Growing your brand can be difficult, especially if you’re not sure how to go about it. Content marketing is a great way to scale your brand, and has the advantage of being more flexible and cheaper than traditional advertising. This article will explain why you should be using content marketing to scale your brand, and will provide you with the content marketing strategy you need to increase your brand awareness and sales.
What Is Content Marketing (And How Will It Help You Grow Your Brand)?
Content marketing is producing free content that is relevant to your business as a way of indirectly promoting it. For example, a veterinarian may have a blog on pet care, or a software company might offer a free version of their software. Though neither the blog posts nor the software advertise the brand beyond a few links. People that read the blog or use the software will be more likely to choose that business when they need the services they provide. They might also share the content with friends via social media, who will also be more likely to purchase the brand’s services or products.
As a form of advertising, content marketing is superior to traditional advertising (e.g. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads) in two ways:
- It’s cheaper—you attract customers to your site without having to pay for advertising or email lists.
- It’s an effective form of brand awareness.
Brand awareness, or how recognizable your brand is, is the most significant part of content marketing. Unlike traditional advertising, content marketing also advertises your content to people who haven’t been shown one of your ads. Having an article, or a piece of software, as your advertisement shows you know what you’re doing far better than a brief ad would.
An effective content marketing strategy will set up your brand as a trusted option, making it the go-to option for the products you offer. With the right content marketing plan, customers will choose your brand, and will continue to do so more often.
Content Marketing Strategy
Proper content marketing takes a keen understanding of consumer trends, a tested and proven model for research, and a great understanding of your competitors. These tasks can be a lot to take on alone, so you’ll likely find the most success relying on an agency that does this type of work day in and day out. Take the team at Seller’s Choice, for instance. From creating content to crafting unique brands and voices, Seller’s Choice has taken companies’ online presence from nonexistent to the front page of Google.
Though it’s not a lot of work to take on the task of content marketing all by yourself, it is important to understand everything that goes into a successful strategy so that you can create and express your goals to a company that can turn abstract ideations into reality.
Mission Statement and Brand Persona
Before you do any content marketing, you need to think about your brand and what it represents. What exactly do you offer, and why do you offer it? What separates you from your competitors? Is there an interesting story to tell about your founding? How do you want to appear to potential consumers?
You should use this knowledge of your brand to direct your content strategy. It might even be helpful to write a mission statement for your brand (and put it on your website—the history of your brand is storytelling, a form of content marketing).
Analysis of Existing Content
Before starting to produce content, you should use a tool like SEMRush or Screaming Frog to analyze the content you already have (e.g. videos, Facebook posts, etc.) and find out what types of content you are currently producing and how successful these types are.
Are your videos more successful than your blog posts? Are you getting more engagement on Facebook than Twitter? This will help you decide where to focus your content strategy.
The paramount quality that will determine your content is audience. You need to find out who your audience is (i.e. age, gender, income, education level, etc.), which you can do through Google Analytics.
Once you have this information, it might be helpful to create a buyer persona, a made-up customer who will help you get into the head of your ideal customer. Try and create buyer personas for every segment of your audience, so that you have all of your audience’s needs covered.
Use your buyer personas to think about what content your audience wants, rather than just what directly advertises your business (as content marketing is still advertising your business, whether it specifically references you or not).
As there are various types of content you could potentially produce, you need to further narrow your choices based on your needs. There are several types of content you can produce for your brand:
- Blog Posts: Blog posts are the simplest form of content, and are relatively easy to produce. “How to” articles (like this one) or lists (i.e. “X reasons why…”) perform well on SEO, but any topic that proves your industry expertise is also a good choice.
- Visual Content: Infographics, SlideShares, and Youtube videos will give more content diversity to your brand, especially if you already have a strong presence on these channels.
- Gated Content: If you have the resources, producing subscriber-only content, such as e-books and white-papers, is worthwhile.
- Newsletters: These are effective because they allow you to develop an email list.
- Sponsoring an Event: This is a great way of getting your brand noticed.
Regardless of your content, always remember to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so that your content has the greatest reach possible and you are not missing out on views because of a lack of keywords. Google Keyword Planner is a good tool to use for this.
Getting Your Content Out There
Your content marketing will be useless if no one can see the content you have produced. However, there are ways to make your content visible to as many potential customers as possible:
- Use social media: Share your content on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media platforms are particularly useful because they make it easy for your content to be shared among a large number of people.
- Email Lists: Give visitors to your website the option of signing up for a free newsletter, or even subscribing for gated content such as e-books.
- Digital Advertising: For high-performing posts, which you can expect to be shared around social media, it may actually be worthwhile to pay for advertising that will get more people seeing your content.
- Utilize Organic Marketing: Sometimes conversions don't have to come at such a large expense. If your company is looking to develop a diverse marketing strategy, don't overlook organic marketing tactics. Platforms like Vocal.media encourage you to post company blogs, product features, testimonials, and literally anything you can think of at no cost. In fact, they'll even pay you based on your content's engagement metrics!
Is It Working?
How do you know if your content marketing is really helping your brand? Apart from the obvious (increased sales!), there are several markers of success:
- Your site traffic numbers should be up. Direct traffic, in particular, should have increased, as people will come straight to your site from content shared on social media.
- You should see increased social engagement; more people commenting on your articles, new followers, etc. will mean that content marketing is working.
- Google Keyword Planner and Google Alerts can tell you how much traffic your site is getting, and how often you are being mentioned online.
Content marketing is essential to twenty-first century branding. A good content marketing strategy will transform your brand and brand awareness. Producing content your customers want will increase your sales and the profile of your brand, allowing you to scale your brand with ease.