5 Things To Do Better When Creating Branded Viral Content



The mind behind some of the internet’s most viral branded videos spoke at Social Media Week LA and divulged his five content rules to live by.


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First thing’s first: The algorithm change.

Yuval Rechter, Head of Digital for First Media, addressed the biggest issue facing content creators right off the bat when he spoke at Social Media Week LA.

“Facebook is looking for meaningful social interactions. What… does that mean?” he asked the crowd.

“It means from now on, we’re going to get less reach. And us, as content creators, we have to be much better in the lower part of the funnel,” he added. “We have to be better at content creation.”

Easier said than done when your properties, like Blossom and So Yummy, churn out millions of views and tens of thousands of comments on every branded video. Except First Media’s content doesn’t get tons of shares because of luck, but because it follows a set of guidelines (“the secret sauce”) that Rechter shared with the crowd.

Here are his five things to do better when creating content on behalf of brands:

Build your relationships with meaning

To build a relationship with meaning, according to Rechter, you have to know your audience.

The first part is understanding your audience’s demographics—age and location, habits and affinities. Most platforms you use share all this information in their general insights.

The second is behavioral. “What do people actually do when you create the video?” Have a data-driven approach for your videos, and understand whether your audience actually likes it.

The third key is to study your comments. First Media uses a commentary analysis tool to scan the comments of their videos, and the videos of their competitors, to find actionable insights for the next video they create. Don’t be afraid to listen to your audience—in fact, it’s crucial.

Give value to your audience

Content for brands should either give the audience entertainment, utility, or a blending of the two. You need to give you readers, viewers, and listeners value.

And here’s a leg up for content creators: The amount of branding won’t impact your value performance.

“There’s a misconception that the more branding there is, the less viral it is. Everyone tells us that,” said Rechter. “Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s not true. [We did] over 45 branded integrations in 2017, every single one has tremendous amount of branding, and over 1 million views in 24 hours. It’s more about how much value you give vs. the amount of branding.”

Be considerate about who you partner with

Deciding which brands to partner with can make or break your content, your own brand, and the goals of the brand you’ll potentially work with. A partnership has to be a true fit for everyone, so don’t be afraid to say no if it doesn’t work.

“It has to feel authentic,” said Rechter. “We’re creating content and then distributing it through an influencer, either a media company or a personality — it has to feel authentic. When it doesnt, the audience immediately knows it.”

Another aspect to consider is value alignment. Is it a conservative brand? Don’t go with an edgy influencer.

Additionally, be upfront with your partner about your key performance indicators, or KPIs. Depending on what the brand is looking for, the content you create may change. A video made to boost brand awareness may differ from one made to increase direct response and sales.

Finally, brand integration is not a commercial. It’s up to the content creators to be upfront with the brands about this point. If they want a “Buy now, get this,” or “Two for five” message, they should go elsewhere.

Don’t be trigger happy

“‘Why don’t we post this and see how it does?’ Every time we said that, it never did well. It always flops.” said Rechter.

Don’t post things just to post them. If you post poor quality content, content that isn’t engaging, the algorithm will notice, and you won’t get as much reach going forward.

“We post seven videos a week. That’s it. Other publishers, 240. We want to make sure when we post a great video, we get massive reach. We want you to get one video from us a day, and be super excited about it.” Rechter said.

Build trust and credibility

The last point is short, sweet, and to the point. You need to build trust with your audience.

If you’re doing something edge or risky like sharing something you’re not sure about, know that it makes a difference in the long-term.

“Every post matters so much,” says Rechter. “Every time that we share a video, you know it’s safe for you to share that video. We get almost-immediate shares. Making sure you’re a trusted source is critical.”

The credibility that your audience extends to you, they will look to gain that credibility with their own personal following every time they post your content. Don’t let them down.

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