It's a crowded content landscape out there.
Just about every business has a content marketing strategy, and there's a staggering amount of blog, video, and image content being created every second.
Sometimes it feels like being in a crowded room where everyone has a megaphone.
You need to grab your audience's attention.
But how do you do that when there's so much competition?
How do you get them interested in your content, specifically — enough to keep them coming back?
There's something really, really important that you need.
Behind all the content, and behind your products or services themselves, you need a brand identity.
A strong brand is something people can really connect with, on a deep emotional level. Your brand has a story and a personality of its own.
People don't buy things from Nike or Tiffany for the products alone.
It's about how the brand plays into their own sense of self-identity.
In a recent blog post, Jeff Bullas explains how a strong brand can set you apart from the pack.
Ask yourself the following questions to form a clear-cut picture of your brand:
- What inspired you to make your product and start a business?
- What are your brand’s values?
- What problems do you solve for consumers?
- If your brand was a person, what would they be like to hang out with?
- What is the single most important thing to you and your business?
Determining your unique brand story is not just about creating a valuable marketing asset. It’s also about identifying the guiding principles that will impact every aspect of your organization as well as the content it produces.
Develop a unique voice
Regardless of the business you’re in and the USP of your product, the bare bones of your messaging will be more or less the same as that of your competitors when it comes down to it.
You are all in the same field, after all, and offering similar solutions to common consumer issues.
Your ability to separate yourself from the rest of the pack therefore depends heavily on the unique brand voice you develop.
Developing your voice is not something that happens overnight.
You will need to look at the heart of your audience and brainstorm creative ways to reach them.
For inspiration, look at Zomato.
This online restaurant review hub started out as India’s answer to Yelp, and now has a presence in 23 countries.
One of the major drivers in their rapid success is the clever content they were producing right from the get-go, before content marketing even became cool.
The first impression that Zomato’s content gives people is its sharp wit.
Their content does not always revolve around food, but strays wilfully into territory around friends, lifestyle and pop culture.
A couple of years back, their series The Primetime Yummies (visual puns on Emmy-nominated TV shows timed to coincide with the Emmy Awards) got over 33,000 likes on Facebook.
[image source: Jeff Bullas]
A good tactic is to critically examine your business as if it were a living, breathing person.
- What does he or she look like?
- What kinds of things does he or she identify with?
- How does he or she relate to other people?
- What is the most important thing to him or her?
Again, competitive analysis is valuable here too.
Using monitoring tools like Social Animal, you can look at the content your competitors are putting out there, and the kind of response they are receiving.
Keep an eye on their tone, how they speak to their audience, and how people engage with them.
Then use those insights to improve your own approach.
[image source: Jeff Bullas]
Ultimately, your brand voice is what sets your content apart from others.
Some final points to consider:
- Humor will always have takers. Find your funny bone and tickle your users’ along the way.
- Not all content needs to revolve around your industry or product. Pick topics that your users connect with and weave them into your brand subtly – they’ll love it.
- It’s okay to spark a debate and get on the edgy side of things once in a while. It gets you noticed and talked about; after all, no publicity is bad publicity.
Once you have added the right amount of character and pizazz to your messaging, you must ensure it remains consistent.
Create a voice outline for you and your team.
Identify the key characteristics that must be present in every piece you produce.
A failure to maintain consistency can make it difficult for people to trust your brand and relate to it in the long term.
You can read more about how to create a compelling brand for your company over at Jeff Bullas's blog.