Most business owners see content marketing (especially blogging) as a strategy for generating organic traffic and raising product or brand awareness. However, many marketers forget that content marketing also plays a role in shaping a company’s success. After all, if a significant portion of potential buyers discovers a brand’s products through published content, it’s easy to conclude that this form of marketing also impacts how those buyers perceive the brand in question.
In other words, the type of content you publish through your chosen distribution channels directly impacts the way your target audience sees your brand.
With this in mind, the next logical question is: if content shapes brand perception, is there a way to use it for brand positioning? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” So, if you’re interested in employing content marketing to position your brand in your industry, here are the best ways you can do so.
Utilizing Content to Display Expertise
One of the best ways to employ content marketing to contribute to your business’ success is to do so in a way that positions your brand as having expertise in your field of work. This is immensely important when trying to engage audiences in the top stage of the sales funnel, seeing that consumer trust is steadily declining year after year.
According to a recent consumer survey from Salesforce, 88% of buyers consider brand trustworthiness and credibility to be deciding factors when deciding what to purchase. Moreover, the same report found that 71% of consumers switched brands in 2021, which shows that people are actively looking for better deals and higher quality products and are not afraid to take risks to get those.
This data may seem worrying, especially for new brands trying to break into competitive niches. However, the good news is that well-produced content can easily position a business as having expertise (even when that content has a strong sales angle).
For example, something as elementary as a buyer’s guide that reviews several different products, like the one below about adjustable beds from Sleep Junkie, has the potential to show that your company knows its field inside and out. Furthermore, it can prove that your brand is prepared to share its industry know-how with its audience, with the goal of helping buyers solve their pain points more efficiently.
Or, for a slightly different approach to proving expertise through content marketing, check out the Todoist company blog.
This brand regularly publishes posts discussing remote work and teamwork. And by doing so, it is actively investing in building topical authority. So, every time a potential customer searches for terms like “teamwork,” “remote work,” or “async work,” they’re likely to see one of Todoist’s articles in the top three positions on Google.
Obviously, this benefits the brand in terms of maximizing organic traffic. Plus, over time, the brand’s commitment to building topical authority also ensures that audiences start associating expertise in these fields with the brand itself. (For example, consider how consumers think about Gillette when they think about blades or Pepsi when they think about soft drinks). And consequently, this has a positive impact on conversions, as it increases the chances of potential customers choosing Todoist over its competitors.
Showing Customers That You Understand Their Pain Points
Another way to utilize content marketing to ensure your target audience sees your brand in a positive light is to do so to show empathy.
According to a study conducted by Adobe in March 2022:
- As many as 76% of consumers say that it is essential for brands to show they can see things from their customers’ perspectives, understand buyer pain points, and care about their client’s priorities.
- 58% of buyers will stop purchasing from a brand that does not provide valuable personal experiences.
- And, perhaps most importantly, 72% of people (predominantly Gen Z and Millennials) say that relevant content delivered at the right moment plays a significant role in boosting trust and helping brands demonstrate empathy.
From this data, it’s clear to conclude that finding ways to utilize content marketing to show your brand has an in-depth understanding of customer pain points is hyper-relevant in today’s world. Especially if you can do so by going into detail, showing you care about delivering exceptional customer experiences, and offering value that is not provided by your competition.
For an excellent example of a brand that makes its potential customers heard, understood, and valued, check out Kuru Footwear. This is a brand whose content marketing strategy relies on covering, in detail, a variety of different consumer pain points.
The page below, which discusses heel spurs, includes valuable information about the medical condition. It explains the causes and symptoms of heel pain. It provides helpful facts and statistics. It discusses treatment options. And it (subtly) positions Kuru Footwear’s products that target this specific consumer pain point.
Using Content to Establish Reliability
You’ve probably heard the piece of advice saying your business should always underpromise and overdeliver. And the reason the recommendation is so widely known is that it’s true.
The way your content represents your brand plays a substantial role in how your customers perceive your organization. Use content to show that you’re dependable, reliable, and predictable, and you’ll match (or exceed) their expectations. And they’ll love you for it. Disappoint, and what’s most likely to happen is that your customers will share that disappointment with their peers.
But how, exactly, can you utilize content marketing for expectation management and proving your brand’s reliability? Well, it turns out that it’s not that difficult.
For example, something as elementary as ensuring that your evergreen content is up to date will communicate that your organization is constantly working on improving the resources meant to solve customer pain points. Check out how Ultimate Meal Plans’ guide to meal prep containers includes a “last updated” message to show that the article is recent and relevant in 2022.
Similarly, having a predictable posting schedule can help you position your brand as reliable in your audience’s eyes. This is why organizations like Slow Growth, for example, always tell readers when they can expect new content to be published (and delivered to their email inbox).
Finally, if you’re looking for the ultimate way to build trust and show your potential buyers that they can always depend on your brand (even if your business doesn’t profit from the interaction), use content marketing.
Brands like Transparent Labs do this exceptionally well by publishing articles that provide helpful information that solves customer pain points without being overly promotional about their own products. The nutrition brand manages this delicate balancing act even when publishing content that is specifically about supplements.
The restraint they show in articles like their Ultimate Guide to Best Pre-Workout Ingredients is extremely admirable. And it goes a long way towards generating goodwill and credibility for their brand. Readers understand that the main objective of the post is to provide information, not to sell.
The brand achieves this feat by doing two things. Firstly, it uses language that doesn’t create sales pressure. When discussing the various products that are available to the readers, each is presented in a sober, objective way, with product information being prioritized over generic marketing-speak.
Secondly, the post does a great job of showing objectivity. While the brand’s own products do feature, the writer doesn’t obviously position them as better than their competitors. There’s a very obvious lack of bias which is an immense boost for the brand’s credibility.
Using Content to Prove You Value Your Existing Customers
When deciding what items to invest in, buyers may opt for the best deal, most convenient payment option, or fastest shipping. But when it comes to repeat purchases, they will always shop with the businesses that make them feel valued. This is why it’s so essential for your brand to show both your new and existing customers that you appreciate them.
And it turns out that content can help you showcase your commitment to delivering continuously exceptional customer experiences. Generally speaking, there are two ways you can do this.
On the one hand, you can choose the more traditional strategy and reserve a section of your company blog for customer stories. This is what Shopify does. The SaaS brand regularly publishes insightful interviews with successful ecommerce business owners, thus showing that it cares about customers reaching their goals.
On the other hand, you can do something more advanced and produce content that doesn’t just show your commitment to helping your customers but actually instructs your buyers on how to get more out of their purchase. This proves that you care about more than just a sale and helps build a brand image that shows your dedication to customer satisfaction.
Hive, for example, does this by creating an entire Hive Univesity section non its website, where it publishes content intended to teach users to get more out of their subscription. So, the Set Up Your Workspace course includes six 20-minute instructional videos, each covering a specific product feature and teaching existing customers how to use them to their benefit.
Last but not least, if you’re looking for ways to use content marketing to shape brand perception (in a positive way), don’t forget to acknowledge that how your content looks directly impacts how your customers see you.
In other words, don’t underestimate the role of beautiful design and high information quality in ensuring your target audience sees your brand in a positive light.
According to research, first impressions on the web are formed in as little as 50 milliseconds. So your content (which is often the first thing your target audience will see from your brand) must represent your organization in a positive light. In addition to paying attention to aesthetically pleasing design, ensure that your published content is easy to read, contains lots of original and helpful information, and presents your products organically without being aggressively sales-y.
For inspiration on how you can achieve this effect, check out the Hubspot blog, which attracts target audiences with valuable industry insights, actionable advice, beautifully designed reports, and content that is always fresh and up-to-date.
Looking at the brand’s State of Marketing Report, it’s easy to conclude that readers will find value in the content and, more importantly, form a positive brand perception. This is all thanks to the fact that the information in the document is presented with attention to detail.
Even though shaping brand perception through content marketing may seem like a far-fetched idea, experience shows that what, where, and how you publish definitely affects how your audience sees your brand.
So don’t settle for shooting blanks in the dark and simply hoping that your content marketing efforts will deliver the results you’re after. Instead, do your best to invest in producing and distributing content that will represent your company in a positive light. Your company blog is a great place to start. But, of course, you should never limit yourself to a single distribution channel.
Instead, do your best to experiment with new content formats (like videos and podcasts). Optimize every single piece of content you publish, and not just so that it’s visible on Google. Proper optimization will help you ensure that your content successfully matches user intent, provides readers with the information they want, and leaves a positive impression on first-time web visitors.