Brand Content Strategy: How to Build an Audience, Get Customers, Create Advocates


BrandContentStrategy

Text, visuals, and sound are our digital body language online. Good copy, videos, and podcasts are ways for business to be useful to customers. Value is attractive, and creates influence. Search rankings and social sharing benefit business growth.

People first need to believe, then they will support that belief in the way they behave—they may eventually become ambassadors on behalf of a brand.

Inbound marketing, or pull is a new label for the old concept of attraction. The inquiries you receive as a result of valuable content someone has seen, heard, read, or used often outperforms outbound marketing (when executed successfully).

A few pieces of keystone content may be the best investment for a business and its brands.

Relationships become stronger over time when they’re built on benefits to the buyer. When we address our audience concerns, challenges, and opportunities, we help them see the value of what we provide to support them.

But that’s not enough to gain trust. Useful content builds authority. Credibility comes from consistent behavior and trustworthiness over time.

 

Why have a content strategy?

Because it allows you to build an audience, attract customers through opt-in (vs. the old opt-out tactics), and create advocates on behalf of your business or brand.

A strategy helps us stay the course as we help people connect with us based on their needs. In the plan you’ll need to specify milestones, types of copy, visuals, and other formats to help customers go from where they are to where they want to be.

When you align the organization’s journey to the customer journey you increase your ability to explain things about the business and understand customer needs. Brand growth is a result of an iterative process of learning from this alignment.

People think of it in terms of degree of experience—for example, beginner, intermediate, advanced, and mastery. Segment using micro-commitments and knowledge of a product or service. Then create the type of experience people want to have—or type of use they need—for example, convenience, price, necessity, or luxury.

When we research the maximum value possible we can provide, we should consider where people are—the level, type of use, and proficiency they seek—as well as the context in which the conversation happens.

Since we don’t know what’s going on in their heads, we need qualitative research to discover their internal needs. We use online search to figure out what people are trying to do. The most common scenarios need to reflect this conversation or dance between the two types of needs, internal and external. 

Social networks and media channels are platforms we can use to increase reach for our value proposition and message. Other companies own those platforms. They may and do change the terms and conditions, which in turn changes the experience we can provide.

When we pay to rent eyeballs and ears through TV, print, digital, and radio advertising and promotions, we cede part of the total experience to the context those media provide. This is turn reflects on our brand reputation and impacts our reach.

We borrow someone else’s audience to build ours. In many situations, this still means paying to interrupt. Even words from our sponsor navigates a fine line. We may make the conversation possible, but if we’re not thoughtful about how we insert ourselves into it, we’re still outsiders.

Social media is a more direct path to customers and prospective customers. After they allowed everyone to build their outposts, social networks have changed how they run their business. Media and channels are mere tools, even when they have a big audience. It’s not a straight line to building our own audience.

The best audience is the one we build by engaging in the conversation with customers, prospects, and communities.

That’s why having a content strategy makes business sense.

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Because copy, visuals, and to a certain degree sound are such an important aspect of a successful social media strategy, I created this page to help you see how it works by collecting a few posts written as series.

 

Future of content strategy for brands

 

Secrets of online content strategy

 

For B2B companies and brands

 

Mapping your content to the buyer’s cycle (transaction-based)

 

More on brand content strategy

 

Having fun with content analysis

Read the post

Content Analysis: Where is the Story from Valeria Maltoni

These 36 articles + 1 presentation should get you started in understanding the importance of having a brand content strategy for your online marketing.

 

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Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.