How To Use Content To Enhance Your Brand

If you’re part of the 86% who use some form of content marketing in your overall marketing strategy, then you know that a content strategy is imperative to your success with increasing brand visibility for your company.

This is the beauty of content marketing, that writing a few words can make such a difference. But it only makes a difference if the people you’re writing for are actually reading what you have to say.

Content can get your brand in front of potential advocates or customers if they know it exists. If they know where to find it.

If you’re creating unique, compelling content that’s not reaching your target audience, then you’re missing out the true power of content.

And since brand awareness became the #1 goal for B2B organizations in 2015, it’s important to ensure your content is reaching the right people.

You should be targeting specific people that can benefit your brand – think future customers, advocates, and partners.

As for the question of how they find your content?

At first, you need to go out and find them.

While blogs, social media, and newsletters are excellent ways to share content with your existing audience, there are other ways that are more effective for reaching new people.

If you want to use content to boost your brand’s visibility and reach a new segment of your target audience, try one of these content types:

Guest blogging

No, it’s not dead. Not by a long shot.

The thing about blogging on your own branded platform is that the people visiting your website directly already know who you are. It won’t expand your reach.

That’s why it’s important to branch out and get your content on other sites as well. Guest blogging lets you reach another brand’s audience and “borrow” their platform for one post.

Not only will it increase your brand visibility by reaching a broader audience, but it also helps position you and your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

Content bundles

As any savvy marketer knows, creating killer content takes time.

And if you’re dedicating time and effort to each piece of content, you want to make sure you’re getting everything you can out of it. A long-form piece of content, like a white paper or eBook, can easily be turned into several shorter-form pieces like blog posts, infographics, or SlideShare presentation.

Re-purpose until you can’t re-purpose anymore.

This gives new audience members so many different ways to discover your brand, as opposed to a single landing page for a single piece of content.

Then you can recombine all of the different content types – posts, videos, graphics – into one big content bundle.

The magic in bundling content pieces together is that it allows you to cater to the various preferences of your audience. Some people might want to learn whatever you’re teaching during a webinar, but they prefer text content to video. Publishing a written recap solves for that and gives everyone what they want!

Shorter pieces can also be used to tease and promote the full piece. For example, placing a CTA at the bottom of a blog post to drive readers to the full whitepaper. More action = more awareness.

Interactive content

Video marketing has become an overwhelmingly popular preference for both marketers and web users alike.

Not too surprising to hear, since of the 76% of B2B marketers who reported using video in their 2015 marketing strategy, 80% found it to be an effective tactic. Even more impressive is the 80% of senior executives who watch more video now than they did a year ago!

Interactive content like video propels users to stay and continue watching, to learn more. People don’t just fast forward to the end, the way they might quickly scroll through a blog post.

It’s also worth noting that if they find the first video they watch valuable, they’ll come back for more or share with a friend – furthering your brand awareness and increasing your visibility.

Now what?

So you’ve cranked up your content efforts to appease your audience, but how do you know your increased efforts are increasing your brand visibility?

Because so many of the content metrics you measure will be in the form of social media engagements, shares, and website traffic, using a brand monitoring service can help you better understand who’s interacting with your content.

Keep an eye out for anyone who shares your brand’s content or provides feedback. See what they have to say about it. You want to make sure your content strategy meets your audience’s needs and builds community.

EP006 – Nisha Jackson – Handling Finances

CEO of Financially Brilliant Women’s Institute.
She is the “Wealth Breakthrough Catalyst”, speaker, international bestselling author and a foster care advocate. Nisha helps women create financial independence by building profitable businesses and effectively handle their personal finances. So they make more, and keep more of the money they make. She can be contacted via her website at www.financiallybrilliantwomen.com and all social media sites as Nisha Jackson.

Memorable – Magnetic – Content

There is a lot I could tell you about me that goes beyond my standard corporate bio, and I think B2B content writers need to consider going beyond the corporate template more often.

Telling you a personal story about me doesn’t distinguish me as a subject-matter expert, but it does make me human. And relating to an audience on a more personal level often leads to greater trust (even if I like to trick people).

Creating content isn’t just about marketing, notes John Hall, CEO of Influence & Co. “It’s about affecting behavior.”

Consider this insight from Robert Hurley, author of The Decision to Trust: How Leaders Create High-Trust Organizations. In this interview he speaks to the people who receive the communication (your audience):

You need to make sure the degree of trust you offer matches the degree of trustworthiness in the other party. How aligned are your interests with the other party? How similar are the parties’ values, how predictable is the behavior, and how transparent in communicating is the trustee?

Now, adapt that perspective for your content marketing program. How does your company use content to gain that trust? Do you share how your interests align with your audience? Do you share what you value? Do you share consistently? Do you share openly?

That can be a challenge, particularly if you write strictly from an organizational perspective and don’t reflect the authenticity of your content creators (or their subjects) as humans.

In a previous role, I saw many drafts of well-written executive Q&As that provided thought leadership on technology topics, but also a strong human element — the software exec who runs marathons, the networking SME who used to be a pastry chef. But in so many cases, that info was stripped out once the content made its way through the various review cycles because it “wasn’t on-message” or it was “not pertinent to the discussion.”

Wrong!

Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, noted in a recent Content Marketing World wrap-up, “Too often, B2B stands for boring. We write and create content as if buildings are reading them. As if buyers who completely lack emotion are engaging. This is more than just adding emotional triggers to your storytelling. It’s about humanizing your brand, humanizing your people.”

Jill Metzler Patton, senior editor at Life Time Fitness’ Experience Life website, reveals a lot about her character in this post.

I relish friendly conversation, whether deep discussion with friends or breezy banter with strangers. I’m energized by social situations where connections spark and ideas fly. If I’m relaxed, I’ll strike up an easy exchange with almost anyone; if I’m excited or nervous, I’ll keep talking, only faster . . . and maybe louder. (Sorry.)

Then she gets to the point of her post – how to truly listen to assure that the other person has been heard — and shares expert insight on how to make that happen.

As Heinz says, “Sharing details about what makes you tick outside of work isn’t irrelevant. It’s magnetic. It creates connective tissues between people that carry over into business contexts. Old-school sellers called this relationship-building. Today it’s that plus a critical competitive differentiator that puts something unique and irreplaceable between you and your buyer.”

A few years ago, an Oracle executive wrote a blog for Forbes BrandVoice® in which he talked about his mom’s passing and the great advice she bestowed. In 10 Things My Mother Told Me, Bob Evans writes:

I ask your indulgence in stepping outside the realm of business and technology because over her 95 years on this Earth, Rita Evans accumulated, generated, and shared great wisdom – and wisdom is an asset that should be shared again and again.

There was no official Oracle messaging in the piece. No mention of Oracle technology. Oracle’s only identification is next to Bob’s name in his byline. But Bob told me that he received an outpouring of thoughtful responses. That’s a great sign of building a loyal audience.

I can only imagine the powerful effects experienced by Brendan Connolly after he wrote (When It’s Not) the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for National Life Group’s blog. Brendan, who works for an affiliate of the group, offers four tips to help people grieving the loss of a loved one manage the holiday season. But he shares why he is writing the piece, detailing how he needs that advice too because he lost his wife and unborn child nine months earlier.

If this example sounds familiar, it’s because Heather Levy included it in her recent post, How to Create the Ultimate Branded Style Guide. And while Bob and Brendan personalize their writing by sharing so deeply from their hearts, Heather personalized her post with a simple confession: “I’m a sucker for first-person content.” That drew me into the article because I could relate — I love first-person content too. Then I learned what Heather really wanted me to know — how to create a style guide for your brand.

That’s the key. Your audience needs to know you’re a person too — not a corporate bot only programmed to write from the perspective of a monolith organization. They are far more likely to trust you if they know you’re part of the real world — of their world, too.

In a recent Twitter chat on 2017 website trends, Andy Crestodina, co-founder of Orbit Media, said, “A personal, human touch will never go out of style. Be a person. Be yourself!”

EP005 – Miara Shaw – Bust A Move

It was no easy task to be a wife, raise a family of four, climb the ranks of corporate America as one of the nation’s few African-American female natural gas traders, and start a successful business. Yet for Miara Shaw, “The Maven,” there was little doubt that it could be done. “Focus, Balance and Execution” became her mantra as she worked toward a formula that made having this lifestyle both possible and probable. At the crux of Miara’s formula remains her very simple philosophy – Don’t just be busy, be intentional!

MEET MIARA SHAW
Miara Shaw is the Founder of the Maven Business Academy as well as an empowerment speaker, author and coach.  She has taken her 15 years of execution as a trader and created strategies to help women move from “Stuck to Execution”.  She calls this execution BAM (Bust A Move)!  By receiving coaching with the Maven Business Academy women are inspired as leaders and empowered to leverage the power they already possess to create their desired lifestyle and live it with balance.
Miara describes a Maven as a Savvy | Sassy | Successful woman.  A Maven skillfully shares her knowledge with others, she knows her worth and looks her best, and she creates the lifestyle she desires.  It is the Maven’s Way!

Miara was named one of the elite to be included in Who’s Who in Black Houston 2013 and was the 2013 Programming Committee Co-Chair for the National Black MBA Association.  She is also a nonprofit board member for When and Where I Enter which empowers Afro-Latina women and girls to improve the quality of their lives through meaningful socio-economic participation.  Miara serves as a ministry leader for Mosaic Women’s Ministry of St. John’s UMC of Houston, TX.

10 Blog Posts You Should Write

Struggling to find interesting blog post ideas for your blog?

Want your blog to succeed, too?

It takes a lot of determination and persistence to write blog posts on daily basis that make your blog sizzle, viral, or “hot”. I know many bloggers who produce excellent content. Their approach is different, out of the box and it makes them extraordinary. Therefore I have made a list of ten blog post ideas that most likely make your blog more interesting.

  • Share your goals/dreams publicly – Write down all your goals for the current year or dreams where you want to be in 5 years time. It gives nice pressure and motivation to achieve the goals, and it will excite your loyal followers.
  • Share your blogs income + traffic numbers – Prove that a blog in your niche can have reasonable traffic numbers and maybe even be profitable. Bring Google Analytics data to daylight and it’s very nice if you provided some analysis in important points, for example a major change in traffic numbers etc
  • Publish a post about your success and epic failures – Being successful means making mistakes (or in other words: failing). But failing is not all bad. It’s a learning experience that allows you to be better the next time. So, that’s the reason why you should talk publicly about your success and failures, to let others learn from it.
  • Write a longer “About Me” post – Classical About Me posts are a couple of lines but introduce yourself more and write a longer one. People like to know what’s the background of the content they’re reading but they usually don’t have time to check LinkedIn accounts or just Google the name.
  • Compile a list of common mistakes in your niche – Many people don’t know the basics and make common mistakes. Write tutorials to help them prevent these misunderstandings.
  • Publish a questions and answers blog post – Make a “Questions Monday.” Promise to answer all the questions your audience has.
  • Launch a free e-book about your best blog posts – Gather the most viewed and commented posts together and convert them into an e-book that can be published on Amazon or other online bookstores.
  • Write a FAQs post – What questions do you get asked constantly, either about yourself or your industry? Create a FAQs post answering all these questions. Repost this as a page on your website so that it’s easy to find for newcomers.
  • Share a worksheet – What’s the number one thing your readers want to know about themselves and your niche? Create a worksheet that will help them answer that question. For instance, if you’re in the finance industry, you might develop a “Get out of Debt” worksheet that will help readers better plan their finances.
  • Highlight the key takeaways from a recent conference – Are you planning to attend a conference in your niche? Be sure you’re taking notes so that you can report back to your followers the most important points covered.