5 Ways Content Marketing Can Drive: Brand AwarenessBrand awareness is the only way potential customers know who you are and what you do. Without it, your company can toss its snazzy content marketing out the window.

In other words, brand awareness is how consumers identify your brand in a lineup with all the others in your industry. What’s more, a company with stellar brand awareness has a constant funnel of potential customers.

Why It Matters

Successful brand awareness is more than simple name recognition. It also requires that consumers know what you do on the most basic level.

For example, what do you think of when you hear the brand name “Uber”? You probably think of more than its company name. You may also visualize images of Uber cars, the Uber app or a coupon you saw for 20 percent off your first ride.

This is brand awareness in a nutshell: You instinctively know what Uber is and what service the company provides.

Note that brand awareness and brand loyalty are two separate concepts. The former is defined as the very first time someone remembers who you are and what you do. Even if you’ve never used Uber, it has successful brand awareness for you.

Brand loyalty, on the other hand, is consciously deciding you will use a specific brand for a service or product. It also means that competitors face much higher obstacles if they want to secure you as a customer.

Though content marketing can serve both brand awareness and brand loyalty, the vehicles to doing so are very different. Let’s take a look at how you can boost brand awareness with five content marketing strategies.

Number 1Influencer campaigns

“Influencers” is one of the biggest buzzwords from the last few years. It’s hardly surprising why influencers are such a hot topic: According to Nielsen, expert content is 88 percent more effective than branded content and 83 percent more effective than product reviews when it comes to brand awareness.

This shift toward expert content is natural, especially as consumers become more skeptical of traditional advertising. In fact, 86 percent of people skip through television commercials, while 44 percent toss direct mail in the trash.

Influencers offer a more authentic connection between your brand and consumers, primarily because they’re mobilizing an audience that already trusts their opinion.

When it comes to content marketing strategy, you can create authentic connections using a few different tactics:

  • Sponsored blog posts.
  • Video product reviews.
  • Guest appearances in your own blog or videos.

A final word to the wise: Do your research on the right influencer “match,” and be sure to create a real connection between you and the influencer. Read all about mobilizing influencer campaigns here.

Number 2Paid social media campaigns

Brand awareness is about both name and product recognition. Social media campaigns are ideal for broadcasting those goals in your own personal brand voice.

But while social media posts on your own pages are well and good, they create a bit of a circular message. After all, someone is only reading those posts if they’ve already chosen to follow you. This can make it a little difficult to gather followers who don’t know you quite yet.

Paid social campaigns are ideal for attracting those people who don’t already know your brand. What’s more, paid social campaigns offer a lot of audience targeting, so you can pay to have your posts appear only in front of audience members who are likely to connect with you.

In order to create successful brand awareness campaigns, you should funnel your social media budget into two areas: paid campaigns and killer content to impress your first-time visitors. After all, no one’s going to “like” you for very long if you’re recycling old news or posting subpar content.

As far as where to place your social dollars, it’s really up to you. Even Facebook isn’t an obvious choice anymore. Instead, determine where your audience tends to spend time and follow them there. We recommend looking at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google AdWords to start.

Number 3Contests

Very few people would decline a free trip to Hawaii (and if you know who those naysayers are, let us know so we can avoid them at parties).

While contests and sweepstakes are primarily used for lead gathering, they are also ideal channels to build brand awareness on a few different levels. First, just attaching your brand name to a contest can incite audience curiosity and make your name stick out. The key is to hit hard on the relevancy front. For example, if you’re a toothpaste brand, it doesn’t make sense to give away a year’s supply of free candy.

You can also consider brand awareness within your entry requirements. In other words, what do you require in exchange for a contest entry? If you nab email addresses, send an email thanking users for entering, along with a brief overview of your brand and a firm call to action. Bonus points if you ask users to enter by registering for your newsletter.

Number 4Blogs

Is there anything a good blog can’t do? Though a great blog strategy won’t file your taxes, it can certainly generate a ton of brand awareness.

The key to building awareness through blogs lies in two things: topic choice and distribution strategy. When it comes to topic choice, go for viral. After all, social sharing is the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising.

You can also choose a topic that answers a popular question. Just beware of search saturation in this case. You’ll need a thorough gap analysis to determine whether a popular topic will ever see the light of day in a search query.

Your distribution strategy should take a similar approach. In order to create buzz about your brand, you’ll need as many eyes as possible. This means a blanket approach to distribution — i.e., strategically sharing your blog on every network available. You’ll also want to create a republishing strategy that puts the blog out there more than once.

Number 5Webinars

There are very few content marketing methods that offer an hour-long, one-on-one session with potential customers. In fact, marketers typically pay a ton of money just to get one fraction of those attention minutes.

This makes webinars an ideal way to generate positive brand awareness. (Editor’s Note / studioD Testimonial: we ourselves just wrapped up a webinar and it was a great success story in terms of audience engagement and building brand awareness on social media.)

By offering and publicizing a webinar in your area of expertise, you can gather a solid group of audience members who have already shown interest in your industry.

Why doesn’t everyone host webinars, you may ask? They can be fairly time intensive, which is something you must consider upfront. You’ve got to build content, coordinate the timing, set up meeting software and thoroughly publicize the event.

Yet, this investment in time can be well worth the effort for a brand trying to build awareness. Even if you can only host 25 attendees, you’ll end up with 25 warm leads who are very familiar with who you are and what you do.

As we mentioned before, brand awareness and brand loyalty are very different. In fact, they’re sequential, since you can’t have loyalty without awareness first.

Brand awareness precedes other content marketing metrics that matter: engagement, social sharing and, of course, sales.

In other words, brand awareness campaigns are well worth your time. After all, it’s difficult to justify your hip content marketing and gorgeous new website if no one has a clue who you are in the first place.