Congratulations! If you’ve followed us this far into our summer Content Marketing Hack series you’ve learned who your prospects are and how to talk TO them, not AT them.
Next up, how to develop a brand persona that is relatable, compelling and shareable. Why bother with such an exercise? Isn’t content marketing just about getting good content published online and into the hands of your customers and prospects?
Content marketing is definitely about ensuring you have the right content in the right hands to help support your branding and sales initiatives. Yet without some kind of brand personality, you will always struggle to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Without a well-defined personality, your brand may struggle to stay top-of-mind when the time comes for a buying decision.
So how do you go about making your brand personality more memorable?
Say hello to your customers!
Maybe you have done your buyer persona homework, maybe not. Frankly, however, the best way to figure out how your customers talk is to, well, talk to them! That’s a no-brainer, right? Actually you’d be surprised at how many marketeers never get a chance to actually meet and talk with real live customers. One way around that is to have your marketing team (or at least your main writers and or editor) travel to meet clients at trade shows, conferences, seminars and other places where your customers hang out. By mingling with customers, your marketeers will learn how to strike the perfect balance of tone, style and industry lexicon in everything the write for your brand.
Do they eat queso or fromage?
Do most of your customers come from Paris or Paris, Texas? How you create your brand personality partly depends on whether you should be talking more about local topics of importance or those which are strictly related to an industry. Even if you service an international clientele within a niche industry, nothing stops you from personalizing your brand with occasional references to your local surroundings. For instance, both Paris and Paris, Texas have an Eiffel Tower, but only one has a big red cowboy hat on the top. Guess which one?
When creating a memorable brand personality you have to be willing take risks. I’m not suggesting you say something outrageous or offensive. That’s a sure-fire way to hurt your brand reputation. On the flip side, however, you should not be too timid or afraid of taking a controversial position on a topic of importance in your industry. Say, for example, you’re an IT security company focused on the mid-market and the majority of competitors are pedaling solutions made for larger enterprises with deep pockets. Let the world know you think the SMB market is taking it on the chin, not getting value for its IT security investment. Just be prepared to back up what you say with facts and figures or you may find yourself out on a shaky limb in the middle of a storm.
Wonder Woman saves the day
Part of making a brand memorable involves drawing on relatable topics ranging from pop culture to trending business topics. Is there a point you can make relative to your brand and the new Wonder Woman movie to appeal to a variety of demographics? Not all of your blogs need be a boring read for starched-shirt MBA grads. Quite frankly, many of today’s MBA grads grew up on Pokemon, Marvel movies and social media apps. So use your golden lasso to spin out a few references to the newest Marvel franchise.
If at first you don’t succeed…
Brand personalities, just like our own personalities, are the culmination of many different experiences and experimentations. We didn’t come into this world fully formed, so don’t expect your brand personality to be perfectly developed and articulated overnight. The key is to keep at it, building your brand personality layer by layer until you have a marketing masterpiece.
Hire an editor
A key part of creating a memorable brand personality is finding an editor with lots of experience either in the field of journalism or content marketing. An experienced editor will ensure your content meets your brand guidelines and is well-written and free of common grammatical mistakes. An editor can also help craft a strong brand voice from scratch all the while managing content writers and keeping your content creation on schedule.
Make it conversational
One way to get the attention of your audience and make your brand stick in their minds more is to make it a conversation. The tone and sentence structure of your writing can make the reader feel like he or she is included in your content as opposed to feeling like an outsider. For instance, using words like ‘you’ and ‘us’ can make a reader feel you’re writing about him or her. Also, using short or incomplete sentences makes your content feel more like it’s a back-and-forth dialog. Heck, even the occasional slang term or curse word (only for the right audience) can go a long way toward making your brand relatable, sharable and entertaining.
Lights, camera, action!
Video is fast becoming a key part of the brand marketing mix. With the explosion of live video channels and social media platforms like SnapChat, companies have more ways to create a unique brand personality than ever before. Not every company, especially ones focused on B2B technology, should be concerned with Facebook live and SnapChat. Nevertheless, video helps drive traffic, increase time-on-site and improve search engine rankings — a powerful trifecta in a digital marketing economy.