Take off your sales hat for a moment, and let’s talk about content marketing for brand awareness. Unlike traditional revenue-driven advertising, branded content marketing focuses on creating interesting, relevant, and value-adding content in order to establish a voice of industry authority, to increase brand awareness, and, eventually, to build your customer base.
When you’re thinking about content marketing for brand awareness, make sure you’re focusing on what matters: adding value, not selling your stuff. The viral billboard campaign for “Manhattan Mini Storage” is a great example of branded content marketing that may not have resulted in the immediate rental of more storage units, but certainly established a topical, unique, and irreverent voice for the brand.
Branded content marketing is not the place to wax positive about a new feature or must-have purchase. It is a place to create and reveal positive, productive content that celebrates the individuality of your company and that engages consumers by revealing your personality.
Here are some of the most effective ways to get your branded content marketing off the ground:
1. Draft a content strategy
The ultimate goal of branded content marketing is to help your company further hone and clarify your image and messaging. For this reason, it’s important to have a clearly articulated strategy content goes towards telling the cohesive story of your brand. Before embarking on a campaign, take the time to consider what story you want to tell, and make sure that all your content has an unequivocal focus, in-line with your stated goals.
2. Create an email newsletter
It may seem outdated, but strong and specific weekly or bi-monthly email newsletters remain one of the most important ways to keep your customers updated and engaged. Again, focus on the content aspect of your newsletter. It should not just be a place to tout your latest product or promote a sale or discount. The unique e-marketplace Of a Kind puts out a twice-monthly newsletter in which the editors share their current obsessions, from food to beauty products to music. These carefully curated newsletters make almost no mention of the site itself, but do go a long way towards establishing the unique voice and perspective of the overall brand.
3. Build a branded blog
One recent study suggests that this year, blog readership will hit 150 million in the U.S., which is roughly 60% of our internet population. Simple but effective, content-driven blogs are one of the best ways to establish your voice as an authority in your field, and a vital piece of the content marketing puzzle. They are also one of the easiest branded content strategies to get off the ground. In an ideal world, your blog would become a daily destination for consumers looking to learn more about your industry. It would also be the first stop for any curious customer hoping to get a better sense of what your world has to offer.
- Engage your professional community and become an authority
When considering your branded content marketing strategy, it’s super important to remember that you are a small fish in a very, very big pond.
- Rather than swimming alone, think about ways to engage others in your community.
- Consider participating in online industry forums where you can establish yourself as a problem-solver and thought leader.
- Create tutorials, how-to’s, or Q&A white papers, and offer these resources for free.
These resources can do double duty, both by establishing your brand as an authority in the field and providing content that is useful and highly shareable, which will go a long way towards increasing your brand awareness.
5. Think viral
While your content should, of course, reflect the voice of your brand, remember: the most frequently shared content is not always the most informative or professional. More often, content that is fun, dynamic, and playful is what goes viral. Even if your brand trends more serious, don’t be afraid of multimedia content such as videos or photos that give your brand a playful or humorous vibe. Both video and image content is easier to digest than blocks of text, and also demonstrates to your audience that your brand is current and willing to embrace digital trends – both great qualities to have in today’s connected world.