As a content marketer, your ultimate goal is to create content that will nurture prospects and interest them in your organization.
The problem: buyers don’t trust your content. Brands are increasingly seen as inauthentic, and content is viewed as less trustworthy than word-of-mouth from peers.
So, what can content marketers do to fix their brand perception?
To find out, we asked Juntae DeLane, keynote speaker, blogger, podcaster, and self-proclaimed digital branding evangelist, for his insights on creating a solid digital brand in our Content Marketing Mentor Summit.
To learn what three things he thinks you need to focus on, watch the video below or read on for our Q&A.
Q: Can you give us a rundown of what digital branding encompasses?
At Digital Branding Institute, we’ve defined digital branding as the act of enhancing your digital identity, visibility, and credibility. Those are the three tenets for digital branding. This means really looking at your ratings and reviews and what people are saying about you.
You have to tick those three components when trying to reach your target audience. Nowadays this is more important than ever, because you have larger organizations that are trying to project themselves as more authentic, and you have small brands and individuals who are trying to project themselves as larger than they really are. They’re trying to make sure that the perception of them is great.
Q: What role do you think content marketing plays in building a successful digital brand?
Before I answer that question, I think it’s important to know the differences between content marketing and digital branding, especially when it comes to understanding your user journey and how content marketing is integrated into each individual stage.
Digital branding incorporates different channels into the phases of your buyer’s journey. As a buyer goes along your funnel, you’re going to have them access information about your brand that’s outside of your funnel. You have to incorporate and consider different channels within that funnel.
With content marketing, you map out who your audience is, what their problem is, how you’re going to solve their problems, and then create content to fill that need.
With digital branding, you create a strategy that maps out what your identity is, where you’re going to be found online, and what your credibility in the market is.
In short: the key to success for content marketing is understanding your audience, and the key to success for digital marketing is your audience’s understanding of you.
Inspiring Customers To Create Content For You: A Marketer's GuideRead now
To answer your question specifically, your content is one of the first things you would consider when building a brand’s identity. You can showcase who your brand is through the content that you create. If your audience consumes that content enough, they’ll be able to develop a memory structure based on it. It will be etched in their brain and they’ll form an opinion about your brand.
As for visibility, I think things have changed. In order for you to be seen, you have to be more personal. Your brand’s voice has to have some personality to it. Otherwise, you’re at risk of not reaching your target audience.
Lastly, when you consider your credibility, you have to consider how content can help with it. Content can develop trust with your target audience, because you have the ability to tell your brand’s personal story. If you do that, your credibility will rise, because they’ll feel like they know you and can trust you based on the amount of time they have spent consuming your brand.
Q: Do you have any advice for marketers who are wondering how to publish content or develop a brand that people actually trust?
Ultimately, you have to infuse personality into your brand. That’s really what’s going to distinguish one brand from another.
For a person in this situation, I would say that they should consider sharing their aspirations and progress as a brand or as a company. If there’s a new service or a new product that you’re developing, include your audience in that process so they feel like they have a vested interest in the success of that process. Pull back the curtain and show the inner workings of your brand and the people behind it. I think that’s very important these days because people want to make sure that your business is ethical.
Q: What are some of the skills that content marketers who are responsible for their company’s digital brands need to be developing?
I think if you’re able to write a story, you should also work on creating visual content to accompany it. You should also be utilizing various tools to create video, even if it’s just pulling together a group of photos and adding some music to it. Some type of video animation works well to amplify your content.
As writers, we sometimes get caught up into cranking out content constantly. I think that we also have to fall back a bit, look at what content is successful, and then begin repurposing it.
It’s like your Thanksgiving dinner. You have a turkey, and after Thanksgiving you have a turkey sandwich, a turkey casserole, and turkey soup.
You can do that with your content as well. As you begin to write great content, think about how it can be repurposed. Look at other content formats, such as videos. Then, you can even supplement that with live streams where you answer some of your readers’ questions.
Q: What’s your advice for having some quick wins with a small budget?
You can create content that competes with the Fortune 500 companies with your cell phone. Most of us have a smartphone that can record video, so just taking your phone, recording shots of your company behind the scenes and so on, can do wonders. Then, you can take those clips and piece them together as well as adding music to them.
It’s really just about trying it out. You don’t have to be perfect. If you want to try something, but aren’t sure you can start distributing it through your brand’s social channels, start creating content in your personal life first. Use your personal brand as a sandbox. Once you start to get comfortable with the tools you’re using, you’ll be able to apply this knowledge and skillset on content for your brand.
Q: What are big missed opportunities or mistakes that you often see companies make in their digital branding?
It’s vital to go back to basics and really understand strategy. We can get caught into creating content for content’s sake, or engaging in social just to engage. We don’t always figure out if our engagements are affected, or develop any type of attribution with our efforts.
When considering your digital brand in this process, I see it as the oil in your sales engine. It focuses on your identity, visibility, and credibility, which decreases the amount of friction in that engine.
Content marketing is the additive. It’s the synthetic oil in your engine. It makes your digital branding process longer and more effective. You may not see an immediate influx in your bottom line with one content piece—it’s about nurturing the buyer.
Q: What are you working on that you can’t wait to share with the world?
I’m really excited about the launch of Digital Branding Institute. It’s becoming a great resource for individuals and organizations. I essentially did a brain dump with the step by step process of building a digital brand—no frills, no fluff—and I think it’s really helped people who are overwhelmed with the variety of marketing tactics.