Want to super-charge your brand visibility? The best way is through great content.
Now, hear me out. I know you've probably heard the old phrase, "Content is king." It's a hackneyed aphorism, but it does give us a reason to chat about how brands use content to get ahead—and how you can follow those same practices to earn more visibility for your brand.
How brands use content to get ahead
Content marketing: Content marketing is creating content specific to the industry you're in, without directly promoting your own brand. So if you're a store selling wooden floors, for instance, you could use your expertise to write and publish articles like "7 creative examples of parquet floors."
* Thought leadership: Also a form of content marketing, thought leadership goes the extra mile. It aims to take a brand representative and position them as an expert and visionary—someone who shapes the industry and whose words are important. Think of thought leadership as a cross between content marketing and public relations.
* Everything else: From press kits and ads (both traditional & digital) to pamphlets, hoardings, brochures, newsletters and email marketing—content is literally in everything.
The owned, earned & paid tripod
Another way of looking at content is through the trifecta of owned, earned and paid media. In a nutshell, owned media is what you put up on your own digital property or website. This is the first destination for the articles & feature content you generate.
Earned media is what happens when people like what you share, then re-share and re-blog it. Think of it as online word of mouth. Remember all those kitten videos that went viral? That's earned media.
Paid media is fairly straightforward. It's when you buy ads or pay to promote content. Google Banner Ads are an example. Most social platforms—like Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn—have tools where you can pay to promote your content and run ads.
Any cohesive content strategy usually has a mix of all three.
3 super-charging content tips
Now that we've described the playing field, let's delve into a couple of playbook ideas on how to use content to boost brand equity.
1. Decide on a strategy
A single piece of content can't be all things to all people. Decide whether you're doing content marketing, authoring a thought leadership piece, or writing a press release for distribution. All these pieces of content have their own styles and best practices—and their own goals and metrics for success.
You also have to decide which types of content you'll be creating for your campaign. There are many possibilities, and you can repurpose ideas across different content types.
2. Have a distribution plan
Content that just sits there in your owned media isn't much use. It doesn't boost your search engine rankings, it doesn't attract more eyeballs, and it doesn't increase sales. The trick is to turn that static block of words into a flowing river of shares and likes.
Most marketers have a handy funnel that they push their content through. You can start by posting on your own website. Then, the next step is to share on your social pages. Here, you might decide to give it a boost by paying for extra promotion. A day or so later, start submitting to content aggregators like StumbleUpon. Eventually, re-blog on social blogging sites such as Medium.
By following a planned distribution strategy, you'll have a far better chance of turning your words into traction-grabbing content.
3. Figure out your audience
So you've got your strategy in place, and you know whether content marketing or thought leadership, or both, is the way forward. The next step is to figure out the audience you want to tap, and what they might be interested in. If your audience is composed of silver-haired retirees dreaming of Caribbean cruises, chances are they won't read a blog about buying their first home. So, pick topics that are relevant, timely and valuable for your audience.
Use these techniques as you build your next content marketing plan, and you'll have a far better chance of resonating with your audience and reaching your content goals. Make sure that everyone who creates content for your brand understands these concepts. Finally, ensure brand consistency with a tool like Lucidpress, which uses smart lockable templates to keep everyone on-brand.