Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can slap a logo on that stock photo of businessman with an idea and call it branded content. Does that make it true? Not quite. Then again, consider who you’re talking to.
As a company, your brand is so much more than a logo. More importantly, you should want it to be more than a logo, more than a parameter-bound, single symbol of visual style and design.
In its simplest form, your brand is people; the customers, employees, and every individual in between helping the ship sail. It’s the sense of purpose that ties your actions to universal motivators. It’s the culmination of feelings evoked from your product and/or services’ ability to fulfil unmet needs.
In its simplest form, your brand isn’t really that simple at all. It’s complex, like the many people it hopes to connect with. And because of this, creating brand content that compels audiences to take action requires a multi-faceted approach and mindfulness for those most likely to consume it.
Know Your Audience
Many companies will usually follow the typical path of building out buyer personas. They’ll conduct research, send out surveys, and perhaps even host focus groups in hopes of pinpointing demographics, pain points, interests, and so on. All of this neatly packaged information certainly serves a purpose in guiding overall messaging.
What many will fail to do consistently on behalf of their audiences, however, is listen.
The beauty [and curse] of digital marketing channels is that they foster conversation. And often, customers are willing to tell you exactly what they’re looking for from a brand without even having to ask. Remain mindful of common threads across your customer base, conduct relevant keyword research, and use those learnings to help shape content that will engage rather than fall flat.
While—for consistency’s sake—your brand should certainly adhere to a set of established guidelines, allowing them to completely box you in creatively does no one any good. Building around a very prescribed set of rules sucks out the very thing that brings brand content to life: emotion.
Emotion, after all, taps into memory. The more an article, video, Facebook post, etc. makes us feel something as viewers, the more likely we are to remember it. It’s no surprise then that customers form deeper connections to brand content that touches on the heartstrings.
Consistency is important in a variety of senses when it comes to your branded content. It translates to your brand’s efforts at storytelling. To make a story convincing, it needs to follow a clear line from one chapter to the next. In addition, it should further establish a level of consistency between your brand messaging and purpose.
From another perspective, the way your brand content is disseminated across channels should remain consistent with the audience itself. When you really know who your audiences are as a brand, you become more familiar with how and where they consume their content.
Dig into the data and determine the content formats that engage your audience most on an ongoing basis. Then, use this as a jumping off point for translating your brand story in a way that’s meaningful to them.
Make the Value Known
Another major motivator activating audiences to engage with your brand content comes in the form of perceived value. This is why “listicles” are as popular as they are. As a consumer, you are being given a clear, set amount of expected return, such as: In reading this article, I’m going to gain insight into the 5 keys to creating compelling brand content.
Headlines are only half the battle, though. The quality and value advertised need to be realized in the meat of the content itself. This is what gets audiences to take more meaningful actions on behalf of your brand (i.e. clicks to website, clicks to additional articles, downloads, shares, etc.).
Don’t Cut Corners
If it sounds like there’s a lot on your plate as a marketer in establishing a branded content strategy that moves the needle, you’re right. There is. Regardless of the route you take, the way you distribute, or content types you create, seeing return from your efforts is hard work with zero corners worth cutting.
On a similar note, this is not an endeavor that throwing money at will make better. This isn’t to say that a thoughtful paid strategy shouldn’t be considered in conjunction with the branded content created, but it’s a catalyst. If the above mentioned steps haven’t been considered in developing your branded assets, merely using money to push said assets in front of as many eyeballs as possible won’t a successful campaign make.
The good news is, you’re not alone on the journey towards brand greatness. Toss those anxieties aside and let’s have a discussion — contact the team at Mabbly.