content marketing The following is a guest post by Corry Cummings, owner of Content Customs.

When companies spend thousands of dollars developing a specific brand name or logo, they do so for a reason. This simple personification of the company's image is often the one shot that businesses have to give their potential customers a quick and simple view into their business practices, goals and services. A company brand builds trust and credibility as well as focuses on specific demographics to drive traffic.

Why should content be any different? In fact, branding your business with content is a way to show your web site visitors that you are the only solution to their problem. If you are in a competitive market saturated with "only solutions," you need to, at the very least, use content to show your potential customers why you are their very best solution.

What are the distinguishing features of your services? What do you offer that your competitors cannot match? Are you a small business that can treat clients with personality or are you a super-business that prides itself on speed? Nail down the unique aspects of your business and your brand can be created with effective and interesting content.

1. Avoid Hyperbole In Your Business Content Brand

Some hyperbole is fairly obvious when it creeps from casual conversation into web site content . However, hyperbole can also creep into business content without you knowing it. These are broad statements that any company with a solid business plan could use to promote their services. They may not be as obvious as statements like "I could sleep for a century" or "Making this web site will kill me." However, they can often be just as detrimental. Consider some examples:

We offer quick and easy customer service that is accessible to everyone.

How? This statement is nowhere near specific enough to brand your business with content. Almost every business could make this claim - and many do. Exactly what about your customer service makes you special? Can you post any specific testimonials or statistics about your service?

Our online order form takes mere seconds to fill out.

Consider whether this is a true statement. If you have multiple fields requesting payment information and order confirmation, this statement is probably not true. It may seem like a very small detail; however, honesty and clarity are always better than sales pitches. Tell your potential customers what information they will need before ordering.

2. Discover the Strengths of Your Business and Use Them

Above all, the content on your web site should have a purpose and it should drive home the reasons why potential customers should buy from you. Perform some research and discover what your business does best. More often than not, such research reveals regional strengths. Without knowing it, you might be the only business in the area that sells a specific product. This could set you up to offer same-day delivery to your region. That is a selling point that sets you apart from your competition. Your content should highlight that aspect of your business.

3. Make Your Content Match Your Brand

Take the image that you want to present to the public seriously, no matter what that image may be. When you talk to another person face-to-face, you have a distinct advantage. You can exchange ideas, ask questions, receive feedback and formulate your pitch based on what you know they want. A potential customer can more easily decide whether they trust you or not when they are actually looking you in the eyes.

However, this isn 't quite as easy with content. You must use your content to express yourself to your chosen demographic in a way that they will understand.

Suppose that you are a business that sells surfboards primarily to an 18-24 college student demographic. Beyond taking social media seriously, your content should be designed to grab their attention and convince them that you are their best choice. Try doing the following in this market:

  • Use clever and humorous language designed to grab the attention of your audience.
  • Avoid listing too many facts and statistics. These will often turn your demographic off.
  • Use simple sales pitches to which college students can relate. 
  • Include personal statements about your experiences with a product.

4. Create Flawless Content

Nothing turns web readers off faster than content saturated with spelling or grammatical errors. Such mistakes show that you did not feel the need to invest much time or money into the face of your business. This can have a detrimental effect on the image of your company's reliability and credibility. Check and recheck your content for errors and make sure that it stays focused and centered on your main ideas. Follow these steps for error-free and professional content:

Do a pre write. What information will you include in your content? How will you structure your words to be the most effective? What research materials will you use?

Use lists and short paragraphs. Readers will most likely be scanning your content to get the main ideas. Use these ideas as your headers and create content that can be easily summarized.

Check your content for spelling and duplicates. Don't simply rely on a spell checker. Read your content several times over a period of a few days to catch every error that you can find.

Have someone else read your work. It is best to use a professional editor. However, having a few employees or friends read your work can bring some hidden errors to the surface.

Outsource your content. Sometimes it's better to admit that you are not a writer and trust a professional writer to handle your content. If you have the funds in your budget and value the image of your company, it is best to make sure that your content brand is written well the first time.

5. Focus on Your Company's Image

Take into account how you want your visitors to view you as a company as well as how you are currently viewed in the industry. Every piece of content on your web site needs to define who your company is and what you offer that caters to your market's individual needs. Some key talking points could include:

Character: Who are you? Where do you come from? What are your stances? Be honest and authentic. One wrong move in trying to be something that you are not could destroy your company image.

Personality: Try to highlight the aspects of your business that make you human. Many companies use pictures of their employees to reveal personality. However, it might be a good idea to use content in the same way. Try including personal profiles written in the first person. You can also include quotes from your employees to highlight what they enjoy about working with your company.

Image: Depending on the strength and focus of your content, you might find that consumers begin to associate specific attributes with your business. By focusing on your image, you can quickly delegate your competition into a category that most people would consider bland.

6. Leverage Your Key Content Branding Approaches

Choose some aspects of your business that you can use to create a specific vision of how your company values certain fundamentals of good business. Try choosing from the following when drafting content:
  • Product or Service Selection
  • Your Business Experience
  • Knowledge that You Bring to the Table
  • Your Credentials
  • Technology that You Use
  • Your Resources
  • Region From Which You Operate
  • Speed of Your Service
  • Tools Available to You
  • Customer Service Value

Never forget that the words you use to express your company are your portal to a prospective customer's world. You must show them how you can make their life easier, more profitable, happier and more productive. If you can convey this message in all aspects of your content-driven marketing campaign, you can be successful in convincing your customers of how valuable you are to them. More than anything, treat your content with great care. The value of your content to your consumers can create a brand that people want. However, if your content is produced poorly, it could spiral your business into mediocrity.

Corry Cummings is the owner of Content Customs, which is a professional team of SEO copywriters. For more great information about improving the quality of your web content, visit Corry's Content Writing Blog . You can also follow Corry on Twitter.

Photo Credit: cliff1066™

 

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Originally published Apr 14, 2010 10:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016

Topics:

Content Marketing