I’ve said it so many times that I sometimes feel like a broken record. But it’s so important that it’s worth repeating, so I’ll say it again:
Your brand is your story.
It’s as simple as that. To expound on that, you can think of branding as storytelling.
Your brand showcases who you are, what you stand for, and what customers can expect from you.
Creating your story is the fun part. Telling it to others is where most businesses come up short.
Companies often funnel thousands of dollars into developing a one-of-a-kind brand that captures their identity and story perfectly. Creating a fantastic logo and placing it on a website and business card is a common start. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing! But if you skip the process of sharing your story with your prospects, you are missing out on the biggest competitive advantage you’ll ever have. You story is literally the only thing nobody else can copy. It’s uniquely yours, and if you tell your story correctly, you will stand out above your competitors as the perfect person to help your ideal clients and customers. Why? Because the experiences you’ve had along your specific journey have shaped you and given you commonalities with your ideal clients and prospects. If you don’t take the time to share those things, your prospects will never know!
Ok, so we’ve established that you have to share your brand and your story with the right audience to drive new clients to your door. How do you do that?
Investing in content on various platforms shares your story with the world and attracts new customers simultaneously.
What is Content?
“Content” has become a buzzword across multiple industries. So, what does it actually refer to?
Is it the words and sentences on your website? Yes.
Is it that blog post you just published? Yep, that too.
Is it also that viral video you shared on your company’s Instagram feed? If the video is relevant to your audience, it’s content.
Generally, content is defined as “…the presentation of information, for a purpose, to an audience, through a channel, in a form.”
As an example, let’s imagine your company writes a blog post demonstrating the numerous benefits derived from your products and services. The content would break down into a variety of resources and original articles meant to educate and entice your potential client base.
After developing a library of branded content, you should invest in a content marketing strategy to distribute your content and drive potential consumers to your website.
Three Benefits of Investing in Content
On top serving as a medium for sharing your story, investing in your content and a content marketing strategy provides a wealth of benefits, including:
Improved Brand Awareness
As you create and share content on various platforms, more and more members of your target audience will become aware of your brand story. Additionally, as your target audience becomes familiar with your brand, they’ll share your content with their network, slowly but surely growing a loyal following.
Increased Consumer Trust
Why are people such diehard fans of Apple, Ford, Amazon, and Coca-Cola? Because they trust the brand.
How did these companies get customers to trust them? While brands like Coca-Cola and Ford have years of advertising experience under their belt, Apple, Amazon, and other newer brands rely on strategically created content. After all, 84 percent of millennials and younger generations state that they don’t trust traditional advertising.
You can take this concept a step further by creating personalized content for your audience. Studies show that 78 percent of consumers trust brands that generate more customized content.
And, if your company is in the B2B sector, you’ll be thrilled to learn that 95 percent of B2B buyers consider branded content as trustworthy when evaluating a company and its products/services.
Greater Online Visibility
Content marketing strategies focus on creating content that tells your story and sharing it with the largest audience possible through a process known as search engine optimization (SEO).
Using this methodology, content marketing professionals work to rank your content on search engines like Google through a multitude of tactics.
Naturally, your brand will rank higher for keywords relevant to your audience by investing in your content and a corresponding SEO marketing strategy. This increase in online visibility leads to more website traffic, which ultimately results in more leads for your business.
Six Types of Content to Invest In
When you’re ready to invest in your content strategy, consider starting with any of these six types of content.
1. Blog Posts
Blog posts are the most common type of content created by businesses. OptinMonster reported that Internet users in the US spend 200 percent more time on blogs than they do on email.
This type of content is inexpensive to create, publish, and distribute to your audience. You can use blog content to:
- Educate customers on topics relevant to their products, services, and industry
- Share industry and company news
- Answer frequently asked customer questions
- Demonstrate products, services, or other tactics
On top of creating blog post content for your own website, you can also write blogs for leading websites and resources in your industry. By doing so, you actively amplify your brand story to other sources and reach new audiences.
2. News Releases
Did you just launch a brand new product or service? Did your company partner up with a local non-profit organization for an event or cause? Are you celebrating a milestone year in business?
Write a news release about it! As opposed to the old fashioned “press release”, we refer to these as news releases because we typically aren’t putting them out for the “press” but rather to educate clients and prospects. In this case, the news release doesn’t really have to be “newsworthy”, it’s simply another way of publishing relevant content that can help your audience see that you are constantly relevant in the marketplace.
News releases are a fantastic piece of content that you should add to your overall strategy. These bits of timely content add new chapters to your brand story.
Use this guide to direct your news release content creation and distribution.
Brands looking to magnify their story and marketing efforts must invest in video content creation.
Why? It’s the majority of what we consume online these days.
Cisco reported that online videos will make up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2022. To put that into perspective, that’s 15 times higher than it was in 2017.
Best of all, businesses can create videos about everything under the sun, including:
- Product demonstration videos
- Answering FAQs
- Showcasing new products and services
- How-to videos
- Promotional videos
- Company overview and history
- Interviews with relevant experts (this is what I do for my podcast, I do it live on Facebook Live and then I repurpose the video and audio).
And, since most people would rather you show them something versus telling them, you can transform your blog posts into videos, doubling the amount of content developed from a single topic.
There are three main ways to learn:
- Hands-on learning
- Visual learning
- Auditory learning
Satisfy the auditory learners in your audience by recording and sharing podcast content!
For those who are unfamiliar, podcasts are a type of spoken content similar to talk radio. Although not as popular as video content (yet), approximately 32 percent of Americans listen to at least one podcast series a month.
Many marketers use podcasts and videos to expand upon the topics written about in their blog, effectively increasing the amount of content in their overall library.
5. Live Streamed Content
From webinars to exclusive sales promotions, everything can be live-streamed these days! What better way to tell your brand story than by engaging with your audience in real-time?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a difficult time where many of us could not be together in person or in a store, live streaming became an innovative way to tell your story, interact with customers, and share new content.
There’s never been a better time to start live streaming content, either. The global video streaming market size is projected to reach $184.3 billion by 2027. With major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube all offering live streaming capabilities, it’s incredibly easy to get started.
I’m saying all of this from experience, too. Before the pandemic, I had zero livestreams and had podcasting on my list of things I should probably look at. During the pandemic, I hosted eight livestreams; immediately afterward, I converted them into podcasts as well, starting my new journey into both streaming and podcasting online. I did everything from interviewing major authors and I even hosted a couple of astronauts, letting kids come online and ask them any question they wanted! How did I know what to do? I started to think “how can I best serve my audience?” That’s a great place for you to start as well. You’ll be shocked at how easy it is once you get started. The benefits of my livestreams and podcasts have far outweighed the effort! I only wish I had started years ago.
Don’t be like me, start today.
6. Writing Books
Ah, books. One of the oldest forms of content!
Every person and brand has a fascinating story to tell, from business leaders sharing their industry secrets to chefs detailing their experiences while cooking all over the world. Think about how your business experiences could be shaped into an attention-grabbing book, and start writing! If you’re like me and you don’t like to write, that’s okay. It’s often a wise strategy to find a great writer and have them help you ghostwrite your book. What you are really after is the best way to tell your story, so don’t think you have to do it on your own! There are professional writers who can handle the hard part while you continue to do what you are best at.
The Next Step: Start Creating
The fastest way to invest in content is to start creating. Sit down and write (or hire a writer); brainstorm a video idea; start scripting your first podcast episode. The content world is your oyster!
Of course, if you need content guidance, inspiration, or assistance, I’m here to help.