15 Feb How to Build Your Brand and Content
Is It Your Brand or Your Content?
We all love good content. It’s what why we spend so much time searching on Google, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, Twitter, Amazon, or news sites. Good content helps us make important purchase decisions.
Content is wrapped within your brand image. If your content is going to create customers and build sales, your brand needs to be high quality. Good content well packaged can significantly help your bottom line which is why we should hire experts to optimize the content/branding challenge.
Here’s a common small business website situation: traffic is low, leads are few, rankings non existent, no one shares your stuff on social media, and visitors are bouncing. Why? It could be your content isn’t good enough. It might also be your brand is irrelevant.
But, before you shoot your marketing team, remember that low conversion rates happen many different ways. It’s not so easy to see why your brand seems irrelevant.
Let’s take a closer look at good content, its role, purpose, and how you might give it full power to produce and move up to market leader status.
Good Content Can’t Save a Bad Brand
Your graphics, headings and content, topics and keyword choices aren’t going to save a low quality brand. It could be your brand isn’t up to snuff and its laying waste to your marketing efforts.
My former client Dream Homes Magazine had a fantastic brand image. Content is limited to beautiful homes in amazing locals and cities in photographics along with sophisticated, branded copywriting. Both copywriting and photography was from very skilled specialists. In the luxury million dollar home sector they had no rivals.
Your web design might be off the mark, value proposition slightly irrelevant, and your sales incentives a little too weak. Your brand is the promise customers receive and this could aid or cripple everything else you do.
A Good Brand Elevates Weak Content
Just go to any top news or media website, and the content is paper thin, dressed up propaganda. It’s horrible. Why did you stay for more than 30 seconds? Because the brand image and message is so strong, it makes you a believer. Yes, a brand is a very powerful thing.
This is Path Factory’s homepage. They are marketing software platform (out of Toronto) which optimizes the customer journey. For those who want to leverage AI marketing technology, their marketing page is clear and concise. It makes an impact. They help personalize content in a specific way to each visitor and produce a unique high quality experience. What it is and how it works is clear, and the blog link is clearly visible.
PathFactory has some great whitepapers, videos and specialized landing pages. And they have market leading ideas. The brand colors are fun, alive, and energizing. They have trust building content that’s easy to read.
Good content too is a workhorse and creates its own value proposition. Your content serves purposes from branding, to Google rankings, to engagement and outreach, to sales promotion and more. Great content, if you can create it, could significantly help your business.
Rich content can help a weak brand, while bad content can drag a good brand down. Let’s see if we can find a way to improve both simultaneously for better leads, engagement and sales revenue.
I grew Delta Hotels website visits from 1.2 million per year to 2.5 million using content and SEO. Delta had a quality brand image and it only lacked reach. This was Canada’s premium business hotel brand which made capturing click throughs a lot easier. The hotel chain was bought out by Marriott who must have liked what they saw.
Value of Great Content
- gets your unique value proposition across
- gets key selling points across
- differentiates your brand from the competition
- establishes preference for your brand, product or service
- easy to consume and engages your prospects while building comfort, trust and desire
- leverages whatever intent or desire your visitor has
- moves your prospects along the sales conversion funnel
- showcases the value for each unique visitor
- fills your prospect’s mind with your images and value
- creates a good customer experience and builds customer loyalty
Is the Brand the Core of All Problems?
In my experience, weak brands are a problem. I had the opportunity to work with a branding agency in Boston and saw the before and after brand change. The after brand was more feel good, relevant and engaging.
Why? Because the brand is boss, controller, and the engine, therefore it is responsible. Failing means it simply misses the mark in credibility, trust, relevance, and brand leadership. You may have made extensive changes to your own website and content and saw zero improvement. The brand message overpowers everything.
From the layout, to the font selection, to colors, links to relevant content, graphics and visuals, the slogan, pitch, features, benefits, to the brand promise, something doesn’t appeal to the audience. It might not look like a market leader with a clear following, and instead only appeals to a vague audience of lower quality prospects.
Prospects might see your site, scan quick and then leave. It just doesn’t resonate with the promise they want, or pull them in. A laser focused brand can help.
Is Your Brand Relevant and Competitive?
It might be one thing or ten things. Sometimes, the brand isn’t competitive — the UVP doesn’t compare to the top competition (who may own the market). You can’t sell a Fiat to an audience looking for a Bentley. Sometimes the UVP is well presented, but the visitor just doesn’t believe it vs the top brands. Top brands skew market preference.
Your next brand might has to compete better. And better content will help (use some marketing software too).
Content too, can be the wrong voice and tone, wrong topics, not sophisticated enough, too shallow, or is not consistent with the brand promise. Content, including important blogs, needs brand alignment too. This is where high quality analytics come in. One content may not suit each visitor. (AI personalization allows tracking to find the specific content that does perform well. Then you can refine your content delivery strategy).
What Will a Branding Consultant Tell You?
A branding consultant would provide good insight into what’s wrong with your brand and your content.
There is really big money in brand consulting. My client, a top branding guru in Boston, enjoyed tremendous success because owners realized their brand was poor or not competitive. Customers buy the brand image and its promise. The branding team advised on how to reposition it.
His clients in the Boston area had brands that didn’t hit the mark with consumers. With a brand change and a whole new content strategy, those companies finally took off. If you’re going to invest in a rebrand, you want to make sure you can also reach lots of prospects. A great brand with no reach is also a failure.
And rather than instant success, the rebranding process is a work in progress with continuous iterations to make it perfect.
You Have to Compete Before you Can be the Market Leader
If branding is not the issue, then it could be you’re simply not reaching your ideal prospect. The 2 top reasons companies don’t reach their ideal prospect: 1) the company is a new entrant or 2) the market is too competitive. In other words, the company doesn’t have the budget, nor the time to establish high enough quality content to lead that market via organic SEO, social media or paid advertising. It takes time and money.
A poor brand, low budget, and low quality content are the perfect storm for 90% of all SMB businesses. A poor quality brand is usually the result of a lack of customer and market knowledge. Branding gurus do their market research to find gaps in the market that might be served, branding mistakes made, and they strategize a new brand that will compete for number one.
Competition is intense everywhere today. If your brand, website, or content sucks however, don’t worry because you can turn it around.
A Branding Consultant Who Knows Your Market
The smart thing to do is talk to some branding experts and get their insight on how to solve your issue. Some branding consultants don’t have experience in your industry. You’ll want to speak to an expert who is online savvy, and knows your specific market and industry. Expertise is important. Then you can trust that they do comprehend the full scope of market competition and positioning. Of course, hiring branding consultants will come with price tag.
Buying a new website might freshen your brand up a bit, and build more focus — stronger branding. But consumers don’t buy web design, they buy the promise of your brand image. Consumers buy Nike, Apple, and Microsoft products because of the clear promise of value they offer.
Branding in Boston
Our work with Franklin Sports of Boston, a major US sporting equipment manufacturer needed a new look and a better value proposition. They got it and saw their business take off substantially.
And our work with their content and SEO resulted in massive gains in traffic, sales revenue and brand visibility. They went from a Boston and New England region brand to a much stronger international brand. One of their products, a kids football uniform set exploded in sales. I presented the kids uniform set as a gift for birthdays, Halloween costumes, boys pajamas, and more. Parents were delighted with this “new kids gift idea.”
There ecommerce pages were sometimes cluttered with pictures and keywords, but this actually stimulates buyers, something you see frequently on Amazon.com. The brand is what people want to see and experience.
A Brand that’s Clear and Flexible Will Win
Franklin Sport’s graphics team created great product photo shots that helped the cause. Their brand and products were flexible enough to allow some creativity in presenting them. A good brand gives you this latitude. Some brands are so stiff there are few ways to present their products effectively.
One client of mine in the supplement industry had a strict brand policy that felt like a straight jacket. All copy went through the company lawyers. It was not fun, and made it terribly difficult to be creative and appeal to potential customers.
When you’re redesigning your brand, make sure you consider everything that happens after the rebrand. Will the brand and products be able to presented well? Create some test content/blogs for the new brand to see whether the brand concept is presentable or flat and unconvincing.
Your content reflects and supports the brand, but should never be crippled by it.
Creating High Quality Content
- start with customer research — what do they like about the brand or products?
- brand inventory – rank the best features that will give the best promotional leverage
- create the unique value proposition – and how it can adapted or personalized to fit all prospects
- research – keywords, competitors positioning, and core content topics
- consider how you can elevate your weak brand – graphics, photos, videos, and contrast with competitors weaknesses
- create and identify your very best content pieces – and how all prospects will experience them
- develop your content engagement – and the storyline that makes them feel good and confident about your brand
- share stories that demonstrate – how customers use and love your brand
- develop your strategy – how will you rank on Google and create a lot of traffic?
- outreach — how will you get your content shared and exposed online?
- content funnel – how will you keep prospects engaged in their learning pursuit
- sales conversion lift – ensure your content leads to a purchase and a call to action
The topic of branding and online content is very complex. If you do use AI marketing software to serve up personalized content to each unique visitor, that adds to the complexity too. What’s nice about AI solutions is that it is going to do the hard work of finding the most effective content and what it is about it that each visitor likes.
AI should produce much deeper analytics. And in the content game, analytics is everything. Your success will likely hinge on what you know about your customer experience and which content drives revenue.
Build Really Good Content Your Visitors Want
Build really good content, watch how customers experience it, and then keep improving it. Be informative, helpful, fun, insightful, and authoritative simultaneously.
No company gets their content perfect right away. It’s an endless series of improvements (content hacking) and discoveries that ultimately helps you create the industry’s best content. If you’ve got the industry’s best content, your company will move toward market leader status. Shallow content on your competitor’s sites is their achilles heel.
Good content takes time, patience and attention (along with skills & resources). A commitment to taking the time to perfect it is required. Today, few companies have that luxury which is why you see poor quality content. Good quality is all about planning, research and editing.
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