Guest post by: Sean Begg Flint
Creating a data-driven, branded content strategy has never been more important. An increasing number of companies are now diverting their attention towards content, intending to boost awareness of their business and put their brand at the forefront of consumers’ minds.
Research released by Hubspot found that “nearly 40% of marketers say content marketing is a very important part of their overall marketing strategy.” Brands that don’t invest in content risk being left behind, with “77% of companies” now stating that they have a content marketing strategy, according to statistics published by SEMrush.
An effective branded content strategy is enormously worthwhile in terms of building a strong reputation and attracting consumers’ attention. But it’s also hugely valuable from an SEO perspective.
Branded content can dramatically improve search rankings, helping to position your company at the very top of the results pages for some of the most competitive search terms.
Take a look at our quick guide to creating your own effective branded content strategy to learn how to build branded content that’s valuable to both your audience and your brand.
Understand Your Audience
The most effective branded content strategies are those that speak directly to the audiences they’re intending to target. It’s very difficult to do this if you don’t fully understand who these people are, what they care about, and what makes them tick.
So, before you dive into content ideas and thoughts about your tone of voice, make sure you understand your audience.
Compile customer data and learn as much as you can about the consumers you’re talking to. If possible, segment customers into distinct groups and create content strategies that focus on their preferences and pain points specifically.
The more you know about your customers, the easier it’ll be to create content that really appeals to them.
Entertain and Engage
The most effective branded content strategies provide audiences with content they actually want to read. So forget overly sales-focused articles that sing the praises of your products.
Instead, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about what might make them click on an article, read it and (fingers crossed!) go on to share it with their own followers.
The best content for your brand will, of course, vary quite significantly depending on what your company does and who your intended audience is. But as a general rule of thumb, content should be entertaining, informative, and engaging.
Branded content can be useful, such as a video tutorial that solves a common problem customers have. Or it could simply be amusing, like a tongue-in-cheek article that’s just designed to make your audience smile.
Either way, it should be written in a way that ensures it resonates with its intended audience and is easily shareable to ensure its organic reach is as good as it possibly can be.
Appeal to Emotions
Nothing gives content the edge quite like an emotional connection, so if you can create a content strategy that plays on your audience’s emotions, it’s well worth doing so. An emotional connection won’t work for every brand, but sometimes emotional messages can be found in even the most unsuspecting places.
Often, brands use their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to bring an emotional story in a way that’s relevant to their audience. And this can be a good way of building on a message that’s important to you, while also helping to grow your branded content strategy.
Think about the mission statement of your company, and consider whether your team does anything special to give back to good causes or your local community. If you donate to a local food bank, use recycled materials, or pledge to plant a certain number of trees every year, you might be able to use these ideas as the basis of your content ideas.
If your company is doing great work and helping others, don’t be shy about it. Spread the word and encourage your audience to join in.
Introduce Your Team
A touch of personality is infinitely powerful in boosting the reputation of a brand and making it more recognizable. Personal stories are also more appealing to audiences, as they help to bring a brand to life and show consumers what really happens behind the scenes at some of their favorite companies.
Introduce your team through a series of branded content, and you’ll likely see your reach start to improve. There are many ways of including personal stories in your content strategy.
You could interview some of the key team members that keep your company going, or you could show audiences what it’s like at your company with behind-the-scenes footage and sneak peeks at new products being created.
Audiences love to see brands in a new light, and branded content that oozes personality is a great way of making this happen. Think differently about your content strategy and show your audience what really goes on at your HQ.
Keep Stories Relevant
Start brainstorming new content ideas and before long, you could have hundreds of potentially great headlines ready to work on. But a word of warning: Keep things relevant!
It’s easy to get carried away as you start to work on your branded content strategy, particularly if you’ve got lots of enthusiastic team members on board. But content won’t have quite the impact you expect if it doesn’t feel relevant to your brand.
With every new piece of content that you create, you need a hook that brings it back to your brand or your products. If you’re struggling to find that connection, then the idea probably isn’t relevant enough to feel authentic — and that won’t go down well with your audience.
Learn More About Building a Branded Content Strategy That Works
An effective branded content strategy can be enormously powerful in terms of boosting SEO, improving brand awareness, and attracting new customers. Use these hints and tips to create an effective content strategy that works for your company.
About the author:
Sean Begg Flint is the founder of Position Digital, a digital marketing agency for ambitious startups and growing brands. He is passionate about purpose-driven content marketing and using outreach for good.