We all know that using thought leadership in your marketing to reach your audience is paramount in 2021. It’s how we empathize with our customers and show that we understand them. It’s how we establish authority and create relevance to our service or offering.
Ultimately, it’s how we build our tribe of followers — by providing value, consistently, all while choosing to stay authentic and ‘keep it real’.
Easier said than done, but it doesn’t have to be a herculean lift. In fact, by taking a minimalist approach, we can almost certainly create a marketing engine that is not only manageable but scalable.
4 ways to educate your audience and build your brands’ tribe
Be articulate and straightforward with you message
With endless clutter from all types of media, the aim is to be crystal clear and focused. By taking an almost minimal approach, we’re enforcing only the strongest, most concise message gets put out there. This will keep us positioned as we want to be as well as cut out any room for ambiguity or vagueness.
As Donald Miller, CEO of Storybrand says, “if you confuse, you lose,” and this is the approach we take with every client. Keeping the message simple, where every word has a meaning, we can help our clients provide maximum value in the least amount of content possible.
Data and UX research continues to point towards the “over-content” of most brands and websites. Too many words trying to explain a confusing offering coupled with too many (or not enough) calls to action is usually mixed with bad font and color hierarchy. Making the case for what we’re referring to as a “hot mess brand”. But there’s a solution (see endnote).
Focus on content that adds value
Taking an education-first approach to content creation, we must make it our purpose to only provide valuable content and not regurgitated “me too” content that only adds to what I’m referring to as “media clutter.”
As I’ve shared in previous columns, the formula for creating value is reliability + delight = trust. By being consistent with our clear message, and only wanting to share content that we know our audience is looking for, we can then continue to carve our differentiated space amongst our competitors and begin to amass our tribe.
Deliver where they live
The AV community loves Twitter, but is that where your ideal client is? Perhaps if you’re a manufacturer, but if you’re an integrator looking for end-users, it may not be the best place. We need to understand where our audience hangs out on the web and become comfortable there.
Perhaps you’re really interested in doing business with cannabis brands and their in-store experience, the first step would be to map their content consumption points and craft a strategy to create + distribute content in the manner that is best for them, keeping in mind that they’re probably not where you’d like them to be.
This is where the trusty marketing mix comes into play. By mapping all the content end-points in addition to the types of content, we can create a matrix to ensure we’re creating the right types of content and delivering in the most attractive way.
Combat clutter with frequency
Create one, distribute forever is a saying that has become more and more relevant in recent years. The rate of technological change, especially with social media, has only increased clutter. It’s everywhere and there’s no end in sight. The only way to combat it is to ensure you’re not adding to the clutter.
With the right message being delivered on the right platform, it’s time to create a cadence of frequency. Taking a piece of content and slicing it up to include multiple formats is not only really smart but also uber-effective.
A podcast episode can just be shared as 1 piece of content (the podcast episode), or, it could be multiple pieces of content: (1) 10-min podcast episode = (8) 1-minute clips, (16) 30-second clips, (4-5) written posts, (4-5) IG posts, etc… When you look at content through the eyes of frequency and distribution, the task of creating becomes less daunting and more focused on only creating value.
And creating value is the ultimate goal to ensuring you’re positioned properly to your audience, especially as we’re actively changing the narrative from “just create content” to “create a few EPIC pieces of content and distribute them in multiple ways.”
The End Note
All this doesn’t happen without a solid brand strategy. It’s the common thread between your business goals and marketing outputs. It’s what customers are aligning with. You might be able to get some quick wins with distribution of your current content, but ultimately to succeed, you have to stay consistent and focused on the activities that matter.
I can talk about the importance of brand strategy until the cows come home (what does that actually even mean?), but ultimately, in order to achieve your goals, you must have a brand strategy to inform your web, digital, content, and general marketing strategy.
It’s the ecosystem that modern-day businesses are built on.
[Originally published, June 2021 Publication, Sound & Communications Magazine]