Digital marketing is more than promotional emails and an online storefront. These tools, along with blogs and social media channels open up the doors to greater, more engaging and more meaningful marketing efforts.

"Whether you call it brand journalism, corporate journalism, or corporate media, more and more companies are creating 'journalistic' content," says Nick McGregor, content editor and copywriter for CMIT Solutions, an Austin-based information technology franchise. "Many forward-thinking brands are hiring journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Newsweek to build an in-house news operation for their organization."

According to McGregor, a former freelance reporter turned brand journalist, it's no longer about getting your company information in front of potential customers. Through thought leadership and engaging content, a company will experience great conversion rates and stronger brand loyalty.

1. You're established as a resource in your industry.

Your website should not be an online flyer. By providing real information, instead of only promotional information or discount deals, consumers learn to see you as a resource.

Whether you're selling cars, vacations, bedding or IT services, customers will want to know they can trust you and the information provided on your channels. Share facts about the industry or products. Put together how-tos or user guides to answer frequently asked questions and myths. Write about what's new and exciting in the industry or plans for the company's future.

"There are many ways to go about creating media inside a corporation," McGregor added. "For instance, at CMIT Solutions, we create and curate content for those interested in enterprise technology. We have a weekly eNewsletter that we send to business leaders and executives that supplements information they are reading in the mainstream media, whether it's about data breaches or the end of support for Windows XP."

By writing on these topics and sharing them via a company blog, social media channels and regular emails, potential customers begin to see you as a resource in the field, the go-to for any answers. Whether or not they need a new car or IT support, they'll think of you first when those questions arise. That way, when they are in need of purchasing your product or service, that brand is top-of-mind and already in their Twitter feed.

2. Both customer and company benefit from transparency.

Face it, you are likely not the only company that can do what you do. You may do it slightly differently or more efficiently. You may offer great customer service where other companies fail. Whatever your differentiator is, it is probably not something to be kept secret. Share what makes you different. Give followers a sense of how your company runs, what you find important. Who are the people behind the company? What do they do for fun? If you share who is behind the company, the people that make it different, your customers will feel a stronger connection and a stronger sense of trust.

"Don't write ad copy," McGregor added. "You can (and should) write about your company and your products. However, be honest about who you are and why you're publishing this article. Most importantly, don't be afraid to have an opinion. When you share your point of view, you distinguish your company in the marketplace and build a stronger connection to your customers."

Likewise, the transparency will keep your company honest. It'll keep your people real and down-to-earth. Have you learned something new that will completely rock the smartphone or agriculture world? Share it! Be the one to break the news, encourage new ideas, and inspire new inventions. Be transparent about what's going on in the field and the company and your customers will reward you for it.

3. Customers experience a greater sense of loyalty.

Once you've established yourself as a resource, customers are likely to trust the brand and rely upon it for valuable information. Therefore, loyalty has been established even before a purchase is made. That way, when a product or service in that field is needed, customers are likely to start with the company they already follow on social media. They'll also be ready to refer their friends to you because you've established trust, transparency and an interest in innovation.

Published on: Feb 26, 2016