Trends and influencers can play a significant role in content gaining traction, but it's all about blending what works for the client and what the audience wants to making a lasting impression. We chatted with Grace Farag, Associate Creative Director at RAPP, about content bridging the gap between audience and brand, and how to practice diligence in choosing the right marketing relationships.
Content is the bridge between you and your audience. How do you anticipate and then integrate the right topics for your audience while maintaining a consistent brand voice?
The better you know your client, the more effectively you can anticipate what they might need and what kind of content could work well for them.
Also, pay attention to the news about what’s going on in your client’s industry. What are the latest hot products? What are competitors doing? Does your client have a product or service that fits a niche that is being overlooked elsewhere? Always keep a weather eye on the prevailing industry winds.
I like the idea of content as a bridge, because in the same way that a bridge is not an end in itself, neither is content. It’s a way of getting across a gap or obstacle to reach a destination. In marketing terms, the nature of the gap — for example, lack of audience awareness — can help guide your content approach.
What role does branding play in content marketing?
At RAPP, we think of each client as an individual. Just as every individual is unique, with a distinct personality, set of goals, and so on, we recognize that the same thing goes for brands.
“Brand” is another way of saying “personality.” Branding tells your audience what to expect from you. Your content should align with those expectations, otherwise you risk coming across as inauthentic.
Not everything can be advertised the same way, which can require a different approach across clients. How does content affect the way something is marketed and how do you pivot to treat this?
Look closely at what the client’s goals are. What do they want to communicate? For a simple, straightforward offer, maybe the best medium is a :15 OLV. Whereas if a client wants to showcase their deep expertise in their industry, a white paper or e-book could be the way to go.
Once you’ve established the client’s goals, think about who the audience is and where the audience consumes content. If a client needs to reach a younger demographic, a TikTok video may do wonders. How you craft that video will be dictated by the limits of your brand personality as well as the message you want to convey.
Whatever type of content you create, in whatever medium, stay true to the brand you’re representing. You don’t want your content to become a “Hello, fellow kids” moment!
Without giving away your secrets, what are some things that are integral to your internal checklist when creating content?
Use the following questions as a guide:
WHO… is my client? And who do they want to reach?
WHAT… is the message? Are you trying to educate? Inspire? Convert? Different messages require distinct approaches.
WHEN… does the content need to be in market? Consider any sort of time-relevant or seasonal slant that might be effectively incorporated.
WHERE… will the content be placed? Is there a media buy? Is it organic social? Understand what kind of reach you are likely to have.
WHY… is this content the right kind of content? This question provides a “gut check” to ensure you’re developing your creative approach in a strategically defensible way.
How do you strategize for the way audiences will want to interact with content in virtual realities, Web 3.0, and the metaverse? To what extent do you involve influencers and consumers in creating the brand narrative?
In our digital age, the landscape is constantly evolving. To strategize effectively, it’s not enough to be aware of trends. You need to understand how different platforms function, as well as who is using them, when, where, and why. Our education in this arena will always be ongoing.
When engaging influencers, remember that every influencer is also a brand unto themselves. Think beyond mere reach and be sure the influencer’s brand “plays well” with your client’s. Keep in mind that if you use an influencer, you become associated with them — for good or ill. So, choose your marketing relationships wisely.