Branding tactics have drastically changed over the last decade and marketers have had to learn a whole new playbook -- a playbook that is constantly evolving with new technologies and social platforms. It’s increasingly difficult to build and reach new audiences without a solid content and social media strategy in place. In fact, 70% of marketers say that content marketing has actually increased their brand awareness. (iMedia Connection)
HubSpot recently analysed data from over 3,500 marketers in the UK and discovered that this exact challenge -- brand awareness -- is the marketing tactic that they struggle with most. In our research to solve this challenge, we came across some fantastic advice from people and brands who have seen amazing success with getting their brand in front of the masses through content, social, and a bit of creativity. So sit back, relax, and let's learn from the wise, shall we?
1) Innocent Founder, Richard Reed, says:
"Remember that every business in the world started small. M&S began life as a market stall, and YouTube was started by two friends in a room above a pizza takeaway. Even in today’s heavily competitive world, little can still get big."
Lesson: Think Like a Publisher
Innocent has really adopted the publisher model of marketing -- they've published multiple recipe books which have had a huge impact on their brand growth -- plus they’re not just seen as a company who want to sell a product to make money. Instead, they're seen as a company that helps people live healthier lives, and one that is socially and ethically responsible.
They also maintain a popular blog on which they write valuable content that helps their readers live a healthier life, which enables them to attract and engage an audience. Additionally, 10% of Innocent’s profits go to charity, so they also use their blog to highlight important news from their foundation, and how they are making a difference in poverty-stricken countries.
2) Innocent Community Manager, Joe McEwan, says:
"The key to Innocent’s success has been a consistent tone of voice -- one that’s natural, honest, and engaging -- making social activity feel like a natural extension of the company’s personality."
Lesson: Find Your Tone of Voice
Find the tone of voice that works for your audience and maintain it in all of your communications. Remember, you are marketing to people, not companies, or robots. The first step to getting this right is in creating your buyer personas, and knowing what their goals and challenges are. This will tell you who your audience is and will enable you to change your tone of voice to what resonates best with them.
"It’s important to have a variety of different types of content that has the shareability factor."
Lesson: Create Shareable Content
Creating educational and engaging content can help you become an invaluable resource to your target audience. Giving your network exactly what they want will help you grow an organic audience who engages with your brand on your website, follows you across social, and helps your brand grow its reach by sharing your content with their friends and peers.
You should always be thinking about how shareable your content is. Ask yourself: "If I read this, would I share it with my friends, colleagues, network, or family?" If the answer is no, go back to the beginning and rethink it.
4) Upworthy Cofounder, Eli Pariser, says:
"A good headline can be the difference between 1,000 people and 1,000,000 people reading something.”
Lesson: Experiment With Your Headlines
When you’re looking to create something that gets maximum exposure for your brand, nailing the headline is essential. At Upworthy, the curators need to come up with 25 headlines for every piece of content. They then select their favourite four, and the managing editor selects the final two to experiment with.
Coming up with an attention-grabbing headline for your content will help maximise the reach of your content, and your brand.
5) Upworthy Cofounder, Eli Pariser, also says:
“We go for visible, shareable stories and really stay away from doing more typical, text-driven articles and blogging. We lean into images and videos.”
Lesson: Don't Be Boring
In order to build brand awareness, your content needs to be remarkable and shareable. For that to work, you can't be doing the same thing as everyone else in your industry. Do something quirky that shows off the personality of your brand. Experiment with videos, infographics, and more visual content that can really grab attention.
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)Additionally, photos on Facebook Pages receive 53% more Likes and 104% more comments than the average post. (Source: HubSpot.)
"Social media can play a huge part in growth hacking and really build brand awareness for companies. The trick is to make sure you get the balance right between simply broadcasting and real live engagement."
Lesson:Don't Social Spam
When it comes to social media, “good” is far from good enough for getting your brand messaging heard over all the noise out there. Thousands of brands are vying for the same audience’s attention. People are beaten over the head with product information, promotional offers, and branded cat memes.
To stand out, your brand needs to stop fixating on best practices and do something remarkable -- and the easiest and most impactful way to be remarkable on social is by having a conversation. Listen to what your fans are saying and respond to their concerns, questions, and comments.
If you're a HubSpot customer, you can set up social monitoring streams in Social Inbox to monitor Twitter for mentions of your company name, your competitors, and any variety of keywords so you can be notified by email as soon as something pops up that needs your attention.
7) Author/Speaker Brian Carter says:
"If you can’t spend $30 per month ($1 per day on Facebook Ads), you shouldn’t be in business.”
Lesson:Invest a Little
With Facebook organic reach at 6.15% and expected to decrease even further, more and more companies are investing in paid content distribution on the platform. With very targeted ad campaigns, great content, and even the smallest amount of cash to spend, companies can reach their current fans and more on Facebook.
"Journalists bring a lot of skills to the table -- writing, editing, research etc. But for content marketing natural curiosity is probably the most important.
Lesson:Journalists Can Make Great Content Marketers
Whether working for a traditional media outlet or in-house, a journalist's job is still the same -- to figure out what makes an interesting story that people are going to want to read about. Good journalists ask questions and challenge assumptions, not just in terms of what your company does but also others in your industry. That's what produces content that people will want to read.
For our checklist on what to look for when hiring a journalist for your content marketing as well as tips on how to build brand awareness with limited resources, download our guide, Growth Hacking Brand Awareness.
Originally published May 20, 2014 4:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017