Brands have a fantastic advantage in today’s society, as consumers have taken it upon themselves to go looking for more information on the companies that they do business with, rather than sitting back and waiting to be sold on a product or service through strong-arm tactics. All brands need to do is ensure that information on the company, product or service is available in the multiple mediums where consumers are searching for information. This is content marketing − producing, posting and even participating in content about the company and its products and/or services – and the success of this strategy delicately hinges on the content.
I referred to “participating” in content about the company because brand communicators today know that audiences rely heavily on content created by sources outside the company through the various social networking and user review sites. So, while we guide our clients through the production and placement of good content about their brand, it is also vital that they pay attention to the content being produced by others and be prepared to respond − and possibly react – to those conversations.
The good news is that a brand has the opportunity to begin the conversation by creating and delivering positive, accurate and meaningful content, and we accomplish this by ensuring the following four components in content delivery.
- Authenticity – True representation of the brand, product or service. A brand must talk about who it is as a company and what brand promises it can deliver. There are plenty of people out there ready to point out when a company hasn’tdelivered on a promise being communicated in their advertising or marketing messages, but a company that is true to what it says about itself is highly valued by today’s consumer.
- Relevancy – What matters to the consumer. This has a lot to do with the placement of content. While there are multiple platforms and communication vehicles taken into consideration in content marketing, the way that the content is being consumed varies. Understanding how the audience is consuming information is essential to creating content that is relevant to the platform or vehicle and that will be accepted by the consumer.
- Timeliness – All about today. The consumer now has access to an extraordinary amount of timely content at any given moment. We learn about events as they are happening, making “today’s news” an ever-changing flow of headlines scanned with the swipe of a finger across a smartphone. For a brand to capture attention, its content has to be current, and the delivery needs to be timely.
- Consistency – Fact checking. Consumers do their homework. That’s what content marketing is all about. Ensuring that a brand’s message is consistent on all platforms and communication vehicles is a large part of overall success. From the website to the Facebook page and from direct mail materials to customer service practices, consistency encourages consumers to believe in a company’s brand and trust in the promises it delivers in its content.