Who are we? No, it’s not some kind of weird existential musing, but the question every brand should be asking themselves. Who are we? What image do we want to project to potential customers? What do we offer them? Thousands, if not millions, of pounds are spent by brands across the world answering these questions through careful social and search strategies, impactful design, and innovative web builds. But there’s something somewhat simpler that can have an equally important, though often overlooked, impact: brand content.
High quality branded content is often overlooked by brands in favour of more elaborate and glamorous content. It’s hardly a surprise, really. When weighing up the pros and cons of diverting budget into brand copy or high profile campaigns, alluring competitions, and social activity, the latter three almost always win because they’re the most compelling and exciting options, and therefore the most obvious candidates to generate views and increase engagement. There’s no competition really.
But while branded content won’t draw consumers to your site in their droves, it performs a number of key functions that makes it an utterly indispensable element of your brand site’s make-up. These roles are listed below.
It offers always-on content
Campaigns, competitions, and activations are great at generating peaks of interest and should, of course, always play a part in any strategy, but they are by their very nature short-term. They pique interest over a certain period of time, and then end, along with visits to the site and all the other benefits they brought. Always-On content eliminates that problem and offers a regular point of interest that consumers can keep returning to.
It negates damaging false information
The internet is a haven for false information, whether spread intentionally or accidentally, and it’s important for brands to negate this. Research suggests that internet users are keen to find reliable sources of information, and there are few places more reliable than a brand website. By offering clear, concise information about the brand in an easily accessible place on your website, you are giving consumers what they want and covertly acting to negate any false information that may be around.
It’s good for SEO
It’s always been true that optimised copy is good for SEO, but with recent introductions made by Google over the last year or two, it’s become even more significant. Google’s pushing of the Knowledge Graph and Answer Box makes brand content even more significant as it gives brand sites the best chance of appearing prominently for both. It’s particularly true of the Answer Box, which generates a concise answer to a question that the user types in based on content from the site Google deems most relevant. The more information you can add to your brand’s site to answer questions about it, the more chance you have of appearing in these Answer Boxes and pulling in relevant traffic.
Consumers look for origin
History has become more important than ever to brands, with consumers placing a heavy emphasis on brand origin. It’s what sells brand trust and gives the clearest indication of quality. “Consumers value authenticity and will gladly pay a premium when the brand’s connections to origin run deep,” Zane Radcliff argues. “…We put provenance before price and availability when shopping for food and drink. ‘Made In’, ‘Made By’ and ‘Made Since’ all matter.” The same can be said for a strong brand page, which can concisely and engagingly put across all this information and more. Brand content isn’t just a chance to shout about your history then, but an effective sales tool.
Best in Class
Brand content doesn’t have to mean boring content. There are a number of brands out there creating engaging, multi-media brand content that still ticks all the necessary boxes for SEO. A few of the best examples are below…
Leading the way, as it so often does, is Coca-Cola. Thanks to its rich history, Coca-Cola has been able to craft a detailed corporate site that features an in-depth and engaging History section. Featuring an overview, a Heritage page, and an area dedicated to its world-famous advertising campaigns, this section is engaging, colourful, and emphatic about the long-standing quality of the brand. It does all this while also filling the page with relevant copy about the brand to satisfy Google algorithms and to do everything possible to ensure that Coca-Cola’s official pages will appear highly in the search rankings when searched for.
Taking a more visual approach, Heineken has created an interactive video page that allows users to “create their own Heineken story”. Though there’s very little copy on this page (so it will have limited impact on SEO) content such as this is innovative and exciting enough to act as an always-on point of engagement. Consumers will visit the site just to play with this video creator, which will help boost traffic, and due to the level of user involvement it requires, engagement. Moreover, it puts across an image of the brand as innovative and exciting, therefore helping push brand values in a subtle fashion.
Blending rich copy with interactivity, Peroni has delivered the best of both worlds. Channelling its reputation as a premium quality world beer, the Peroni site features a range of written content, including serving suggestions and a visually presented heritage timeline that gives consumers an appreciation of where the brand has come from and how it plays into their modern-day values. Adding multi-media to the mix, Peroni has also included a handful of videos which help convey brand values in sound and vision, as well as through writing. It makes for a powerful site, both for the consumer and for search engines.
Brand content is not the be all and end all of a website, but it’s a vital part of the mix that’s all-too-often overlooked. Good brand content allows you to put your best foot forward, give consumers correct and reliable information, and compete strongly in search. You know who you are – so why not tell the world?
Do you want to unlock the potential of branded content? If you’re looking for support, why not contact our team of content marketing experts to see how we can help? Let us know in the comments below or via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+, we’d love to hear from you!
If you found this article interesting, you may want to find out more about how to create content with consumer science in mind. Simply click on the image below to read more