Brand-Building and Content: Don’t Let Your Message Look Like A Class Project Gone Wrong

Not that long ago, I was called by the marketing director of nationally recognized organization to do some writing. They needed someone local to help develop and write a couple of large campaigns and the projects encompassed several months. While creativity was definitely called for, so was continuity of the brand.

This organization has a “look” to all of their advertising, same basic layout, same logo, same color scheme, and same tag line. But what might not be as readily obvious is the “tone” of all of their marketing materials. Every single piece of written material and every single word of radio and TV they have carries this “tone” so that means the verbiage and way things are worded carry the same message, building brand recognition.

Carrying this tone throughout all materials provides a degree of continuity in a brand’s advertising that, over time, will help that brand come to stand for something specific in the mind of the consumer. Paying as much attention to the copy as the design can also help a brand achieve distinctiveness and stature in a competitive market.

So guess what. For the first few days on the project, I simply studied everything this organization had done in the past couple of years. The marketing director handed me a stack of materials when we met, and we both knew that it was my job to read and reflect their style. How do they word this? How do they word that? Turn of phrase here? Style there. Crucial, crucial stuff for a copywriter, and UNIMAGINABLY IMPORTANT to a business owner.

Copy is an essential part of advertising, and a key element of your brand. It needs to reflect continuity in any and all communications you have with your customers or potential customers. From the beginning it is crucial that you set a tone, and you use the same style of writing and verbiage throughout your websites, advertisements, TV, radio, and collateral materials, making sure they all reflect the same style.

Imagine how confusing it would be if you wrote the home page on your website, your spouse tackled the about and services, your mother-in-law wrote the blog, you hired a writer to just do your brochure, and you didn’t talk to anyone else on the project. Where would the tone be? Would it all look like it was written by the same person, or would it look like a class project gone haywire?

Continuity goes far beyond the tag line, it is the verbiage and phrasing you use throughout all of your communications, and is the foundation for your business communications and your brand. Yes, this can and should evolve over time, but in the beginning you want to exhibit professionalism and set the tone.

If you are tackling your writing initially by yourself, the most important thing you can do is make sure it looks like the same person wrote it, and not some random band of gypsies that can spell.

You can do this, all you have to do is set the tone.

Content Is King – Who’s In Charge Of Yours?

If you’ve done the research, you probably know that blogging is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers. Chances are, you’ve even built your blog, or have it on your to-do list. The question now is – content.

While design elements on a website play an important role in catching a visitor’s attention, when it comes to the blog, content is king. Content is the heart and soul of your message, and can not only educate, but can build your expertise. At the end of the day, a blog is its content. The better the content, the better the blog.

So the question is, who’s in charge of your content? An assistant? Your partner’s wife? A friend of yours that has some free time?  Does that person have a clear idea of your business, your principles, and your overall communications strategy? Do they have the ability to make the content useful and interesting on a regular basis? Can they write? Do you trust that they always always check spelling and grammar?

You had better hope that they do, because poor content and a poorly written blog will undermine any potential that your online presence has. Misspellings and poor grammar will make you AND your company look amateur at best, and that is NOT what you want people to think of when they think of you.

Every single blog post needs good content. That means each post needs to have a purpose, and a potential for the reader to benefit from it. If not, what’s the point in putting it online in the first place? And your blog should not be a direct sales tool, it is a discussion. It is not a place to advertise or highlight your products or prices, it is a place to communicate with your readers.

If you’re too busy to write your blog posts yourself, or don’t have someone you can ask to do it for you, there are several ways you can still have an active and engaging blog. You can hire someone to write it for you. You can attend a class to learn or brush up on your skills. You can populate your blog with free content, links to industry-specific news, or even use audio and video to get your blog in business and actively begin communicating with your readers and potential customers. You can network with other experts in your field and feature them. You can connect with other bloggers and invite them to be a guest blogger on your site. The possibilities are endless!

A blog can be an active marketing tool, and a great way to get the word out about you and your business. Blogs are versatile—news, views, and fresh content can be accompanied by videos, audio clips and photographs. And for the business owner who is constantly on the go, blogs can be updated anytime and anywhere. And most importantly, a blog can become a resource for customers…potential customers…or even complete strangers. As long as you do it well, and always remember, content is king.