Why? Well let me explain.
I make a living providing visual branding solutions to small and medium sized companies. But my industry is experiencing a cosmic shift that’s altering my world in a most profound way.
In fact, the companies and organizations I work with are finally beginning to get a whiff of that new media aroma and inquiries are coming in.
“Craig, so what about social media and blogging?”
“Um … where do I start?”
Oh yes,… content marketing.
Yes, content marketing. I know, not everyone is in love with this de-facto term, but sorry folks, it’ll be with us for a while. And it turns out the companies I work with kinda like this fancy new buzzword.
Marcus Sheridan preaches this stuff like gospel. He is like the Energizer Bunny of content marketing and guess what? I feel his excitement.
This special class of online marketing amps me up. Why? Well, like Marcus, I see limitless possibilities revolving around this soon to be universal practice.
And here’s where my excitement really comes from:
Crafting a company’s brand into something special is not the same as it ever was. NO. In fact with this new model it’s easier than ever to incorporate something I love – story-telling.
Cultivating and then watching as an organization’s essence sprouts and flourishes excites me.
And telling a deeper, full-toned and more resonant story is now a lot less painless than it used to be.
Yes, tout your expertise, but learn to weave in the essential story that makes you, Dear Company, stand out.
That, my friend, is sticky branding.
And content marketing done right will make your brand stick. In fact it might just lead to dominance. If you doubt me, please read this detailed piece from Joe Pulizzi, a wizard in this realm …
I think he knows what he’s talking about.
And the main point of my post today is that many are still getting this wrong and missing out. Hey, I’m in the trenches and I can see it.
But here is how your company or organization can make a clean break from the boring old herd.
1. Fall in love with the content.
Part of branding done right is a solid content strategy. Say you’re a firm that specializes in disaster preparedness and recovery (why not pick the most obscure industry ever, right?).
Write a whitepaper on 10 steps to prepare your company for the worst. This pdf could be offered if someone signs up for your list. Then write 10 posts, one for each step. And while you’re at it, do your best to make it less than boring – that’s where the love comes in. Just make it sing a little and you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.
2. Find your uniqueness and build a story around it.
Say your company managers are stewards of the community. I’d say it’s fairly easy to flesh out a good storyline based on this practice and this is just one example. Whatever your story is, let some emotions seep in. Be real, not so boilerplate. This resonates and people want to do business with peeps they know and trust.
Part of the fun in bypassing the gatekeepers is you don’t have to be so boring any more. Brands are becoming their own media companies in a way, so the most creative companies often move to the fore – same goes for your average business. Write with some flare. Have fun with video. Make sure your podcasts are entertaining.
You want practical nuts and bolts stuff? Again, I’ll use Mr. Sheridan, but this post does a fantastic job of detailing the effectiveness of content marketing done right for any business:
The content these guys are producing also gives a perfect example of how any business can simply rock video.
3. Work to find that sweet spot.
The more you write the quicker you’ll discover the tone that works for you and your organization. Or, maybe you’ll put your own stars in front of the camera and post to YouTube (see example above). Add a splash of personality to your expert instruction and watch your firm’s essence pop. And work to Embrace the Rich Media Content Marketing Revolution. I sure will be.
4. Discover the brand missionaries under your own roof.
I hear the term insourcing bandied about. Embrace it. Make now the time to discover the writers, teachers (and maybe even performers) in your company. Your organization has a certain “flavor” and an individual’s take on this will make it that much more interesting.
Maybe you have an employee who is absolutely crazy in love with a certain topic relevant to your firm. Cut ‘em loose!
So, what say you?
My tagline is “design your way forward” but this is about way more than cool fonts, great copy or intuitive web design. It’s a new process added to my creative mix, and it should be a HUGE part of your world.
Traditional marketing has bought the farm and this new marketing paradigm IS the way to go forward. And that entity you call a business now has the opportunity to stand out like never before.
Small business owners. Organizations. Individual bloggers. Anyone trying to make their way online really needs to embrace the practices above.
Embrace the content. Love the content. ROCK the content. Just get busy!