If there is one issue that binds businesses together in 2015, it is the need to create a viable content marketing strategy. The quality, relevance and diversity of your branded content now has a huge impact on the way it is perceived by consumers. At the same time, this output will continue to determine how the business is ranked in terms of its online visibility.
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Despite this, businesses are struggling to create a content marketing strategy that actively engages consumers and delivers improved search engine performance. This is primarily due to a lack of time, with a Content Marketing Institute study in 2014 revealing that the majority of small business owners lacked the opportunity or resources create outstanding, media-rich output.
Creating your Brands’ Tone of Voice
If you are struggling in this respect, it is crucial that you start by developing a tone of voice for your brand. This creates a foundation of knowledge and resource that clearly defines your brand proposition, while also dictating how this will translate into written content, rich media and imagery. Once this is in place, you can develop purposeful content that accurately reflects your brands’ values and engages targeted customers. Consider the following steps towards achieving this:
Set out your Brand Values
Before you begin to experiment with variable tones of voice, diverse imagery and a variety of video production techniques, you should strive to understand and set out the values of your brand. These will underpin the overall tone of voice while establishing a clear focus and creating sustainable metrics by which all future output can be measured. Above all else, your tone of voice is an expression of the values that define your brand, whether it is a large corporation or an independent, family-run venture.
Defining these values takes time and considerable background work as you determine the key messages that you want to share with the world. Start by creating a concise mission statement that summarises the purpose and the individual goals of your business, before investigating each one to uncover an underlying value (the desire to deliver a positive consumer experience underlines a sense of loyalty to your customers, for example). You will then be left with a series of values and key brand characteristics that can create a template for your tone of voice.
Bridge the Gap between Corporate and Consumer Language
Once you have decided what you want to say about your brand, the next step is to determine how you want to say it. Although your brands’ existing content and message is an excellent place to start, you may find that much of this output is at odds with your recently defined brand values. Another key issue is the use of corporate or technical language, which although widely understood within business circles often falls on deaf ears when it is shared with consumers.
While there is undoubtedly a place for complex and technology-led content, you should focus on translating corporate terminology into familiar and actionable copy that resonates with customers. In practical terms, this may mean taking a technologically advanced feature on a product and translating this directly into a benefit that the customer will immediately understand.
Create Consistency across all Media Types and Platforms
When it comes to cultivating content in a specific tone of voice and sharing it across multiple media platforms, consistency is the main watchword. While there is a pressing need to create media-rich output that is shared across an integrated social media platform, for example, this must remain true to your tone of voice and display a core of consistency. This applies to everything, from the VOD’s (videos on demand) that you create on YouTube to the blog posts that you publish on Tumblr and share across multiple social sites.
So even though different platforms may require images with higher resolutions or more concise blocks of text (Twitter, for example), you must focus on adapting your execution without compromising on the primary message of your brand. This will enable you to publish various types of content that share a similarly engaging proposition, whether it is in the form of an informative, 2000 word article or a micro-blog that draws on the same core messages, but presents them in a condensed summary.
These tips will stand your business in good stead, and help you to develop diverse and media-rich content that shares the same tone. As a result, your brand will become more recognisable as an industry leader and engage existing customers on a far deeper level.
Have you struggled with your brand’s tone of voice or consistency? Do you think they have played a major role in your businesses success? Your thoughts and comments below please...