building a brand

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Building a Brand That Thrives Through the Ups & Downs

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been off to a challenging start, especially due to the worldwide pandemic that was caused by COVID-19. This virus triggered a lot of changes in our everyday lives. Many employees had to start working from home. Businesses had to pivot to be able to serve their customers and stay afloat financially. It’s been interesting, that’s for sure!

Our CEO, Julia McCoy, took the time to address this in a couple of blog posts that went live recently. (A reminder that it’s important to be flexible with your content strategy!) One of those posts was all about building a brand that can stand the test of time, even when things get tough. You can read that post here.

And we were inspired by that post to hold a #ContentWritingChat on the same topic.

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Building a Brand That Thrives Through the Ups & Downs

This month, we opted to host a community chat to discuss a topic on the minds of many business owners during this worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. How can you build a brand that thrives despite what may be going on in the world? Well, if you’re wondering the same thing, this chat recap has some great advice for you!

Q1: What do you think are some of the biggest struggles brands have faced during this pandemic?

Being that we were all in this together, many brands dealt with the exact same struggles. Here are just some of the issues that came up during this time:

As Lexie pointed out, the unknown was definitely one of the biggest struggles because that’s just something you can’t prepare for. When you don’t know what’s next, that can be stressful and scary. Brands have essentially had to take it one step at a time during the entire pandemic.

John knows that brands were often left questioning if their messages were appropriate before posting. The risk of saying the wrong thing is often high during times of crisis. Not only that, but brands wondered how they would make enough money to pay their bills that continued to come in month after month. Many even considered changing their content plans that were already carefully crafted!

And when it comes to that content plan, should you make adjustments to discuss real-time issues such as the pandemic? If so, how much is too much? You certainly don’t want to flood your audience with it, as Danielle mentioned.

Consistency in messaging is always key. During times like this, it’s important to ask yourself if the content you’re putting out there is truly serving your audience or not.

And because so many people have been living in fear throughout this time, ensuring your customers that they would be safe when doing business with you was another crucial message to spread. But besides just reassuring them, you also needed to keep them safe, especially for in-person businesses.

Q2: When it comes to the brands that will withstand the test of time, what are some of the characteristics about them that stand out?

The harsh reality is that not all brands survive. But if you want to be around for a long time, there are some important characteristics to embrace.

As Michelle said, brands cannot make it all about them. Your focus needs to be on your audience and how you can best be of service and provide a great experience.

Rachel’s last point about knowing when to stop posting and start listening is something everyone needs to be reminded of.

Q3: Creating authoritative, valuable content is a huge part of building a great brand. How can you be sure your content makes an impact?

Before you create that next piece of content, you’ll want to read through these tips!

First, you need to figure out what your audience actually needs from you. It’s important that you’re delivering the content that they need the most in this very moment.

But how do you figure out what they want? Survey them! Danielle knows that’s a powerful way to figure out exactly what your audience wants. Ask them what topics are important to them and what they’re struggling with right now.

As Zala said, authoritative content is aligned with your topic, industry, and audience. It’s also well-researched and clearly shares your own point of view. That’s what makes a piece of content unique after all… Your own thoughts and opinions!

When building a brand, you want to make sure the content you publish adds value, has a consistent voice, is creative and unique, and tells a story.

You’ll also want to pay attention to how people respond to your content. As Carrie said, what happens after they consume that blog post of yours? Do they leave a comment or send an email? Do they actually make a purchase? It’s important to watch your data because it says a lot about which content is working for you.

And remember to use your platform to say what needs to be said in the moment.

Q4: Consistency is definitely key when building your brand, but what exactly does it look like to be consistent online?

Being consistent isn’t just about having a regular posting schedule, you know!

When building a brand, Michelle knows it’s not a good look if you neglect posting on your social media platforms. That’s why it’s important to prioritize content creation and it also helps to schedule posts in advance.

Shawn agrees. Far too often brands just abandon social media accounts and they’re really missing out on potential connections with their community.

Posting and engaging regularly is a huge part of being consistent when building a brand.

But as Lexie said, never sacrifice quality for quantity. Figure out how much quality content you can actually commit to in a single week and make that your goal.

It’s also important to be consistent with your research, coming up with new ideas, etc.

Besides sticking to your posting schedule, consistency is also important for your voice and the visual representation of your brand. Using the same colors and fonts can help your imagery become more recognizable. And you want to use the same voice and keep things high-quality across all platforms.

Q5: Authenticity and integrity are crucial for any brand. What does integrity mean to you and how can your brand portray this characteristic?

Building a brand that has integrity is something that we all strive for. Here’s what you need to know if you want your own brand to embody this:

Be open and honest with your audience at all times.

Set standards for your brand and actually stick to them.

Believe in your mission and let that be the guiding force behind everything you do.

Establish trust and integrity will follow.

Be true to yourself.

Q6: How can you be sure you’re providing an amazing experience for any customers who engage with your brand?

Nothing turns people aways quite like a bad customer experience. Make sure you aren’t doing that by taking advice straight from the chat!

Gaby feels a great customer experience comes from brands that are consistent, personal, accessible, transparent, responsive, trustworthy, flexible, communicative, proactive, and attentive.

It’s always smart to ask for feedback to learn what’s working and where you can make improvements. Don’t be shy about reaching out to past customers about their experience with you.

Make sure you’re actually listening and implementing the feedback they provide.

Keep an eye on reviews and any constructive criticism you can improve upon.

And make sure you’re addressing both positive and negative reviews because the negative ones can be a great learning opportunity.

Another great idea is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Do you feel you provide a great experience for them? Test it out and see!

Q7: Which brands have seemingly done a great job withstanding the ups and downs throughout the pandemic? How can we be inspired by them?

Check out these brands and see how you can implement some of their strategies for yourself.

Grammarly and SEMrush are always awesome!

MeetEdgar has been great as well!

During what was surely a challenging time for USPS with extra packages being shipped, they put in the work to handle everything for their customers.

Gaby said Chef Jose Andres has done a stand-out job during this time to serve his community better.

This link that Michelle shared is worth checking out! Many brands tweaked their messaging for their TV commercials during the pandemic.

Q8: Will you be making any pivots within your brand moving forward as a result of this time?

A few people shared some changes they’ll be making as a result of the pandemic, so here are some responses:

Michelle has seen more of a focus on digital during this time with her clients.

Lynette wants to prioritize doing more collaborations with bloggers and those in her industry. That’s a great way to gain exposure!

Masooma wants to dive deeper into the content she creates moving forward.

And of course, this reminder from Gaby to always remain flexible is something we all need to hear from time to time. You have to be able to adapt to what’s going on, whether that’s with your content, your priorities, etc.

Join us for #ContentWritingChat on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central! Just follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated.

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