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Content marketing continues to be one of the most powerful methods for driving targeted traffic and winning over new customers – and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2022.
In fact, new strategies seem to emerge every year, empowering more content producers to create more compelling and engaging content.
Traffic generation is only one of the many perks of content marketing, though. For new and growing brands, content can be a way to put themselves on the map. We’re talking about brand awareness.
Here’s how to use content marketing to drum up visibility for your brand and even attract new customers in the process.
What Is Brand Awareness, Really?
Brand awareness refers to the level at which consumers are familiar with your brand, goods, or services.
There are varying degrees of brand awareness, from simply having encountered a brand’s product to knowing and remembering a brand by name.
For new brands, simply getting their “foot in the door” is a starting point to acquiring more customers and increasing their visibility over time.
Brand Awareness Influences Search
I’ve worked with many clients who have launched new brands and aren’t sure where to start when it comes to their brand awareness strategy. I always relay that brand awareness plays a role in search (meaning, Google search) and vice versa.
In that way, brand awareness is not at all removed from SEO.
Think about how social media trends influence users’ awareness of certain brands. We saw this with fidget spinners, which made their debut on social. Then, users flocked to Google in search of these toys.
Thus, we saw searches for “fidget spinners” increase… and then quickly decrease once fidget spinners fell out of vogue.
With this in mind, adopting a holistic content marketing strategy has the potential to increase Search visibility and drive organic traffic to your site. The more users are aware of your brand, the more they will search for you on Google.
Search Influences Brand Visibility
Likewise, using SEO to your advantage is one way to drive brand awareness. You may not yet have name recognition, but you can use non-branded search terms to drive users to your website.
For example, say you just launched a new invoicing SaaS for business owners. Even though your brand name may not have Google searches yet, you can target terms like “small business invoicing software” or “how to create a business invoice” to attract users to your website.
Then, they will have their first encounter with your new brand.
What This Means For Your Brand
All of the above means that content marketing is essential to influence your organic traffic and drum up brand awareness.
Your content strategy should be at least two-fold in terms of creating content that gets your brand name out across platforms and in driving organic traffic to your site.
Content marketing can help your brand:
- Attract more followers on social media
- Generate social/referral traffic to your website
- Form strategic brand partnerships
- Improve the organic ranking of your website
- Earn high-authority backlinks to your site
- Improve customer retention over time
These are just a few of the many benefits of content marketing for brand visibility.
Now, let’s dive into how to make your content work for you – and turn your brand into a household name.
12 Content Marketing Tactics For Brand Awareness
As an SEO content strategist, I’m a huge fan of creating content that serves multiple purposes. With this in mind, the following strategies will not only help your brand awareness efforts but potentially increase your visibility and traffic on other platforms.
1. Research Your Target Market And Audience
Before you ever type a word of content, you should determine your target market and the ideal audience you want to reach with your brand.
Without this step, you risk creating the wrong type of content on the wrong platforms for the wrong audience – and wasting your time in the process.
Fortunately, market research has become far easier now that we have many tools at our disposal. My favorite is Google Forms, which you can use to survey potential audiences and gauge their interest in brands like yours.
Here’s how to conduct quick and easy market research:
Create Google Form with the following questions:
- What is your #1 struggle when it comes to [primary topic of brand]?
- What solutions have you tried already to solve this problem?
- What issues did you have with those solutions?
- If you were to define your ideal solution, what would it be?
- What are you hoping to accomplish by [solution]?
Then, use your social channels, existing email list, network, and other communities you have access to.
Survey people in your potential audience. Aim to get 10+ responses.
Tally up the most common responses from your survey.
Finally, use the insights to inform your brand message and who your ideal customers may be.
Over time, I recommend using tools like Google Analytics to track real performance and better hone in on who is engaging with your content.
In the meantime, however, an initial survey will help ensure you are operating based on audience input, not your own assumptions.
2. Define Your Brand’s Unique Selling Proposition
In order to stand out in your market, you need to define something unique that your brand brings to the marketplace.
This may be a more efficient way to solve a customer problem, a more affordable solution, better customer service, or a range of what we call unique selling points.
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement that highlights your brand’s key selling points and frames them in a way that communicates value to your target audience.
For example, it’s too general to say you are a marketer who offers marketing services. A USP such as, “X Agency offers bespoke digital marketing services to help brands grow with scale, precision, and confidence.” This is where the real gold is.
Your USP will become the foundation of all of your marketing efforts. It will be what sets you apart in the marketplace, attracts your ideal customer, and defines why consumers should buy from you.
3. Create Non-Branded, Searchable Web Content
At this stage, very few people may know about your brand, particularly on a brand-name basis. This is where you can use non-branded search to your advantage in order to drive traffic to your website.
Maybe you have a local clothing boutique that just opened in Seattle. While people may not be aware of your storefront yet – unless they happen to walk by – you can still use SEO to drive traffic both online and off. In this case, some terms to target may be:
- [downtown seattle clothing store] which has around 320 searches per month.
- [vintage clothing store seattle] which has around 260 searches per month.
- [womens clothing seattle] which has around 20 searches per month.
You can then optimize your website content – web pages, primarily – according to these search terms. If done well, you can drive new users to your website and even your local listings (like Google Business Profiles).
4. Forge Strategic Industry Partnerships
Getting your foot in the door as a new startup or business often requires forming close partnerships with other business owners. Never underestimate the power of referrals and word-of-mouth marketing.
While in-person networking will certainly serve these interests, your content marketing can as well. Here are a few ways to use content to build industry partnerships:
- Publish thought leadership content on LinkedIn and form new connections.
- Join Facebook groups and share insights with other industry professionals.
- Host a Facebook Live or other live chat to grow your following.
- Post informative video content and engage with other business owners in the comments.
- Conduct email outreach to form third-party publishing opportunities.
- Invite business owners to contribute to or be interviewed on your blog.
The benefits of forging these partnerships are plenty. For one, you can create a wide network of referrals for your business. Second, you can bank on the authority and reach of other businesses to share your content.
This is an activity that should be ongoing as long as you want to drive more brand awareness.
5. Publish On Third-Party Websites
If you have a new business, chances are your website lacks the authority to really push your content to the top of the Google search results.
This has much to do with the age of your domain, your backlink history, and how much optimized content you have on your site.
Fortunately, you can use other websites’ authority and influence to boost your own. Here’s how this works:
- Create a list of industry-related websites which may be likely to publish your content (think: small businesses, not Forbes).
- Reach out to the publisher or business owner via email asking if you can contribute blog content on a periodic basis. Specify that this is not for linking purposes, but to share your industry experience.
- Once accepted, write content on topics that your audience would find valuable (again, keep your USP in mind). However, avoid being self-promotional.
- Share this content with your growing audience. See the results of publishing your content on larger platforms.
“Guest posting”, as this is called, is particularly helpful if you have a very small audience. With guest posting, you can get more eyes on your experience, content, and, eventually, brand.
6. Capitalize On Influencer Marketing
Similar to the above, you can use influencer marketing to reach a wider audience. This is particularly common for ecommerce brands, which engage with influencers to share and promote their products.
Find influencers in your industry who may be interested in shouting out your brand. This may be in exchange for free products or other incentives. If they accept, this can be a good way to grow your following.
7. Let Data Drive Your Content
The success of your content marketing relies on using data to drive your content. The “publish and pray” method hardly works as a true strategy. Hence why we begin your content plan with audience research.
There are many tools you can use to help you interpret user data and use this to inform your content strategy. Some of these tools include:
- Google Analytics – for performance insights, user demographics, and user behavior.
- Google Search Console – for keyword performance, click-through rate, and positioning.
- SEMRush – for keyword research, competitor analysis, content analysis, and backlinks reports.
- Hootsuite – for social media engagement, impressions, and brand awareness.
I suggest monitoring these tools on a weekly basis to see how your platforms are currently performing, what content is driving the most awareness of your brand, and how users are engaging with content on your website.
8. Diversify Your Content Strategy
When you are first starting out, it’s nearly impossible to know which platforms and which types of content will resonate most with your target audience.
Truly, you will need to diversify your content strategy to see which strategies have the most impact on your particular brand.
Really, your content should serve the purpose of communicating your values as a business. This relates back to your USP, as defined in Step 2.
Then, you can use different types of content to engage your audience:
- Blog articles.
- Social media posts.
- Live videos.
- Guest posts.
- Email campaigns.
- Paid ads.
- Hosted events.
Over time, your analytics will reflect which types of content users engage with most. This will give you direction on what content to publish most often, and which types to nix from your content strategy.
9. Utilize Social Listening Tools
Sentiment analysis uses machine learning to essentially “listen” to conversations users are having online and determine how people are talking about your brand. This can be highly valuable, as it allows you to see whether your brand is being portrayed in a positive light (or not).
More than that, it gives you the opportunity to own the narrative. Tools like Brandwatch may empower you to see what has people buzzing, but your content will be what shapes the conversation over time.
The new age of consumer intelligence has allowed many brands to get ahead of the curve, shift the perspective, and drum up more awareness online.
10. Establish A Content Publishing Strategy
Based on your audience research, data analytics, and social listening insights, you may now know what to publish – but actually getting the content out there is a different story. Building brand awareness is often a fragile time where messaging and consistency really make the difference.
If you are lax on your publishing schedule, you may miss out on opportunities to drum up brand awareness. If you are inconsistent in your messaging, you may confuse your audience about what your brand is about.
Establishing a publishing schedule – with outlined topics and dates – will help keep you accountable for creating content on a regular basis. Plus, you will have a record of what you’ve published already so you don’t duplicate your efforts in the future.
11. Own Branded And Non-Branded Conversations
It’s tempting to try and be the sole voice regarding your brand, but you should be present in non-branded conversations as well.
- Are you sharing your knowledge on certain industry topics?
- Are you asking users what they are interested in or what they are struggling with?
- Are you weighing in on recent trends?
The goal here is to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your industry, not just your business. The more you’re able to “talk shop” with your audience, the more chances you give them to encounter your brand.
12. Don’t Forget The Follow-up
Once your content is out there, you give your audience many opportunities to come across your brand. But you can just as easily fall off their radar. This is where the follow-up matters.
This may include:
- Following up with email subscribers via email.
- Running retargeting ads to website visitors.
- Initiating conversations with your social media followers.
- Following up with existing customers.
- Responding to comments and messages.
- Checking in with your professional contacts and partners.
Don’t let users encounter your brand once and then never see you again. A robust content marketing strategy engages users at multiple touchpoints and grows this engagement into a relationship that can evolve into a paying customer.
Content Marketing Insights To Grow Your Brand
When many business owners think of “brand awareness”, they think of publishing content on social media and hoping users take notice. But your content strategy can be much more, well, strategic, when you use insights to your advantage.
Audience research, keyword research, competitor analysis, and website analytics can all be used to inform your content strategy. That way, you are sure to reach the right users with the right content at the right time – and keep your brand top of mind until they are ready to buy.
Featured Image: Natasa Adzic/Shutterstock