One of the smartest things that we’ve read recently is Christopher Lockwood’s take on brand publishing. Lockwood drilled down through the very nature of outside-facing content marketing; that brand publishing requires you to lead with your content, not your brand. You don’t act like an advertiser. The reason is simple – advertisers merely rent space, publishers own the space. You need to disengage from making the brand center of attention, as has been the model for years with display advertising, and move to a model where your brand is part of the customer’s ecosystem. The benefits of this are numerous – your brand suddenly seems natural and essential.
In order to get to this point (and to differentiate your content marketing from advertorial), you need compelling, engaging content. Content that people want to read and share. One of the harsh truths about marketing is that no one cares about your product – they want to know how it solves their problem. This holds true for content marketing. Your blog must entertain and inform, or no amount of SEO will save it. If you’re self-involved, self-promoting, or even worse, boring, you are not going to garner attention and sales.
Of course, many publishers have developed a strong brand; some are even iconic. You can develop your brand through publishing; but it requires patience and an understanding of your content strategy. It also requires readers. Make your content enjoyable for the consumer, put them at the center of the experience and understand their needs.
Remember, your customer is used to being marketed to. Consider this testimonial from Brian Millar: “Research showed that people who wouldn’t consider going to the British Museum also wouldn’t read an ad about it. So we got rid of the logo, and just wrote interesting things. If anybody got to the last paragraph, they’d realise it was an ad for the British Museum”.
When your customer can see themselves in the heart of your narrative, they understand what you can do for them. You will have given them a reason to buy. Use content to break down prejudices and show that you understand them, and you’ll be a big winner.