Branded Articles – Inform, Engage, Convert
Gone are the days when advertisements for your product or service could be served on a platter for your customer’s consideration. Today, your offerings need to be seeped into a compelling narrative for them to be palatable.
Customers want to know – what’s in it for them? The holy trinity of ‘Inform, Engage, and Convert’, thus becomes the new mantra for winning clients. Content marketing helps you build those stories so that you give your prospects what they are looking for, whilst subconsciously furthering their buying decision, and hence your business objectives.
One of the most popular and easy-to-produce forms of content is articles.
What Are Articles?
Articles, as a form of shaping thoughts and opinions, have been around since ages. From a business perspective, articles can be written to inform (and influence) your B2B or B2C audience about your point of view, your offerings, your sector, or anything that matters to them.
Articles are one of the key forms of branded content. Research shows that long-form articles have a high share value. Some of the most popular content publishers, like BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and The Guardian, rely heavily on articles. In fact, in this era of reducing attention spans and shrinking screen sizes, these social platforms are consistently churning out long-form articles.
How Can Articles Help Your Business?
Offering entertaining, engaging, and informative articles helps position your brand. Crafted well, articles can be great for your brand, subtly weaving in your message and offerings. Experts and opinion leaders write thought-provoking articles and editorials to further cement their position as the thought leaders in their industry – think of Google for Search Engine Marketing, or Whole Foods for grocery retail.
Commenting on topical issues and offering opinions on trending topics from the perspectives of your domain enables your business to have a wider appeal. By regularly publishing quality articles, you can thus build a loyal base of readers and brand advocates. With the ability to publish on demand, articles give you the reach, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and ROI unlike any other.
8 Reasons You Should Consider Articles for Your Content Marketing Strategy
- Articles are easy to plan and produce
To get started, you will need a long-term vision, a content strategy, a content calendar, and a dedicated content team to execute, monitor, and analyze performance.
- Articles are versatile
Articles can be created to suit different target audience and media consumption habits. They can be customized to carry videos, podcasts, images, infographics, and hyperlinks, and can support various forms of CTAs.
- Articles are highly cost effective
Unlike visual content, creating and distributing articles does not warrant expensive resources, and can be done within short TATs. Using a CMS backend, articles can be easily uploaded on your own website/portal. You do not need to rely on web designers or developers to assist you.
- Articles make your knowledge bank
Uploading articles on your portal builds a repository of information for customers to refer. This further helps your “inform, engage, and convert” objectives of content marketing, while boosting SEO.
- Articles are keyword aides
Articles are an effective way of adding keywords to your web content. Instead of updating your existing website content with the latest keywords, you can create topical articles to leverage them. This can help you market different products at different times without having to worry about making expansive changes to your website.
- Articles are SEO champions
Articles help improve your page’s rank. Google search engines appreciate and acknowledge the constant stream of keyword-rich fresh content by improving/maintaining your rank on SERPs. This in turn allows you to build organic traffic for your website.
- Articles increase user engagement
Articles not only drive fresh traffic, but also cater to returning users (who might bookmark your website), contributing to increased engagement and further share value.
- Articles resonate with readers
Articles, by influencing readers, become highly shareable and relevant. They improve brand perception and offer genuine value through a rewarding experience.
Types of Articles
Articles can be differentiated based on aspects like Length, Purpose, and Format.
Traditionally, the recommended length for online articles was 400 to 600 words because this was the amount of content that could easily fit into a single screen and did not warrant much scrolling. However, today, with responsive page designs, ability to customize fonts and formats, and the inclusion of visual content within written content, marketers can experiment with articles lengths.
A myth about longer articles (read 600+ words) is that “nobody reads” them and that visitors do not have the “time and patience” for long pieces. Hence, most content marketers play safe and mandate articles between 300 and 600 words. However, research proves otherwise.
The graph alongside shows that articles ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 words get the most number of average shares! Clearly, readers value them for the comprehensiveness. Longer articles are considered more authoritative as compared to smaller articles and listicles, making them ideal for a B2B audience. This is also why we prefer reading Wikipedia. The length and depth in which it covers a topic leaves little room for readers to look elsewhere. Not only do the articles offer in-depth information, they also provide hyperlinks to related reading, references, and sources.
Shorter articles, on the other hand, are created as quick reads. They can range from 50 to 300 words, and are fondly called snacky articles. Smaller articles often carry multiple images, videos, or infographics.
The purpose for which the articles are created determine the tone and style employed while writing. While not mutually exclusive, the various purposes can be
Strategic business developments, product launches, updates, upgrades, opinion pieces, key hires, POVs, perspectives, and sectoral commentary, trend forecasts, rebuttals, open letters, and more – informative articles are a key weapon in the corporate communication arsenal.
Articles are an excellent tool to create engagement. However, let’s face it, nobody would like to read when you are talking about yourself, and promoting your own products and services. The trick is to write on topics that not directly related to your offerings. We call them Branded Articles.
Here, you explore lateral themes, which are then tastefully linked back to the brand message. For example, a two-wheeler insurance company writes about the Top 10 Biking Routes In The Country, and subtly talks about safety and insurance during long rides.
- Optimize Search Engines
Traditionally, a lot of online articles were written with the sole purpose of stuffing in keywords. It was believed that more was better. Businesses (and even some SEO experts) recommended writing tens of articles, only to focus on keywords.
However, those days are long gone. Today, only the most useful information, carefully created content, with the right set of keywords, wins traffic. Companies can create product-focused articles that expound on its features and benefits. These could be tips for buying, usage suggestions, ways to maximize benefits, troubleshooting tips, etc.
For example, a used car company can write about 5 Things to Keep In Mind While Buying A Used Car. Such article topics extend several opportunities to naturally weave in the right keywords for your business.
There are over 20 formats of articles that can be created, including listicles, how-to articles, what and why posts, picture blogs, collages, trend reports, etc. While the wide variety ensures that articles are made interesting, it is important to choose the right format.
Pick the format based on the nature of your business, the preferences of your target audience, and the type of content to be written. For example, while listicles work well for Fashion blogs, POVs could be considered for a technical, B2B audience.
Pro tip: Articles are only as useful as you make them. An article unread is an article unwritten. Make sure you distribute your articles well to ensure that they reach a wider audience. Use not only your portal and website, but also popular publishing platforms suited to your industry.
Creating Your Article Strategy
As cliched as it might sound, but when it comes to content strategy, failing to plan is like planning to fail. Only a well-planned, targeted, sustained, and flexible article strategy can bring measurable and long-term results.
Here is a suggested approach
Start by tracking the domain. Subscribe to magazines, blogs, and newsletters. Look for trends and important events that can be covered. This leads to suggestions of content buckets to ensure consistency in the month-on-month content development. A content calendar is built around the same, with topic suggestions relevant to that month. For example, a health insurance company might want to write about 5 Lifestyle Hacks For Maintaining Heart Health.
LexiConn makes branded articles work for you. We have written thousands of high-quality articles for businesses across domains. We assume complete ownership of the activity – from defining the article strategy to interviewing stakeholders, and from creating compelling content to distributing it and even tracking the performance.
We ensure that only the most proficient writers (who are also our in-house Subject Matter Experts for your domain) work on your projects. These writers undergo regular training and interactions to hone their capabilities for the domains they are writing for. We can also engage and interview SMEs within the client’s teams to collect relevant inputs and insights.
Talk to us about your content requirements. We can develop a highly customized article strategy for your business.