campaign you choose to do in that market.

And branded content can be used to further amplify your message to your chosen audience, with publishers relying on their content creation expertise and audience understanding to ensure a high level of engagement.

Visit our Content Marketing in the Focus Hub for more content marketing news, ideas and strategies.