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With Google’s latest algorithm update Penguin 2.0, there has been further talk that better brands are ranking higher. Successful branding equals authenticity, and Google wants its users to find authentic results.
Other than needing to have an active presence on many current social media platforms and having an up-to-date website and blog, you need to be sure that all content across any of these platforms is branded to your company, and reflecting well upon that brand.
Search engine crawlers are searching for varied content which is verified to your brand, relevant to your target market and is updated regularly. Basically, your content needs to be consistent, creative and useful, so here are a few tips and some examples to help you out.
No matter what your industry is, your company will need to have set values and at least one unique selling point. This is a good starting point when putting together your content marketing strategy, as you can begin to build a theme that can work across all platforms which will boost your brand successfully.
An example of great content marketing which all tied back to the company’s values is Red Bull. The ‘gives you wings’ slogan has been around for years and yet it still works, because Red Bull has expanded upon this idea to create loads of content around extreme sports and world records.
Take the Red Bull Stratos campaign – there are few people who missed the moment that Felix Baumgartner took that 128,100ft free-fall jump towards Earth. It was all over the news, it was live streamed online, and the success was shared here, there and everywhere on social media. This amazing feat may not necessarily inspire you to run to your nearest supermarket and buy Red Bull, but the brand sticks in your mind and is known for its involvement in truly amazing things.
You needn’t try and break world records with your content marketing – Red Bull’s famous slogan is a message of aspiration, and if you can create a similar message with your values, then you’re off to a good start.
If you want your brand to be at the forefront of your industry, you need to get with the times. If you can link your brand into any current events, then you can create relevant content.
An often cited example of this is Oreo’s ‘you can dunk in the dark’ – an image shared on their Twitter account during the Superbowl which received over 15k retweets. Simple, yet incredibly effective, this piece of content took mere minutes to create and upload.
Your current content needn’t be as up to the minute – simply creating a blog post or other content that links to upcoming public holidays or upcoming events is more likely to be read and shared. People searching Google will always be looking for up to the minute information, so don’t miss out by not keeping your content up to date. Just remember, you’ll be competing with a lot of other brands when creating timely content – keep your campaigns unique by being inventive and delving in to the reason you do what you do.
If you want your potential online customers to trust you as a brand and rely on you to provide them with the information they need, you cannot constantly try and sell. Your website copy is for giving sales information, but by implementing a blog you can build brand trust by sharing useful knowledge about your industry.
Whole Foods Market sells organic food, and as an organisation they have strong values towards food standards. They also have a busy blog which is populated on a regular basis with posts that can vary from recipes to information about particular charity causes the organisation is passionate about.
The one thing that their blog posts have in common is that they never try and sell products. Instead they give valuable information, and encourage the community to comment and share ideas on their posts.
There is however no harm in adding a call to action at the end of your blog posts or other content which may link to another area of your site or way of getting in touch, but this has to be done tactfully.
If you are struggling to divide your website sales copy from your blog post copy, a good rule of thumb for a blog post is to write about the information around your products or services that will be beneficial to a customer, rather than telling them about the product or service direct.
Building upon the trust of your brand with your content marketing, you can also create content that responds to your customer’s questions or suggestions – if this can be done in a timely manner, then all the better.
Simply responding to a question, suggestion or complaint via a tweet or Facebook post can earn you brownie points, but outdoor clothing and accessories company REI went one step further by creating personalised Vine response videos with their Father’s Day #giftpicks campaign.
Followers of @REI were encouraged to tweet the company telling them a bit about their Dad so they could suggest Father’s Day presents. For example, one follower told REI that their Dad liked running and rowing – low and behold, REI responded with a Vine video which would have taken minutes to put together, showing off their waterproof IPhone holder in action.
By reflecting your brand as quick responders that utilise social media effectively, your content will be shared amongst a happy customer’s peers, increasing the reach of your brand and creating the potential for new customers.
When promoting the Netflix exclusive series of US sitcom Arrested Development, the marketing team went all out in creating some fantastic content to promote the show.
From setting up a fake reddit account and answering users questions in the style of one of the TV show’s characters, to an exclusive look at the show’s set on popular interior design website House Beautiful, the content campaign spread far and wide online with plenty of creative and shareable content that always linked right back to the show.
The campaign went offline as well, with fans encouraged to find nine posters around New York City, take a photo and share on Twitter and Instagram with #BluthHunt, by sharing all nine, you were given access to an exclusive tenth poster online.
The particularly interesting thing about this campaign was the focus on their already existing audience. The show has cult status, and therefore largely depends on its fans to spread the word. Although you most likely want to be reaching out to new customers, it all boils down to knowing your existing, and potential audiences to put together any creative content you create.
You don’t necessarily need a huge budget to put together creative content and create a buzz around your business – the key is to keep your content varied, whether you use blog posts, videos, infographics or more hands on offline content to compliment your online presence.
Now you should have a better understanding of what Google is looking to rank highly with its Penguin 2.0 update. By proxy, you have created content that is engaging, current and useful to customers.
If your content ticks these boxes, it will also tick the all-important shareability box, so don’t forget to include social signals in all your content!
If you have any other suggestions, or more great examples of branded content, please do add them in the comments section below.
Content Flow Chart from Bigstock Photo
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.