Ask yourself one thing about blogs: why do some blogs get remembered whereas others are forgotten? Sure you could say it’s about the frequency of the post, the blog style, the producer, etc. All those are relevant factors in what makes a blog marketing plan successful – but did you ever consider the brand factor? Think about your favorite blog across any industry. Now ask yourself whether that blog has a brand. Even if there is no solid or discernible style brand (think graphics, font, colors,) there’s still a content brand.
Branded content gives blog marketers the opportunity to set themselves apart from their competition. Forrester recently completed a study on this, published under “How to Build Your Brand with Branded Content.” There they define branded content as “content that is developed or curated by a brand to provide added consumer value such as entertainment or education. It is designed to build brand consideration and affinity, not sell a product or service. It is not a paid ad, sponsorship, or a product placement.” This is, in essence, what just about every company is now trying to shift their public image into – away from a self serving business and into a company that is able to offer a content commodity in exchange for affinity. Smart blog marketers are applying this model to the blog to produce content that is capable of the same business model.
For Forrester, this means chief marketing officers are tasked with the duty to (1) capture the brand’s “North Star” in branded content, (2) connect contextually with their consumers, (3) visibly create value through content, and (4) persistently measure and tweak for optimization. This means having a style/brand guide. Simply put, a style guide “compiles various standards and practices your company adheres to in the production of content.” It’s a lot like a landing page I previously recommended publications had for guest bloggers – one destination that acts as a resource/reference manual for different collaborators, so that while they may be covering various issues, there’s still a cohesive feel to the content. Having a style guide makes it easier to brand content by offering content consistency, navigating the course through choppy waters and editorial shifts, and it helps settle any potential editorial disputes that may surface down the road. The style guide is essential for blog marketers that are looking to gear their publication in favor of a brand.
Forbes also gave some solid tips for blog markets interested in changing their blog course in favor of branding, adding marketers should:
- Educate and inform to build a trusted brand.
- Create topical, shareable content to build a remarkable brand.
- Develop stand-out content to build an unmistakable brand.
- Become part of your customers’ daily routine to build an essential brand.
- Consider investing in a story. Storytelling is a powerful brand marketing element.
Paying special attention to #5, blog marketing the write way is more than about just producing content…it’s about ‘purposeful storytelling.’ In other words, have your individual posts possess the ability to come together as a mosaic and convey a larger message.