Target Your Audience – Branding, Diversity and Technology

Branding is the key to business success. Whether you’re a small, locally owned electronics repair service, or a multinational corporation, a strong brand will set you apart from your competition. Successful branding is a complex, multifaceted process. It’s both an art and science, combining detailed, accurate data analysis with intuitive understanding of what your audience wants. With a great marketing company at your side, you can harness the power of proven, effective branding strategies that can bring you incredible success.

A great marketing company is like a personal trainer for your brand. Our job is to keep you on the right track so that you can successfully meet your goals. Like a personal trainer, we’ll help you evaluate and understand your brand’s “fitness level.” What have you done in the past to build and market your brand, and how well have those strategies worked? Have you been seeing more success as time goes by, or has your audience engagement been faltering lately? Just as a personal trainer will measure your BMI, body fat percentage, and other stats to evaluate where you are right now, we’ll help you understand where you stand. We’ll then work with you to make effective strategy changes that will bring you results. We keep you on a steady regimen of effective, high-quality content, taking consistent measurements along the way to make sure you see real progress. Just like a personal trainer will make sure you exercise and stop you from eating that extra donut, we’ll work with your brand to help you make the right branding choices, and avoid unwise decisions that could set you back.

Our job is to help you succeed , by using the latest techniques to give your brand a real advantage in today’s crowded online marketplace. We leverage the power of cutting-edge trends and technology to create laser-focused branding and marketing strategies tailored specifically to your unique brand. Using the power of the internet and social media, we help you reach out directly to potential customers and clients.

We help our clients reach their goals and achieve results by incorporating the Six Key Points of Branding. These six essential factors form the basis of an active, successful  Diversity branding campaign:

  1. Know Your Audience. Who are you targeting? What are their values? How do they behave as consumers? How can you reach out to them in a way they can relate to?
  2. Know Yourself. Who are you, as a company? Understanding your brand’s style, culture, and history will give you the tools to move forward with successful branding strategies.
  3. Measure Everything. Gather quantifiable data about your past metrics. Look at past failures and past successes. Understand the actions you took that led to where you are today. By evaluating your past and present metrics, you have a baseline that acts as a platform as you plan for future success.
  4. Set Measurable Goals. Use your past and present metrics as a guide to planning for future goals. When you know what success looks like for your company, you can forge ahead by formulating concrete, specific, and attainable goals that will move your company
  5. Be Consistent. Consistent publishing, rhythm, tone, and style are essential to building a strong brand and reaching your audience effectively.
  6. Authoritative, Validated Content. Not only do you need great content that provides real value to your audience, but you need to seek the endorsement of credible third parties whom your audience trusts.

These are the elements that every brand needs to succeed. Our job is to help you implement these six key points of branding, helping to reach out successfully to a worldwide audience of potential clients and customers.

PART !: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

The first key to successful branding is to know your audience. If you’re going to craft an appealing brand identity, you need to understand who you’re selling to. No company is selling to literally everyone. No matter what line of business you’re in, you have a target audience that you need to focus on. You need to make yourself appealing to these people. The key to doing so is to really understand them. What are their wants, needs, and aspirations? What appeals to them? What do they respond to? To understand your audience, you need to get inside their heads. You need to understand your audience on a psychological level, taking into account what really motivates them.

Understanding

Many people tend to think of “target audience” regarding traditional demographics. This consists of statistical information like age, income level, and ethnicity. This isn’t the way you want to approach your audience. Instead of thinking regarding demographic groups like “18-35-year-old men,” you need to think in terms of affinity groups. Within any demographic, and sometimes overlapping multiple demographics, there are numerous affinity groups. These groupings have far more bearing on how people self-identify, conceptualize themselves, and interact with others than mere demographic information. Think about how people form social relationships in the real world. They don’t necessarily gravitate toward people with similar demographic information. Not all 18-35-year-old men get along. Instead, people form affinities with others based on shared interests, life goals, and life circumstances.

For a good example of affinity groups, think back to high school. High school is a fascinating little sociological “petri dish” for examining human social interactions. People gravitate toward one another into friendship groups, based on shared tastes and interests. You have kids who are into athletics and play sports together. You have kids who are heavily involved in theater. There are groups of kids who love anime and video games. There may even be “alternative” or “gothic” kids with particular tastes in art and music. All of these people fall into a demographic group: 14-18-year-olds. However, these people are in entirely different affinity groups. They’re different people, with different tastes, interests, and aspirations. The kids who love sports may not respond to the same brand aesthetics as the kids who love black metal. Think about clothing companies in the 1990s and 2000s that marketed to teens. Remember Hot Topic? They branded themselves with that “different” demographic in mind. They sell an image that these kids relate and aspire to, drawing heavily on rock music, the 80s and 90s nostalgia, and quirky “Tim Burton” aesthetics. They know their audience, and by tailoring themselves to that specific affinity group, they’ve been immensely successful.

High school is a rather extreme example. Kids that age are figuring out their individual and social identities, and identifying with an affinity group means a lot more at that age than it does during adulthood. However, affinity groups still hold strong in the “real world” of adulthood. Think about Americans in a 25-50 demographic. An urban minority affinity group might not respond to the same branding strategies as people of the same age who live in the suburbs and work at office jobs. For most companies, targeting a 25-50 demographic as a whole won’t be a viable strategy. You want to go after an affinity group within that demographic. To successfully communicate the value of your product or service, you need to understand what people in that affinity group really want.

Values and Behaviors

You need to understand your audience’s psyches. What do they want, and what do they need? Human beings have needs and wants that motivate their behaviors. What does your target audience value? This can vary between affinity groups. As an example, think about how cars are advertised. Different makes or models of cars are targeted toward customers with different values, values that affect what they need from a car. Minivans are ideal for families with children, who need a larger vehicle. Commercials advertising minivans tend to evoke a sense of security. They underscore the reliability and safety of the vehicles, appealing to parents’ intrinsic desire to protect and nurture their children. Contrast this with BMW or Lexus sedans. These vehicles are sold through the image of luxury. They appeal to upper-middle-class status aspirations, emphasizing high-quality craftsmanship and luxury features. For the suburban mom with kids, the image of a sturdy, reliable minivan with a high safety rating is appealing. This kind of vehicle meets her particular needs, which are mainly practical. The ideal Lexus customer has different values and different needs. These two hypothetical people aren’t looking for the same thing.

So how do you understand what your target audience wants? You can ask them directly, of course, but this comes with a few caveats. What people want isn’t always what they say they want. Human beings have a tendency not to understand their desires and motivations entirely. What they say isn’t always what they do. A person’s actions can be far more telling than their words. The great business magnate Andrew Carnegie understood this. “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” Sometimes simply asking people what they want doesn’t give you the right answer.

A textbook example of this phenomenon is McDonalds’ “Arch Deluxe.” This sandwich was designed to meet a consumer demand for a burger that felt more “adult.” At the time, McDonalds had a decidedly child-centric brand image, with a focus on marketing toward children with Happy Meals, toy giveaways, and built-in playgrounds. In an attempt to appeal to what adults said they wanted in a burger, they created the Arch Deluxe. Its release was accompanied by a very expensive advertising campaign, which positioned the sandwich as a higher-quality, “premium” item. It failed miserably. People may have said they wanted a more “adult” burger, but in the end, people don’t go to McDonalds looking for a premium fare. It turned out that people didn’t want what they said they wanted.

So consumers aren’t always reliable when they tell you what they want. So how do you gain insight? The key is rigorous research that gives insight into consumers’ actual behaviors. By looking at their actions instead of their words, you can get a clearer, more reliable picture of what your audience really wants.

Researching Your Target Audience

Methodical, in-depth research is one of the keys to really understanding your audience. There’s a reason why big companies pour so much money and resources into consumer research, employing highly qualified sociologists and psychologists for their thorough insight into human nature and behavior. There are several approaches that you can take, including:

  • Dialog and discussion with your audience. Although consumers don’t always reliably report what you really want, dialog and discussion are still a valuable tool for gaining insight into your audience.
  • Analysis and research of consumer behavior patterns. Quantifiable data is a valuable tool for looking into large-scale consumer behavioral trends.
  • Competition analysis. What are your competitors doing to appeal successfully to your mutual target audience? Look at what has worked for them, and leverage those techniques for your own branding.

Research provides you with real, tangible data. Never assume that you know anything about your audience. Remember what they say about assumptions? When you blindly assume that you know what your audience wants, you’re wasting your time and money. Do research, analyze data, and measure results. This is the best way to build up an accurate picture of your ideal consumer.

Profiling your Ideal Customer

When you’ve done some serious, quantifiable research, you can use these insights to create a profile of your ideal customer. These profiles are like avatars. They represent a typical person that you would target. Who is this person? Who do they associate with? What kind of lifestyle do they lead? What kind of income do they make? A profile is a fictional persona, representative of the type of people you’re targeting. These avatars are based on the data and information you’ve gathered through your market research. When you gather a real understanding of the values, behaviors, wants, and needs of people in your target affinity groups, you can understand them on a psychological level. This deep understanding empowers you to create a strong, successful brand that makes a genuine appeal to your audience, one that they’ll perceive as authentic.

Using Your Knowledge to Laser-Target Your Audience

The value of all this specific information about your ideal consumers is that it allows you to target your marketing efforts with incredible precision. New technology like social media has given companies an unprecedented ability to target particular groups of people, those who will have a real interest in buying their products and services. This is like the difference between carpet bombing and precision missiles. You can “carpet-bomb” indiscriminately, wasting energy by reaching a huge area that happens to contain your target; or, you can send the rocket right into the window of the enemy base. When you focus your marketing efforts as precisely as you can, you save money, energy, and time. Digital marketing has opened up the possibility of precision targeting for marketers, in ways that didn’t use to be possible.

With traditional marketing and advertising media, companies were often forced to reach a very broad user base of people. Imagine a television commercial for an arthritis medication broadcasted on a major television network. It’s going to reach many, many people, but only a fraction of them will be your target audience: people suffering from arthritis. You could opt for time slots associated with television programs whose audience tends to overlap with yours, but your targeting options still paled in comparison to what’s possible with digital marketing techniques. Online marketing techniques let you set your sights on the people who matter. Instead of wasting time casting a broad net, you can leverage the power of tools like social media to laser-target your marketing directly to people who will actually buy from you. For example, let’s say you’re a young adult clothing company with an urban vibe. It doesn’t do any good for Bob the middle-aged accountant to see your advertisements. He isn’t in the affinity group that you’re targeting. He has zero interest in buying from you. By leveraging the power of the Internet, you can filter out people like Bob. Instead, you can focus on building brand awareness among young urbanites with a history of interest in products like yours. You can find people who have bought similar products to yours, and who’ve expressed interest in other brands that target the same audience. By going for a narrower target, you’ll see better results and get a much greater return on your investment. By knowing your audience, you can target the right people with laser precision.

PART 2: KNOW YOURSELF

Knowing your audience is the first step toward successful branding. The next step is knowing yourself. You need to understand who you are as a company and create an identity based on your knowledge of your audience. Your target audience has a need, and your role is to fill that need effectively. Your brand image should express and embody what you’re about. It’s important to understand your brand’s history, culture, and style, in order to move forward.

  • Understand your history. Where have you been in the past? What kind of image have you built up? What’s worked, and what hasn’t? Those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it. Take stock of what’s worked in the past, and what hasn’t. Have you had success with your previous marketing efforts, or have they fallen flat? If things haven’t been working, you may need to formulate an entirely new strategy. When you have insight into the past, you can plan for the future.
  • Understand your culture and style. What’s your company’s culture like, and what’s your brand’s unique individual “style”? Is your style effective, and does it embody a brand image that’s appealing and appropriate? If not, what can you do to overhaul your image for better results? Different companies have different “styles,” depending on what you’re selling. For some brands, an air of authority and professionalism is the key to success. Other companies can appeal most effectively to their audience with a conversational tone and a great sense of humor. If you’re a B2B shipping and logistics company, your brand will have a far different style and tone than a brand of energy drinks. Your style should be tailored not only to your audience but to your audience in the context of the need that your company can fill.
  • Understand your baseline metrics. Again, quantification is a major key to branding success. This ties into the concept of understanding your history. What kind of numbers have you achieved in the past? How many sales, website views, and other measurable interactions have you previously achieved, and what led to those numbers? It’s impossible to measure future improvement if you don’t have a baseline to compare against. Measure everything.

PART 3: MEASURE EVERYTHING

If you want to become a successful brand, you can never go in blindly. Never assume you know what you’re doing, in the absence of data that backs up your claims. If you really want to understand what’s worked in the past, what could work in the future, and how to make the changes that will lead to reaching your goals, you need to base your strategy on concrete, quantifiable data.

You need to measure your brand’s involvement and interactions with your customers. There are a number of data points that you should evaluate, including:

  • Phone Calls that you’re receiving in your office or call centers.
  • Website Traffic. Is your audience actually seeing your website?
  • Time spent on your website. It’s not enough to look only at the number of overall website visits. Those people could be there for two seconds and then leave immediately. This indicates that they’re not interested in your brand, or your website isn’t holding their attention enough to entice them to learn more. When people spend time on your website, it means they’re actually paying attention in a meaningful way.
  • Number of pages viewed by visitors to your Are people stopping after reading your homepage, or are they interested enough to explore the rest of your website? Are they actively looking into pages that talk about the services you offer, provide contact information or give more information about your company?
  • Downloads of materials from your website, like ebooks and white papers. Are people interested enough in your brand?
  • Video views. Is your audience interested in your videos?
  • Event attendees. Are you hosting events in person, like seminars? If so, how many people are attending?

These are all quantifiable metrics that can give you a useful portrait of audience engagement. This data will give you indispensable insights into what is and isn’t working. For example, let’s say your website traffic is relatively high, but people aren’t lingering for very long, and few visitors go further than your homepage. This indicates that you can take steps to improve your website’s design and functionality so that it’s more appealing to your audience. Without these metrics, you might not even realize that your website isn’t up to par.

Measure your past to plan for your future. Looking at past data, what does success look like for your company? Let’s say you have some promotional videos up on YouTube. Which videos have gotten the most views, and what led to their success? Is there something in their content that appeals more to your audience than the content of your less popular videos? When have you had the highest sales, or the most phone calls, or other high numbers that indicate success? Look at what you’ve done that’s been the most successful, and use your measurements to determine what you did to achieve this success. Find correlations between actions you’ve taken, and desirable results that you’ve achieved. This will give you the knowledge you need to determine what parts of your branding strategy you should keep, and which parts you may want to reevaluate.

When you’ve taken measurements that indicate what’s worked in the past, you can forge ahead and go after strategies that work. Separate the wheat from the chaff. Toss out old strategies that aren’t producing results. This isn’t always an easy decision to make. Sometimes, if you’ve poured a lot of time and money into strategies that have fallen flat, you feel like you’ve already invested too much to let go. Letting go feels like a defeat, like you’ve wasted time and money. This is a logical fallacy. If you keep failing strategies around out of precedent, or because of a sense of investment in them, you’re doing nothing but wasting more of your money, time, and resources. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. Learning from the past is the pathway to changing the future. Measuring your past empowers your brand to set concrete, measurable goals for the future.

PART 4: SET MEASURABLE GOALS

With the future, as with the past, measurement is the key. When you’ve measured your past to get an idea of previous successes and failures, you have a baseline that you can use to plan for the future. Past successes provide insight into what you’re capable of. When you look at a time when you had record sales, and the actions you took that led to that happening, you can set a goal to reach that pinnacle again. Your past and present metrics tell you what you can realistically expect. Your goals should be:

  • Goals like number of sales, the number of page views, or number of retweets on Twitter can be measured.
  • Measurable goals are specific goals. “Establish thought leadership” is a worthwhile aspiration, but it isn’t a specific goal. The way to achieve this broad goal is by setting specific goals. For example, publishing a guest blog on Forbes, or getting a press mention about your ebook in Business Insider, are specific goals that work toward establishing the thought leadership you need in order to build your brand’s authority and credibility. These are concrete goals, which you can take identifiable steps toward accomplishing.
  • Aim high, but not unrealistically high. Your past and present metrics give you the insight into what you can reasonably achieve, specifically, within a set period of time. If your brand has 10,000 YouTube followers, it might not be realistic to expect to have a million followers within a year.

Marketing goals are like any other goals, in business and in your personal life. Think about how people achieve fitness and weight loss goals. It isn’t enough to say “I’m going to lose twenty pounds.” You need to identify steps that you can take to reach that goal. You need a diet plan. How many calories do you need to cut from your diet per day, in order to reach that goal? How many calories can you burn working out? How many days per week will you exercise, and what kind of exercise will you be doing? These are specific, quantifiable, measurable goals. In marketing, just like with weight loss, the way to succeed is setting and achieving measurable goals.

PART 5: CONSISTENCY IS KEY

When you’ve measured your past, and set goals for your future, you’ll be ready to forge ahead with your branding campaign. One of the things to aim for is consistency. Successful brands are consistent in their publishing, rhythm, quality, voice, and style. Everything you do, every advertisement and piece of content, should feel like an integrated piece of a greater whole. Nothing you do should feel out of place. To solidify your brand identity in the minds and hearts of your audience, you need to build and maintain an image that’s consistent.

Consistency in Voice and Style

Every brand has a “voice,” a unique personality that comes through whenever you communicate with your target audience. One of the keys to successful branding is to keep your voice and style consistent.

A great example of consistent branding is Coca-Cola. They’ve crafted a unique, highly effective brand image that focuses on evoking feelings of togetherness, family, friendship, and emotional comfort. This is evident in all of the content and advertising they produce, and every ad they make has that warm and fuzzy “Coca-Cola” vibe. An example is a campaign they do every Christmas with the polar bears. These ads depict a mother bear bonding with her cubs over cool, refreshing bottles of Coca-Cola. These ads depict a heartwarming scene of family togetherness, creating an association in the audience’s minds between Coca-Cola and the positive emotions that come with social bonding. In the old “We Are the World” campaign, they linked Coke to togetherness and positive feelings by showing people from all over the world uniting together in friendship, community, and solidarity. Again, this embodies the Coca-Cola “personality,” linking their brand image to positive emotions. Coca-Cola has created a consistent brand personality that’s palpable throughout all of their marketing and advertising. Nothing is ever out of place, and none of their ads clashes with their established brand image. A commercial that was palpably sarcastic or sardonic would feel “wrong.” It would be out of character, like seeing someone you know do something that doesn’t fit their personality. Even for people who tend to like darkly sarcastic humor, a sardonic Coke commercial would prove unappealing or even unsettling.

Another good example of consistent branding is Geico. They’ve put out numerous campaigns, but all of them focus on using light-hearted humor to reach out to their audience, often by using absurd or larger-than-life characters and situations. The gecko commercials and the caveman commercials appeal using humor, building up a consistently quirky, likable, and accessible personality for their brand. The use of humor also helps set them apart from competitors in a crowded auto insurance marketplace. Geico has a consistent tone and style. Even before they’ve shown the logo or said the company name, a Geico commercial is unmistakable.

When you “break character” from your established brand image, the results can be disastrous. A great example of “what not to do” was the infamous Nationwide Super Bowl commercial. It did generate a good deal of publicity, but it wasn’t exactly positive. Nationwide’s branding usually positions their brand’s “personality” as someone like a neighbor you can always trust for good advice: “Nationwide is on your side.” They’ve traditionally advertised in a way that speaks to a sense of security and trust. With Nationwide “on your side,” you feel secure. The Super Bowl commercial was jarring and upsetting for people that saw it. The commercial painted a heartbreaking portrait of a child who would never experience life because they died in a car accident. The commercial’s goal, to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving, was commendable. However, it didn’t work to Nationwide’s advantage at all. It was off-putting and upsetting, not only because it made a strong appeal to negative emotions, but because no one expected it from Nationwide. The jarring inconsistency with Nationwide’s established brand image felt “off,” making the commercial even more unsettling. People expect Humane Society commercials to tug at their heartstrings, but not Nationwide commercials.

Don’t make the mistake that Nationwide did, and don’t deviate too much from a consistent brand image. Your marketing and advertising efforts should serve to strengthen and corroborate that image, not clash with it. All of your content should feel “on-brand.”

Consistency in Publishing

When it comes to content publishing, everything you put out should be consistent in its quality, rhythm, and timing. Consistent content can bring remarkable success. People are creatures of habit. A regular publishing schedule can go a long way toward making sure that your audience actually sees your content. This is where account management comes in. You need all of the content on your blogs, social media accounts, and elsewhere to be released at a constant, consistent rhythm. The way to reach out to your audience is a regular schedule of high-quality content publishing. Along with keeping a content schedule, the quality of your content should also be consistent. You don’t want to let your audience down by putting out half-hearted, mediocre content. Not every tweet, video, or blog article can be your absolute best, but every piece of content should be worthy of representing your brand.

Youtube Personalities: A Case Study in Consistent, Quality Content

Many young people, often equipped only with some software and a video camera, have found extraordinary success by publishing videos on YouTube. These people are a great example of the importance and value of consistency in branding, scheduling, and content quality. These kids know their brand, and they know their audience. They put out high-quality content, on a regular basis, designed to appeal to select affinity groups.

  • They have consistent personal brands. Youtube personalities have a consistent, likable persona that appeals to their audiences. You might call this a “personal brand.” They keep their screen persona consistent, creating a sort of “character” onscreen. The audience gets to know and love these characters, and knows what to expect from them. They project a consistent personality.
  • They know their audience. Youtubers know exactly what kind of audience they’re targeting, and they laser-target their content toward the people they’re trying to reach. A great example of good audience targeting is Pewdiepie. His audience consists of young teenagers who like video games. He’s developed and maintained a consistent style of humor that he knows appeals to them. He has his share of critics and detractors, but those people don’t matter. They’re not part of his target audience. He knows who he’s performing for, and he knows what they want to see.
  • They publish consistent content on a regular basis. Most YouTubers upload a new video about once a week. It’s almost always on the same day, at more or less the same time. Their audience knows exactly when they can expect new content, and they make a habit of remembering when to check for the latest uploads from their favorite Youtube stars.
  • Their content has a consistent, cohesive style and tone. Youtubers have their own unique humor or entertainment style. This stays consistent throughout all of their videos.

Most of these Youtubers are just kids, but they’ve leveraged the power of social media to make themselves known. They know their brand, they know their audience, and they release consistent, quality content. They’re an excellent model of online marketing success.

PART 6: AUTHORITATIVE CONTENT

There’s a popular buzzword saying in marketing circles these days: “Content is King.” This is wrong. Content is dead. Its throne was usurped a long time ago. It isn’t enough just to have content. The new ruler of the online marketing world is validated, authoritative, high-quality content.

When content marketing was a newer concept, just having content could set you apart from the crowd and give you an edge over your competition. Those days are long gone. Nowadays, everyone has content out there in the pipeline. Every brand is putting out their own content, making for a crowded marketplace where it’s getting harder and harder to stand out.  Nowadays, not just any content will do. Quality and authority are the keys to content success.

The Changing Landscape of Content Marketing

In the past, the content craze resulted in every brand scrambling to get large amounts of content, any content, onto the web. This flooded the Internet with reams of useless, low quality, and downright spammy content. This kind of content existed to boost search engine rankings by incorporating keywords, often at the cost of readability for real human beings. This became a problem, because when users would search the Internet for information, this subpar content was dominating search engine results. In response, Google released an algorithm update called Panda. Google Panda penalized low quality, poorly written content. This was a major step toward the new focus on quality that has come to dominate successful content marketing.

Your content has to provide real value to your audience of potential customers and clients. There are different approaches you can take to providing this value, depending on your brand’s style, tone, and target audience. You can create useful, informative articles and infographics that give people information they’re looking for. You can even provide value in the form of a good laugh if humor suits your brand image well. With great content, you’re providing value to your audience up front.

The most recent Google algorithm change to impact content marketing was Google Hummingbird. It’s important to craft your content in a way that Hummingbird will reward. This kind of content is:

  • Fresh content. It’s important for brands to put out new content on a regular basis.
  • Well-positioned content. An effective modern website homepage is like a “dashboard” for all of your brand’s online content. It should neatly consolidate your content, tone, and brand image, tying everything together to make a cohesive statement of what you’re about.
  • Content that makes good use of relevant keywords. Keywords are still a crucial component of your content, including all the pages on your website. There was once a time when all you had to do was shoehorn as many keywords as possible into the text on your website and company blog. Some websites would even hide a string of keywords at the bottom of the page, in a text color matching the background so they couldn’t be seen. Other websites would use keywords so often in their text, that it interfered with the clarity of the prose itself. These tactics are no longer effective. Keywords should be seamlessly integrated into the text content of your blogs, website pages, and social media content. They should never look awkward or out of place; in fact, their presence should be almost undetectable.
  • Content that is validated by third party authorities. On the Internet, there’s total freedom of speech. Anyone can say anything they want, whether or not it’s true. Nowadays, everyone knows that you can’t always trust everything you read online. This is why it’s become critically important for content to be validated by trusted, credible third party authorities. For example, posting a guest blog or getting an endorsement on Joe’s Random Business Blog won’t give you any air of authority. Who is this Joe, and what qualifies him to say anything about business or marketing? This hypothetical “Joe” is not an authority, and no one cares if he endorses your business. In contrast, posting a guest blog on Forbes or Entrepreneur is an entirely different matter. These websites are well-known, widely respected publications, which many people look to as relevant authorities within their industries. When Forbes vouchers for your brand or your content, it means something to your audience.

Third Party Validation: The Holy Grail of Content Marketing

Third party validation is the new Holy Grail of content marketing. If you want to succeed, you need the support of individuals and publications that your audience trusts. To build your brand’s credibility, leverage your network to find individuals who will serve as “brand ambassadors,” spreading the word about your company to people who look up to them and respect their opinions. Some of your best potential brand ambassadors include:

  • Former or current clients. Your clients are your best assets. If you’ve provided them with real value, and they’ve had great experiences with your company, they’ll be glad to personally attest to your brand’s quality.
  • Individuals with industry influence among your target audience. People have a natural tendency to look toward authority figures for guidance. There’s a reason why so many brands are so eager for an endorsement from popular Reach out to influential individuals that your audience respects. This has worked for many, many brands. For example, many cosmetic companies send out free samples to popular Youtube “beauty bloggers.” The Youtubers use the products in their makeup tutorials, cultivating positive brand awareness among a target audience of young women who are interested in makeup.

Guest posting in respected publications is another way to build your brand’s credibility and position your leadership as thought leaders within your industry. Don’t stick to your own tiny corner of the Internet. Posting on your own blog and social media pages is important, but you want to spread your content far and wide across the Internet. Reach out to blogs and publications that cater to your target audience, and increase you ability to deliver your brand’s message.

Content Marketing is a Long-Term Game

Content marketing is incredibly effective, but often decidedly indirect. You might not see the payout right away. Validated, authoritative, high-quality content is designed to provide immediate value to your audience of potential customers and clients. You’re building your brand’s image, appeal, and credibility. Great content allows you to create a rapport with your audience, encouraging them to develop a sense of growing loyalty to your brand. The ROI of content marketing is long-term, but once you’ve built your content empire, the results are worth the wait. You’re creating a genuine connection with your audience by leveraging the power of technology to get your message out into the world. Over time, great content leads to a strong brand identity, greater customer loyalty, and a considerable impact on your bottom line.

In a dynamic and ever-changing online landscape, a great branding company helps your brand stay on the path to success. By leveraging the latest technology, taking precision measurements and analyzing concrete, quantifiable data, and creating great content that provides genuine value to your audience, we’ll help you precision-target your marketing efforts to reach out to the people who matter the most. Content marketing is an exciting new frontier. New technologies like social media provide an unprecedented opportunity for brands to successfully communicate their message to a worldwide audience that matters. Smart online marketing can take your brand to the next level, bringing success that you never thought possible. This is the way of the future, and the future is now.

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