What's the difference between branded and non-branded content? Branded content is clearly about you or your company. Non-branded content is not necessarily about you or your company at all, but it contains references to either.
Both types of content include your branded search phrase and assist in your online reputation strategy, but are structured differently. Both types of content require freshness updates.
Branded Content is often intended to show up on the first pages of search results for your chosen search phrase.
Non-Branded Content is often intended to show up further back in search results (like pages 3, 4, or 5 for a given search phrase) and can support your first page search results.
What are non-branded content examples?
Non-branded content examples might be an article about your industry or some other area of expertise. Your search phrase is normally not included in the Title of the document or in the main Heading. If your search phrase is your brand name, the search phrase may be embedded in the content here and there, but it's not the main thing the article talks about. It is instead a reference.
Non-branded content can get much more activity than branded because it is often of wider interest than narrowly branded material. That can mean more readers, more shares, and wider distribution. Of course if your brand name is a household word this may not be the case, but for most brands it often is.
The down-side of non-branded content is that search engines don't normally place this type of content on the first pages of search results if your key phrase is your brand (or name). This is why non-branded content is useful for embedding links to positive content about you, but isn't necessarily great for 'becoming' that positive content.
What's branded content?
Branded Content is all about your brand - whether it be a person or a company or product. It's very clearly either the voice of your brand or a third-party is explicitly writing about your brand.
Your search phrase is often in the page Title and the Header because these are the first places search engines look to find out what a web page is about. Branded content has a good chance of making it to the top results in search because of the prominence of your search phrase in the document.
Your brand (search phrase) is often included in not only the page title and article heading but also in the body of the page content multiple times. This smorgasbord of key phrase insertion looks great to the marketing department, but isn't always best for readers. Narrow brand-related content should strive to balance the search phrase shout-out with useful content readers will want to share.
To qualify for a Wikipedia page the references from the page usually need to point to high-authority branded content. In other words, if you are hoping to earn a Wikipedia page, editors do not usually consider a mere mention of your brand in an article as strong evidence of notability.