Building brand awareness takes time. But there’s a way you can speed the process along, gain media attention and enhance your online presence all at the same time: issue a steady stream of original content.
As reported by PR Newswire, a 2013 survey of corporate and marketing communications professionals asked, “In what ways does content distribution add value?” Their top three responses were increase awareness (77%); media pick-ups (59%); and online discoverability (49%).
Of course, for many small and medium-sized companies, creating content is a big challenge. Some simply don’t have the time or the people to devote to content creation. Others struggle with topic selection. And others can’t decide which formats (articles, press releases, social posts, infographics, etc.) will serve them best.
Choosing the right topics and formats requires that you know your audiences, their interests and their preferences. There are tools you can use to gather this information (Alexa.com is one example) but you can also do it the old-fashioned way—by communicating with your key audiences on a regular basis. The more you do, the easier it will be to create content they care about.
For companies that don’t have the time or the staff for serious content creation, there are three basic options:
- Hire individuals with the necessary skills.
- Develop these skills in employees you already have.
- Work with an agency or contractors.
The first option works primarily for companies without headcount and payroll concerns. The second option is tenable for companies that can invest the appropriate amount of time in identifying viable candidates who are up for the challenge and then developing their writing and editorial chops. Option three works for companies that have ruled out the first two options or that need to supplement their internal content production. Two of the biggest advantages provided by option three: 1) you’ll be working with professionals who know exactly what it takes to create and disseminate compelling content, and 2) you can crank up the “content machine” relatively quickly.
Of course, creating great content is just the beginning. Once you’ve developed it, how do you ensure that your content gets seen and shared?
We’ll answer that crucial question in an upcoming post. In the meantime, you might want to check out this excellent article from Entrepreneur, “5 Ways Content Marketing Can Create Brand Loyalty,” written by Kemari Howell, the marketing coordinator for Pubsoft.com. In it she reminds us that “content is everything and every business is a publisher.”
About the Author: Michael Civiello is a communications strategist and senior writer at fisher VISTA. He is an expert at creating compelling messaging, content and PR campaigns that build brand awareness and marketplace reputation.