Thursday, 29 January 2015

Leveraging Business Content For Brand Dominance










Here's an ominous prediction: Without good content, your brand is dead.

 

Or dying.




Or on its way to its imminent demise.




Take a look at your favourite brand and you will notice one constant. But you will first need to strip away the 'hard sells' such as the glossy magazines, shiny billboards, fun radio jingles and creative television advertisements, before you get to that eureka moment.




And in that moment the constant becomes clear:



Successful businesses are good storytellers. 



They tell stories in different ways using different types of content. Content could be white papers, podcasts, infographics, blog articles, images, graphics, videos and tutorials. 



Content could also be emotive, educative, inspiring, humorous or entertaining.



When done the right way, content persuades, or even compels action. The action could be you buying a product, signing up for a service, giving favourable reviews/recommendations, sharing that great content to  your social media networks or saving the information for future use. You do these things because subconsciously, you feel that you 'owe' the brand.







And naturally, brands want you to have more of those instances whereby you strengthen their reputations by spreading their well-crafted communications.




Even if your company operates in a 'serious' sector such as oil exploration/production, manufacturing  or biotechnology, you  could  still  make  your content memorable.




One way to do this is to develop a unique 'tone' for your communications. This makes your brand interesting, clearly distinguishing it from the pack.




Yet nothing would be worse than spending considerable time and resources creating superb content which has little or no positive impact on the business because you failed to promote it effectively.




So herein lies the dilemma -  creating  the type of content that would best represent your brand and serve your customers, ('the What'); and using the right methods/tools via which that content is disseminated to your audience for greater visibility and action, ('the How').




Addressing these two components, which form a larger six-component communications strategywould help your brand become a key player in your field. 





Choosing the right content: 'The What'







So what should your skilled communications professionals and content creators  produce as content? 




Firstly, decide whether content should follow the PESO modelpaid, earned, sponsored or owned.
  


Once that is sorted, resist churning out content faster than your audience can comprehend, let alone retain. Instead, be clear about what you want it to achieve for your brand.  




Thereafter, take the two actions below to help frame the creative process: 




1) Find out what your customers/clients and other stakeholder groups want solved, such as what their greatest pain points are 



Conduct surveys, check your customer complaint logs and ask questions. Know what your consumers require from your brand and try to add value to their lives.  With time, you will be seen as trustworthy. The knowledge you glean from  conversing  with your audience  will become ample fodder for your business content.
 



2) Check out your competitors and other industry leaders but develop your own content plan 



Use Rival IQ to spy on your rivals' tactics in the digital space.



Or spy on those you admire in your field.


Or on those longest in the game.


Check out what they have been doing, how they got it right and learn from their mistakes.


Browse through their websites; 'follow' them on social media; and take a peek at their blogs. Yes, the bigwigs not only have company blogs but have evolved their content to amplify their brands. For inspiration, check out the 10 best company blogs in the world.



Then go develop a content plan whereby you use specific content that not only addresses the concerns of your followers but also provokes emotions, thereby encouraging them to take action. 



Remember that at the heart of a strong message is a good story.



Thus, strengthen your storytelling by mixing up different types of content. Remember that content could be videos, podcasts, e-books, etc.



Images are particularly powerful when incorporated with text. Copyblogger  provides very useful information about the eight types of visuals  that increase the psychological impact of your content, as well as where to find and create them. Therefore, boost your content with images and once again, make it informative, clever, homourous or entertaining.





Spreading/promoting the right content: 'The How'







Once you have decided on the type of content to promote, you will need to find out the best way to get that great story out to your audience using appropriate methods and tools. This development, whereby specific content is distributed to different stakeholders to fulfill defined business goals, in a nutshell is what  content marketing  entails.




Some basic advice for content marketing:



 - Share your varied content in your social media accounts and engage with your followers in 'real' time or use a scheduling tool such as Sprout Social.



 -  Have a content calender to ensure a steady stream of content and launch contests, freebies, rewards, etc. (This is particularly popular with social media content).






The Mention software is also a helpful tool for actively monitoring your brand on the web to gain insights on how to improve its performance.



 - Include a blog to your website to coax sales, conversions or to boost brand relevance.



There is also a wealth of information on content marketing on Twitter. Using the hashtag #ContentMarketing, you will find valuable articles about creating and compiling content, as well as advice for marketing your communications to grow your business.  




But do more with social media...










...Because brands in this digital age are using technology to create more interesting experiences for customers.




Social media opens up a lot of opportunities for those receptive to digital tools. (If your company is yet to embrace social media, you need to seriously rethink its longevity in your field).




It is now not enough to have 'responsive websites' which are optimised for ease of navigation for mobile phone consumers, or to ensure that social media 'share' or 'follow' buttons are included on every page of your website.




Savvy brands know that having a good social media strategy is necessary for maximising its benefits to their businesses, as well for justifying the investments of time and money required. In this infographic, Visual.ly gives tips on defining your social media goals, deciding the metrics required for measuring those goals, developing specific actions and executing your strategy. Take their advice seriously.




Experts also recommend incorporating social media with PR and email marketing.




Even if you are a small business owner, you could still embrace suggestions made about social media on a smaller scale. Some believe that in just 15 minutes a day, you could accelerate your social media portfolio and create an impact with your content.
 





Conclusion



If you are passionate about your company, this post would hopefully have given you some ideas about how to leverage your brand's well-crafted content to dominate its niche. 



What is important to note is that nothing beats passion for your brand.



 Nothing.











Therefore, carefully select the communications professionals who will craft and manage your corporate storytelling. Give them the required support and the autonomy to passionately execute the vision for your brand in creative ways.  





Key nuggets from this post:



 - Developing your unique 'tone' in your communications and engaging with your audience differentiates your brand from the pack;




 - Choosing the right type of content that resonates with your audience, ('The What'), whilst keeping tabs on your competitors, makes your brand trusted in its field;



- Using appropriate methods/tools for distributing the content, in addition to content marketing tactics, ('The How'), puts you on the right track towards brand relevance in your industry;




- Developing an effective social media strategy allows you make a greater impact with your content. 





The desirable outcome?



Your brand will be vetted and promoted by your employees/consumers/partners/clients, thereby growing your business.



And you will never look back.




Advance and go wow them all with your business content!  





Now it's your turn! How have you used content to amplify your brand? Kindly post your comments below, anonymously if you prefer. 






Recommended reading


Boosting Corporate Reputations With Effective Communications 
 



Don't rush off just yet. Please remember to:  


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Need help in crafting your business content?  



I am here to help. Hire me for a writing assignment, some consulting work and/or coaching sessions in communications.  


Contact me by:  


A) Sending a direct email to: Lucilleossai@gmail.com


B) Calling for advice and a free consultation:

Nigeria:                0704 631 0592

International:      +234 704 631 0592  



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N.B-  All images courtesy of Stuart Miles; via freedigitalphotos.net.