What is a brand and why is it so important? According to a Forbes’ article from 2011, a brand is “what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.” Simply put, it’s a mix of what you offer and the sentiments that encompass it. In previous centuries, brands focused less on the emotions of people & more on the attributes of the products that they developed. This worked then because there weren’t as many players in the market and the barrier to entry was much higher.
Things are different now than they were back in the day due to the Internet. At the fundamental level, what you offer still matters but the sentimental value you’re delivering is more important than it once was. The Internet has helped democratize business at a macro-level by making it easier for “the little guy” to enter and possibly disrupt. At a surface level, it is harder to distinguish and differentiate your brand from another with increased competition. You want people to recognize you out of the crowd, but the attributes of your product or service alone may not be enough to do that. This is where content comes in and saves the day.
Creating content has always been a thing for brands but the way content is produced and utilized today is different than what it was before. Before the Internet, brands spoke to consumers sometimes, because people had no way to talk back. Now, we can engage and interact with brands which allow us to hold them more accountable and require more from them. One way to facilitate this interaction as a brand is to create content that best serves your audience. Below, I list three reasons why creating content is necessary for building a brand online.
Content allows you to communicate, engage, and interact with your audience to build trust
When building a brand online, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to sell, sell, sell. This pressure is understandable, as we are eager to get a return on your investment.However you can’t solely focus on the transactional relationship with customers. People don’t like to be sold. They like to get value so focusing in on building relationships and providing value is critical. The best way to provide this online is to create content. Content allows you to communicate, engage, and interact with your audience. With areas for comments and direct messages, you get to learn what they do and don’t like. You also get to take a peek at their profiles on social media and get a better scope of who they are. Utilizing this information, you can better engage and educate your audience about your content. This approach takes patience and sometimes doesn’t have the financial return on investment that you want in the short run, but it builds trust in your brand and leads to a better return in the long run.
Content gives you the opportunity to tell your brand’s story
Why do you do what you do? What’s your mission? What are your brand’s values? These are questions your audience want to know the answers to. Since building a brand is building a relationship with your audience, you want to use every opportunity you have to relay and showcase your brand’s story. Everyone has a story so sharing your brand’s makes it that much more personable and relatable. But your story can’t just live in your About section on your website. It has to be discoverable. Content gives you that opportunity to be discoverable and tell your story. You can use it to meet your audience where they are online. That can be on social media, blog communities, niche websites, GroupMe, etc., but they’re not automatically going to come to you if they don’t know about you. We all know that sharing is caring so share the best content that tells your story and provides value.
Telling a story through numerous pieces of content helps you become and remain top of mind during a customer’s journey
One piece of content may do the trick of engaging some of your audience and moving them to act on something, but it won’t happen for the majority. With so much going on in the digital world, it is best to cultivate a story through numerous pieces of content. This gives you many touchpoints to become and remain top of mind during a customer’s journey. The first piece(s) of content you deliver for a potential customer builds awareness of your brand. If they like what you’re delivering, they may visit your website, follow you on social, and start to engage with more of your content. Next, you can use more pieces of content to engage further and educate this potential customer to drive them to a specific call-to-action such as subscribing to your newsletter and or filling out a survey to learn more about them individually. Lastly, you can personalize content about certain segments of your audience to build a deeper relationship and motivate them to purchase your product or service eventually. The most important part about all of this is understanding your audience to create valuable content wherever a potential customer may be on their journey.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to begin brainstorming content for your upcoming projects and campaigns. Once you craft your story, disseminate your message and connect with your audience you’ll be able to achieve more than monetary goals.
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