Do you know what the content on your web site says about your brand? The most successful online branding campaigns have some very similar qualities. A few minutes reviewing the content and it becomes quickly apparent what they are selling and the company they like to keep. It’s really not that difficult to develop better branding through content curation with a little thought, consistency and self reflection. Making your customers smarter should yield better top line performance. If it doesn’t you may have bigger issues. Meanwhile, here are five rules of thumb for improving your brand with content curation.
1. Know your brand values
In an October 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal, reputation guru Anthony Fitzsimmons commented that 40 percent of the value of a vibrant company can be attributed to its reputation – a key component to brand value. Companies like Apple have been able to monetize that reputation to the hilt and their value, and subsequently the prices they charge remain stable if not increasing.
We all know what Apple offers, but does everyone know what your business uniquely brings to the table? Maybe a quick audit of your brand is in order? Often this requires a non-jaded look at what your competitors are offering and how you stack up against them. What are you offering that cannot be found anywhere else? Are you less expensive or just plain better? This has to be reflected in the content found on your Web presence.
Beyond your unique selling proposition, your brand has to stand for something that the audience you’re trying to reach will find palatable. Fed-Ex ran into that problem when they first launched because no one understood their brand value or why you would pay someone a premium to ship a letter or a box. It wasn’t until they rolled out ‘When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight’ that the general public understood the concept, and subsequently, the brand value. Whether your brand is fun or passionate or connotes ease of use, it has to be reflected in the content associated with your Web presence.
2. Your most important key words
In the Web world, key words are the equivalent of highway signs. Drop two or three words into a Google search and off you go to your digital destination. So as you do this self-assessment of your brand value, do the key words in your Web presence reflect your brand strategy? What words are people using to search and click to your site and equally important, what key words are your competitors employing. Does the content on your site, both organic and curated, reflect the key words needed to drive the right traffic? It’s more than worth a few minutes of your time to marry your brand strategy with five to ten key words and use them consistently.
3. Know your sources
In the old days, your teacher would assign a writing project and require any number of sources to be cited. Often your grade was influenced by the quality of your sources nearly as much as the content itself. It’s a lot like that in the content business. People accessing your Web presence for information want to know that what they are reading is from a reliable source. Both the organic content as well as the curated information must be held up to a standard of credibility. One poorly sourced article or even thought can send your potential or existing customer into the arms or Web presence of a more reliable other. The content you post is a reflection of your brand. Less than reliable content equates to a less than reliable brand.
Just as critical as knowing the credibility of your source is having an understanding of where the content lives. Brands should consider the importance of hosting their curated content directly on their home pages via a content marketing platform rather than directing traffic to an outside site.
4. Keep your focus–be careful with off topic content
Suppose you have an epiphany about last night’s American Idol judging and you take to the Web. That’s great if you’re a business associated with the entertainment industry. Not so much if your rant has nothing to do with your work. That’s why it’s extremely important to stay focused on why people access your content in the first place. Remember those key words. I doubt any of them were American Idol. No one goes to the sports page looking for business news and if you want people coming back to your site, you have to remain focused and stay on topic.
5. Measure behavior and seek content that drives the most profitable engagement
A wise executive once said, what gets measured gets managed. That’s why you consistently have to audit the success of what you are doing. Did you post a curated or self-penned article on your site that drove significantly higher traffic? Great, continue to look for content in that vein to keep them coming back for more.
Are certain key words driving more traffic to your site and others having no impact? That’s something you need to know and you won’t unless you take the time to investigate.
In the non-cyber world, it’s often said that it’s not what you say but what you do that counts the most. But in the world of content curation, what you say is the only way a new customer will know what you’ll do.