From Ads to Stories: Why Branded Content Is the Future of Marketing

Branded content for marketing is material produced by a company that features or promotes its brand. This could include blog posts, videos, images, infographics, podcasts, articles, and social media posts. The goal of branded content is to engage consumers and generate interest in the brand’s products or services.

In today’s rapidly evolving world of marketing, understanding the actual value of branded content has become imperative. Brands and marketers are continually adapting to industry changes, seeking innovative ways to engage audiences. In this article, we will delve into the concept of branded content, its evolution, and its undeniable impact on building trust and capturing the attention of audiences. We will explore why branded content has become more than just a buzzword, and how it is reshaping the landscape of advertising.

The Evolution of Branded Content

Defining branded content has been a challenge for many in the marketing industry, primarily because the landscape is in constant flux. At Pressboard, branded content is defined as any published media that a brand has been involved in producing. This encompasses content specifically created for publication in partnership with premium publishers like NBCUniversal, USA Today, or Bustle. Branded content allows brands to leverage the trust, expertise, and reach of these publishers to connect with new, highly targeted audiences.

The Shift Away from Traditional Advertising

Branded content has evolved significantly from the early days of advertorials. Today, more publishers and advertisers are investing in this form of advertising than ever before. Whether you are a startup aiming to disrupt an industry or a Fortune 500 company like IBM or JP Morgan Chase trying to connect with new generations of customers, one thing is clear: both small and large businesses are seeking innovative ways to engage with audiences, and storytelling has emerged as a powerful tool in this endeavor.

The Decline of Banner Ads

Traditional banner ads are losing their effectiveness. Studies show that approximately 25% of internet users employ ad-blockers. Furthermore, from 2014 to 2018, Netflix, an ad-free platform, saw its subscriber base grow from 50 million to 125 million. This data underscores a fundamental truth: People are increasingly averse to traditional ads and are willing to pay to avoid them, both online and during their favorite shows.

The Appeal of Branded Content

Consumers are drawn to branded content because it offers more than just a sales pitch. Branded content is about delivering value. Ascend Integrated Media reported that 70% of consumers prefer to learn about products through content that provides them with subject matter expertise. It’s a departure from the traditional “hard sell” and a move toward meaningful engagement.

Building Relationships through Branded Content

In essence, branded content is the new way to build relationships with your audience. It serves the reader without interrupting them. It communicates a brand’s values, the stories it champions, and the ideas it supports. Branded content is marketing tailored for the 21st century, focusing on authenticity, relevance, and value.

The Investment in Branded Content

Why are more and more companies investing in branded content? It’s not just about vanity metrics, although having your brand featured in publications like Fast Company or The Wall Street Journal can be exhilarating. Branded content is effective at capturing the attention and trust of new audiences, and in the marketing world, attention equates to money.

Branded content is often a premium product with prices ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 or more, depending on partners and campaign size. Consequently, marketing teams have undertaken the task of proving the effectiveness of branded content. The good news is that beyond being a powerful awareness tool, branded content can directly translate into increased traffic on your brand’s website and, ultimately, more revenue.


In a world where consumers are bombarded with ads at every turn, branded content stands out as a beacon of engagement and authenticity. Its evolution from advertorials to purposeful storytelling has redefined how brands connect with audiences. Branded content is not just a passing trend; it’s a strategic imperative for building trust and capturing the valuable attention of consumers in the 21st century. As the marketing landscape continues to shift, understanding and harnessing the power of branded content is not just an option; it’s a necessity for brands aiming to thrive in the ever-changing world of advertising.

FAQ 1: What is branded content, and how does it differ from traditional advertising?

Branded content is media content that a brand has a hand in producing, often in collaboration with premium publishers. It differs from traditional advertising in that it focuses on storytelling, engagement, and delivering value rather than employing overt sales pitches.

FAQ 2: Why has branded content become essential for brands and marketers?

Branded content has become crucial because it allows brands to build trust and capture the attention of audiences in a world where traditional ads are losing effectiveness. It offers an opportunity for meaningful engagement and provides a platform for conveying a brand’s values and stories.

FAQ 3: How does branded content contribute to building relationships with audiences?

Branded content intentionally serves the reader without interrupting their experience. It communicates a brand’s identity, the causes it supports, and the ideas it aligns with, fostering authentic connections with consumers.

FAQ 4: What are the financial implications of investing in branded content?

Investing in branded content can be a substantial financial commitment, with costs ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 or more, depending on campaign size and partners. However, branded content has the potential to drive more traffic to a brand’s website and ultimately increase revenue.

FAQ 5: In a world saturated with advertising, why do consumers prefer branded content?

Consumers prefer branded content because it provides value beyond traditional ads. Studies show that people are increasingly averse to banner ads and are willing to pay to avoid them. Branded content offers a refreshing alternative by focusing on delivering subject matter expertise and meaningful engagement.

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