Content marketing is a strategy that’s used for both customer acquisition and customer retention. On top of that, how you present your brand through content marketing will affect how it’s interpreted on other channels, like social media. Though you’ll use content to improve search rankings and incite conversions, the most important function of content is, arguably, to illustrate the nature of your brand, including:
- Your core values. What’s most important to your brand, both internally and externally?
- Your target audience. Who are you speaking to, and how do you want to come across to them?
- Your unique identifiers. What is it that sets you apart from your competitors?
So what are the most important qualities for your brand to demonstrate through the content you write, and how can you demonstrate them?
Top Qualities to Show
These are some of the most important qualities you’ll need to emphasize in your content:
- Trust. As Michael Johnson of Bridgepoint Consulting explains, trust is the single greatest factor in building and maintaining long-lasting customer relationships. In content marketing, that quality is of the utmost importance, as it dictates reader acceptance of all the other factors. Trustworthy brands will draw readers in and hold more persuasive power over them; they’ll also attract more recurring readers, as readers specifically seek out sources they know they can trust. Unfortunately, it’s hard to demonstrate trust with just one post; committing to facts and objective reasoning (along with citing high-authority external sources), over time, can help you build that trust.
- Novelty. Novelty is useful for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that novelty and surprises lead to higher memorability. Novelty also distinguishes you from the competition. Fortunately, novelty is much easier to display than trust—especially for new readers. Selecting unique topics, finding unique angles, and presenting genuinely surprising information can all be valuable here.
- Passion. If your content reads like it was written by a bored high school student, it isn’t going to attract any shares, comments, or links. You need to demonstrate some degree of passion about your subject matter, and the best way to do that is to entrust a writer who’s actually passionate about the subject to write it. Cover your topic in depth, and show that your content is more than just an item on a mandatory checklist.
- Expertise. Are you making generic statements, or giving concrete, detailed recommendations? Are you summarizing what other people have written, or are you presenting new opinions and perspectives? The level of expertise you present through your content will have a substantial effect on how people respond to it—and how they view your brand, especially compared to the competition.
- Care. To be successful, you’ll need to show your readers and customers that you truly care about them. You need to understand and demonstrate that you know what their core needs are, and that you want to address them. The first step of this process is doing the market research necessary to understand the psychology of your core demographics. Beyond that, you’ll need to spend time experimenting with different subjects, angles, resources, and tips to see what’s most likely to appeal to that audience.
- Culture. According to Dennis Hahn of Liquid Agency, modern branding depends on far more than just image; you have to present an entire “brand culture.” This is an accumulation of beliefs, values, and personality-like qualities that come to represent your brand. Is your brand laid-back or hyper-vigilant? Does it encourage rebelliousness or order? There’s no right answer to these questions, but your content needs to clearly demonstrate what your brand culture is—and how it affects what you do.
Mastering the Demonstration
It’s one thing to know which qualities need to be demonstrated, and another to actually demonstrate them. After all, you can’t simply announce, “Our company is very trustworthy” and expect your customers to be on board. Instead, you need to subtly present these qualities, through:
- Topic selection. These qualities may become evident based on the topics you select; they’ll illustrate your target audience and values, and could help people understand how trustworthy your brand is.
- Brand voice. The tone, vocabulary, and subjective qualities of your brand’s “voice” will also play a role in how your content is received.
- Consistency. Anyone can write a single post that exemplifies a brand’s nature, but if you want that reputation to stick, you’ll need to display it consistently.
Some of these qualities will vary based on the nature of your brand, but all of them need to be present if you want your content campaign to be a success. It may take some practice to perfect your approach, but your reward will be ongoing reader loyalty.