Building a content strategy and verbal branding is required for successful digital marketing
In building a powerful brand, it is useful to make the distinction between verbal branding and brand identity development.
While both need to work hand-in-hand, there are benefits to thinking about them first alone and then combined.
This is the way we work with our internal creative team: a copywriter works out the verbal branding while the graphic designer handles the visual aspects. Ultimately, these two parts need to come together in the final creative, with one complementing the other – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Verbal, or content branding, has to do with your brand’s positioning, messaging, tagline and keywords you’ll use to get found online. Verbal branding needs to balance both internal perspectives – what you want your brand to stand for and deliver on, and external perspectives – how what you offer meets your customer needs. And with search so important to getting found on the web, you’ll need to develop copy that both resonates with your customers and maximizes your ranking on Google and other search engines.
Content development consists of two parts: one strategic and one more execution-focused. Part one requires in-depth understanding of your target customer needs, and then mapping your offering to those needs.
Once you define your overall strategic direction (including your brand positioning and keyword research), you’ll want to work with a professional copywriter to get you polished content.
Content development is an exercise in looking both internally – to determine your business’ brand position –then looking externally – to maximize customer relevancy and competitive differentiation through keyword research, messaging development and search engine optimization.
Content tools and techniques:
The three basic steps to effective brand development are:
Step 1: Determine your brand positioning
Your brand positioning should stem directly from your overall marketing strategy and is designed to bring focus and clarity to the development of your marketing strategy and tactics, including inbound marketing efforts. There is a useful framework called the brand positioning statement, which addresses the four strategic decisions that must be made in a disciplined way:
For (target audience) Your Brand is the only (frame of reference) that (benefits delivered) because (reasons to believe)
Once developed, the positioning statement should serve to inform every decision that is made regarding the brand, from the brand name, key selling messages, and marketing, both inbound and outbound.
Step 2: Analyze existing content, for both you and your competitors
Once you’ve clarified your positioning, you’ll want to evaluate your existing content and keywords to both 1) ensure internal consistency with the positioning, and 2) identify improvement opportunities vs. your competitors.
You’ll want to consider Google Keyword Tool to uncover related keywords, including search volumes and competitiveness. In doing so, keep your brand positioning statement close by. You may in fact find the need to tweak your positioning statement, which is fine to do, to reflect the language of your target audience.
Step 3: Refine your content based on your positioning and keyword research
With your brand positioning and initial keyword research in place, you’ll want to both revise your existing content and create some new content. Recognize, though, that if you’re not a particularly good writer, or don’t really enjoy it, this activity can be performed by EquiBrand or outsourced to contract copywriters
Related Service Offerings
Brand positioning provides the strategic platform for content development, and is used as an internal statement to guide external implementation
Brand identity encompasses the brand’s creative expression, including its look & feel. Brands can be expressed a variety of ways, and it’s important to establish creative guideposts to direct implementation.
The strongest positioning statement meets several criteria, including relevance, differentiation and credibility/attainability. Learn more about how to craft an effective brand positioning statement here.
Should the brand be Apple-like in its creative treatment, or more like MicroSoft? Should the brand stand for simplicity, professionalism, or innovation? These questions are answered via brand identity development. Learn about brand identity implementation here.