Be honest, be true to yourself and don’t hide your brand!
In the beginning, there was the product.
We advertised the product.
We described the product.
We explained all the reasons why our potential customers needed to buy the product.
We provided the price of the product and told our audience about all the places where they could go to get hold of it.
Success was measured in terms of an increase in sales of the product.
Then along came content marketing…
All of a sudden, it wasn’t about the product anymore.
In fact, the prize seemed to go to the brand that could last the longest without mentioning their product or even their brand name.
Measuring the success of campaigns became a lot more complex.
However, there seems to be a change in the air…
The evolution of content marketing as we know it.
It is becoming increasingly clear that brand-less, vague, generic content marketing (often just made for the sake of ‘doing’ content marketing) offers a distinct lack of clarity to the viewer.
Without structure and direction, viewers are left unsure as to what action they are supposed to take next and why, in fact, the content has been shown to them in the first place.
In short, the purpose of the content and the action subsequently asked of the viewer is lost entirely.
At worst, this form of content marketing has the potential to anger a viewer, already all too savvy when it comes to recognising thinly-veiled sales messages when they see them.
More often than not, the viewer would rather be made aware of the brand or the sales pitch behind the message rather than feel duped into watching content they aren’t interested in.
What should brands do?
Those brands that are succeeding at content marketing today are doing so by incorporating their true values as part of each communications message and not shying away from mentioning their brand name in the process.
Great examples of this are Volvo, Patagonia and Dove. They achieve the true goals of content marketing: to provide the consumer with an understanding of who they are as a brand, what they believe in and why we should buy from them as opposed to anyone else.
And for regular or returning customers, there’s the reassurance that they made the right choice, reaffirming that this is not only a brand they want to buy from, but also a brand that holds similar values, all of which leads to the likelihood of a long-term relationship between brand and consumer and, the brand nirvana, that we evangelise about the brand to our friends.
Here’s three lessons to keep in mind when creating your content marketing strategy:
- Always create content that you believe in. Don’t just create content because your competitors are doing it or you think it’s what your audience wants to see. If your heart isn’t in it then it’s more than likely that it will not be as successful as it should be.
- Don’t be afraid to mention your brand or your product. Build it into the message (if appropriate) and try to leave your audience not only clear on why you exist, but also interested in finding out more and hopefully wanting to share that message with their wider network.
- If you do truly believe in what you’re saying, then don’t be afraid to take your viewer on a journey. Whether that be to third party sites with supporting information or to your own product or service pages, make it as easy as possible for those of your audience that wish to find out more.