When developing a branding strategy, you should know what you are trying to communicate first. Are you looking to spread the word about a sale? Do you have a new product on the horizon and need to solicit some valuable customer input? Have you set a pre-launch campaign and are looking to shout it from the rooftops? We can all agree that each of these messages hold their own spot in the content distribution cue for various reasons, but all should be focused on one thing. This one thing should be tied to all of your marketing initiatives — the success of the business, product, or service.
Once you have established all the ways in which your company could potentially communicate the content messaging, and the types of campaigns you may elect to employ in the future (it is safe to stick to the next 6-12 months if you are just adopting the content marketing approach), you can begin to build a process for each type of campaign.
Your content messaging can be expected to have similarities and differences in the way campaigns are run depending on their driving KPIs, your desired results, available resources and so forth. The importance here is that you embed culture into your content messaging style guidelines. There should be a memorable interaction with every action from your marketing and sales departments. This style guide will help ensure your brand and content messaging is delivered with consistency across the board.
Any brand message should allow for user and community engagement. This means that your brand should be welcoming, reflective of its audience, and should allow its community to embark on a journey that is the most memorable and customized to their liking. Ideally, this experience (if delivered in the proper manner) will leave them wanting more, and, even better—raving about their experience to their family and friends.
Sounds pretty great right? You may be thinking, “what’s the trick to providing this memorable experience?” I am sure you are providing a great experience for your website visitors. I just want you to ask yourself, could it be better?
Is your core messaging a streamlined cultural element of your organization? This is to say, does each member of your team know, understand, and put to work the core elements of your inbound marketing game plan?
Has your company hashed out the details of the wants, needs, and pain points of its top 5 buyer personas? Have they done this in a way that surveys their habits, the most influential individuals within their lives, and the way they would prefer to do business?
Chances are you don’t quite have the answers to all of these questions, and that is okay. This is a building process. As long as you are willing to put in the leg work to build a solid foundation, quality lead generation through content marketing will always be an attainable option.
The next most important element of crafting an effective content strategy is to ensure a common language or tone is established. There are industry specific vocabulary, keywords, common search terms, that is consistent to the most frequently asked customer questions.
It is recommended at this point to involve an editorial guideline within this branding and messaging style guide.
Finally, take into consideration distribution of content guidelines — how and when you believe content to your community should weigh heavy on the preferences of your users. If you are an East Coast company with a predominantly West Coast user base it would be silly to have live streaming workshops that start at 7 am EST. At that time most of your potential attendees may not be awake.
Knowing when your potential customers, website visitors, and brand community prefers to consume your content is a leg up in the distribution game. Taking the time to research content consumption trends will pay off in the long term. For now, including basic guidelines for when and where to publish content is a must if you are looking to establish a well-informed content messaging strategy.
Spending a bit of time developing a content messaging plan is a great way to streamline the voice of your brand. Consistency is key, but knowing your customers is a benefit. The goal of consistent brand messaging is to be able to communicate with people in a way that transforms an average experience into an amazing one.
Editor’s Note: This encore blog was originally published in June 2015 and has been updated.
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