Your brand reputation impacts your customers’ buying decisions more than you realize.
Especially in a B2B context, they care just as much about who they’re doing business with as they do what product they buy. They want a trusted partner who they can be proud to do business with.
Nearly all marketers agree that branding should be part of your marketing strategy. But building a brand is about more than fonts, colors, and imagery.
According to Seth Godin, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
Or put more simply, Jeff Bezos says that brand is “what other people say about you when you are not in the room.”
So how do you grow your brand reputation?
Here’s the case for why the best way to build a brand is through consistent, high quality content.
What is Brand Building?
Building a reputable brand consists of three main components:
Let’s walk through each of these in turn.
According to Richard Branson: “Your brand name is only as good as your reputation.”
Without a solid reputation, you can’t build the trust necessary to attract and retain customers.
In the end, companies build a reputation by how they act, not what they say. And, most often, it’s through the little things:
- No false advertisements
- Be consistently available to customers (a live chat and rotating schedule can help with this)
- Always lead with value
- Constantly listen to the market and innovating your products
- Be true to your word
- Always deliver for your customers
By focusing on the fundamentals, you can build a reputation with your audience that translates into brand loyalty.
In today’s day and age, nearly everyone has a built-in B.S. detector. So you have to be careful that your messaging doesn’t come across as fake.
This can especially become a problem in the B2B world. There’s this myth that B2B content has to be more formal than B2C, under the air that you’re being “more professional.”
But here’s the thing: your B2B contacts are people too. And they interact with content just the same as everyone else.
Being authentic and not afraid to push boundaries every so often will serve as a benefit, not a drawback, as you develop your brand.
Although your brand is more than your logos, fonts, and colors, all of those elements are important. They form your company’s visual identity.
We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. When you choose a visual identity, you’re communicating who your company is, your values and purpose, without having to say a word.
So be intentional about how you visually represent your company.
Branding vs. Lead Gen
For growth marketers in particular, there’s a temptation to separate branding and lead gen. This is generally because executives want to see tangible results right away, and leads are much easier to quantify than brand sentiment.
However, this is a false dichotomy.
Brand building and lead gen don’t happen in isolation from each other. In fact, they’re part of one continual process:
- Your brand informs your messaging
- Your messaging drives the types of content you create and which topics you prioritize
- Your content generates leads and nurtures them into customers
- Your customers then increase your brand awareness and reputation over time
Thus, marketing isn’t about picking or choosing between the two. Rather, it’s about building a strategy that makes them work together in harmony.
If you’re still tempted to think of brand and lead gen in tension with each other, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are people more or less likely to read our content if they know our brand?
- Are people more or less likely to think of our brand when considering a competitor?
- Are people more or less likely to click on an ad if they know our brand?
- Are people more or less likely to search for us on Google if they know our brand?
Obviously, the answer to all of these is clear: if your customers know and respect your brand, they’re going to respond to your lead gen efforts much more positively.
How Does Content Marketing Help Build Your Brand?
Now it’s time to answer the million dollar question:
How does content marketing help you to build your brand?
Let’s walk through a few reasons.
1. Content helps you share the “why.”
In Simon Sinek’s best-selling book Start With Why, he explains the concept of the Golden Circle.
It’s essentially three concentric rings:
- The outer ring is WHAT: your features and benefits
- The middle ring is HOW: your unique differentiators and value proposition
- The inner ring is WHY: the benefit that comes from your products or services
Great content helps you get to WHY, then connect it to the WHAT and HOW.
You can demonstrate that you understand the problem they face, the various solutions to it, and the benefit they can get from working with you. This is how you persuade your audience to become customers.
2. Content helps you deepen customer relationships.
Advertising is like speed-dating. You only have a few seconds to communicate your value and convince the reader to take action.
But content is like a more traditional date. You can, over time, help your customer get to know the “real you,” and vice versa.
By investing in content marketing, you’re able to authentically demonstrate who you are, the value you offer to customers, and, most importantly, why they should trust you as a brand.
No other marketing tactic gives you this kind of opportunity.
3. Content improves your authority on search engines.
While the first goal of your content marketing should be to build authentic connections with humans, an added benefit is the ability to improve your standing among search engines.
Search engines prioritize content that they consider to be “helpful content.”
And the websites which they consider to be the most helpful are the ones that, you guessed it, have brand equity.
The more engaging your content is, the more search engines will start to see you as a reputable source of information. Which means they’ll start ranking you higher for particular search terms.
4. Content helps you build a killer brand experience.
When you regularly communicate with your audience through content, you’re contributing to their overall brand experience.
A brand experience consists of the following components:
- Developing authentic connections with your audience and customers
- Engaging your audience through your brand voice
- Differentiating your business from the competition
- Offering insights that provide value to your audience
When you provide a killer brand experience, you can expect customers to be more loyal and engaged over the long haul.
6 Content Ideas to Build a Better Brand
There are lots of different kinds of content. Some are going to be more worth your time than others, depending on your business.
But generally, these six content ideas are certain to elevate & grow your brand:
- Blogs & long-form articles
- Social media posts
- Email newsletters
1. Blogs & long-form articles
Blogs & articles allow you to dive into specific topics of interest to your audience, offer solutions to their pain points, and, ultimately, demonstrate your expertise.
When sharing interesting data or other visually compelling ideas, infographics make it easier for your audience to consume your content.
3. Social media posts
From pithy Tweets to LinkedIn articles, sharing content on social media can elevate your online visibility and start building you a loyal following.
Either short listens or super long, in-depth conversations can engage, educate, and entertain your audience. Plus, when you invite guests onto your podcast, you’ll get a chance to market to their audience as well.
Video not only retains audience attention and engagement, but it gets a lot of visibility on social media platforms.
6. Email newsletters
Some say that email is dead. But it’s not true! Only bad email is dead, so if you have some stellar information to share, people will definitely subscribe to your content.
Not sure where to start?
My advice on this is to start with one particular channel and master it before moving onto the next.
That way, you can make sure that each channel you invest in is generating an impact.
Final Thoughts on Branded Content
Once you’ve started the process of building a reputable brand, you need to devote a portion of your time to measuring brand growth.
This involves identifying metrics, capturing those insights, and adjusting your strategy based on those insights. Some of these metrics include:
- Viewable impressions. Number of 1-2 second views on 50% of the branding effort.
- Branding linkage. Brand association after a non-branded content effort.
- Persuasion. Number of increased conversions after branding effort.
- Retransmission. Increase in the brand name or content shares.
- Sales. Average increase of products sold after branding efforts.
Remember: you can’t improve what you don’t measure.
But ultimately, by investing in content, you’re going to invest in your brand. And the more your brand equity grows, the easier time you’ll have generating qualified leads and sales.
If you want to elevate your brand through consistent content, FEARLESS Content Group is here to help. Click here to schedule a free consultation with our team.