Whether blogging, or just posting on social media, content is crucial for your brand to make an impact on your audience. Communications experts have realized this therefore invest on content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
This is when you create your brand presence online through engaging and informative content. This could be through videos, blogs, or social media posts. You don’t necessarily sell your product or service directly but your content stimulates interest in your products or services.
So what does it entail to post online?
With advancement in technology anybody can access information at anytime therefore it is important that you strategize and importantly invest time. Keep your message simple and memorable. It also needs to reach the intended target audience for it to be effective.
Here is a checklist before posting your content.
1) Research. Research. Research.
If you are to capture and present what your niche market needs at a particular time then research is basic. Therefore:
a) Research on your target audience.
Get to know your target audience; who they are and what they consume. The social media networks they use and the different platforms they engage with.
Get to know what they do. Understand their priorities. This will enable you to tailor your content to suit their needs.
Get to know and understand their schedules. This will enable you to know when they would be receptive to your content and more likely to consume your content.
The type of content and approach falls in to place if you know your target audiences demographics, priorities, education, and daily schedules because this will enable you to know and understand specifically who you are talking to.
b) Research on your content
In order to have an impact on your target audience then a deep knowledge and understanding of your content will be an added advantage. This can be achieved by doing thorough research on a topic. This will also give you an edge over your competitors; research will enable you to know if there are any gaps that exist and how to approach them.
Being authoritative in your content will enable your target audience identify with you. This can be achieved through getting facts or figures that support your content.
2) Lay out your goals
Goals are a map work on where you need to start, your route and the direction to follow. Write down what you intent to achieve with your content. Write both short and long term goals. Goals will enable you to schedule on what to prioritize and when.
They will enable you to keep in check and be able to monitor and measure your progress.
3) Do Networking
Interact with your peers; this will enable you to know of opportunities that arise within your field and help you plan on how to tap into that avenue.
This will also enable you to build your reputation as credible and knowledgeable.
One needs to identify platforms targeting the same audience and develop relationships. You need to network whether it’s on blogging sites, email groups or social media platforms. This will also enable you to keep in touch by extension with your target audience.
4) Interact with your Target audience.
This could be done through different platforms; twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google plus, Pinterest or even emails. This can be through replying their mails, taking time to answer their tweets or simply acknowledging them. This will create a rapport even before you release your content and in return grant you access to their circles.
These processes will enable you to draw a road map of the path that you need to follow and to understand the audience that you are targeting and know what is important to them. Also understand the approach to use to ensure maximum reach.
You have to give props to this quote by William Arruda (Personal Branding Guru) “Personal Branding is not about you. It’s about putting your stamp on the value you deliver to others.” I can’t emphasize this enough ‘creating a personal brand is not about you, it’s solely about what value you deliver!’ This the sum of experience that people expect and will get by interacting with your brand.
In building your personal brand you firstly need to identify what you want it to be centered on. Key questions you can ask yourself are what you are good at? What is it that you aspire to achieve? What are you passionate about?
"Share valuable content, this builds your audience confidence in your expertise."
After you identify that then you need to establish what makes you stand out. What is your niche? What makes you stand out from the rest of the experts in your category? That unique value that you bring to the table. Your passion, strengths values and skills combined is what will make you stand out. Tap in to that.
Then you need to create a profile across all social media platform. Firstly choose the platform that your niche audience identify with. If they are several platforms ensure that this profile is consistent throughout the platforms. Remember your posts should be aligned to the niche market that you are targeting.
Key Messages are exactly what you want your audience to take home. It’ your ‘drop the mic’ line. Whether launching a campaign or a generic message for your brand or product it is important to have your key messages in place. You need to have a strategic communication plan by ensuring you develop effective key messages. Here are key guidelines to developing your key messages:
What to do:
Identify your target audience
Research on your audience and ensure that you are targeting a particular group of audience. Ensure you have your primary and secondary audience well defined. Remember if you are targeting everyone chances are you are not targeting anyone.
Know What You Want To Say
Keep your messages simple and still provocative enough to create interest and deliver the message. The messages need to be short and specific. Remember determining your key messages depends on your goal; what you need to achieve and the duration you have.
Have a plan
Apart from having a clear and specific goal you need to have a step by step plan on how to get there. Ensure these steps are realistic and measurable. Be able to answer in a sentence “what do you want to achieve?” determine if your key messages are meant to be a one off kind of message or is it a long term message for your product or brand?
Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.
If you are managing or running a campaign ensure that all the messages that are launched across all platforms are uniform. Consistency ensures that your message is repeated over and over again and this helps strengthen your message.
4 signs that it's time to re-brand
Branding is no longer just the physical aspects (the logo, slogan, colors or name) but how your clients and customers view your brand. A brand needs to stand out from the competition; be able to sell a common service or product in a unique way and speak volumes to your clients. From time to time brands re-brand; but how do you know it’s time to invest in re-brand? There are various aspects about your brand that one ought to consider:
Are your clients or customers complaining? Whether face to face or through social media. Especially with technology and social media platforms a single dissatisfied customer or client can create an irreversible damage to your brand. The complaint only needs to go viral and before you know it hundreds of people are airing their own set of complains and other thousands of people are re-posting, re-tweeting and sharing the contents on various social media. Therefore you need to evaluate; if your customers or clients are complaining, what are the levels of complains? Is it an everyday occurrence? If it is then may be its time you thought about where your brand is heading.
Most brands concentrate on communicating about their brand to their consumers and forget that their team plays a critical role when it comes to the brand success.
Therefore increasing team engagement through communication is critical for your brand; a great strategy will have to involve effective execution and it is your team that plays a major role in executing it. If you don’t have a proper and effective way of communicating to your team then your brand is headed for a downfall. Lack of proper communication causes most problems and may lead to confusion and cause a good brand plan to fail. Here are 4 key reasons why you need a strategic communication plan for your team:
Communication creates a deeper understanding of the brand among the team.
If they do not understand then they break the bridge between your brand and the clients. A team that has positive relationships (high levels of commitment) with their brand help develop positive relationships with the customers and clients.
In order for your clients to know and understand your product or services, your brand needs to be comprehensive and consistent and for your brand to engage, motivate and increase your consumerism it needs to be strong. Before starting your brand audit you need to have the objectives of the audit, and then understand the internal description of how your brand has been marketed. Then do a checklist for your brand:
Perception of the brand
You need to know if there is consistency of your brand message among your audience and your intended message. This should be about what your brand delivers, and what it should be delivering. Your audience needs to know what your brand stands for and what it has to offer. There are key questions you need to ask about your brand perception:
Note that your brand cannot appeal to everyone; it has to be designed to target a certain group of people, to solve a particular problem.
Value of the Brand
Know and understand your brand. Key questions to ask:
Understand your brands perception, image, reputation and attitude among your consumers. It’s also important to know the value of your brand in terms of pricing.
Competition in the Market
Competition propels us to greater heights and achievements. By knowing what your competitors are doing differently you get to understand what limitations your brand has. This enables you to strategize on how to tackle them.
New trends and market opportunities
Know and understand your market:
Summary of what your brand audit should be able to reveal:
Note: any successful brand audit is built from the inside out; this includes both the internal and external stakeholders.
A brand audit is effectively a health check of your brand; to be able to identify and address problem areas with a net result of helping turn things around and grow the bottom line.
A brand audit will help determine:
This helps you understand the unique aspects of your brand to capitalize on. Your brand strengths could stem from your edge that sets you apart from your competitors.
Your employees are part of your brands strengths. Do you empower your employees? Do you have the right employees working for your brand?
Is your brand adaptive? Is your brand able to adjust according to its environmental conditions? As technology advances; is your brand up to par or is it stuck? Your brand needs to be able to adapt first in its particular industry and to set the pace.
How is your brand interaction with your clients and customers? Satisfied customers and clients are potential marketers.
You will be able to identify what your customers or clients are saying about your brand; this can be done through surveys, questionnaires or even having a suggestion box. This will enable you to receive immediate feedback.
Communication involves a great strategy. Without a proper strategic communication plan, communication from any position in the organization is bound to fail; from the managers to the subordinates. A great strategy involves setting goals and objectives. Communication starts from within the organization then works its way out to the public. Therefore for any organization to achieve effective communication then employees need to play a major role. Organizations need proper and effective ways of communicating to its employees; because lack of communication means it has lost its core function.
Communication creates a deeper understanding of the brand among employees; because if they do not understand then they break the bridge between the organization and the public. Employees who have positive relationships (high levels of commitment) with their organizations help develop positive relationships with customers and clients. Interaction and communication to employees is critical to the overall functioning of an organization.
Management must be clear in communicating the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the company, both overall and at the departmental level. Each employee needs to understand their role in the vision of the organization. Communication of goals and the objectives of the organization enables each employee to know and understand their role and place in the vision of the organization. This helps the employees to stay positive and productive.
Communication creates a higher level of performance because it causes strong relationships and trust. Both the managers and the employees should be able to provide information and seek information. Work cannot be carried out efficiently if there are communication barriers between the employees or between the employees and the managers.
Increasing engagement through communication is critical for any organization. Communication means that employees feel like they’re part of the team, that they are part of the greater vision, and this brings out their unique strengths which in turn they bring to the work place.
Communication will enable feedback. Feedback is critical in order to establish if indeed the organization is actually communicating and if the message is reaching the right target audience. So when the staff are kept in the loop; the goals, values, and concerns out in the open, they feel that they can give their feedback and therefore the staff stay engaged and in turn translate this to success of the team.
Lack of effective communication causes most problems in organizations. Thus, the process of communication employees and organizations are interlinked, whereby without communication, an organization cannot attain its mission, vision, goals and its objectives.
A brand audit is effectively a health check of the brand. To be able to identify and address problems areas with a net result of helping turn things around and grow the bottom line.A brand audit in an organization helps to determine:
Therefore it’s important to determine how accurate and effective your organizations interactive components (company name and color, tagline, logo, sounds, styles, voice and tone of messaging) are and where you can improve without alienating your current audience. These components can be determined through a number of ways; interviews, reviews, research, observations or surveys.
Surveys are one of the most important tools; they help determine the overall overview of the team’s opinion of your brand. These surveys can be done to both internal and external teams and gives the team a better understanding of the target audience perspective on your identity.
The internal team include your employees, shareholders, investors, and retailers. There are critical questions that are critical during the survey:
External stakeholders include the current customers and potential customers. There are critical questions that should be asked.
A routine brand audit will help monitor the cycle that way the brand remains fresh and relevant and it’s possible to keep track on when to reinvigorate or revitalize before sales start to slip.Remember it’s about establishing your overall position in the marketplace and creating greater consumer awareness
There are different stakeholders in an organization and the most critical is the employees; they need to hold the organization in high esteem and understand the objectives, the culture and the vision of the organization.
"The internal publics are your bridge to your external publics."
Your employess are your bridge to your external publics; they are your greatest asset that is why they need to understand their part in achieving the organizational goals. As a strategic process, internal communication can motivate and empower organizations employees.
Therefore the critical questions you need to ask are:
Employees of an organization are part of that core group which has very intimate relationship and a stake in the organization. They have the potential to make a customer loyal to the organization or be a one-time customer therefore your organization needs to win their loyalty, confidence, and organizations should be able trust them.