Branded content is the hottest thing in marketing right now. And there are some very good reasons.

Actors talk on the set of a commercial shoot

Actors talk with client on set of a branded content production

First, the cost of media buys for eyeballs isn’t getting any cheaper while complexity rises. The proliferation of channels and types of media has diluted the paid market to the point where the value proposition for a traditional TV buy isn’t what it used to be. This means more complex and expensive media plans are necessary to reach the same audience. This also mean the additional expense of creating more media executions for placement.

Second, platform opportunities made possible by the internet are increasing every day. The fractured media landscape also means more opportunites to reach customers in new and potentially more engaging ways. For a company like Red Bull that’s meant creating their own media empire with their own Roku Channel.

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Hasbro is another example of a company that’s blurred the lines between advertiser and content marketer. Are they a toy company or a Hollywood studio that makes toys. Not every advertiser has to do things on the same scale as these companies to be effective. Remember, the Soap Operas got their name for a reason.

Third, the cost of producing content is getting lower and the process less complex. Need to publish and article, create a blog. Anyone can do a podcast provided they have something interesting to say. Want to make a TV show? Professional quality filming of broadcast quality content is far cheaper than it was a decade ago. What could be accomplished with a crew of 50 can now be done with a crew of less than half and yes, at half the cost.

The timing has never been better for branded content but there remain significant challenges to creating successful projects. Not every company has the same ability as a Hasbro for creating storylines out of their products, much less the skill set. To get the kinda of eyeballs that Red Bull get’s takes time and patience to build and audience. Also, technical skill is another hurdle not to be underestimated. Bringing in the right people and partners to bridge these challenges is a necessary part of the process.