Then make sure your content is married to what your brand stands for.
I’m not the only one that feels like this.
In a survey carried out by Contently, engaged subscribers were 65x more likely to consider them the brand most trusted to provide valuable information on content marketing than their competitors.
78 percent of people say that a company’s social media posts impact their purchase decision (Small Business Trends)
Your content is quickly becoming the major driver of engagement with your brand. In order to make this trend your ally, you have to merge your content strategy with the ideals of your brand.
If you sell socks, then you need to educate people about why they should buy, but also deliver other types of content such as lifestyle advice.
Long story short, your content complements the different aspects of your brand.
Let’s use the example of marriage; when you and your partner step into the public eye together, every interaction becomes personal.
Bumping into colleagues from the office, business functions, and picking up the groceries all become profoundly personal to you both.
Even though your content is created primarily to achieve your business goals, always remember that it’s insanely personal to someone.
If you’re selling to a B2B client, the person advocating for your solution can lose credibility in their organization if the deal goes bust.
Even if you’re giving out sage wisdom about food to stay at home moms, they are entrusting you to deliver information that’ll promote the health and overall wellbeing of their families. If these examples aren’t personal to you, then I don’t know what is.
With this understanding, it’s not only your responsibility to put out the best content you can, but to deliver it in a way that it’s accessible to YOUR audience.
“Stop Writing about everything. So many brands create content and try to cover everything, instead of focusing on the core niche that they can position themselves as an expert around. No one cares about your special recipe… Find your niche, and then go even more niche.” – Joe Pulizzi, founder Content Marketing Institute
If they like to read then given them an article, if they like to watch videos then give them one, if they like to listen to podcasts then don’t hesitate.
There’s just one caveat to this; if you’re not comfortable delivering content in a certain way then don’t kill yourself trying to please another person. Remember, I’m an advocate of taking a stand. Sometimes that stand is for yourself.
Mellow Mushroom took personal interaction to a new level with their “follow us and I’ll follow you campaign.” They had their mascot, a big yellow mushroom pizza like thingy, follow their digital twitter followers around in real life.
It’s was fun and playful, but the message was dead serious, get personal with your audience and they’ll reward you with their loyalty.
It’s not enough to write an amazing mission and vision statement and throw it on your about page. You have to actually embody that through the content you produce. The Experiment is about helping entrepreneurs achieve their business goals. Period.
The way I go about that is unique to me and the people visiting this site, but every single thing I create has that core philosophy behind it.
Social media has made the world infinitely smaller than it was 100 years ago and it can be your greatest ally or worst enemy.
Dark Horse Espresso Bar portrays a warm, kind, and inviting face to the public via their website.
When push came to shove, they dropped the ball and changed the way they interacted with the people they depend on for business.
A customer of the espresso bar was disappointed in the number of wall sockets they had.
This was a regular customer who visited the bar to get some delicious coffee, interact with some of the other patrons, and do some light browsing with her laptop.
After a frustrating day with a low battery and nowhere to charge her computer, she took to twitter with this tweet.
It was a general vent that wasn’t even directed at Dark Horse, but a good Samaritan helped The espresso bar get the message.
Instead of addressing a legitimate issue many of their customers were undoubtedly having, they decided to change the narrative they’ve spent so much time crafting. Their brand and their content were about to clash.
The dissatisfied customer didn’t respond, but dark horse felt it was prudent to follow up with this tweet.
It was after that one she decided to reply.
Now, I want you to look at this objectively, Dark Horse had a real reason to refuse. If they made it too easy for people to stay for hours on end, they wouldn’t be able to make ends meet.
April on the other hand also had a real problem, she wanted to charge her computer and use it while she was having a coffee.
The issue with this exchange is the way Dark Horse approached the situation. A simple acknowledgment of the issue and a vague, “we’ll look into it” would have been so much better than what actually happened.
This event may seem isolated and unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but I want you to consider, how many people were watching and taking note.
They noticed the response (content) Dark Horse gave wasn’t congruent with what they say their values are. It was a temporary chink in their armor, a divorce from what Dark Horse professes to be as a brand and the real-time interaction occurring on the world stage.
Let’s take a look at another situation of a disgruntled customer. This time, the company stayed congruent to their brand “Family first, Product Second” and the content reflected that.
The way he replied to this customer not only enforced the content they’re producing, but got them a flood of business in support of the stance they took.
Your brand narrative and identity don’t stop or change when you leave your site and step into social media or through any other kind of platform for that matter.
On the contrary, it’s enhanced. 140 characters can be created and sent without a second thought about the effects it’ll have on you, your brand, and everyone who depends on you.
I’m not trying to be a doomsayer here, I just want you to understand, your brand narrative through the content you produce never stops. “Till death do us part.”
The quality of your content speaks more than anything else.
Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star, content marketing is showing them you are one. –Robert Rose
It’s more important than the design (although the design is still super important).
It’s more important than the images you use, the location of your social sharing buttons, or that perfectly placed optin box.
If your content sucks, fails to engage, and most importantly, fails to convert then nothing will save you.
I don’t care how many thousands of dollars you spend on a rebrand or how much that marketing agency charged you for that new video.
If your content sucks, you suck, and your brand sucks.
I’m not going to give you a template to create stellar content; you can find those all over the internet. ‘
Instead, I want you to think.
You’re a creative entrepreneur a growth scientist.
Think about what high-quality content means in your niche.
Is it image driven?
Are people looking for in-depth how to’s or are they searching for a quick fix?
Can you get away with repurposing content from news sites?
Do an audit of the players in your industry and find out what it actually means to create epic content.
Let me give you an example, if I were to pitch an article to Forbes called “7 SEO best practices for 2016” it would be quite acceptable and I’d probably only have to publish about 1200 words.
If I were to pitch that exact same article to the team at Moz, they’d use me as the butt of office jokes for the first two quarters of 2016.
Epic content is relative for the industry you’re in.
This is the age of change. In The End of Jobs by Taylor Pearson, he makes a compelling argument that we’re at the beginning of a new age, the age of entrepreneurship.
Best practices are getting better, and cutting edge fades into mediocrity within 6 months.
If you remain the same then you’ll eventually fade into obscurity.
Your brand and the content you produce will need to be dynamic rather than static or the market share you worked so hard to gain will be slowly eroded.
Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing but costs 62% less. (source)
It’s one of those things that doesn’t happen overnight but eventually happens no matter what if you’re reactive rather than proactive.
What is Dynamic Content
Webopedia defines it as website or blog content that changes frequently and engages the reader, dynamic content can include animations, video, or audio.
Have you ever noticed the recommendations Amazon gives you “based on your browsing history” or “people that bought this also bought”
That’s a dynamic webpage and that’s dynamic content.
The same way dynamic recommendations appear based on actions you’ve taken in the past is the same way your brand needs to be dynamic as regards feedback from your audience and potential customers.
A few ways you can use dynamic content in your online properties (hopefully you’re already doing some of these)
Manchester City sends an automated birthday email to their fans who’ve chosen to subscribe to their mailing list. (source)
Personalizing web experiences to show offers tailored to their unique browsing/purchase history.
Matches Fashion asks their customers to fill out a style preference questionnaire when they sign up and uses that data to present the most relevant offers. It even takes into consideration sizing information.
The list goes on, the most important thing to remember and understand is that the world as we know it is evolving and if you don’t move with it then you’ve got no choice but to be left behind.
A company that’s making engaging content day in and day out is Red Bull with Red Bull TV.
These are the same guys that sponsored the six-minute human space drop.
The content you create whether that’s an advertisement, articles for you blog, video tutorials, or podcasts truly matters.
Everything you create, your content, serves to drive as an indication of what your brand is truly about.
It’s not enough to have a pretty website and well written about us page anymore.
Your audience expects those things so it’s through your content and the narrative it creates that they’ll decide whether to do business with you or not.
Start raising the bar every time with the content you produce while staying in line with the mission of your brand and you’ll have an audience that loves and adores you.
Let me know how you’re marrying your brand to your content in the comments below.