Do you know why content is important? Well, there are many things, true, but without offering the right content at the right time, the customer won’t have the chance to meet you. In other words, no content – no brand awareness.
Think of it this way. Your target audience is at the entrance to the dark mine, but through it is the only way to get to you. Your content is the flashlight that will lead them to you. Without it, they’ll probably get lost and won’t be able to find you.
So what can you do to boost brand awareness? Here’s how you can leverage your content to accomplish this.
Get to Know Your Target Audience
Your brand can’t survive in vacuum and because of this you need to tailor your content to a specific audience. The question is, who is your audience. In order to create content that someone finds useful and relevant, you need to understand them.
So how can you understand your target audience?
The first step toward this is to define the audience you want to target. With that in mind, you should create buyer personas of your ideal customers. These buyer personas are representations of your typical consumer based on information and data you have already gathered about your visitors and through other research.
To truly engage your target audience with your content, you need to answer three questions about them:
- What motivates them? You want to know what motivates your audience to action. Do they have a problem and need a solution for it? Also, consider their goals, values and fears.
- Where do they find information? Identify websites, blogs and social media that your audience is spending time on. Also, look at what pages on your site they interact with the most and how.
- How do they make purchases? Take a look at their buyer’s journey. How does your audience go through it? Find out how your content can lead them through their journey.
Create and Document Your Content Strategy
You need to aim to helping your audience and reaching them. But it’s not enough to just have this in your head. You need to document your strategy. A documented content strategy is what separates boys from men in the content marketing industry. According to the latest Content Marketing Institute’s’ (CMI) B2B Content Marketing 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, only 37% of B2Bs have a documented content strategy. At the same time, 38% have one but it’s not documented and 19% plans to develop one within 12 months. Only 6% said they have no plans to make one in the next 12 months.
You know how it’s polite to introduce yourself to someone new? Especially if you want to see them again? Well, you should do the same with your audience. Let them know who you are, what your brand is about, your company’s goals and values. The more your values match theirs, the more your audience will care about your brand.
Having a brand story helps your audience set expectations about you. Do not betray those expectations and stick to your story.
You should also have a schedule. WIthout it, you’ll be a ship in the open sea, without an island in sight. It matters less if you publish content every day or just once per week than if you actually have a schedule and stick to it. One of the things that users hate the most are brands that publish their content inconsistently.
Don’t Get Attached to Just One Content Type
Imagine eating the same food every day. Soon you’ll get sick of it, right? Well, presenting the same type of content all the time can have the similar effect on your audience. So make sure to mix it up a bit.
Don’t rely on just text for your content. Include visuals as well. For instance, including relevant images in your posts will get you 94% more views than if you don’t include an image, according to Kissmetrics.
But images are just the tip of the iceberg. Other types of visual content, such as videos or infographics can have an even greater impact on your audience and increase their engagement. Consider also using memes, slides, gifs or doing a podcast.
Take a page from your competition’s book. What type of content works well for them? Does their audience respond well to how to videos, case studies, webinars or podcasts? Then make some of your own, but make sure you don’t just copy/paste their idea and execution, but be unique.
Produce Unique Content
The audience needs to see and recognize your content as original and one-of-a-kind. Yes, that’s often easier said than done, but unless you stand out in your industry somehow, no one will notice you and the crowd will soon swallow you.
Don’t be afraid of approaching topics from new angles. The audience will be glad to hear something new and will quickly turn its attention to you. Of course, you have to make sure that what your saying actually makes sense. Don’t be different just for the sake of being different. Your content still needs to be grounded in fact and your information accurate and timely.
One way to stand out with your content is by offering more than your competition. Look at the topics that worked well for them and resonated with their audience and then improve upon them with new information. That’s the basis of skyscraper content technique that you can use to engage with influencers that have already found your competition’s content valuable.
Promote Your Content with Various Channels
You want to be able to reach a large audience and stay in their heads for as long as possible. There are two things you need to do here:
- Promote your content on social media
- Send newsletters
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn (check out this post on how to attract real customers to your profile by Fran Canete) , Instagram, Pinterest and other social media platforms can all help your brand reach a large audience. But that’s not the main benefit either. If your audience trusts you, they will tell others, people they are connected with on those platforms, such as their friends, family and more, only good things about you by sharing your posts, liking them, retweeting, pinning and more. Imagine walking down the street and hearing people talk to each other “this guy is really cool!”. Makes you feel all warm inside.
There is one problem with social media and large audiences. They quickly forget about you. That can eventually become a problem for your brand awareness. Something else will occupy their mind in no time. That’s why you have to find another way to stay there. And you can do this by sending out newsletters to their email.
Don’t use newsletters to just talk about yourself. Yes, you should link to your most recent content, but offer something to your readers as well. For example, send them a free ebook, a guide or a whitepaper regarding your industry. Your audience is sure to appreciate the gesture.
One-sided conversations get old pretty quickly, so hear what your potential customers have to say. Use newsletters to start a conversation with them. Show them that you are listening.
Use Influencers to Increase Brand Awareness
People often form their opinions with the help of others. For instance, if you go to a restaurant, you might ask a waiter for a wine to recommend.
Get industry influencers to talk about you. Reach out to them via email with your content, mention them on social media, use hashtags. You can also offer to write a sponsored post for them on your blog. They can be extremely valuable in increasing your brand awareness.
When reaching out influencers via email, be sure to use a professional email address or your email to them will quickly end up in the spam folder. If you manage to avoid the spam folder or the trash (which is hard enough as it is), the next step is to make a subject line that makes them click on your email and read it. Don’t expect this to be easy. Most of these people get a ton of emails just like yours every day. Most don’t get opened.
Here’s what you can do: make it personal. Include their name in the subject line. That will make your email 22.2% more likely to be opened.
Respect their time. Keep it short and simple and focus more on “you” than on “I”. Explain what’s in it for them. Do a bit of research to learn more about their audience and how your content can help them. And, most importantly, don’t be pushy. If the recipient wants to share your article, they will.
Analyze with the Right Metrics
Finally, let’s see if you were successful in increasing your brand awareness or not. Before you can move forward, you need to look at what worked and what didn’t.
Take a look at Google Analytics to find out what content your audience loved and what it didn’t. Based on this, determine what topics to go for next.
But don’t blindly trust a metric just because it looks nice. Stay clear of vanity metrics and focus your attention to metrics that show how the audience engages with your brand, how much they believe in it and how much they talk about it.
Brand awareness isn’t just about the audience recognizing your logo or your name. It’s much more than that. It’s about about what your brand represents, your values and story. It’s about building trust and making friends and not just customers.
Do you have any thoughts or questions? How do you build brand awareness? Let me know in the comments below and please share this post if you found it useful.