What is the “Brand” in Branded Content?

branded content
branded content

Here are the requirements for a sustainable content strategy: Interesting information and compelling opinions delivered through multiple, but targeted, outlets on a consistent basis. The concept of thought leadership and expert positioning has a foundation in the ideas that you are willing and able to share with your audiences. These ideas, or created content, are a key piece of the puzzle when building brand reputation in a market space, especially for professional services firms.

In order to be effective, this content must be streamlined and relevant. But how can you ensure that what you are saying and writing will reflect the values and expertise of your company? Here are some thoughts:

1. Strategy must fall within guidelines and brand fundamentals

You can write a blog, tweet an interesting fact, or post a LinkedIn update, but if the topic doesn’t fall within your strategy guidelines, it won’t have impact. You are essentially spinning your wheels. At the start, create a decisive brand strategy that will be easily cross-referenced with future content. From there, ensure that all written content aligns with those guidelines. If it doesn’t, edit as needed before posting the final piece.

2. Content is a tool for relaying thought leadership

Remember, your content ties directly back to your brand. It’s a marketing tool – hopefully one of many – that will be used to communicate directly with your audiences. There are many avenues to capitalize on from a content distribution standpoint, but keep focused on the ones that matter to your business. Pinterest, for example, may not be the best avenue if you are an HR strategy firm or niche industry technology developer.

3. Set the tone for your blog style

I love Fast Company’s style and tone. It’s not only amusing, but the content is streamlined and comfortable to read. Each topic builds off the other and there is consistent messaging there. Research blogs that serves as a “tone” model for your company and emulate that through your own content and style.

4. Speak with only 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, keeps the ideas fresh, and shares the burden of volume. Those are all good things, but there also needs to be an understanding of what voice the company will use that reflects its personality and style. Utilize your brand fundamentals and strategies to create parallel content.

When you distribute content with consistent style, tone and voice, it helps augment and propel your message. People get used to the kinds of things you say and how you say them which make it more comfortable to read and understand. Don’t get me wrong – keep the substance interesting and new. I’m talking about the more subtle underpinning that will help tie all your content together and literally create a voice for your company. People will connect and relate without you even in the room!

Lisa Tilt is Founder and President of Full Tilt Consulting (www.FullTiltConsulting.com), a national brand development and content strategy firm. Contact her at lisa(at)fulltiltconsulting(dot)com.

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