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12 Steps In Content Marketing, A Giant Leap In Brand Building

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Brand building – going beyond just recognition

Unless you are from a marketing background, like me you most probably have used the term Brand in your day to day conversations to describe a Product/Service. Calling any product/service a brand in casual conversations may seem ok, but for an entrepreneur starting a new company, it matters a great deal.

Every company aspires to become a brand, much like every actor aspires to become an icon like Amitabh Bachchan, Rajnikant, Vidya Balan etc. Every iconic person is famous but not every famous person is iconic. How iconic actors are seen, is directly linked to how consistent they have been in evoking powerful emotions through their movies, while staying relatable to their audience with their actions off-screen.

Similarly companies with a strong brand image indicate how consistent they have been in creating impressions in the minds of their customers, right from the first interaction, till way after completion of a sale, while still staying relatable. Building this rapport ensures customer loyalty. Take the case of Maggi noodles who have built such a strong brand image that when they re-launched themselves after the ‘Lead Fiasco’ their products flew off the shelf. This despite the fact that their competitors with their own USPs, had a few months in the absence of Maggi to make a mark.

Content marketing the new way of brand building

content_marketing_vs_traditional_publicity

In the 80’s and early 90’s, the competition was less than now and so were the number of distractions, making it easier for brands to stay connected with their potential customers. Today, with the presence of multiple brands, it takes much more effort to create the same connect and loyalty among potential customers.

Amul is among the few brands which has managed to survive in today’s competitive space.

amul_ad

But even as the competition has increased, channels for reaching out to people have also become faster and more engaging than before, with the advent of internet and digital marketing. By sending good and relevant content through online channels will help you achieve the following:

  • It can create an awesome first impression even before you start interacting one on one with potential customers.
  • You can educate people about how your product can have a positive impact on their lives.
  • It helps in boosting the traffic and rankings of your website, Adwords, etc. – The more your content addresses common questions or problems your potential customers may have, the more attractive you will be to search engines, thereby improving your traffic and rankings.
  • You can generate more leads, by engaging 90% of the market which is not yet ready to buy. B2B Companies with blogs, generate 70% more leads per month than those who do not have one.
  • You can continue building loyalty among customers by engaging with them long after completion of sales.

But no matter how good your content is, if you are irregular in your delivery, or send it to wrong people, all of the above mentioned points would get hit badly, creating a negative brand image of your company.

Having a content marketing strategy will ensure that you deliver relevant content to the right people at the right time. A good content marketing strategy should be like having a conversation with your audience where you show them how much they matter to you without being intrusive, or like wooing your girlfriend so that she says yes when you propose.

content_marketing_trends

Brands who achieved success through content marketing

  • HubSpot – Grew revenue by 81% and gained 2,000 new customers.
  • KISSmetrics – Received more than 1 million unique visitors per month.
  • Monetate – Increased traffic by 255% and doubled sales.
  • Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward – In 2008 and 2009, when real estate markets were crashing, they launched a high-end magazine ‘The Completely London’, to establish themselves as an authority in this segment. The high quality feel and content not only restored faith in their clients, but also brought them new ones. It not just revitalized their company, turning them into an industry leader, but ‘The Completely London’ was also named as one of the top 10 brands in the UK.

kinleigh_folkard_&_hayward

Putting down a content marketing strategy

  1. Define and position your brand

If you haven’t already done it, then come up with values that define your company by creating vision and mission statements. This is the most critical part in brand building. Internal communications, the experience provided to customers through your product/service and marketing campaigns will be defined by the values you set for your company. Apple’s “Think Different” campaign came from their core value ‘people with passion can change the world for the better’.

If your company’s actions are not in sync with its set values, you run the risk of creating a brand image that will be contrary to what you want in the minds of your customers. You could come up with a unique selling point or USP. Although just by staying with your core values and coming up with creative customer centric campaigns itself will create a unique position for your company.

“Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us” – Steve Jobs

2000px-Apple_logo_Think_Different_vectorized.svg

  1. Target the right people
  • Define your target audience: Describe the people who you think would be interested in your products/services and/or who may be impressed by your values, by setting parameters like gender, demography, their interests etc. For example if you own a shop selling organic food, your target audience may broadly consist of health conscious people and environmentalists. Once these are set, care needs to be taken to ensure that the people you target fulfill most of the parameters.
  • Keep refining your parameters after each campaign:
    • There will be customers who take 80% of your time and contribute to only 20% of your profit and those who take 20% of your time and contribute to 80% of your profit. If majority of your customers fall in the first category, then it would indicate that either you are communicating the wrong things or the target audience defined by you needs to be relooked.
    • Segregate your target audience into groups based on what kind of content they have shown interest in, their purchase history, etc. For example by keeping an eye on who is showing interest in what kind of content, you will be able to further classify health conscious people into those who just enjoy eating good healthy food and those who take their health very seriously.
  1. Deliver relevant content at the right time
  • Identifying the different stages/ touch points your customers will go through:

Every person broadly goes through the following stages before they become customers of any company.

 marketing_and_sales_funnel

Identify these different stages/ touch points you see your customers going through by putting yourself in their shoes.

  • Be clear of what you want to communicate:
    • Get a deeper understanding of your target audience – Start by asking yourself:
      • What do they love?
      • What gets them angry?
      • What inspires them?
      • What kind of problems or queries they may have at different stages/ touch points and how can you show them that you care by providing solutions to them?

The more you understand your target audience, the better you will get at delivering relevant content that aligns with your brand values, making the timing of the delivery just right. The more consistent you are in doing this, the more people will start trusting you.

    • Divide and rule! –

When you send a generic e-mail to all the people in your target group, some may find it interesting while others may just find it boring.  By segregating your target audience as mentioned above, you can start sending information to each group that may be more relevant to them. For example you could engage by giving information on the health benefits of organic fruits to the health conscious group and of how growing organic food puts less stress on the environment to the environmentalists group, to spread awareness about your shop.

You can personalize your e-mails further by adding back-end codes, whereby even the name of the person receiving it will change automatically from person to person.

Following is a report on what other companies do to connect with their potential customers on social media.

 report_attracting_customers_on_social_media

  1. Freeze on marketing channels

Study the latest marketing trends and understand for what purpose, how often and during what time the people in your target audience use various channels, before freezing on them.

 report_important_channels_content_marketing

  1. Create guidelines for each type of content
  • Tone: Decide how your communications should sound. Whether you want to sound formal, casual or a blend of both. Try and maintain the same tone across all channels.
  • Fonts: Define font types, their sizes and where they are to be used. Try not to use more than two font types per content piece.
  • Images, video, info graphs, illustrations and other file types that need to be uploaded:
    • Define file extensions (.TIFF, .JPEG,.PNG, .MP3, .MOV, .PDF, .TXT etc.)
    • max file size (kb, mb, gb), min resolution (dpi – print, pixels – online)
    • dimensions (length X breadth) where needed
  • Create layout templates for all content types: By doing this you will not just reduce design time but it will also set the length of the content piece.
  • Word count: In the absence of fixed dimension, such as in the case of a blog, set a minimum word count. For example a blog post should ideally be at least 800 words long. This will help you
    • Rank better in Google
    • Get more social shares
    • Get more inbound links
  1. Involve employees and customers in the content creation process

Facebook, the no. 1 ranked website in the world, has its entire content created by its users.

  • By involving customers in the content creation process, their brand loyalty towards your company will increase.
  • By involving employees, not just would it increase their brand loyalty, but it will also help you gain an insight from the people who deal with your customers.
  1. Decide on whether to do in-house or outsource

If you can get everything done in-house, there’s nothing like it. But even if you hire an ad agency or a freelancer to write and/or update the content, manage the content in-house. If you leave everything to the content writer you run the risk of ending up with content that’s not in line with the company’s values. Work with your content writers and give them a brief of your requirements along with your guidelines.

  1. Create content in advance and a schedule it

Create content pieces a few weeks in advance and always have some buffer. If you want to include current events, keep 10% of the content for this purpose. If, like in Facebook you have the option of scheduling and setting reminders, go ahead and set it up. This will ensure that even if you are preoccupied with something, the campaign would continue unhindered. You can also use online tools like customer.io to automate and schedule your e-mail campaigns.

  1. Edit and Proofread content

Do a grammar and spell check on your final piece. More the number of errors people find in your content, lesser will be your credibility with them.

  1. Test before publishing

Ensure that the look and feel of the final content piece is consistent across various browsers, e-mail clients and various devices.

  1. Promote your content
  • Include links to your various online channels, in your content pieces as well as in all your marketing materials.
  • Build a good rapport with popular bloggers, Facebook groups etc., whose blog/page you see helping in promoting your brand, by starting a conversation through leaving comments on their posts.
  1. Review your efforts
  • Get feedback from the team which interacts with the customers and from customers themselves.
  • Install analytic tools on all your online channels to review:
    • How many page views the content receives?
    • What type of content is read the most?
    • What type of content is shared the most?
    • What keywords did people search for to find your content?
    • How many leads did your content generate?

By constantly evolving your content based on all the feedback and reports, you will be able to communicate better with your target audience, thereby improving your company’s brand image.

Just like Rome was not built in a day, brands too are not created in a single campaign. Be patient and keep working at it.

Listen to your employees, engage your target audience, cater to your customers and most important of all, enjoy your brand building process!

Image credit:

  • Amul
  • Getspokol
  • Marketing charts
  • Stevepatrizi
  • Altimeter
  • Attachmedia
  • Apple
  • maketingsherpa

 

  • inbound-marketing


  • There are 2 comments


    • 2 years ago

      Rahul Mehata   /   Reply

      All given information is very useful for content marketing thank you

      • 2 years ago

        Pradnya   /   Reply

        Glad that it could help you!

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