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Published October 16th 2017

Best Practices: Using Content Marketing to Shape Corporate Reputation

Content marketing expert Pius Boachie shares his five top tips for using content marketing to enhance your brand's reputation

So many factors are considered by customers before making a transaction. Exposure to commercials and ads can contribute, but what ultimately drives the customer’s decision-making process is their perception of a brand.

These perceptions can be shaped as a result of online research, customer reviews, and recommendations from a group of trusted friends or a combination of all, leading to a buying decision when they have reached a contented level of justification for a brand.

So, what can you as a business owner do to control or influence your perceived corporate reputation?

Content marketing.

The importance and significance of content marketing, now and in the future can be summarized by these Zyxware statistics:

  • Nearly 80% of small businesses use content marketing, especially social media, to draw new customers.
  • By 2019, it is predicted that companies will spend up to 50% of their marketing budget on digital investment.
  • The customer conversion rate of organizations that implement content marketing is about six times higher than those who do not.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use content marketing to shape your business corporate reputation.

#1. Grow your reputation and influence using LinkedIn

According to an Oktopost study, over 80 percent of social B2B leads come from LinkedIn. This is huge when compared to the 12.73 percent from Twitter and the 6.73 percent from Facebook.

By focusing on the needs of your customers via LinkedIn, your marketing efforts will be more effective in building a powerful reputation for your business.

Keep in mind, content marketing is not the same as advertising; while it’s quite tempting to market and sell your products and services the traditional way, it’s the fastest way to get ignored, get tagged for spam filter or look at unsubscribed numbers go up.

Nobody really wants to hear the hard sell. It will make you lose trust and become suspicious in the eyes of your clients and contacts. Therefore, avoid the lure of the direct hard sell and focus on delivering quality content that caters to the needs of your target audience.

An example I like this is article by Jason Miller, 6 B2C Companies Killing It with Content on LinkedIn, including 20th Century Fox, Secret Deodorant, Target, Starbucks, Amazon and Sony Music Entertainment.

 #2. Leverage video

Blogging is an effective way of guiding leads down the sales funnel and turning them into brand advocates. But, have you seen the magic of video content marketing? Check out these video results and ROI, according to Wyzowl video marketing statistics,

  • 88% of businesses say that video is an important part of their marketing strategy.
  • 76% of businesses who use video believe that it provides a good ROI.
  • 93% of businesses who use video believe that it has increased user understanding of their product or service.
  • 72% of businesses who use video believe that it has improved the conversion rate of their website.
  • 62% of businesses who use video believe that video has increased the amount of organic traffic they receive.
  • 64% of businesses who use video believe that it has directly led to increased sales.

 According to Cisco’s 2014 Visual Networking Index, video traffic is anticipated to rise up to 80 percent of all traffic on the internet by 2019.

 In a digitized world, where the attention span of the average human is lesser than a goldfish, integrating video into your content marketing strategy will not only boost engagement but shape customer perception of your business.

Brands such as GM and Netflix have leveraged the power of video to reach targeted audiences for marketing purposes or rendering apologies.

For example, when Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings hiked the prices of their service and tried to change the name of a DVD delivery service, he had to go on video to tender an apology – which luckily was well received -resulting in an increase in brand perception and boosting its ailing stock price.

Moreover, videos appeal to mobile users and build trust. Video and mobile go hand in hand. 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video, according to MWP.

Given that people like to watch videos on the go, and the number of smartphone users is increasing, your video viewers keep increasing.

Trust is the basis of conversion and sales. 57% of consumers say that videos gave them more confidence to buy online.

#3. Utilize your business website

With new technology and social media platforms constantly being introduced, we have seen websites content marketing taking the back seat while businesses focus on expanding their online presence across different social media platforms. What is then the significance of a business website?

When a prospective client is interested in the product or services your business is offering, there is an 81 percent chance that they will search online for a website with adequate information.

According to a study conducted by MineWhat.com, Eighty-one percent of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Sixty percent begins by using a search engine to find the products they want, and 61 percent will read product reviews before making any purchase.”

A professional website with targeted quality contents will portray your business as a legitimate and an established brand that your audience can begin to believe in. Even if your business is a two-man show, a website with great content will portray you as a business that has a team of experts behind it.

To optimize your website content for search engines, it’s advisable to get a domain name that aligns with your brand. This will make your business more visible on Google and other search engines while bringing in new clients through organic search.

#4. User targeted content

For any piece of content to be effective, it has to be personalized to speak to a specific audience (prospective buyer), with a specific need, at a specific point in their buying journey. Your content has to have targeted message that reflects a profound understanding of who your audience is. 

To produce user-targeted content, you must ensure a suitable message to guide your audience through every step in their buying journey. For case in point, based on the level your audience is in their buying process, you should create content that:

  • Raises awareness
  • Promotes discovery
  • Fosters comparisons
  • Encourages a sale.

For starters, cut back on promotions and invest more in a user-targeted marketing content that gives value to your audience. For content to be useful and successful, it has to speak to a customer and personalized to meet a specific need or educate the customer. Each article, video, podcast, and infographic must reflect your understanding of your audience and their buying habits.

To shape organizational reputation through targeted content, publish articles that educate customers on your value proposition, attract attention, encourage sales and contain your business voice.

How you communicate with your customers determine their reception towards your offers, case studies can be offered to first-timers, testimonials from repeat customers in your sales funnel, etc.

 In recap, targeted content across multiple marketing channels can shape a corporate reputation, but this requires consistency, creativity and a dedicated marketing team. A perfect example is Hubspot.  Hubspot became a go-to resource for marketers through a consistent blogging schedule and distributing resources to educate their audience.

#5. Use case studies

Case studies are incredibly important assets when it comes to establishing evidence that what you’re offering is helpful and of high-quality.

According to Content Marketing Institute, U.K. marketers make use of 12 different marketing strategies on average. Case studies were reported as being the fifth most popular after social media content, newsletters, blogs, and website articles. In addition, the CMI also reports that 63% of UK marketers consider case studies as an effective marketing strategy.

Consider a case study as an extension of a testimonial. You can use it to elaborate on a client’s problem and give details on how your business provided a solution. This will demonstrate your business efficiency, and will show prospective clients what they should expect should they choose to patronize your business.

A case study is a pretty easy concept that yields many benefits for your business, including helping to create a good reputation for your brand.

Case studies are exceptional in their ability to give prospective clients get comprehensive details on the benefits of purchasing your product or service, thus reducing indecision.

Let’s consider the following companies who were able to use case studies to improve their brand reputation and the positive effects on their business:

Although these are big corporations, they used case studies to prove their significance to prospective customers and beyond.

While prospective clients can relate to the problem with IT systems and marketing, the companies are presenting solutions while promoting their products and services at the same time.

And to wrap up…

Building up your brand reputation through content marketing is an ongoing process.

Quality content marketing can help you influence customers perception and also to position your business outwardly as an industry expert in your industry.

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