4 Tips For Using Creative Content To Set Your Brand Apart
Standing out in the content marketing world isn’t as easy as it once was. What goes viral and why sometimes confuses even the experts and brands with household names. Nevertheless, gaining exposure for your business through creative content remains essential to raising the bar on audience engagement and sales.
Every company needs to stay relevant in the minds of audience members, and good content is an effective way to do that. Yet creating assets that attract, delight and transform can be difficult. You sometimes don’t know what will work unless you try something and keep tweaking it until you get it right. Fortunately, you can shorten your learning curve by discovering methods that tend to get results. Let’s look at four tips for using creative content to differentiate your brand.
1. Determine a game plan
Before you start creating anything, you need a reliable roadmap or strategy. Otherwise, whatever your brand gets out there will be like throwing spaghetti at a wall. A few things might stick. But people will struggle to figure out who your brand is and why they should care.
Instead of using an ad hoc approach, you’ll want to develop a content strategy that outlines several important items. This includes who you are targeting, why this audience is ideal and what you hope to achieve by reaching them. Identifying strategic building blocks will help you carve out a consistent yet unique brand voice. A thorough strategy also includes an editorial calendar. That calendar should outline the content you will create, publication frequency, and posting dates.
Another critical part to include is key performance indicators for individual assets. Some content, such as a white paper, may be there to create awareness and generate leads. Your KPI for this piece could be the number of contact forms your audience submits. However, the purpose of an online video ad can be e-commerce sales. By defining each asset’s KPI, you can measure whether it is working or needs refinement and repurposing.
2. Make content about the audience
People who only talk about themselves usually struggle to maintain conversations and build relationships. While it’s natural to want to talk about your perspectives and experiences, successful relationships involve give and take. Content that only speaks from a company’s point of view will not resonate with audiences. It can even turn them off or damage their trust in your brand.
Survey research shows that consumers rely on the trust factor when making purchases. More than 80% consider whether they can trust a brand when deciding which products and services to buy. Yet only 34% of consumers have faith in the brands they use. Businesses that embellish information, are less than forthcoming, or don’t listen to audience feedback won’t build trust.
So avoid self-serving content and instead focus on content assets that establish credibility. Content that is about your audience shows that your company wants to invest in a solid relationship. You are there to help, inform or solve their problems in ethical and non-intrusive ways. It’s not just about what your business can get, but what it can give.
3. Diversify your creative assets
It’s tempting to keep replicating content once you find a format that works. For example, you might have a blog post that is performing very well. Or you host a webinar one week that brings in more leads than you’ve seen from in-person events.
You start sending out more blog posts or hosting additional webinars based on these short-term results. Your content team focuses the bulk of its efforts on a single type of asset, hoping that initial success carries over. However, unique circumstances could have made a piece of content a hit. Past performance is not always a reliable indicator of future performance when it comes to digital assets.
Audiences change and are usually diverse, especially when it comes to mass market brands. Even if your company’s offerings are more niche, there are likely distinct segments in your overall market. Creating and experimenting with multiple formats, including video and live streams, helps you speak to more of your audience. By diversifying your creative assets, you can also communicate your brand’s voice and story through employees, customers and case studies.
4. Engage through social media
Pew Research studies show about seven in 10 American adults use social media. Although the sites they visit may vary by age group and other demographics, social media can become a differentiator for brands. One reason is that social platforms enable real-time interaction with audiences. Another factor is that companies can create or share various types of content.
A blog post can contain tons of information that your target market will find useful. Yet blogs are usually static or one-way conversations. Turning that blog post into a social media post creates a true dialogue between your brand and your audience. Whether the post sparks an in-depth discussion or a series of questions, social media expands a business’s thought leadership.
Social posts, live streams and interactions with audience members demonstrate the personality behind a brand. You are not just a corporate entity, a store or a website. Connecting with people through social media shows a company is willing to be part of a community. It is an opportunity to reveal what goes on behind the scenes and bring out the human faces of a business. Substitutes for products and services always exist, but personalities and people are what make brands stand out.
Produce content that cuts through the noise
Creating content that grabs attention and sets your brand apart from your competitors starts with a good strategy. You can’t define a unique voice if you don’t know who your audience is and what they need or want to hear. Content that rises to the top caters to business and market objectives while speaking to what motivates and inspires audiences. To differentiate your brand, humanize your content by making it about the people it wants to serve.