Does your content reek of sales pitch?
As we’ve discussed before, when customers get a whiff of content that's all about you, they run in the other direction. In fact, Forbes columnist Christine Comaford calls “content that’s too branded” the No. 1 mistake marketers make. Content should be natural, objective and unbiased, and provide value to your audience. In other words, don't make it all about you.
Here some guidelines to follow to avoid the costly mistake of “overbranding”:
1. Solve problems.
The most valuable content, from a customer standpoint, offers solutions. Start with customers’ paint points. How can you help them solve these problems? Recognize what values your company has in common with its customers and form content around those values and objectives.
2. Don't go logo crazy.
Place your logo inconspicuously, just once. Remember than font, color, style and tone can be used just as well to convey brand, without hitting folks over the head with it. As Comaford writes, anything that “looks like a traditional ad will be responded to like a traditional ad.” In other words, it will not engage audiences.
3. Use independent research to bolster credibility.
Third-party content is generally perceived as more reliable than company-branded content. A recent study by Starfleet Media found that 89 percent of marketers have this perception, while 76 percent agree that third-party research generally produces better-quality leads than company-branded content. This is especially important for B2B: A report released by the CMO Council last year implied that B2B buyers trust third-party content more than vendor-branded content.
As with any good relationship, the customer-brand relationship needs balance. Genuinely engaging with audiences means offering information of value and diligently editing out any content that comes across as too self-serving.
Don't worry, taking yourself out of the content picture doesn't mean that your prospects won't know anything about your company. In fact, when it's done right, content marketing actually creates more knowledgeable prospects than traditional marketing methods.