Content Marketing: The 5 Elements Your Brand Needs

Posted by Scott Blanton on August 31, 2017

Content Marketing: The 5 Elements Your Brand Needs

When it comes to marketing, there’s no shortage of buzzwords. Content marketing is often one of them. At Iconic, we do our best to avoid buzzwords, unless there’s something important lurking around behind the cliche.

In the case of content marketing, there is something powerful behind it. When used the right way, content marketing can help brands reach new audiences, connect with their customers, and generate leads.

Sounds pretty great, huh? The only problem is there are a lot of misconceptions flying around about content marketing. It’s not about creating as much content as possible. It isn’t about pumping out blog post after blog post, or pushing that content in your customers’ faces.

Content marketing is about using your brand’s story to engage and connect with your audience in an authentic way.

5 Content Marketing Elements Your Brand Needs

Brand Guidelines

Before you can start playing in the major leagues, you have to know the rules. You have to get down to the basics and fundamentals. In branding, the best way to learn the rules is to establish brand guidelines. If you don’t already have these guidelines, then you need to get some before you start pushing content out. Without brand guidelines, your branded content and collateral won’t present a consistent, cohesive message.

What are brand guidelines?

They are a set of tools and rules on how to use your brand’s elements. They are used by designers, writers, and anyone else who may be using your brand’s elements to create marketing materials. Typically, the guidelines are presented in a book layout that covers how your branding works and what really makes up your brand’s identity.

Because content marketing is about so much more than written words and blog posts, you really need to understand the brand before you start pushing that content out. Effective Brand Guidelines will include:

  • Mission, vision, and values
  • Tagline
  • Color Selections & Pallet
  • Font Selections
  • Approved Logos and Uses
  • Incorrect Logo Uses

Once reserved for designers, brand guidelines are a great way for writers to familiarize themselves with the brand. Having a better understanding of these important brand elements and keeping them in mind every time you write, will help present a consistent brand in all of your content marketing.

Buyer Personas

While we’re talking about presenting a consistent brand, we can’t ignore buyer personas. This content marketing tool may not seem like content to you, but it really is. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your customers. If you’re only focusing on the demographics and not their actual stories, then you’re missing a huge piece of the buyer segmentation process.

When you’re creating targeted content marketing messages, it isn’t enough to just know how much money your customer makes or whether or not they drink their martini dry or wet. You need to know what makes them tick. Why are they looking at switching brands? Why do they need your services? What challenges are you helping them resolve?

Your buyer personas need to be a story that represents that specific customer. Then, for effective content marketing, you need to know that story backwards and forwards. You need to be able to stop in the middle of the blog post and say, “hey, this is not something my buyer will connect with.” You may not know that based on salary or age. You may only know that when you know their story.

Blog Strategy

Content marketing isn’t about publishing a blog post every two weeks. Heck, it isn’t even about posting a blog post every day. Over the last few years, the shift has moved from massive amounts of content to quality content. You might only publish one blog post a month. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, that could be even more beneficial so long as the content is of high quality.

But, we have to note it isn’t just about a single blog post. It’s about all of the blog posts.

A quick Google search for Content Marketing will reveal statistics, advice, and articles all about the importance of blogging. Blog this many times. Do this or don’t do that when blogging. But, here’s what we say: have a strategy. Bringing consistency into your blog and content calendar is crucial. More crucial than that, though, is the idea that your posts all tell a story. The story needs to be interwoven. It’s all about having a strategy in place. You need to know which buyer persona each blog post is going to connect to. What information is that person looking for? How are you going to connect with them?

A blog post is good. A blog strategy is even better when it comes to content marketing.

Content Automation

We’re big fans of content offers around the Iconic office. They’re great for moving potential customers further down the sales funnel. But, what do you do after someone fills out a form to download an e-book?

This is where content automation comes into play. This content is generated based on a user’s response or action. For example, when someone downloads our branding infographic, it kick starts an entire content automation process.

By downloading this particular infographic, we know that someone is looking for branding help or advice. So, we have a series of emails that are sent to their inbox offering even more help and advice on branding. This content marketing is all about lead generation. We want them to stay engaged in the entire email series, so that by the end they want to talk to us about their particular brand.

Visuals

Wait a minute…weren’t we talking about content? How do visuals play into this? Well, visuals are actually a form of content and consumers find a vast amount of value in visuals. According to a report from Social Media Examiner, 37% of marketers say visual marketing is the most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging.

Content marketing isn’t about creating giant walls of text and pushing them out into the world. Your customers and potential customers want the content they see to be visual. That’s exactly why videos, photos, and infographics are shared so much. Visuals are quicker to digest and help consumers make connections with the written content.

Building a strong content marketing strategy.

Sound like a lot of work? The designers, writers, and marketers at Iconic Digital live for strategies. We eat, breathe, and sleep strategy. It’s what we do. And we love helping businesses develop the right strategies to propel them forward.

What are you waiting for? Let’s talk!

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Scott Blanton

Content Writer at Iconic Digital Marketing
As Iconic Digital's content writer, Scott works with clients to develop brand stories and key messaging. When he isn't typing away at his computer, you'll find him exploring new coffee shops, spending time with this family, or working on a new home improvement project.

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