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Braving the World of Content

Jessica Levin By Jessica Levin

“We should not be asking ourselves what is our brand strategy, but rather what is our customer experience.”
–Kathy Savitt, CMO Yahoo

How does your brand experience relate to your consumers?

Today’s consumers expect information when they want it, where they want it. And oh yeah, they expect that information to be tailored to their increasingly sophisticated needs. When it comes to brand information, they’re looking for community.

A brand community builds awareness and harnesses a strong relationship with users built on trust and frequent interaction. The brand pushes valued content to the community, and the community pushes content back—and spreads it around.

Building your community will be a topic for another day. For now, let’s focus on the basics: building new and exciting content.

There’s a big difference between creating content based on a distribution tool (Facebook, e-mail, Instagram, etc) and creating content that aligns with your brand. Do you focus on data that touch the head or stories that touch the heart? I’m a little biased toward those heartstrings myself.

I enjoy great brands like Farm Rich and Publix who work magic connecting with moms. How do they do it? By homing in on what matters to moms most: focusing on their families and helping to find the right balance with life, work, and time for themselves. Clearly, these brands have studied how their target audience consumes content and ensured that their content is relevant, relevant, relevant.

The emphasis of effective content is not to just reel someone in to your story but to make them want to dive into, believe in, interact with, or voice an opinion about your brand. Engagement is a two-way process.

Five quick ways to engage with your consumer:

1. Stay on top of what’s being said about your company on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other blogs and forums.

2. Provide great customer service by responding quickly to comments or posts.

3. Provoke conversations around trending topics when they relate to your brand.

4. Restrain from doing something just because you can.

5. Always ensure when building, designing, or writing content that you center the entire messaging on the “why” of your brand. Don’t stray away from your voice.

Give the people what they’re asking for. If it’s being talked about, there’s potential to create content around the topic. It’s surprising how inspiration for new content can be found through comments on forums, and you already have a captive audience ready to listen.

Also, keep in mind how and why the user will want to share with others. There’s an additional click involved for them to share your content. Your job is to encourage them to pass it along. Your content needs to persuade, influence, and provoke the user to post, tweet, pin, or forward. You don’t always have to go big with videos, elaborate infographics, or interactive case studies. You will, however, need to tie the content back to your consumer experience and the “why” behind your product or business.

Consumers are talked at all day long—every time they turn on their phone, computer, TV, or radio, or see ads at a bus stop, in a magazine, etc. It’s time to stop thinking that the average consumer wants to be talked at, but rather that they want to be part of the story.

Cheers to building new stories and posts to keep your consumers coming back for more.