Elizabeth Spiers on good branded content:

You have written about Casper and their publication Van Winkle’s as an example of great branded content. What did they get right?

It wasn’t meant to directly sell mattresses, but to establish authority in the area of sleep. If that’s what you want to do, you have to produce content that feels academically credible, that people actually want to read.

One of the writers we hired was predominantly a science writer with a feel for pop culture. If they get cited on science sites, that’s a win, [and] if readers are sharing content because it’s interesting, then that’s great as well.

Spiers has actually moved out of publishing into the VR world – but is producing a VR-centric magazine to help sell the new agency.