3 Ways To Ensure Your Content Always Stays 'On Brand'
If you want to attract your target audience to your website then you need to create regular content that appeals to their interests.
This is true whether you are trying to build awareness, improve your search presence for certain keywords, reach new audiences, persuade people to take an action and just about everything else you can think of to grow your business online (or offline).
Content is at the core of marketing and I think most people nowadays are kind of aware that in order to achieve digital marketing success, they have to be creating regular content that appeals to their target audience.
There are three areas to content marketing that I often see businesses struggle with:
- Tying content to SEO to improve search presence (effectively and 100% white hat)
- Tying content to commercial objectives (content to pull them in then content to move them further down the funnel to conversion)
- Ensuring every piece of content they create is relevant to the brand
This post is going to focus on the third point above and reveal ways to keep your content relevant to the brand, without being ‘salesy’ while still appealing to audience interests.
Before You Even Think About The Brand, You Need To Clearly Define The Audience Personas
Step one is identifying who your audience personas are. You can read more about audience personas here.
Once you have a clear understanding of the different personas you want to target and attract with your marketing, you then make a list of all their interests.
Pro Tip: Find some social media profiles that match your personas and look at what they are sharing, what they engage with, who they follow and any other relevant information you find. Also make a list of the sites posting about these interest topics – this will be handy for ideas on an ongoing basis.
Now you bring in the brand!
Ask yourself this question:
“Out of the list of audience interests, which ones is the brand qualified and positioned to talk about?”
So for example, let’s say your brand is a catering company and one of your target audience personas is an executive PA.
One interest of this person could be health and fitness whereas another interest could be productivity hacks.
A corporate catering company isn’t really ‘qualified and positioned’ to talk about productivity hacks from an authoritative and expert standpoint. It’s a bit too much of a stretch for brand association.
They are however, positioned to talk to the PA’s health and fitness interest from an authoritative standpoint as food is their main business.
Think healthy recipes, fuel for the working day, before/during/after work exercise/nutrition, energy (as in getting it and maintaining it throughout the day), vegan/vegetarian etc, snacks, research backed content, drinks, motivation/willpower, events (from a healthy angle)… and the list goes on and on.
The brand would be qualified and positioned to talk about these things while at the same time appealing to a key interest of their target audience.
This is going to attract and engage them and associate the brand with this audience interest (which will tie in with commercial business objectives).
Another part of the PA’s job could be events. Catering goes hand in hand with events so the brand is qualified and positioned to talk about this topic and audience interest.
Just note that you don’t actually have to mention food in every post as subconsciously, there is a strong enough brand connection with ‘catering’ and ‘events’ as the two go hand in hand.
Think humorous content, event planning/management, of course catering/food related, guests, colleagues, occasions (Xmas/EOFY) etc.
Another example is Rosetta Stone (who sell language courses), but they also talk about learning theory and psychology in relation to learning (check their social channels)… because the brand is positioned and qualified to talk about these things and wants to be known for this.
Question Number 2 To Ask Yourself: What Does The Brand Want To Be Known For?
Make a list of things the brand wants to be known for. If you are not 100% sure on this then speak to the owner of the business, CEO, directors or whoever might be able to clearly answer this question (if that isn’t you reading this).
So once you’ve got a list of the things the brand wants to be known for, brainstorm stories that will communicate this message.
These stories that you came up with to communicate the message can be rolled out across multiple channels in a series – content, social, video, TV, radio etc… and before you know it you’ve just started to brainstorm a campaign!
Taking this a step further, any people, influencers, ambassadors, websites – any associations really – should be in line with what the brand wants to be known for.
Example: Staying with our catering company example, one thing they might want to be known for is ‘fueling the work day’.
You could then create a content campaign (across multiple channels if required) with a series of stories to communicate this message and help make the company known for ‘fueling the work day’ in the minds of the target audience.
Just a note on the target audience… there could be several personas who this message could be communicated to with stories. You need to make the story and message relevant to the persona you choose to target with each story or series of stories.
People who get hit by mid afternoon tiredness are probably not the same people who hit the gym on their lunch break. Choose a target (person) and adjust accordingly.
The Third Question To Ask Yourself Is How Does Your Business, Product Or Brand Touch The Lives Of Your Customers
List every possible way your business, product or brand touches the lives of each one of your target audience personas.
Go mad with this one!
List everything you can from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep for weekdays, weekends, holidays and everything else you can think of.
From what they eat, to their interactions with others, to conversations to hobbies to friends and family to work to ambitions and everything else in between. Get a couple of people if you can and map it all out for each persona.
Nintendo’s having a bit of a moment right now, so we thought this would be an appropriate image to illustrate how your product is more than just a product – It’s something that helps a person in a particular phase or situation in their life.
*This seems like a lot of work up front and it is but trust me, it will make your life much easier moving forward and you’ll have a ton of great story ideas at the end of it, that are bang on brand no matter how boring the industry.
Going to use an example from one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s shows below to finish off this post:
“… take a hardware store for example. If all you see are tools, paint and adhesives you are sadly mistaken.
People see their dream home, their kid’s fort, a finished ‘honey please can you do’ list, a new vegetable garden or bird feeder. They see their problems solved, their rainy days filled or their closet space doubled. They see Habitat for Humanity or Eagle Scouts or Pencils of Promise. They might see sweat and exercise or inspiration, change, craft and fun.”
Questions? Leave a comment and I’ll join the conversation.
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