How does content marketing raise brand awareness?
While the common consumer remains happily aloof, marketers know the truth: brands are ingrained – inextricably – in our daily lives.
It’s been years, after all, since author Eric Schlosser claimed the McDonald’s arches were more widely recognised than the Christian cross and you’d be likewise hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t recognise Coca Cola’s red and white script or Nike’s iconic swoosh.
When you’re just starting out, looking at these brand behemoths can seem overwhelming. How did we get to the point where ‘Hoovering’ was synonymous with vacuuming, for example, and ‘Googling’ was the only way to find information on the web?
While the answer lies partially in having a superior product or service, what it really comes down to is marketing for brand awareness. To reach such global levels of recognition, brands had to put in massive marketing efforts, including creating the right content.
Content marketing is often associated with sales, but its potential for raising brand awareness is huge. Want to increase the recognition of your brand? Your journey starts with creating the right content.
— Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) February 18, 2018
What (we think) we know about content marketing
If you’re like the majority of Australian marketers (82 per cent), you’re already doing some form of content marketing. Like your counterparts, you have a strategy in place around creating and distributing valuable content for your target audience – even if it’s in its infancy.
Here’s what (we think) we know: content marketing is all about action. You want to convert users into customers and you do so by creating content that builds trust and inspires them to take the next step.
Want to generate leads? Include newsletter sign ups. Looking to increase trust? Publish original research. When carefully executed, a content marketing strategy will move users through every stage of your buying cycle.
Content marketing, however, isn’t all about action. While this type of strategy is effective for lead generation, sales and other methods, it isn’t the answer to boosting brand awareness.
Content marketing – it’s not always just about sales
If you want to boost brand awareness, it’s time to stop thinking about content that sells and start thinking about content that adds value.
Unlike traditional advertising, content marketing presents an opportunity for brands to tell their story. By creating engaging, interesting content, you can establish a voice, build brand awareness and – eventually – grow your customer base.
If you think this sounds drawn out, you don’t realise what it takes to become a recognised brand. There’s more to the story than coming up with a great logo. Brand awareness reflects the familiarity consumers have with your company and its message. Not only that, but the trust they have that this message is true.
Brand awareness doesn’t just happen. McDonald’s, for example, didn’t become the fast food giants they are today simply because of a great brand. What skyrocketed Maccas to fame was the company’s message of consistent, tasty fast food and – more importantly – their delivery on this promise.
Australia spoke, and we listened. Introducing your new favourite Loaded Fries flavour… Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream! pic.twitter.com/bCnOK6DcS0
— McDonald’s Australia (@maccas) November 29, 2016
The same is true for your organisation. It’s not enough to be good at what you offer. You need to convey this to your client base in a clear, consistent way – and you do this through content.
Without content, no one will know what you represent. According to Onby.com research, 71 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they recognise. Consumer recognition and trust in your brand, therefore, is an essential part of securing your place in your industry.
How to use content marketing to increase brand awareness
So, flood the internet with content, become a recognised brand, right? Not necessarily.
While certain content works for those action-related goals, you’ll have to produce different stuff if you want to raise brand awareness. Stuff that adds value and shows what your brand is all about.
- Begin with strategy
Before you can broadcast your brand to the world, you need a brand in place. This starts with strategy. Sit down and ask yourself:
- What is our mission?
- What are our values?
- What do we promise to deliver?
- How do we perform this service?
- Which aspects of our business are most worth sharing?
Content marketing for brand awareness is all about storytelling and it’s during this beginning stage that you write the story.
Determine your goals as well. If you’ve read this far, one of your goals is to boost brand awareness, but it’s important to consider others as well. Is there a particular product or service you want to emphasise? Another you want to shift away from? Mapping all of this out with a content strategist will be crucial to your success.
— Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi) March 27, 2013
- Choose the right content (and the right place to publish it)
Before creating anything, map your target audience.
Pleasing your audience is paramount to increasing brand awareness and earning brand loyalty. Consumers, after all, are the people who decide whether or not to associate your name with a given product or service.
Take the time to understand the demographic of your target audience. What are their interests? Do they have particular questions? Then, find out where they hang out online. Determine the social media platforms they use most as well as how they respond to particular forms of content.
With these two pieces of the puzzle in place, you can determine what kind of content will most appeal to your potential customers. Depending on who you’re trying to reach, you might decide to focus your efforts on:
- Landing pages – If you’re trying to target top-of-funnel users just acquainting themselves with your industry, it might be best to focus on high-quality landing pages including ‘About Us’ and ‘Services.’ Use these to explain aspects of your brand such as what you do, your company culture and values.
- Videos – For others, videos will send a stronger message around what you’re all about. This is particularly true of younger audiences who spend a lot of time on social media.
- Webinars – Users who have specific questions will appreciate webinars, which can be used to inform and emphasise your organisational skills and expertise.
- Blog posts – This is the most common content channel, with more than half (53 per cent) of businesses reporting that blogging is their top content marketing priority. No matter who you’re targeting, it makes sense to have a blog. By publishing branded content regularly, you can share knowledge and bolster your business as a respected industry voice.
- High-value downloadables – Like webinars, high-value downloadables such as whitepapers and Ebooks are great for conveying upper-level, technical information. If you want to frame yourself as an industry leader, you need to produce industry leading content.
- Deliver value
What you produce determines how people view your business. If your content is boring and commonplace, perception of your brand will be as well.
To this end, focus on creating content that is fresh, unique, interesting and most of all useful to your audience. Good content will answer questions your users have. Remember, this is your opportunity to show what your brand is capable of, so make sure everything you produce adds value.
- Focus on micro conversions
Here’s something to keep in mind: content marketing for brand-building is all about micro conversions.
Other goals are easier to measure. Lead generation, for example, can be quantified quite simply by the number of prospects you’ve converted. Brand sentiment and trust, on the other hand, take time. That’s why you need to start small – even though you’re thinking big.
As we said earlier, content marketing is all about action. When you’re trying to build your brand, focus on actions such as:
- Driving traffic to your site,
- Growing your social media following,
- Increasing engagement,
- Driving your reach.
For marketers looking out for that instant ROI, this might seem frustrating but baby steps will eventually secure your brand’s reputation and grow your client base significantly.
Most of us don’t have the money to spend on massive surveys and polls – our brand loyalty won’t be measured by which percentage of the globe recognises our logo. So how do we track and measure success?
Begin by using the right analytics tools. Our complete guide can help you identify the perfect tool for understanding your contents’ performance on any platform. Look at the data objectively – paying attention to metrics around reach and engagement – to determine which pieces are doing the most for your brand.