When you think of branding, content isn't really the first thing that comes to mind. You envision logos, slogans, and maybe some taglines. But the world has changed. Digital branding is prevalent, and today, content is a powerful tool for your company.

Learn how to better brand your company using content through defining your audience, using storytelling, and building a caring environment.

Define your audience

Developing content just for the sake of it -- without truly knowing who your audience is, what they care about, what they fear, and what their challenges are -- is futile. It's spraying water all over with a garden hose. Defining your audience first will turn that hose into a nail gun.

I've helped many businesses develop a buyer ICP (Ideal Customer Persona) to help narrow what type of topics and content to develop. You may also have different personas/demographics that you're trying to target, as your business caters to more than just one. But remember, the more detailed (and tailor-made) your messaging is, the better your conversion rates will be.

For example, if you're a real estate startup buying homes from people, your content will revolve around the objections and fears of a home seller, and why you're the best guide to help them (the hero) reach their goal -- selling the home. 

One part of your content strategy, for example, can be to position your company (brand) as a top-of-mind expert, for example by writing blog posts that provide information about the prospect's marketplace, its recent trends, and maybe even micro seller stats by neighborhood/state level.

Differentiate your brand from your competitors

Your strategy for branding through content should be about setting your business apart from your competitors. It will help your company build trust, while entertaining and educating your consumers on what you do and why you do it.

One way to differentiate yourself is by caring. Content can be created in one of two ways: 

  1. The goal of attracting visitors, links, and shares (and, ultimately, sales); or

  2. The mindset of helping. Truly helping. Your content needs to meet the needs, interests, and pain points of your audience.

A brand cannot care. People can care. And people buy from people. What you can do is hire people who care, reward employees who care, or even prospects who care; those who share insights and data, survey responders, beta testers, social-media fans, community advocates, and brand ambassadors. Nurturing an environment of caring will make your content spread (and brand) organically.

Tell stories and write great copy

A common yet hard-to-perfect way of branding via content is storytelling. People can't resist a good story, and great marketers use that to their full advantage. 

A compelling story can differentiate your brand, evoke interest, and set you apart. Another way is via great copy. It'll be a definitive factor in the process of branding through content, like blogs, emails, webinars, newsletters, social media, and your website. 

Copywriters must possess a vast vocabulary and perfect grammar, but most importantly, know how and when it's OK to break the rules and bend words to show character. An informal, conversational text or choice of words can still be professional if done right.

Developing branded content using these tactics will both help conversions and your search engine ranking. And making things more discoverable is vital, because creating content that no one sees is pointless. 

Make sure:

  • Your content is easy to find; and
  • You have a budget to promote the content and build links.

I asked my friend, industry veteran Joey Campbell, director of organic growth content at Nike, his thoughts on the topic. He says:

When it comes to branded content, I'm constantly thinking about voice, tone, and style. But aligning content with brand voice starts long before putting pen to paper. First, you need to define your voice in clear, concise terms and codify it in reusable guidelines or a creators' manual. You also need talented, professional writers and content creators who are not only trained with these guidelines, but also excited and passionate about your brand to begin with. Finally, every piece of content you create must have a distinct purpose in line with your brand's mission and vision. Content without purpose, no matter how well crafted, will fail. 

Above all, consistency of voice is key. Your brand reflects who you are and what you care about. Those values cement themselves over the long haul, through countless content projects across many channels and mediums.

Now, when tackling marketing and branding for your company, you have a better game plan. Use content. But first, define your target audience: their problems, desires, objections, and fears. Then, differentiate yourself from your competitors with great copy, storytelling, and nurturing an environment of caring. Last, make sure your content has an end-goal and that its voice is consistent.