Content marketing has grown exponentially in recent years. In fact, statistics show that 89 percent of companies are now using content marketing as a strategy for business growth — and for good reason. Ninety-six percent of B2B consumers want more thought leadership content.
With millions of pieces of content hitting the internet every day, the main problem businesses face is how to be heard on such a busy platform. Even more importantly, how do businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors in a meaningful way that both attracts and converts customers?
Importance of Brand Awareness
The most effective way to make your content stand out and garner the attention it deserves is to make sure your brand aligns with your content. This level of strategic content marketing helps build brand awareness and strengthen your company’s reputation.
Building brand awareness through content marketing is not as difficult as you might think, but it does require strategic planning. Here are some tips to help you develop a content marketing strategy that fosters brand awareness.
Define Your Brand
Image via Flickr by JeepersMedia
You can’t create content to build your brand if you haven’t clearly defined what your brand is. When defining your brand, consider these areas:
- Your Vision – Every company should have a clear and concise mission statement that defines its core values and goals. All content the company produces should highlight the company’s values and help it meet those goals.
- Your Value – Companies also need to have a clear understanding of what value they bring to the industry and to the customer. Are you thought leaders? Industry experts? A valuable resource? You should know the value your company offers before starting a content marketing plan.
- Your Voice – It also is important to determine the company’s voice. Do you want to be seen as authoritative, friendly, customer-centric, or something else? Whatever style you choose, make sure it matches your core mission and helps build relationships with your customers.
Marriott is one company that understood its mission, value, and voice to lead a very successful content marketing campaign. Since its inception, Marriott has prided itself on having a “reputation for superior customer service.”
With this in mind, the company set out to become “the world’s largest producer of travel-related content.” Marriott’s goal is to portray its brand as an expert in the travel industry.
Marriott understood its mission to provide exceptional customer service, value to its prime customer — the traveler — and a voice as an industry expert. This is clearly a content marketing strategy that meets all three of the Marriott brand’s points.
Understand Your Target Customer
In addition to understanding your brand, you must know who your target customer is. Create a buyer persona to provide a better glimpse at how your targeted customer thinks, behaves online, and engages. A high-level buyer persona can help you craft content that speaks directly to your “ideal” customer.
You also should have a clear grasp of the buyer’s journey and understand the various customer nuances at each stage of the journey. This customer insight allows you to cater content that speaks to the customers at specific touch points throughout the journey. This type of targeted content can improve customer engagement and increase conversion rates.
ADP provides a good example of how targeting your content to meet your customers’ needs, while still holding true to your brand, can help attract customers. ADP understood that rising business costs were major concerns for many of its targeted customers.
The company merged this need with ADP’s prime mission — “to provide insightful solutions that drive value and success for our clients” — to create a brilliant content marketing campaign.
Through a series of white paper content, ADP revealed, in dollar amounts, just how much businesses could save with ADP business solutions. ADP claims that just this one content marketing campaign awarded them more than $1 million in new sales.
Build a Content Marketing Strategy
Brand awareness does not grow overnight but through strategic and targeted marketing. Simply writing content and posting it online is not enough. You must develop a plan that both matches your company brand and identifies with the customer.
Brand awareness is not a stand-alone strategy. You must embrace it at all levels of your company. Make sure all key players are on board and understand the company’s mission, value, and vision, as well as what the “ideal” customer looks like.
Maintaining a detailed editorial calendar can keep the team on task and help make sure the flow of content is meeting company goals. Your focus also should be on delivering relevant content that resonates with the customer.
Online content can get out of control if not managed properly. Just one unanswered comment on a post could make the company appear unresponsive. To make sure your brand remains consistent, monitor online content continuously and respond to or remove comments as necessary.
Analyze and Adjust
The last thing you want to do is go through the steps of building a content marketing campaign and then not evaluate its effectiveness. Analyze key metrics and determine if the campaign delivered the desired results. Track metrics such as content reach, engagement, and conversion to get a clear picture of each content type’s efficacy.
Having this analytical data in front of you can help you determine what content resonates with the customer and where adjustments need to be made. You can then better strategize your content to maximize its overall impact.
As you can see, content marketing is more than just a write it and post it strategy. To be heard in today’s busy and chaotic marketplace, companies must work to build brand awareness within their content. This is the only way to differentiate yourself from your competitors and tell customers why they should choose your goods or services.
When outsourcing your content creation, make sure you work with a company interested in understanding your brand. Companies that offer fast turnaround with minimal input will likely provide little value to your content. Instead, collaborate with a content service like CopyPress that works with companies to make sure their brand is intertwined in every content piece they deliver.