It’s that time of week when I often like to post examples of my favorite pieces of branded content from the past seven days. However, today I would like to take slight diversion and instead take a look at exactly what it is that separates the truly “great” branded content from the stuff that is just “okay.” Is there a secret recipe for generating wonderful branded content? Can it really be as simple as two parts humor for every one part clever, throw in a dash of viral, and Voila! Yes actually, it can be! Despite what you may think, not every piece of branded content has to be as well thought out as a blog post or as well researched as an infographic. Here are four simple tips that will help propel your brand into the branded content hall of fame.

1. Be Timely, Be Topical, and Newsjack! 

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to talk about time-sensitive branded content without bringing up Oreo and it’s Cannes Lion Award winning Super Bowl tweet. But that tweet was just so darn good! It’s a wonderful example of the type of content you can create when no review meetings or top-level approvals are required. News happens quickly these days, and those who are first to jump on it (particularly when using social media) are going to be the branded content kings. Oreo took advantage of a unique opportunity to be a part of a news story as it unfolded and it worked.

More Recently the Royal Baby Boy birth announcement presented another unique opportunity to newsjack. Here at SyneCore, we had a taste of fame when we created an Instavid expressing our excitement about the little prince. Not to toot our own horn or anything, but our quick thinking just happened to land us in a video on the New York Times website.

So the moral of the story is be relevant, keep an eye on the news, and take any opportunity you can to produce topical branded content.

2. Be Consistent 

It’s a fact that if Oreo posted tweets once a day or only had 25 followers, it’s quick thinking during the Super bowl probably wouldn’t have been quite as noteworthy. Building an online dialogue through your social media platforms is essential to the success of your branded content. Not only is it important for establishing your brand “voice,” but it keeps your customers engaged and coming back for more. Sometimes a great conversation via Facebook or Twitter can become branded content in itself. Take Taco Bell for example. The persons monitoring TB’s social media accounts are nothing short of PR and branding geniuses. Taco Bell is constantly in conversation with both customers and other brands. The ensuing banter is branded content at its finest.

3. Simplicity is Key

Sometimes a simple image, deployed to a simple platform at an opportune moment is all it takes to produce ground-breaking branded content. That’s pretty much what Oreo did right? The brand’s social media team took instant action, seized a moment and saw results. They probably spent millions on their actual Super Bowl commercial, but seven months later that advertisement is long forgotten while the Tweet lives on. Don’t over-complicate your content creation process. Focus on getting new quality content out there and try not to stress too much over what people will think.

4. Have Fun!

No matter what kind of industry you work in, I think it’s fair to say that we all want to work more efficiently and have fun doing it. We also want to work with people who are passionate about what they do, and we want to associate ourselves with brands that do the same. When you strip away the rules of old-school advertising, what’s left is the fun stuff.

Branded content is that fun stuff! Starting conversations with your customers, correlating your messaging with popular public events, and taking chances to be silly is way more fun than generic, shameless self-promotion. 

Now take all ingredients, combine, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.