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content differentiation factor

How to Find Your Brand’s Unique Content Differentiation Factor and Use It to Your Advantage

Every brand has at least one unique “thing” that sets them apart.

The “it” factor.

If you’re involved in building your own brand or a business, you absolutely need to make sure you’ve identified that “one thing” that individualizes your message and your content.

That factor that differentiates you from your competitors. The one essential element everybody else is missing.

Without it, you’ll risk blending into the masses.

You’ll turn into another blip in the content sea. Seen and heard today, forgotten tomorrow. A scary, but true, reality.

So, my question for you today is:

What is your content differentiation factor in your industry?

First, let’s define.

What do I mean by “content differentiation factor?”

definition of content differentiation factor

This is a concept I teach in my Content Strategy & Marketing course and have written about in my book.

Your content differentiation factor (or CDF) is that one, unique thing – the it-factor – that separates you from the billions of other content pages on the web.

It’s the angle you present that provides a slightly different, new spin on topics your readers have seen before.

Joe Pulizzi of CMI calls this your pivot in the industry – more specifically, your content tilt. Joe talks about this concept in his book, Content Inc., which I highly recommend reading. He says:

definition of content tilt

When you have a solid differentiator, you stand out in a great way. Your voice rises to the top and gets heard. People want to hear what you have to say because it’s unique, useful, and valuable.

It’s how you not only reach your audience but reach them powerfully.

For today’s topic, let’s start by looking at a few perfect examples of brands who have it and use it to their advantage, and then get into how to find YOUR content differentiation factor.

What is YOUR standout brand content differentiation factor? Read more in this guide, with examples. #contentmarketing #CDF Click To Tweet

content differentiation factor

Two Examples of Brands Killing It With a Solid Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)

Here are two amazing brands are doing a killer job at using a CDF that aligns them to their audience.

1. Society6

First up, a brand with a solid CDF that perfectly caters to their audience – Society6.

This is essentially a printing service where you can get custom-designed items such as wall art, mugs, notebooks, t-shirts, phone cases, and even bedding, shower curtains, and furniture.

society6 and its content differentiation factor

The differentiator which sets Society6 apart from similar printing services is the artist community that serves as their foundation.

Instead of offering pre-designed patterns and templates, Society6 sources designs from independent artists all over the world who receive a cut of the profits.

society6 uses content from artists who get a portion of the profits

Their content ties into their CDF perfectly. They regularly feature original pieces from artists selling designs on Society6.

 

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“Message from the Sea” by Christian Schloe / Link in bio @Society6

A post shared by Society6 (@society6) on

They also have a blog with more artist features, tips for creatives selling their designs on the platform, and home décor tips using their custom-printed goods.

society6's blog for artists

Finally, Society6’s huge following and high content engagement speak to how well tapping into their content differentiation factor has played out. On Instagram alone, they have over half a million followers, and each post averages thousands of likes and comments.

society6's huge following

Society6’s unique artists are their greatest asset, and they use this CDF to reach out to both consumers who want to support small businesses as well as creators looking to support themselves with their art.

How are you differentiating yourself from others in your niche? What makes you stand out? @JuliaEMcCoy's guide talks about content differentiation factor, plus examples, and how to do it. #contentmarketing #cdf Click To Tweet

2. Taste of Home

Another brand nailing their content differentiation factor: Taste of Home.

Originally a magazine dedicated to showcasing favorite recipes from home cooks, Taste of Home now has an online presence chock-full of content catered to their readers.

For example, their website serves as an extension of their printed compilations of reader-submitted recipes. However, what sets the brand apart is the fact that only the best of the best get featured because each is tested by the Taste of Home kitchen beforehand. Every recipe comes with tips, anecdotes, or secrets from the cook who submitted it.

vintage recipes from taste of home

Taste of Home leans into their CDF online and carries over the main mission from their print magazine: “foster[ing] a strong and loyal sense of community among like-minded home cooks of all ages.”

taste of home's about page shows its content differentiation factor

user-submitted content from taste of home

Along with user-submitted recipes and food-related blog posts, Taste of Home also populates their social media feeds with eye-catching video content.

Finally, their engaged community speaks to how well Taste of Home has used their CDF to their advantage. They essentially tap into the heart and warmth of home cooking.

How to Find Your Content Differentiation Factor (and Why It’s Different from Your Unique Selling Proposition)

It’s easy to mistake your content differentiation factor for your unique selling proposition, and vice-versa.

Your unique selling proposition is NOT the same as your content differentiation factor. What makes you stand out in your industry? Click To Tweet

But, remember: They’re not one and the same.

  • Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the factor that makes your products or services better or more valuable than your competitors’.
  • Your content differentiation factor is the unique angle you present as a brand/business. It’s how you approach industry topics and write about them from your individual perspective.

In short, your CDF is more akin to your motto, your mission, or your mantra. It’s how you approach connecting to your audience. To do it, you need to present them with an angle they haven’t seen before: your angle.

Here’s how to find it:

1. Don’t Over-Focus on Your Products/Services

This great blog from Jay Baer represents the pitfalls of what can happen when brands only focus on their USP, or on what their products/services do.

unique selling proposition is different from content differentiation factor

The key mistake, like Jay says, is when brands forget to be unique and only focus on the selling proposition:

“When marketers lean on unique selling propositions (USPs), they position their products as effective – but forgettable – solutions.”

Sure, your product is good and effective… but so what? Why should your audience care?

In contrast, your content differentiation factor is the thing that makes you memorable. It gives your audience a reason to listen to you because it’s about how you help them differently than the other guys.

How you help them differently – that’s key.

How do you help your customers differently than all the other brands out there? That's your Content Differentiation Factor. #contentmarketing #cdf Click To Tweet

2. Consider Your Audience

You can’t stop at uniqueness for your CDF. It’s not enough to try to be different in your industry. Why?

Different doesn’t necessarily equal better. It doesn’t always represent a better choice for the customer.

Instead, frame your CDF in light of who you’re helping, what they need from you, and how you fulfill that.

To reference one of our above examples, Society6 does this by honing in on their artist community. Their mission is to empower independent artists and give them a platform for their work.

That very mission is reflected in their content:

society6's cdf continues to make them stand out

Aligning your CDF with your customers and readers is a great way to make sure it’s effective.

3. Ask Yourself How You Help Them BETTER

Maybe you help your audience in a very similar way to your competitors. If that’s the case, ask yourself:

  • How do you help them BETTER?
  • What unique angle of their problem do you solve?
  • What makes that angle possible?
    • Where does your industry expertise come from?
    • What piece of your background helps you help them?

4. Think About the Benefits

Again, stay audience-focused when coming up with your content differentiation factor. What benefits do you offer them when they interact with your brand, read your content, and buy your products/services?

It doesn’t have to be complicated, either.

5. Remember Your WHY

Finally, it always helps to think back to your original “why” – why you got into your business or industry in the first place.

  • What do you hope to do for your customers that no one else can?
  • How do you want to change the world?
  • What positive impact do you want to have on customers in your industry?
Remember your why. This & more on how to differentiate yourself in your industry via @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet

Discover Your Content Differentiation Factor and Get Heard for Profitable Results

It’s hard to stand out online.

That’s not to say it’s impossible. With your CDF firmly in hand, you’ll be well on your way to positioning yourself advantageously online. That way, your content will get read and shared by the right people, and your brand/business can continue to grow.

Just remember that it starts and ends with your audience, and how you impact their lives for the better.

Now get out there and differentiate yourself! And if you need some help with your homepage copy, content differentiation factor homepage slogan, or the blog you’re struggling to produce every week, we can help. Send us a quick line here.

how to build a brand

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Build a Brand That Will Stand Out in 2018 with Rochelle Moulton

There’s no denying that it takes time to truly build a brand that will stand out from the crowd, especially if you’re in a saturated niche.

Fortunately, our latest #ContentWritingChat has some tips that are going to help your brand shine. And this is advice you’ll want to implement in the coming year!

Whether you’re building your own personal brand or you are part of another company’s brand, these tips will still be beneficial for you. So, if you want to learn how to build a brand that people truly love, keep reading for this week’s recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Build a Brand That Will Stand Out in 2018 with Rochelle Moulton

Our guest host this week was Rochelle Moulton. She’s an entrepreneur and a personal brand strategist. She joined us for Tuesday’s #ContentWritingChat to share her advice on branding and it’s definitely worth a read! Let’s dive in!

Q1: What does it mean to have a personal brand or a brand for your business? Have you built one?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share what it means to have a brand. We also wanted to know if they’ve worked to build a brand themselves! Here’s what a few of our chat participants had to say:

Rochelle said that having a personal brand is consistently presenting yourself and your ideas so your “sweet spot” audience knows you. Your brand also needs to be authentic. If it’s not, people are going to see right through you.

Lexie knows a brand is essentially the identity of the person or company that it represents. She feels your brand shows what’s important and that consistency is key.

Sarah said that having a personal brand showcases what your business is and how you’re able to help your customers.

When building a personal brand, you need to be transparent, genuine, and honest. Julia said that people will need to be able to relate to your brand and should want to invest in it. That’s all part of helping you attract the right people.

As Brittany said, your brand is your personality, your vision, and your mission. It’s all about what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. She knows that your brand helps people get to know and understand you.

Your brand is the foundation of giving your company a voice, identity, value, and awareness.

And remember, we all have a personal brand, whether you realize it or not! It’s better to be smart and actually manage your brand’s reputation.

Q2: What are some key elements you will need in order to build a brand that will stand out?

To build a brand that truly shines, there are a few key elements you’ll need to get started! Here’s what you need to know:

As Rochelle said, it’s important to have clarity on who your ideal audience is. You need to know who you want to reach in order to create the content that will resonate with them. She also said that having a compelling point of view will help you stand out from others.

And don’t forget that consistency is essential as well! It’s going to help you establish your brand and build trust with your audience.

A unique message is going to help differentiate you from the others in your niche.

Zala said you need to figure out who you are, what your unique offering is, how you can serve your audience, and ways you can educate, entertain, and help the right people.

Cheval knows that it’s important to figure out your why. That’s essential because your purpose is what will keep you going when times are tough.

Besides knowing your why and the mission behind your brand, you also need to know who you’re trying to reach. Without a clear idea of who your target audience is, how can you expect to reach them?

Know your why. Be consistent. Be genuine and authentic. These are all important things to keep in mind when you build your brand.

Both Kristen and Danielle know that authenticity is a must!

Authenticity, emotional connection, and value are just a few of the elements Varun feels every successful brand needs to have.

Don’t forget you need a unique voice, a valuable message, strong motivation, and the ability and willingness to share a well-crafted story.

Tamara shared a great tip about analyzing your competitors. You can learn a lot from the areas they may be lacking in. You can use this as your opportunity to step up to the plate.

Q3: How important is content creation when you build a brand? How can it help your brand stand out?

What role does content play when you’re building a brand online? Does it really make a difference? (That answer would be ABSOLUTELY!) These are some reasons why the content you produce is essential for your brand:

Rochelle knows that both content creation and content curation are essential when it comes to building your brand.

The content you publish online can build trust and loyalty, while also boosting engagement with your audience.

As Lexie said, content can also help you connect with your audience. She knows a brand is nothing if there aren’t people who believe in it.

Jason said the content you crate shows your views and opinions on things. This can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level, which can also attract new people to your brand.

Content speaks directly to your customers. It tells them who you are and what you’re all about.

Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing with their content. As Jade said, put your thoughts out there and see what people think. Don’t be afraid to share your unique point of view, but make sure you’re also engaging with the responses you get.

Even Julia knows the benefits of content creation! It’s been her top priority when growing Express Writers.

Q4: How do you include your personality or a company’s personality in the content you create online?

If you want to build a brand that stands out, one of the key aspects to consider is personality. Your personality is what will attract and resonate with your target audience. But how do you express that through the content you share? Check out these tips:

Rochelle knows that adding personality can be a scary thing, but she encourages people to experiment. Take cues from what others are doing and try seeing what works for you.

Language, voice, and tone need to be consistent with your brand and should be reflected in your content. Always keep that in mind when you’re creating. Kristen also suggests thinking of three words to describe your brand. Those words can help guide you when writing content, designing graphics, and more.

Cheval’s advice is to speak from you heart. As he said, it takes time to develop your voice, so don’t rush it.

It helps to have guidelines for branding if you have a team working alongside you. As Varun said, those guidelines can help your teammates maintain tone and voice when creating content.

Jade’s advice is to be yourself. If you try to be like everyone else in your industry, you’re just going to blend in.

Don’t forget to engage with others! It shows them the human side of your brand. Don’t let them think you’re some sort of robot.

A helpful piece of advice from Shelly: not everyone is going to like you. You need to focus on resonating with the right people, which are the ones in your target audience. It’s okay to repel the ones who aren’t the best fit for you.

Be yourself. If you aren’t true to who you are, people are going to see right through a false facade.

Zala had some kind words to share about the Express Writers team, which we couldn’t appreciate more! We like to make sure our team is visible and an active part of our brand.

Q5: How can brands use storytelling in 2018 to ensure they stand out from the crowd?

Storytelling has become a crucial element in helping brands connect with their target audience. If you’re wondering how you can better use storytelling in 2018, take a look at this advice:

Rochelle suggests writing how-to content, sharing mistakes or light bulb moments, talking about client experiences, and more. These are all great ideas to implement.

Sarah suggests showing others how you and your audience work together to fulfill their needs. They want to know how you and your offering will benefit them.

To showcase the benefits you can provide to your target audience, sharing client success stories is a great way to get started.

Immerse yourself in your brand and live your story. As Zala said, it’s important to take about your successes and your failures. That’s relatable and it’s what draws people into your story.

Andrea knows that video marketing is where it’s at. If you aren’t already using video to tell your story, 2018 is the time to do it.

Brian said that a well-crafted story gives you a foundation for all your marketing and sales content. You want to be consistent to stand out and become easily recognizable by your audience. He also pointed out that you might not get things right the first time, so don’t be afraid to make tweaks.

Q6: How can you tell if your brand is resonating with the right audience? Are there metrics you can track?

Once you’ve started building your brand, you obviously need to make sure it’s attracting and speaking to the right people. How do you do this? Here are some handy tips to help you find out:

There are a variety of metrics you may want to track. Rochelle suggests looking at social media engagement stats, new client stats, etc.

Ask yourself who is engaging with your content and what they have to say about it. This will help you determine if your content is working or not.

Both Sarah and Lexie know that conversions are key. It’s important to keep your end goal in mind and create the content that’s going to help you get there. Plus, conversions can be a number of things, not just sales.

You can look at social media engagement, page views, duration on page, and support tickets from customers.

Are people sharing your posts? How much time are they spending on your site? Are they leaving comments, and if so, what are they saying? These are just a few things you’ll want to ask yourself.

You can even look at your subscribers to see if they represent your target audience. If they do, you’re on the right path. If not, you have some work to do!

Q7: Your brand just isn’t working for you anymore. What should you do if you think it’s time to re-brand?

How do you handle a re-brand if you think it’s the right step for you? Check out this advice:

Rochelle said to use this as an opportunity to better hone your niche and your message. You want to get clear on who you’re targeting and what you’re providing.

Before you dive head first into a re-brand, ask yourself what isn’t working for you. This will help you determine where you need to begin your work.

As Lexie said, you can’t change anything without first knowing what the problem is. From there, you can make tweaks until you find what works for you.

Tamara also suggests reviewing your strategy to see what’s not working and why. This is always the best place to start.

Sarah’s advice is to do your research. You can even ask your audience for feedback since they’re the ones you need to resonate with.

If you have a team working with you, get their help as well. Figure out who you are, who you serve, and why.

Gaby shared some great questions you should ask yourself if you’re facing the possibility of a re-brand.

Sometimes a refresh is all you need! Don’t immediately jump into a re-brand. Take time to figure out what’s really in your best interests.

Zachary suggests figuring out why things are no longer working and what has changed. Sometimes a change in your strategy is all you really need.

As Julia said, you want to be very careful about moving forward with a re-brand. It can get tricky and it’s a lot of work to take on.

Q8: Is there any final branding advice you’d like to share with us?

To close out the chat, we asked everyone to share a final piece of branding advice that we could all takeaway from this week’s chat. Here are some of the responses:

Be genuine and focus on how you can transform your audience.

Be yourself. Be unique. Be authentic.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it! Sarah said you shouldn’t be afraid to go for a facelift when it comes to your brand, but a full makeover isn’t always necessary.

Cheval said to make sure your brand emulates your core values. He also encourages you to focus on producing quality content on a regular basis.

As Brittany mentioned, your brand is more than your logo. It’s your identity.

Holding a focus group with your target audience is a great way to get feedback!

Be consistent, be patient, and never give up!

Want to join the next #ContentWritingChat? You can hang out with us on Twitter every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time! Just be sure to follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for all the latest!

book cta

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Build a Highly Profitable Personal Brand with Anthony John Amyx

Are you wondering how to build a personal brand that stands out online? If so, you’re in luck! That’s exactly what we discussed in our latest #ContentWritingChat. We talked about what it means to have a personal brand, the first steps you need to take to build your brand, and how you can incorporate personality into all of your online content.

Does that sound like exactly what you need right now? Keep reading for our recap of Tuesday’s chat!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Build a Highly Profitable Personal Brand with Anthony John Amyx

Our guest host this week was Anthony John Amyx. He’s a personal brand and business growth strategist. He shared some great advice with us this week, which you’ll want to check out!

Q1: What does it mean to have a personal brand and why is it important?

So, what exactly does it mean to have a personal brand of your own? And why is it such an important thing? Here are a few of the responses we received during the chat:

If you want to stand out online, you need to have a personal brand. Show what you’re passionate about and what you have to offer that can help others. This is ultimately going to separate you from others.

As Javi pointed out, your personal brand is your reputation. It’s what other people think of when your name crosses their mind. Whether you realize it or not, we all have a personal brand. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of it.

Julia said personal branding is when you apply your name to your products and services. This begins to establish you as your own brand.

Your personal brand goes beyond the visuals, but it also includes your values, priorities, and influence. It’s all about how you portray yourself online.

Your brand is going to attract the right people and help them connect with you on a deeper level.

Rebecca knows that we all have a personal brand, whether you maintain it or not. That’s why it’s better to be in control of what you’re putting out there online because it directly impacts your reputation.

Q2: What are the first steps to building a personal brand online?

Now that you know why it’s important to build a personal brand, you’re likely wondering how to create a brand of your own. Here are the first steps you should take to establish your brand:

Make sure you know who your target audience is and know your story as well. You also want to build a platform to get people onto your list. All of this should come before you focus on promotion.

Maureen said you need to know what you want to be known for first. Get those building blocks in place in order to get started. You want to know which topics you’ll talk about and you need to find your voice.

Passion is always going to be a key to success. Know what you’re passionate about and use that as fuel to build and grow your personal brand.

It’s important that you figure out your niche and what makes you original. As Shelly said, you should be interested, present, knowledgeable, original, and in demand.

One very important tip to remember when building your personal brand: don’t fake it. People will see right through you if you aren’t being genuine. Be yourself and that’s what will resonate with them.

Nick said you want to put out content that’s going to help you build your brand. Know what’s going to resonate with your audience and what aligns with your goals and share content that fits that.

Cheval’s advice is to provide value to your audience on a daily basis. This is going to help establish trust and allow you to build a relationship with them.

A great way to grow your personal brand on Twitter is to join Twitter chats. They’re the perfect opportunity to find and connect with new people in your niche.

Jeff suggests using strategic words and hashtags on social media. This is going to help more people discover your content. After all, you need those people to find you.

Don’t forget that consistency is key when it comes to branding. As our guest host pointed out, clarity, confidence, certainty, and consistency are essential if you want your brand to be profitable.

Q3: How do you incorporate your brand’s personality and voice into your blog and social media content?

Once you’ve started building your personal brand, you might be wondering how to inject personality into the content you publish online. Take a look at this advice from Tuesday’s chat:

Nick’s advice is to be yourself. He realizes that we, as humans, crave authenticity. Unfortunately, there are so many people online who aren’t being true to themselves though. You’ll be much happier and more successful when you embrace who you really are.

Let your brand’s personality shine through in everything you do online. Don’t hold back! Your personality should be apparent on your site, in your blog content, and on social media.

Maureen advises clients to “stay close to the real you.” She encourages them to own humor and imperfections because that can help build trust.

Authenticity and transparency are so important when it comes to establishing a personal brand.

When it comes to writing, Andrew recommends keeping a mission/goal statement as a reference. This will help ensure you stay on track with your personal brand.

Julia also likes the idea of having style guidelines for writing. When you know how you want your brand to be perceived, it’s easier to create those guidelines and stick to them.

Q4: How can you know if your personal brand is truly successful or not?

How do you know if your personal brand is really getting the results you want? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

First, you need to set goals for your personal brand. You can’t expect to track results if you don’t know what you want to achieve. Figure that out first and you can move forward from there.

Andrew also agrees that you need to have goals. He suggests choosing something quantifiable, which will allow you to track your results. You’re then able to make adjustments as needed to get the results you’re hoping for. Andrew also said having confidence in your own brand is important.

Kavita also knows the importance of setting goals. She also said that people finding value in your personal brand is a good sign. You want people to learn something from you, right?

Trust is essential! If people are beginning to trust your personal brand and they rely on your expertise, you’re on the right track.

Jeff also said that it’s a good sign when people are coming to you for whatever you’re an expert in. That shows that you’re doing something right.

When you see a community being build around your brand, that’s an incredible feeling. You want to have that genuine engagement with your audience.

There’s nothing better than authentic interaction between you and your audience.

Courtney feels true success stems from having genuine followers that engage with you because they like you and the content/message you offer.

A dedicated readership is another sign that you’re on the right path. You want to know that people are reading your content and engaging with it. Content that resonates is going to set you up for a win!

Q5: How can you be sure your personal brand leaves a lasting impression on your audience?

It’s hard to stand out in this noisy online world these days. So, how can you be sure you stand out and actually leave an impression? Check out this advice from the chat:

Building a personal brand requires consistency. As Andrea said, you can’t disappear for months, only to come back and expect people to welcome you again. You need to be present by consistently sharing content and engaging with your audience.

Elizabeth also agrees that consistency is important. She said to be consistent with your look and your presence, but that you also need to be yourself.

Shelly feels your brand will leave a positive, memorable impression by consistently delivering on the promises you’ve made to your audience.

And in case you needed one more reminder: consistency is key.

Kristin encourages you to consider how you leave people feeling after they’ve interacted with you. Do they feel hopeful or motivated? How do you want your audience to feel after reading your content, watching a video, or having a conversation with you?

Sara’s advice is to focus on serving your audience. When you can deliver what they want, they’ll keep coming back for more time and time again.

Q6: Share some of the most common mistakes people make when building their personal brand.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when building your brand. To make sure you avoid them, take a look at these mistakes people frequently make:

A lack of consistency can set you up for disaster. Make sure you find consistency in your voice. Jason also suggests avoiding anything that may come off as spammy.

Don’t ignore your gut. You shouldn’t do something you aren’t comfortable with.

Brand confusion is going to leave your audience scratching their heads. One way that brands often mess this up is with visual elements. You want to keep styles and colors the same so your content is easily recognizable.

Don’t try to please everyone. You have to focus on doing what’s right for you and your target audience.

As Anthony said, when you try to be everything to everyone, you become nothing to no one.

Don’t ask for something once you’ve connected with someone new. You need to give a lot before you can take something by means of asking.

Maureen said you should never fake your expertise. She also said you need to figure out what makes you different and get some good headshots.

Instead of faking it, know what your strengths are and embrace them. That’s the key to success!

Too many people make the mistake of not engaging with their audience. Have a conversation and develop a relationship with them.

Q7: What are the upsides to building a personal brand? Are there any downsides?

We asked everyone to share the positives and negatives of having a personal brand. Here’s what some of our chat participants had to say:

Jason knows the expanding networking is a definite upside to developing a personal brand. He said it’ll help you find and connect with people similar to you, which is always great.

When creating a personal brand, you get to be yourself. That’s a plus! However, it does take time and effort to establish and grow your brand.

Having a personal brand is a great way to stand out from your competition. Your brand will help others resonate with you.

With a personal brand, your followers are attached to you. They’re not tied to any particular product or company. No matter where you go, they’re likely to follow.

Q8: What are some of your favorite personal brands? Tag them!

Ready to be inspired by some other amazing personal brands? Check out these favorites from the chat:

Jeff and Julia both shared great examples of personal brands that are worth checking out!

Want to join us for the next chat? #ContentWritingChat happens every Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time! Be sure to follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat for the next one!
#Contentwritingchat

how to write an about page

How to Write an Amazing About Page

Ah, the dreaded About Page.

You know you need one…

But few people know how to create one that actually accomplishes anything for their business.

Here’s a good question.

What is a “good About Page” really supposed to accomplish?

Copyblogger says that it should answer three questions for your visitor:

  • What’s in this for me?
  • Am I in the right place?
  • Can this person help me with my problem?

The first thing that you should notice here is that, while your About Page is about your business, it needs to be catered to your visitors.

You don’t want to turn your reader off by talking about yourself too much. Make them interested in a natural conversation with you.

To answer these three questions and get your readers to pull up a chair and stay a while, there are a few steps that you will need to follow through on.

Let’s take a look at what they are.

company bio page

How to Write an Amazing About Page: Focus on Your Reader

As you go through each step, the importance of focusing on the reader cannot be overstated.

While your initial thought may be that your About Page should be about you, the fact of the matter is that your readers aren’t there for you. They’re there for them.

By understanding that your reader should be your main focus you can avoid producing an information-littered About Page that doesn’t accomplish anything for your business.

Go ahead and tell your story. Just don’t get so lost in telling it that you forget why you’re doing it in the first place.

Step #1 – Tell Your Story With Your Customers in Mind

There are thousands of examples of stale About Pages that tell weakly put together stories about the history of a company and what they offer to customers.

The thing is, people already know most of these things. They’ve made it to your page because they feel you might have the potential to solve their problems.

As Entrepreneur contributor Aaron Agius is quick to point out, “So many companies focus on business specifics in their About Page content, such as types of services and products offered.”

Agius wants you to look away from this boring strategy.

His recommendation is that, “Your About Page should illustrate your business’s humble beginnings and highlight the positive attributes of your team that helped you get where you are today.”

Here’s a good overview of the elements of a compelling B2B story:

True-Film-30-Second-Story-for-Companies-Infographic

All six elements outlined above play an integral role in ensuring that businesses see you as someone that they’d like to work with.

Make your About Page about your customers. Relate to them. Be memorable. Give them a reason to trust you.

Do these things and you’re well on your way to making a strong first impression with the people who matter.

Step #2 – Utilize Visuals to Strengthen

Visuals are a necessary part of any great About Page. And they’re especially effective when you’re attempting to tell your brand’s unique story.

This visual, showing why infographics are a great business tool, gives you a sense as to why. It grabs you, doesn’t it?

infographics-for-seo

Now, we’re certainly not saying that your About Page needs an infographic.

What we are saying, however, is that, if 90% of information that comes to the brain is visual, your page needs more than just words.

Visuals can include anything from images and videos to infographics and photographs.

MailChimp is one of many B2B companies that effectively utilizes photographs on their About Page.

Mail Chimp staff 1

When you see this photo, you immediately think of community. This isn’t a coincidence.

As you scroll down their page, they have a section about Community Investment and how they’re helping cities like Atlanta become, “better, weirder, and more human.”

They also feature a visual-rich section on their employees that looks like this:

Mail Chimp staff 2

When you see these photos, the word “fun” comes to mind. Now we know, without even reading a single word, that MailChimp identifies themselves as a fun, community-driven company.

They’ve told their story through photos and use words to supplement it. This is the power of visuals.

And it’s why they need to be implemented, and featured, on your About Page.

Video content is an excellent choice to consider for your About Page. Here’s how we did it on our About Page (our video story was filmed professionally and told by our founder, Julia McCoy):

express writers about us video

And if you scroll down, you’ll learn about each of the creators that make up a core portion of our team:

express writers about us

Step #3 – Use Social Proof

The power of social proof in the marketing world is astounding.

And while there are dozens of examples of how social proof can help you market effectively, it can also be leveraged on your About Page to build a strong first impression about your reputation.

But with so many different ways to show that others trust your brand, which one works best for your About Page?

This infographic shows eight ways you can use social proof on your website:

types of social proof

The type that will work best for your brand is, plain and simply, the one that will be seen as most powerful to your customers.

Gummisig, a freelance web designer, identified that listing popular clients that he’s worked with proved most effective.

gummisig

Ikea is a Fortune 500 company. Showing potential customers that a company like that has trusted his services provides immediate, and incredibly effective, social proof.

But maybe you haven’t had the pleasure of working with a client with that type of name recognition.

No problem. Use the customers you do have.

Providing quotes from testimonials is a powerful way to generate effective social proof. Including actual data about what you’ve accomplished for your clients can also work incredibly well.

Use what you have to provide social proof that your unique readers will understand and appreciate.

Step #4 – Give Readers a Next Step

If they like what they see, what are they supposed to do next?

This is one of the most overlooked aspects of creating a strong B2B About Page. After all, isn’t the objective of your entire website to convert users?

To answer the question of what you want them to do next, your focus should be on what stage of awareness the reader is in when they get to your About Page.

Eugene Schwartz lays out five potential stages of awareness. They include:

Stages of Awareness

Since they’re attempting to learn more about your business, your potential customer is likely already in the product or brand aware stage.

They understand their problem, know that there are solutions, and are now on your brand’s page because they see you as a potential solution.

The goal of any copywriter is to get customers to the most aware stage and convert them when they get there.

So, in order to convert them, you need to think like a copywriter.

When customers are on your About Page, and they’re intrigued by your story and the social proof that you’ve provided, they’re only steps away from being most aware.

Take advantage of this by implementing a call-to-action at the bottom of your page that provokes them to take the next step NOW.

Digital strategy firm Nerdery provides a great example of how to do this.

Their CTA is simple:

Nerdery CTA

Their goal is to start a conversation with potential customers so they can eventually follow through and bring them on as a client.

And they’ve made it easy for readers of their About Page to start that conversation.

Find out what you want readers to do next and ask them to do it. It’s really that simple.

Conclusion

In the end, there are a lot of elements that go into creating an amazing About Page.

You want to tell your unique story and use visuals to tell it in a more compelling manner.

You also want to show readers, through social proof, why they should trust you over the dozens of other brands that offer what you offer.

What you don’t want to do, however, is get so caught up in doing these things that you lose sight of the fact that your About Page is about your reader, and what they’re looking to get out of it.

And while the line between telling your story and focusing on the reader is a fine one, it’s one that I’m confident you can overcome by using the steps above.

If you’d like some assistance in walking this line, we have a great team of experts that can help you create an amazing About Page.

engagement cta

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Being Recognized & Known Online: Personal Branding 101

This week’s #ContentWritingChat was all about personal branding! We talked about who should have a personal brand, they key steps to creating one, and much more. If you missed the chat or need a refresher on the topics we covered, it’s time to dive right into our recap!

Our guest host this week was Barry Feldman. Barry is a content marketing consultant, copywriter, and author. In fact, he recently wrote a book called The Road to Recognition.

Q1: How do you define a personal brand? Who has a personal brand?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their definition of a personal brand. What do they think it means to have a personal brand and who actually has one? Check out some of these responses from the chat:

As Barry said, a personal brand is the perception people have of you regarding your professional life. People are always going to have thoughts and opinions surrounding you, whether you realize you have a personal brand or not. So, you better make sure it’s a good one!

He also added that everyone has or has the potential to have a personal brand. It’s important that you recognize this and take control of the image you’re portraying.

Katie had a great answer to this first question. She feels a personal brand is your essence, what you stand for, and what you won’t fall for. It’s all about your mission and the values you have. Definitely something worth thinking about!

Maggie said your personal brand is a package of who you are and what you’re about. This package essentially represents you to the world, which is why it’s something everyone should think about.

As Jeff pointed out, everything anyone can see or read about you makes up how you’re perceived. It may sound a little scary, but remember that you can take control of your personal brand overall.

Gabriela said your personal brand is your vibe. It’s all in how you communicate who you are, what you do, and what people can expect from you. Here’s hoping your personal brand gives off an amazing vibe!

Lexie from Netvantage Marketing feels everyone has a personal brand. This is why it’s so important to consider how you’re representing yourself, especially online.

Ask yourself the following question… What do you want people to think of you when you’re not around? Make sure your personal brand is a reflection of that answer.

Q2: What key steps should someone take when building a personal brand?

Now that you know what a personal brand is, let’s talk about the key steps to building it. It’s likely that you have a personal brand whether you realize it or not and you want to make sure it’s an accurate reflection of you. Here’s what you need to know:

Barry’s key steps to developing your personal brand: establish your message, identify who your audience is, concentrate on a niche, find the right platform, and then deliver value.

Julia said to know what value you can provide and who your audience is first. From there, you can begin building a content strategy and your unique voice.

Pamela knows just how important it is to know and understand who your audience is, so start there by figuring out who you’re targeting.

Sarah’s advice is to know who you are and who your audience is, plus how you’re going to interact with them. It’s also important to be yourself, otherwise you aren’t building your brand on a strong foundation.

Katie suggests starting by creating a mission statement and setting values. This will help give you some direction with your brand so you know what you’re all about and who you’re targeting.

A great reminder when it comes to your brand: be human. Build a personality around your brand that is genuine and true to who you are. That’s what will make you unique and it’ll help others resonate with you.

If you’re feeling confused about where to get started when building your personal brand, Sara suggests looking to some of the brands you admire and are inspired by. Consider their mission, the values they have, and their personality. Determine what it is about those brands that resonates with you and you can replicate that for yourself, but don’t copy them.

Q3: How can you be sure your personal brand is a true reflection of your personality and who you are?

When building a personal brand, you want to make sure it’s genuine. It should be a reflection of who you truly are if you want it to resonate with others. Here’s how you can do that:

Barry suggests asking yourself if your personal brand feels true. If you are faking it by pretending to be something you’re not, people will find out soon enough. Although your niche might not be unique, you can always make your voice unique so you can stand out from the crowd.

Gabriela feels personal branding all starts with self-awareness. She said you need to understand who you were, who you are, and who you aspire to be.

As Julia said, be true to you. It all starts there by being genuine and true to who you really are.

Jeff says you need to be genuine. If you aren’t being yourself, you won’t enjoy it and it’ll all catch up to you sooner or later.

When you’re true to yourself, your personality will shine through. That’s what people will connect with.

When you’re genuine, you stand a much better chance at attracting the right audience to your brand.

Pamela’s advice is to not overthink it. That’s something we should all keep in mind!

Jayme is spot on with this answer!

Q4: How can you get your personal brand noticed online so you stand out as an authority?

Once you’ve built your personal brand and you’re ready to start making connections, you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. You have to find a way to position yourself as an authority in your niche. Here’s how you can do that for your personal brand:

If you want to get noticed online, take Barry’s suggestions into consideration: experimentation, persistence, collaborative projects with influencers, and media. He also suggests mastering a platform that suits you. It could be blogging, vlogging, podcasts, or something else. Find your thing and become a master at it.

Gabriela’s tips for standing out include: adding value, engaging, being consistent, being accessible, and giving a whole lot to your audience.

Varun said to join relevant conversations online. You can connect with people vita Twitter, forums, industry seminars, and other meet-ups. Make sure you’re adding value if you truly want to get noticed.

Engage, engage, engage!

Maureen knows great content can go a long way to building a reputation for your brand. Produce quality content that shows people what they need to know and back it up with proof.

Megan also knows the importance of content, as she said don’t create weak content. Share your knowledge with your audience instead.

Know that you aren’t going to see results overnight. As Flavia said, you want to find your people, continue to share content, and being active when it comes to engaging with others.

Q5: In what ways can social media help you build your brand and network with others?

Wondering how social media can help you build your brand and make connections online? Check out these suggestions from Tuesday’s chat:

As Barry said, you’re going to need friends, fans, followers, and collaborators for your brand. Social media can help you make those connections to build those relationships.

It’s clear that Elizabeth knows the power of social media. As she said, it gives you the opportunity to connect with people globally. You just never know who you might meet and where those people will be located.

Social media is a great opportunity to connect with peers, customers, colleagues, and other brands.

Jason said social media can connect you with people who are new to your brand and help you stay connected to those who already know you.

There are no limits on social media. As Lori suggestions, you should focus on growing your brand on all the social media platforms you want to use for your brand.

Don’t forget to use social media for its main purpose: be social!

Twitter chats are an amazing way to be social and make connections online.

Social media may provide a lot of amazing opportunities, but there’s also a lot more competition to deal with. Embrace what makes you unique and do what you can to stand out.

Q6: What are the upsides to having a personal brand? The downsides?

What are the advantages to personal branding? Are there any disadvantages? Find out in these responses from the chat:

Having a personal brand can help you gain recognition.

Being recognizable is certainly a benefit of personal branding, but it’s also a downside. If you mess up, a lot of people may see it. That’s all the more reason to be careful about what you put out there online.

Personal branding can help you form a bond with your community and the audience you’re trying to attract.

On the plus side, having a personal brand can give you an increased reach, a larger audience, and help you attract potential customers. On the downside, if there’s a misstep in your personal life and everyone finds out, it can impact you negatively.

Q7: What is the most important thing to remember when building your personal brand?

The most important things to remember when building your personal brand, courtesy of our Twitter chat:

Great advice from Barry!

Consistency is key.

Don’t be too focused on the brand. Be yourself and things will begin to click for you.

Be careful what you put out there online because once it’s out there, it’s public for the world to see. You can’t take it back.

Be yourself and don’t try to be like everyone else. That won’t help you stand out from the crowd.

Be genuine, be active, and be you.

Authenticity and honesty are essential.

Don’t fake it because you’ll eventually be found out.

Keep moving forward because you won’t find overnight success. You have to put in the hard work if you want results.

Q8: Which personal brands do you love? Tag them!

Which personal brands are out there doing it right? Check out these brands:

We have to agree that our CEO, Julia McCoy, is killing it!

Gary Vaynerchuk and Lisa Buyer are two favorites for Jayme.

Madalyn, Neal, and Sujan are all great!

Join us every Tuesday at 10 AM CST for #ContentWritingChat! Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated on topics and guests.

#Contentwritingchat

#ContentWritingChat April 5 2016 Recap: Strategies to Hone In On & Tell Your Best Brand Story

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? Never fear! We have a full recap of Tuesday’s chat where we talked all about honing in on your brand story. Let’s dive in and review some of the tips that were shared this week!

#ContentWritingChat April 5 2016 Recap: Strategies to Hone In On & Tell Your Best Brand Story


Tamara Budz joined us as our guest host this week. She is a marketing consultant and brand storyteller/content marketer who owns the Silver Shade Group.

Q1: Define brand storytelling.

What exactly is brand storytelling? Julia, Tamara, Brittany, and Hannah all chimed in with great answers for our first question.

As Julia mentioned, you want to focus on what your brand solves for people. What pain points are you helping them with? And what exactly are your customers saying about you and your brand?

Similarly to what Julia said, Tamara reminded us that we need to ask ourselves: How can you help your audience?

Brittany shared a great answer. Your brand story is your past, present, and future. It’s about your reputation and the connections that you make with your audience.

Hannah said brand storytelling is about sharing your message in a meaningful and entertaining way. You need to make sure you’re speaking to your audience.

Q2: What makes a strong brand story?

Now that you know what brand storytelling is, what exactly makes a strong brand story?

Co-Op Social was spot on with their answer. A strong brand story includes authenticity, relevance, and connectivity. You need to be authentic, your story should be relevant to your brand and your audience, and it should form a connection with your audience.

As Brittany said, remember your values. Integrity is important to everything you do within your brand.

Julia and Jeremy were on the same page with their answers. Both of them expressed the importance of focusing on your audience. Get them involved in your story and make sure it’s one they’ll feel drawn to.

Hannah said it’s important to understand the pain points of your audience, as well as their interests. Knowing these things can help you create the right content for them.

Andrew said to focus on the people. Don’t be afraid to share the struggles behind the story of your brand because that can be compelling and relatable for your audience.

Q3: What are the benefits of storytelling for a brand in today’s era?

Developing and telling your story can have some major benefits for your brand. Check out these answers from Kim, Hannah, Michael, and Alberto.

As Kim from McKinney & Associates and Hannah both said, it’s all about developing a connection with your audience. Your story needs to draw them in and help you start forming a relationship.

A great answer from Michael: Your brand story is what will make you memorable if you tell a good one!

As Alberto said, there are people behind every story, not brands, logos, or business cards. Focus on telling your story and humanizing your brand.

Q4: How do you find/discover your authentic stories to tell?

To find/discover your authentic stories, it sounds like most of the people in the chat agreed: look to your customers.

Pay attention to what your customers are saying. They can provide you with valuable advice. As Julia said, find out how you’ve been able to help your audience. Tamara agreed. She said your customers will tell you what they need. All you have to do is tune in to what they’re saying or just ask.

Kate knows a little stalking, or listening rather, can help you gather a ton of information on your customers.

Pratik suggested not just looking to your customer, but also looking at your competition. Take a look at what they’re doing. It’s sure to help give you some fresh ideas!

Q5: What are some ways to be unique as you tell your brand’s story?

When it comes to telling your brand story, you need to find a way to be unique so you stand out from the crowd.

Zlata reminds us that you should never forget your audience. What resonates with them? What are they drawn to? You need to create content with them in mind.

As Julia said, make sure you get creative on every medium you use, whether it’s infographics, gifographics, SlideShares, blog posts, etc. Use your creativity and show it off in everything you do.

Kristen said to show vulnerability in your story. When you’re authentic, your audience picks up on that and it will really resonate with them.

And finally, Brittany pointed out that we should never get stuck in our ways. We need to be willing to experiment and try new things. Step outside your comfort zone and try something different.

Q6: What are the best mediums to tell your brand story online? (blogs, videos, etc.)

This was another question people in the chat mostly agreed on. To determine which mediums are best for your brand, look to your audience and see what they’re responding to. Here’s what some chatters had to say:

Affinio, Pratik, and Zlata all agreed that the mediums you choose will depend on who your audience is. Ask yourself, what are they drawn to? What resonates with them and what are they interested in? Do they prefer reading blog posts or watching videos? It all depends on your customer!

If you aren’t sure which mediums they prefer, take Kristen’s advice and just ask. It really is as simple as that. Don’t be afraid to just reach out to your audience and ask what they enjoy. They’ll tell you.

As Rachel said, consider who your audience is and where they’re spending their time online. These are two things you need to keep in mind every time you’re creating content.

Julia and Sabjan both offered some great suggestions for popular mediums to utilize. Julia said videos are essential for getting a visual story across the best. They also provide a fantastic way to form a connection with your audience.

Sabjan also mentioned videos, but said blogs, infographics, eBooks, and podcasts are all amazing as well. It’s good to try a few mediums and see what works best for both you and your audience.

Alberto is another fan of video, as he suggested live streaming. With so many live streaming apps available today, it just might be a great medium to try out for your brand. See how your audience responds!

Jeremy reminds us that the message is always the most important thing, not matter which medium or location you choose. Keep that in mind!

Q7: What are important do’s/don’ts to keep in mind when telling your story?

When telling your story, keep all of these do’s and don’ts in mind:

Be yourself. Don’t try to be something you’re not.

Keep your audience and your business goal top of mind because both are important.

Don’t write for yourself. Write for your audience instead. When you create the content they want and need, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Ask yourself: Would you read/listen to/or watch your story? If the answer is no, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Pratik and Varun both agree that you need to be authentic. If you aren’t, your audience will see right through you.

Determine the medium that’s right for you. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but once you figure out what clicks for you and your audience, stick to it.

Rohan shared a ton of great do’s via Fast Company. All of these are amazing tips!

And lastly, just go for it! Don’t hold yourself back.

Q8: What are some examples of brand storytelling that you love?

To get you inspired, check out some of these examples of brand storytelling people in the chat also love:

Julia is a big fan of PooPourri’s storytelling. They’re always creative!

Kim is a fan of State Farm’s relatable ads.

Kristen enjoy’s Airbnb’s storytelling.

Some great examples from Pratik: Nike, Apple, Cadbury, and Coca Cola.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing!

GE brand marketing

A Story Of Brand Marketing: Why GE Is An Awesome Content Creator

Brand recognition in the twenty-first century is an uphill battle, but with a bit of forethought, any brand can position itself where the users are. The hardest part is engaging the users and getting their feedback. This is something that GE has managed to do successfully.

Using Reddit (one of the most difficult social media platforms for brand recognition) as its base, GE has managed to woo users to their side by providing high quality content consistently, so much so that their e-zine GE Reports is now considered as relevant and important as older publications in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field. But how exactly did GE manage to do this? How did they place themselves in such a great position compared to their peers? Their strategy is both admirable and inspiring, doing all the things content producers should be doing right.

A Big Secret: Knowing the Audience

When GE set off on the task of making its brand known for something, they first had to figure out the audience they were creating content for. GE is an engineering company at heart and the obvious audience for them would be engineers and other professionals in STEM fields.

The things that interest these types of readers are not what you would consider mainstream content. GE, being a leader in innovation, realized that their audience was made up of people who wanted to know what was going on in science and technology around them.

And so GE’s brand marketing strategy was born.

GE started producing a series of articles that recapped and encapsulated new discoveries in the field of science and technology in a way that was accessible, not only to STEM professionals, but to anyone who had an interest in new discoveries. What they discovered was that although a large percentage of their core audience were STEM professionals, there were as many readers that were laymen tuning into their content since it was so approachable. The key behind this easy entry was the type of writing that was involved to build these articles.

Human Interest Factor: 3 Methods GE Won At Doing

GE Reports doesn’t go the traditional route of science reporting. Rather, they focus on the individuals behind the discoveries. What motivated them? What made them decide to explore this particular field of interest? Dry science writing went out with the 80’s and more science and technology magazines were focusing on a different style of science writing: one that sees the inventors and researchers as people first. Human interest stories always get mileage, but combining it with technological breakthroughs was a master stroke of genius.

  1. Channels of Interaction: Success With Email? Marketing a brand is about marketing its message and for a brand to become recognized, it needs to get its name out there. Paid channels of marketing isn’t usually a major factor for GE Reports. Most of its users know about it from Reddit or from Twitter, thanks to the massive following on the social media sites. Facebook also figures into its equation, but the surprise factor in GE Reports marketing strategy is its use of email subscriptions.GE knows email is old school, but they also know that their impact comes from personal interaction and bringing out the human side of a story. Email allows for far more interaction with an individual on a personal level and goes hand in hand with their article style. Email gives GE Reports personality and that is something a lot of brand marketing seems to lack these days.
  1. Loyalty is a Major Seller. Recently, the thinking behind social media for large marketing companies is to sink a lot of money into a targeted ad campaign. This doesn’t win over an audience, but simply “rents” them. At the end of the campaign it’s unlikely that that same audience would care to purchase from that brand again. It relies heavily on gimmicks and the ability to go for a quick sell. GE’s strategy is the complete opposite. GE Reports focuses on building a community as opposed to simply renting an audience, something that can be very useful to GE in the long run.

Why Are Loyal Users Important?

Going back to the idea of understanding an audience, the more you interact with an audience is the more likely you are to understand them and the more able you are to spot content that would sit well with them. In addition to that, GE serves as a hub for the latest news and opinions on the cutting edge of science. By cultivating a community, they ensure that not only readers are able to get the information they want to read, but that media outlets are clued in to what is the “next big thing”. This makes them as much of an authority site as any other science and technology outlet that has been in existence for years, all because of their dedicated community that shares and adds to the rich tapestry that is their user base.

  1. It’s not about Quantity, It’s About Quality. The thing that sets GE’s brand marketing strategy apart from those of their competitors (and indeed, anyone else in the field of brand marketing) is their dedication to the delivery of quality content. Good content is any entry that enriches the user in some way, either by teaching them something new, informing them of a development or giving them an opinion on something that is worth talking about. GE fulfils this demand admirably, consistently delivering content that appeals to its user base without compromising the usefulness of the content.

Isn’t Brand Marketing about Marketing?

Brand marketing isn’t simply about marketing, and that’s where a lot of brand marketers fall woefully short. GE goes about brand marketing via another more traditional route. They include their marketing into their content, but their content comes first and the marketing aspect comes after. The idea of a marketing blog should be to inform and enrich your readers before you start working on them as potential customers. This is another interesting point when it comes to user loyalty (as mentioned above). A user that is loyal to GE because of GE Reports is more likely to put money on a GE product than any other brand, simply because of the enrichment GE Reports brings to his or her life.

GE’s Impact on the Population

So how do we know that GE is getting through to this mass of users that they claim are reading their posts? Although it may seem as though GE Reports is getting a lot of traffic, the numbers of subscriptions also measure up to scrutiny. GE sends out more than fifteen thousand emails to subscribers every time a new article is posted. As far as reach is concerned, that’s huge in terms of organic numbers. When you factor in how many of those people share, like and tweet those stories and the branching effect of social media relationships the reach is immense in scope.

The other way that GE can measure its population impact is from their newsworthiness. News agencies turn to GE Reports as an authoritative site on the news of the STEM world. By getting the leads from GE Reports, these sites can then go on to research and create their own content (yet another benefit of a community of loyal readers). By seeing their own stories covered in the mainstream STEM news, GE can safely say that it has quite an impact on the world today.

Through the middle of January, GE Reports was seeing three hundred thousand unique visitors. For any type of brand marketing site that is a huge number and although that represents a single month, GE has the potential to do it again, since they have done it before. Their power comes both from the way they build their content and the places they market it. Maybe email marketing isn’t such a thing of the past after all.

What Does GE Do That Others Don’t?

GE has forgotten about the old-style press release that so many larger brand marketing professionals stick to as the gospel. By avoiding this method of interaction with the audience, they are able to reach further and to capture a larger, more attentive readership. Their style of writing is different, more engaging than that of their competitors. The information they present is accurate and timely. All of these contribute to having a loyal readership with thousands of subscriptions and hundreds of thousands of readers on a monthly basis. Whatever they are doing, even though it’s not traditionally brand marketing, is certainly working for them, according to Contently.

4 Things that GE Does You Can Do, Too

If you’re looking to build a better brand marketing image then you should really consider how these have worked for GE so far:

  1. Know your audience and write for them.
  2. Create high quality content.
  3. Don’t confine your marketing aims to social media, but rather branch out.
  4. Build a loyal readership and user base to fall back on.

GE has a plan that has made it one of the most successful brands in the world.

By building on their success and patterning yourself after them there is no way that you can fail to achieve the same sort of results. All it takes is dedication to the goal and the time to see it through.

Photo credit: Mashable.com

marketing and branding

What’s The Real Difference Between Marketing and Branding Content?

Marketing and branding are two of the major buzzwords that we use in the industry. The confusing part is that non-industry professionals often mix up branding and marketing and use the terms interchangeably. There is a distinct difference between marketing and branding that can be easily explained. Before we jump into the differences we need to understand what each term means on its own. Both of them are powerful means of spreading information, but both have their own specific uses. Let’s clear up some misconceptions about the terms before we delve any further into their inherent differences.

What is Branding?

Branding is the process by which you reduce a company’s reputation to a single word. A brand is an easily recognizable representation of the particular company. Something that resonates with the user so that at a glance they know what they’re dealing with. Branding gives personality to a company and attaches an attribute to the company that appeals to the demographic of its core audience. Thus, companies such as Toyota are known for their reliability or Volvo is known for their safety records. Each of these brands have built their brands into easily recognizable traits that allow them to appeal to their customers in a unique way. It makes their business into more than just another faceless entity.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is a blanket statement that covers all forms of interaction with the customer as well as utilizing models in order to develop targeted advertising to reach out to a specific type of consumer. Marketing incorporates all forms of advertisement. In addition to this, marketing also deals with understanding the consumer or the audience and developing ways to utilize this deeper understanding.

Where do Branding and Marketing Meet?

Because these two disciplines are concerned with getting information out to the customer, they must meet at some level. Marketing and branding are both different facets of the overall content development strategy for a company. Your marketing should incorporate branding into it in order for you to cultivate customer loyalty. Branding allows you to represent your company in a certain light and build off the information that is gained by marketing. On the other side of the coin, marketing allows you to build a rapport with your audience and introduce them to your branded theme. These concepts go hand in hand, but they are not interchangeable.

What is the Major Difference between Marketing and Branding Then?

In a word, marketing is tactical whereas branding is strategic. I know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t tactical and strategic the same thing?” No, they aren’t, as Kissmetrics points out. Marketing is where the brand is presented and it contributes to overall branding. However, long after the marketing campaign has been exhausted the brand loyalty will remain. This is where branding and marketing part ways.

When we say that marketing is tactical, we mean that it deals with getting its payload of information delivered. It doesn’t try to shape the user’s long-term feelings towards the product, it simply gets in and convinces the customer of the benefits. Branding, on the other hand, seeks to embrace a more long-term view of the customer. By strategic leverage of the brand, we can eventually call upon the customer’s loyalty to the brand in order to close a sale. But this is something that requires you to give back to the customer. You need to cultivate your brand image in such a way that the customer associates an idea with your brand.

How Marketing Works Alongside Branding To Build Business

Do you remember those old TV shows where there would be a sleeper agent that needs a secret code to “activate” them? Marketing is a little like that. It discovers and “activates” buyers, encouraging them to close sales. Branding goes one step further by making those buyers into loyal customers. One of the most common examples of this is the market for Apple products. Apple has made an art out of branding and this has carried over into products in many different branches of the electronics industry.

Taking a look at the Apple target demographic, we see that their aim was to produce a product that was sold solely for its importance as a status symbol. Thus, their marketing spread the message that apple products are available, but the branded apple product was joined by its numerous sister products that fall under the brand. When the consumer sees Apple now, then it’s understood that they are paying for Apple’s reputation as something that the cool, the chic and the hip use.

Building brand loyalty is what branding does and by making loyal customers out of your one-time buyers, you develop a ready market and audience that are willing and eager to receive your content.

Which One is a Better Investment?

Both marketing and branding are good investments and have their own type of returns. Marketing can easily be done wrong and if so, it can become a money sink into which a lot of cash if poured but the returns are mediocre. Well-researched marketing gives great returns on investment but the success of the campaign depends as much on the amount of effort put into it as the amount of money. The returns are, of course, seen in conversions and sales. Branding, because of its status as a long-term investment, is usually easier to adjust as time goes by. Catastrophic failures in branding do occur, but these are usually due to bad planning as opposed a lack of funding. The return you get from branding is customer loyalty, something that can be leveraged over and over again. Marketing is necessary to make branding work, but your real benefit comes from having a loyal customer base to call on when releasing new products.

Development of a User Base

Not so far back, probably less than five years ago, a large volume of the marketing community was involved in “renting” their target demographic. They worked from the start of their campaign and then built it to the point where their customers would be converted through their methods. This method had middling success, but at the time was hailed as revolutionary. No need to hang around after the sale, no need to contact the client after the sale is done, and no follow up action to ensure that the client buys from the company again.

We have changed out outlook on how we interact with customers. Having a loyal following is far better for a company than simply renting an audience. Borrowing your audience means you have to return them to oblivion someday and that makes whatever effort you throw into a marketing campaign targeting these customers a moot point. Combining branding along with your marketing is how you retain these customers as a loyal following.

In addition to this, when you have a retained customer base, you create a series of customers that help to spread your brand. That’s utilizing earned media to its fullest. When a customer makes a statement that you put onto your website or blog about a particular product, the consumer has learned to take these with a grain of salt. However, when such a statement is made directly to them, it carries a whole lot more weight and can even convince them to buy your product. What you’re doing by cultivating a brand is creating a series of “brand evangelists” that spread the word about your products without you having to invest any extra time into getting the word out.

Giving Back To The User

The number one thing that you should be looking at from your branding and marketing perspective is to give back to the user. Recently, GE’s blog, GE Reports, was featured as one of the leaders in branding because of their unique approach. What GE does is to provide information to the clients, thereby focusing on a target demographic of people interested in science. This ties in well with GE’s vision of itself as a leader in technology and innovation. By providing content that appeals to their target demographic, GE is tapping into this set of users and cultivating them as a ready market for new, innovative products.

Interspersed with their scientific updates and news in the field of technology, GE Reports also allows GE to tap directly into their fan base with their advertising. GE has always been considered a leader in the world of technology and innovation, but it’s only recently that the everyday person could look at GE and associate their brand with something like this. That’s the power of what GE Reports does, and what targeted blogging in the name of branding can do for your business.

Branding Is The Way To Go

Marketing is necessary, we don’t doubt that. However, marketing by itself can’t develop an audience that is receptive to your message. Branding is what makes your audience interested in your message and prevents you from having to reinvent the wheel every time you develop marketing content. Use your marketing to develop your branding but don’t ever forget the distinction between them. This difference is important to define both terms as well as to figure out what you plan to accomplish with each. There are many companies out there that are skilled in creating content for both marketing and branding purposes. If you intend to develop your branding professionally, this is the direction you should be headed.

Photo credit: sjenner13 / iStock

throwing money away

Not Investing In Copywriting Services Is Wasting Money

When companies establish their websites and work on promoting their brand, they spend money on everything except copywriting services. For some reason these services are at the bottom of the to-do list, yet they’re one of the most important branding tools a company could ever use.
 

Your Copywriting Haste Means Company Waste

 
Think of your favorite brands. What is it that makes you interested in them? Most likely it’s their awesome taglines, catchy content, and unique play on words. Obviously, these companies paid for professional copywriting services.

A lot of brands, however, don’t pay enough attention to the copywriting that markets their company, and this is unfortunate.
Today content marketing is crucial to attracting and sustaining customers; therefore, brands need to shift their attention from other marketing tactics and start spending it on content. If you’re not using copywriting services to market your company, you’re losing out on potential business.

 

#5. Copywriters Get It

Copywriters are real people. They have no affiliation with your product, no passion for your product and they weren’t there to build your product from the ground up. This is a good thing! They come from the outside perspective, and by taking on that perspective; they can communicate to a customer who is on the same side of the wall.

Copywriting services can tell a customer what you do, why you’re better at it, and why the customer should chose you over the other guys. They don’t use abstract reasoning – they use campaigns that deliver your message to the public.

 

Copywriters are skilled at delivering messages that are succinct and to the point, which produces results.

 

#4. Your Content Needs Help

Copywriters are writers. Writing is a skill and niche for them that comes naturally. They don’t have to force the words on paper (or screen) — it comes easily to them. By hiring a copywriting service, you’ll get a writer who can generate content that packs a powerful message and persuades readers to take action, but also you’ll get content that enhances your brand.

With Google having such a high emphasis on high-quality copy, it’s imperative your quality is better than the rest of the similar companies out there. High quality copy is what drives readers to convert into customers and a copywriting service has employees the writers who have that persuasive touch.

Copywriting, contrary to popular belief, isn’t just writing. Writers don’t just mash sentences together—they draft compelling content that gets the attention of readers, embeds product benefits into the readers’ minds and attracts your target audience.

Copywriting services stay up to date on the latest advertising and industry trends, customer behavior and what content marketing strategies actually work. They also understand how search engines rank websites and can tailor their content accordingly (for more information on how websites are ranked, visit this article by SearchEngineWatch.com). They deliver sales-driven copy that can attract your ideal customer. And, copywriters do this on a day-to-day basis — something you or your staff is unlikely to brag about. Therefore, they practice their skill and can hone in on techniques that you can only get from years of practice.

 

#3. You Need Consistency

Copywriters are consistent. They can generate content that appeals to your audience but also helps develop the appeal of your specific brand. After all, a brand is all about its personality, which means content needs to be written in a unified voice that promotes that brand. As long as customers read a consistent message and note a consistent personality, they’ll continue to follow a brand.

Copywriting services can revamp your entire website and all of your printed content so that it has a uniform personality and voice. This promotes your brand and helps customers connect with your company better.

 

#2. You Need to Enhance Your SEO

SEO is important, and often when a website generates its content, it either focuses on SEO or writes content — but rarely does a website have a healthy mix of both. Copywriting services not only provide your website with high-quality content, but they can integrate much-needed SEO so that your site is attractive to readers and search engines alike.

Copywriting services can integrate your targeted keywords into your content naturally, even difficult words, so that your content is reader-friendly.

 

#1. You’re Wasting Your Time and Money Writing Your Own Content

Sure, you might think you’re saving a bundle writing your own content, but when you stop and think about it, you’re not saving much. If you’re like some companies you’re actually spending more money writing your own content. How so?

A great copywriting service writes content that sells. Bottom line. If you cannot educate and sell a product to your customers with the content you’ve just written, then you just wasted time and money on a useless piece of content.

In addition, search engines require high-quality content. That means no grammar errors, spelling mistakes or improper use of keywords. If you’ve copied work from other sites, you will notice a significant drop in your search engine rankings. In addition, search engines look for value. Therefore, you have to be creative with your content and offer something readers can’t find sprinkled all over the Internet already.

With the release of Google Panda, a lot of websites (including sites like WiseGeek.com and Examiner.com) were dinged for poor-quality content. See a full list here at Search Engine Watch. These sites had poor-quality content, repeated information and even some copied information. If your site has committed any of these errors, it can be difficult to recover and cost you much more than it would have to hire a copywriting service from the get-go.

Bottom line, professional copywriting services save your organization time and money. They promote your products to the people you want buying your products. If you’re not using a copywriting service on your website, you might just find you’re losing money compared to the competition using copywriters.

expert copywriter

Reflecting Your Brand With An Expert Copywriter

Sleek, creative, understated: your business copy needs to be up to par before it’s published.

Your first impression with clients is crucial, especially on the internet!

Any content published under your company’s brand is a reflection of your business’ products, services and standards of excellence. Once published, your content will be somewhere on the web indefinitely.

Most business owners and their staff members aren’t adept expert copywriters, and shouldn’t be expected to be. Businesses sometimes neglect to hire professionals. As a result, the written content for product descriptions, blog posts, website content, etc. is of an unprofessional quality.

Why Hire an Expert Copywriter?

The best way to ensure your company puts its best face forward is to hire an experienced, expert copywriter.

Expertise In Many Areas

Many expert copywriters spend years studying psychology, communications, sociology, marketing and the English language.

By studying sociology and psychology, copywriters are able to understand typical thought processes and are able to recognize your demographics’ buying behavior.

Not only will they speak to your reader directly, but they do so in a language that is easy to understand, fun to read and interesting. A well trained expert writer can influence individual or group behavior with well-placed, action oriented sentences and carefully selected adjectives.

Marketing knowledge and communications skills give copywriters the ability to appeal to target groups, hold their attention, qualify your product or service and convert readers into buyers, all while coming across as professional, intelligent and convincing. Formatting is just as important as language, and professional copywriters are well versed in writing within certain marketing formats and publishing standards.

From beauty topics to law and the transportation industry to health, talented copywriters are capable of researching, writing and performing minor edits on nearly any topic. Broad spectrum copywriting services include blog posts, social media snippets, investigative articles, content creation and more. Writers are able to speak through their writing in a voice appropriate for publication via any platform you choose.

A Skill For The Brave (of Pen)

Copywriting with finesse and intrigue isn’t a skill that can be learned overnight. Attention, interest, desire and action must be conveyed in order to hook, hold the attention and incite action within the confines of the readers’ minds.

Most importantly, a high quality copywriter tells a story. We know that reading is viewed by some demographic groups as work.

A good story written by a writer with passion for their craft is difficult to put down and leaves the reader wanting more.

There should be a connection or subconscious connotation between the desire for more being resolved by buying your product or hiring your services.

Conclusion

Indeed, copywriting is a craft most business owners should not attempt alone.

We employ passionate, talented, dedicated writing professionals who are ready and waiting to meet your business needs.

To learn more about what our expert copywriters can do for you, contact us today!