Everything you do with the content you create and how you promote it is a reflection of your brand. Brands are not always the outcome of methodical planning and execution, but they are always there. Intense competition and an increasingly noisy world demand companies do more than let brands passively develop. Great content marketing is part of deliberate brand building.
Successful content marketing requires you to be very clear about what your brand is and is not. Brands need the ability to move quickly when navigating the constantly evolving waters of content and social media. This requires having a strong rudder (brand platform) and a big picture idea of where you are going (brand strategy). Your brand platform helps you navigate, and with the big picture view of your brand strategy, you know if you’re heading in the right direction. The little ebbs and flows in between aren’t as consequential. It’s not just day-to-day interactions on social media that reflect your brand. Your brand also affects what content you create and how you organize it. Your brand dictates how you create content, what you create, how you deliver it, how you promote it, and how well it performs.
Here are 6 truths about how successful brands do content marketing:
Successful brands avoid competing with news and media.
Successful brands know they don’t have enough bandwidth to provide content covering absolutely everything. They know they don’t have the editorial budget for the depth of reporting, breadth of topics, or publishing frequency.
Successful brands don’t try so hard to please consumers that they lose sight of business objectives.
The object of the game is to hit the sweet spot between content that aligns with your unique value proposition and appeals to consumer interests. Successful brands avoid talking about general topics and favor information relevant to their unique value proposition. If your brand is related to sports, you need to find ways to talk about sports in the context of your unique value proposition and brand promise. Simply talking about sports does nothing for your bottom line, and it’s unlikely your brand will be able to rival ESPN.
Successful brands make content their own.
Great brands provide content with a unique angle that reflects their brand personality and values. The majority of the time it’s not features and benefits that differentiate your brand, it’s your brand values and brand personality. Infusing this into your content is important for differentiation.
Successful brands know they are competing with content that comes from family, friends, and coworkers.
It’s not just other brands you are competing with. It’s anything competing for attention. Cat videos, a friend’s vacation photos, pictures of new babies, engagement announcements, a family member’s wedding all create competition for consumers’ attention.
Successful brands know competition for content depends on context.
Most of the time, hamburger photos on Instagram aren’t competing for attention from vegans. People who shop for groceries at the 99-cent store are unlikely to be interested in the latest gouda specials at Whole Foods. Targeting your content makes it more personalized to your audience. It also makes for less competition than if you were talking to all people interested in food. Successful brands avoid creating the kind of content that puts their brand in a position where it will be drowned out by noise.
Successful brands have intimate relationships with their audiences.
Successful brands take an approach of creating and spreading content designed specifically for their target audiences. They create content that feeds into what their audiences are looking for and what they need. The content great brands create reaffirms the bond consumers have with their brand. It helps people go from customers to brand advocates and solidifies loyal bonds.