Six steps to brand content marketing success

By 29 November 2012 Posts

Choose between search and shout

By Louis Eksteen

Brand content marketing is quickly gaining traction amongst the world’s top marketers. Apart from Red Bull, which is already the gold standard in brand content marketing, other companies such as Coca-Cola are rolling out excellent content marketing initiatives.

In an innovative recent example, The Coca-Cola Company has re-created its well-known company magazine Journey as a totally committed brand content corporate web site. Check it out, it’s a lesson in how brilliant brand content strategy can come to practical reality via astute, significant investment. It’s clear Coca-Cola brought magazine and digital content expertise in to help it in its brand content quest. (Note the new site runs off the domain, hence it’s now the corporate Coca-Cola company entrypoint. Compared to most other corporate sites, it changes the rules completely.)

If Coca-Cola can re-imagine itself as a magazine-style, engaging content blog, instead of a boring “About us” old-style corporate digital presence, so can you. Here’s how to do it.

1. Create a brand content vision

Today all companies, brands and marketers are content creators or publishers, if you will. This means brand content marketing has become a crucial part of any marketing mix, plan and execution strategy. Without professional content creation brands and companies find themselves in a digital wilderness … a lonely place when everyone’s connected.

This reality means a brand content marketing vision is nowadays as important as the brand’s overall vision, or reason for existence. Brand content speaks to the inherent qualities and interesting aspects of any brand and company. Being less reliant on external media to tell your brand story is great for brands, but if you don’t tell your story in line with a clear vision, things can go awry as brand content can be created off-brand.

2. Use experts to do what they do best

Just like most marketers use advertising agencies to create commercials, brand content agencies can assist with the professional planning, scheduling, creating and dissemination of brand content. As all brands are content brands, all brands need to act just like media do when it comes to the creation of content. Get the experts to help, preferably from your brand content strategy stage right through to execution. (Real brand content marketing experts understand the importance of visual brand content storytelling, so an early indication of proper ability is the emphasis they place on design.)

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur,”
American oil well firefighter Red Adair

3. Record everything

If it’s not recorded, it didn’t happen. Imagine Felix Baumgartner’s epic free-fall from space without the pictures, video and commentary. Red Bull recorded every single aspect of this hyped event, down to the minutiae and are continuing to roll out many different angles of Red Bull Stratos as brand content.

Investment in pre-planned photography, videography and other recording ensure payback from all your brand activities.

4. Roll out brand content according to a strict schedule

One of the crucial skills brand content experts deliver, due to their experience in traditional media such as magazines creation is the discipline of creating and disseminating content according to a strict schedule.

After you’ve finalised your brand content marketing strategy, your next step to success is a detailed schedule. Of course it needs to be flexible to allow for eventualities, but it must form a fundamental part of delivering engaging brand stories.

5. Invite sales softly

Leave the shouting and hard-sell to advertising. Brand content marketing is all about being found, discovered and engaged with from the side of the target audience. If you create excellent brand content, valued by consumers, they will actively seek you out to find it, engage with it and pass the message along.

In a world where viral is out and earned media is in, make sure consumers are in for a treat when they discover your brand content, without the traditional “buy me now” messages.

6. Invest wisely

Brand content marketing cannot be done without adequate marketing investment. It really is as simple as that. If you are going to go with “let’s just do it ourselves, Mary says she can write”, you’re in for a surprise. Your content will be poorly created, exist off-strategy and you’ll probably question the value of “social media” before long.

On the other hand, if you channel some proper investment to the creation of valuable, memorable and on-brand content, who knows, maybe you’re the next Burberry.

Shout, or be found

With a professional brand content marketing plan and practical execution delivery a brand enhances its chances to be found. This taps into the increasing consumer behavioural pattern of searching and finding via digital channels, rather than only being influenced by traditional advertising messages that are shouted out. Soft selling works better in a brand content marketing context.

Make no mistake, advertising in a traditional sense is as important as ever, but from an inbound marketing perspective, where consumers actively seek you out, professional brand content is now on the same level as advertising. Or it should be.

Only shouting at consumers, without a clear brand content marketing strategy that lets you be found, will lead to reduced relevance in a digital landscape.

The choice is yours.