How to proactively shape brand perception with content marketing

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Whenever you communicate with your target audience, whether on social media, via your website, or through email, you give them signals about your brand’s core values.

They may come across more obviously in ads and landing page copy, but they are still very much a part of the content you publish on your blog as well. Your objective while writing blog posts is to address specific pain points and provide objective help and information, so you seldom stop to think about the message you are communicating about the brand.

Let’s explore the subtle ways in which your content communicates brand values to your readers and what you can do to ensure they are seen as positive. While this should become and remain a subconscious process, and your primary goal is not to advertise but to help and educate, you should still understand how you can better shape your message and forge that deeper relationship with your audience.

1. Prioritize your audience’s needs over yours

Unfortunately, brands often forget to put their audience’s needs and interests above their own. They keep focusing on their own goals: making a sale and earning more money, and they forget that their customers and clients actually care very little about that.

People don’t like being valued for their purchasing power alone. They are coming to you because they need something solved, something fixed, or because they want information. If you approach them too crudely and keep shoving a sale down their throats, they are very unlikely to convert.

How can you communicate in your blog content that you care about your audience and their needs? By offering information that may be to your own detriment.

2. Be supportive of an inexperienced audience segment

Your top-of-the-funnel audience is likely to be inexperienced and come to you with very little knowledge about a certain subject. Even some leads who you would consider closer to conversion may have a hard time understanding jargon or complex industry terms.

Instead of making them feel inadequate and insecure, write so they can understand you. Chances are that more experienced leads won’t be coming to you with the same queries anyway, so you don’t have to worry about boring an expert. You can also provide asides and helpful links or explain the meaning of certain terms in brackets if you want to give more experienced readers the option to skip ahead.

The penny stock list on MarketBeat is a great example of a post that caters to audiences with various knowledge levels. It first gives you the actual list of penny stocks, which is all you will be interested in if you just want to know how certain stocks are currently faring.

Below this list is a detailed educational post about penny stocks, what they are, the benefits of investing in them, and how to choose the right kinds of stock based on your goals. They also link out to numerous other educational posts within the same topical cluster, providing readers with a crash course on the topic.

When creating content, always aim to round off a topic. You don’t need to create a behemoth of a post and provide all the answers in the same place. Make sure you have a good internal linking strategy in place, and point readers to other valuable resources that will help them fill in any experience and knowledge holes.

3. Value your audience’s time

Online readers usually don’t have all the time in the world to read through long-winded walls of text. They tend to want to get their questions answered quickly. The easier you make it for them to find what they are looking for, the more they will appreciate it.

Break up your text with headings, and write short paragraphs and bullet lists wherever you can. Add plenty of white space to your pages, and highlight key elements and information.

When initially composing a post, stop to think about the best way to present your information. Do you need some custom images, tables, and charts? Will an infographic help?

4. Give your brand a relatable human face

Customers respond well to relatable brands. They want to see who they are doing business with and connect with a brand. The less they are able to view you as a faceless corporation, and the more they are able to see you as a team of humans, the more they will be able to identify with you.

This is true for both B2B and B2C leads. B2B decision-makers want to know who they will be working with and gauge the expertise of the people they are hiring, and B2C shoppers would like to know they are valued and respected.

You can use videos or podcasts to give your brand a human presence and forge that meaningful connection.

Social media also provides plenty of opportunities to showcase your humans. While you can’t always use their faces, the least you can do is use their names. Domino’s customer support reps always sign their name when tweeting, and it instantly makes customers feel that they are speaking to a human. They know whom to address, and they are more aware that there is a person on the other end of a keyboard trying to help them (which is so easy to forget when all you are doing is typing at a screen).

5. Show a bit of self-awareness

Customers love brands that demonstrate a bit of self-awareness and can show some humor. While you may be in a very serious business and aim to provide the best possible content on a certain topic, it helps if you can admit to the fact that you are here to earn money. Perhaps not stated as bluntly, though.

The best way to illustrate this point is with a great example. Take a look at this guide from Going on finding cheap Flights in 2023. They give you 4400 words about how to do what their product does. They give you a blueprint for free, tell you how to solve your pain point also for free, and then plug in their service.

The way they introduce said plug is very humorous and smart. It completely eliminates the awkwardness that usually comes with a brand’s mention of its own product. They’re candidly saying, “Hey, we can do this for you too, so forgive us for trying to sell you our product, but we’re really good at this!”

While the post itself is meant to be nothing but an objective problem-solver, the way they have handled the product insertion is great. By showing the same level of self-awareness, you can just as effectively overcome any objections your readers may otherwise feel about your blatant insertion of yourself in an informative and educational post.

6. Prove that you’re trustworthy

The internet, while certainly a great source of information, also happens to be full of the wrong kind. People will lie, cheat, misinform, and delude others for their own gain without blinking twice. And since they also happen to be able to do it anonymously, knowing who to trust online is quite the challenge.

So you’ve got to make your audience feel safe, and you’d have to do what it takes to reassure your audience that your brand is trustworthy.

Wrapping Up

Enhancing your brand’s perception via your blog content is a process that will take time to get used to. However, once you’ve mastered these subtle signals, you can take your writing to the next level and ensure your audience learns about your brand while also learning how to solve a particular pain point.

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