When you create brand content, think of it as the emotional connection that converts a consumer into a customer. More than 80 percent of consumers are researching –and shopping – online (Retailing Today, 2014). So, thinking strategically about how your content positions and reflects your brand personality is key.
What is Content?
To make sure we’re on the same page, content is the new advertising. In the heady days depicted on the Mad Men television series, for example, advertising used to be the best way to get your message out to consumers. Today, it’s all about content. Creating, sharing and promoting information that is consistent, relevant and of value to a defined audience. Done well, content opens the door to a relationship with the consumer that breeds loyalty and, ultimately, profitability.
At Ingenium Books, we include in the content bucket everything you write on your website, your blog, any guest blogs or media articles you write. We also include every video, email signature, voice mail message and social post.
If your content is just like everyone else’s out there, you are telling the world there is nothing different or special or unique about you. No reason to choose you over your competitor. Probably not what you want.
How do you create brand content that resonates with your audience and reflects your brand values and personality? Follow these four steps.
1. Understand Your Audience
You already have a market identified for your business. Now it’s time to really get to know your audience. What are their interests? What do they do with their leisure time? Are you clear on their expectations, their wants and needs? How do they talk? Where are they online? You also want to get familiar with their values. If you discover your audience’s values do not align with your own, it may be time to go back to the drawing board. Your audience is comprised of more than customers or potential customers, too: consider stakeholders, influencers and brand promoters.
Listen to your audience. And when you create brand content be sure it helps address what they want and what they need. This may or may not be directly related to what you sell.
2. Get Clear on Your Brand Personality
A brand’s personality is usually an extension of the leader’s personality. That is, unless there is a strategic reason to create one that is different. Is your brand casual or conservative? High-tech and edgy or traditional? Fun or formal? A great example of a brand that exploded onto the market and immediately made its brand personality part of its appeal is WestJet. Entering the challenging and competitive space of commercial airlines, WestJet infused all its brand content with vigour, humour, and informal connections.
3. Establish Your Voice and Tone
Connect your voice and tone to both your audience and your brand personality. Your voice includes the fun or formal elements of your brand personality along with any specific words or phrases you use to describe your products or services. Your voice will remain constant across all content platforms and conversations, but your tone reflects an attitude and will shift with the purpose of each message.
4. Roll it Up into a Brand Guide
Your brand guide will contain all of the information above, as well as guidelines around your logo, use of trademarks and tag lines. It can even have a suggested ‘elevator pitch’. It will guide each member of your team in speaking to and writing for your audiences, internal and external, in a way that remains consistent. And consistency is key for maintaining quality standards and protecting your brand’s identity.
As soon as you have more than one person responsible for creating brand content, it becomes more difficult to ensure voice and tone are consistent. Having a detailed brand guide that you share, train on, and keep updated will go a long way to helping you maintain consistency.
Be purposeful about creating content that accurately reflects your brand personality and is designed to connect emotionally with your ideal consumer. And then sit back and watch your sales and success grow.
This column was originally published by Troy Media.
More on this topic can be found in our latest book: Rock Your Business: Three Simple Steps, One Giant Leap to Success for Your Startup, available now on Amazon.