When you’re first getting started with content marketing, even publishing a blog post every few weeks can feel like a major victory. But once you work out the mechanics of content creation, you should put in the time needed to create content that brings your brand to life. Why? In a world drowning in digital clutter, content marketing is most effective when you provide a clear, distinct viewpoint that’s beneficial to your target audience.
What’s the secret ingredient that elevates generic content to a brand-building masterpiece? Your brand voice. Brand voice is the intentional, consistent communication of your business identity. SEO and search-engine marketing and other digital strategies are incomplete without a solid branded content foundation.
From startups to global businesses, the organizations with the best content strategy are those that create content reflective of their brand’s unique personality and then use this content to build stronger relationships with prospects and clients
Branded content has exploded in popularity over the last five years. For clients and customers, reading branded content — in general — is far more interesting and relevant than a marketing ad. “Branded” means content that’s informative, interactive and entertaining and brings value to a reader’s day. Thanks to social media, such content can catch on like wildfire, rapidly reaching a far wider audience than a standard marketing message.
As the name implies, “branded content marketing” needs to be grounded in your brand’s identity. To make your content stand out, bring your brand identity to life with three steps:
1. Define your vision
Your organization likely has a mission or vision statement, company goals and core values. Consider how the content you create will reflect this mission, goals and values. Then align this vision with your customer’s needs. Every piece of branded content you create should apply your company’s unique perspective and expertise to problems your customers face.
2. Define your brand voice
A distinctive, unwavering brand voice is an essential component of successful content marketing. While you may have a very clear idea of your brand’s voice, ask yourself, is everyone else at your company on board with this voice, too? Brands, like people, need to prioritize certain traits, to build a reputation. Scattered messaging and inconsistent brand voice can confuse your audience.
So, take time now to codify brand voice and guidelines. Many B2B companies, for example, seek to strike a balance between professionalism and accessibility. They want to be viewed as subject matter experts without sounding too technical or complex. Consequently, the corresponding brand-voice guideline might emphasize the use of clear, concise language that avoids technical jargon.
Your own brand guide needn’t be lengthy: Voice and tone can be covered by just a few guidelines. What matters most is that you codify these guidelines so there is a single set of rules for everyone working on content at your company. From the work of freelance writers to that of marketing directors, your company’s content marketing will reflect a consistent brand voice.
3. Define your value
Branded content is beneficial not only for defining the buying vision in your favor but also for reminding existing customers about how valuable your offerings truly are. From case studies to white papers, how can you create content that helps existing customers maximize the value of your offerings? Perhaps you can spotlight a new offering or provide tutorials for advanced features. The key is to use your branded content to move from a transactional relationship to a customer-centric one that delivers real value.
Content marketing is an essential B2B marketing strategy that’s continuing to gain in importance. According to HubSpot, B2B marketers allocate 28 percent of their total marketing budget to content marketing. But before you too jump on this bandwagon, be sure your content is aligned with your brand vision, voice and value. Doing so will ensure your content is impactful, relevant and worth the investment.
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