Talk about an old adage. “Business is business, it’s not personal” has got to be the most inapt saying in the professional setting today. Maybe it works for a Mario Puzo character or Donald Trump, but not for small and mid-size businesses, entrepreneurs, professional services firms for sure.
Brands in today’s marketplace are so closely tied to the personality of its leaders. In fact, the best brands can be described by their own personality traits – trustworthy, collaborative, intelligent, inclusive, playful, etc. It is how people (stakeholders, clients, employees) connect with the company. How they feel they can interact and relate to its offerings. This is why consistency is so important as a brand component.
How about relating it to something personal. One morning you wake your children up with a highly verbal and forthright demeanor. The very next morning they experience you uncommunicative and reserved. The following morning, you’re talkative but no-nonsense. After that, you are telling jokes and sarcastic. My point is this—it would be very difficult for those around you to interact with you as they wouldn’t know what to expect from one moment to another. While this is a caricature example, business brands that function in a dependable way and interact with publics in a consistent manner are best positioned to align with their stakeholders.
When developing a company’s communications channels, or content strategy, use personality to drive consistency. Then develop content that falls within the brand guidelines you have established, giving the messages impact. Well-written content is incredibly effective. So when deciding what to write, think about the value you bring to readers through your ideas, experiences and subject matter expertise.
A good story framing your idea sells it through and makes it stick. For professional service firms, blogging is an important content strategy tool because it allows your audience the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with your business, without you even being there. Here are three brief angles to keep in mind:
1. Customer-facing content should solve a problem or a pain point for a business to get the most traction.
2. Industry-facing content should focus on advancing your industry and raising the conversation about key topics and trends to position your leadership as experts.
3. Influencer-facing content should be reciprocal in nature and be used as an opportunity to connect with and engage those within your industry who are known for their progressive work.
It’s okay to integrate all of these angles, but be clear on the strategy, who you’re talking to and how much you want to engage each of those audiences versus the others. It all leads back to the crucial point of speaking with one voice. Creating branded content is best when done as the work of a small team, rather than an individual. It lends different perspectives to the writing and keeps the ideas fresh. But, there also needs to be an understanding of what voice the company will use to reflect its personality and style.
By utilizing your brand’s fundamentals to create parallel content, you allow stakeholders to get to know your company, which builds relationships and creates brand advocates. Where have you found success in your content strategy?
Lisa Tilt is Founder and President of Full Tilt Consulting (www.FullTiltConsulting.com), a national brand development and strategy firm. Contact her at lisa(at)fulltiltconsulting(dot)com.