Becoming relevant online is no easy feat for any brand. It takes a lot of effort and time to pull it off. Many skills go into it, from creative skills to technical skills. There are a lot of resources online where you can learn these skills.
After some research, I realized that there aren’t many people talking about the mindset and the soft skills required to push through all the difficulties of growing a brand online. For this reason, I decided to take on that mantle.
If you’re an entrepreneur trying to grow your brand online, here are six things you must always have at the top of your mind if you want to be relevant online.
Know your brand
The whole concept of having an online presence is about building your brand online. How can you take your brand online if you don’t know your brand?
In my experience, business owners typically have a grasp on what they do but don’t know their brand.
Nike is in the business of making clothing, but their brand is about more than clothing. It’s about a mindset, a way of being. All this is captured in their famous phrase, “Just do it”
If they didn’t have their brand defined, all they’ll ever talk about is their products and how quality they are. And if that’s all they ever talk about, at some point, their communications won’t be engaging.
Think of your brand as the foundation on which you build a relationship with your audience. Great brands are built around an audience. You can’t build a relationship by talking solely about yourself. You have to make your communications relatable to your audience.
Become a content creator
Content creation is at the center of having an online presence. Brands connect with people through content.
Being a content creator is hard, especially as a business owner. You have to run a business for crying out loud. But you have to be a content creator or at least a part of the content creation process.
All too often, business owners downplay the role of content creation. They hire a ‘young buck’ to handle content creation. After hiring
Until you give content creation the required attention and respect, you’ll go nowhere online. That’s just the reality of things.
If you run a small operation, you have to take on the mantle of creating content. If you want to hire someone to create content for your brand, be a part of the creation process.
Large corporations can take a cue from Red bull. They have a whole content creation department that has practically become a stand-alone media business.
Think beyond advertisement
This one ties into the first point about knowing your brand. Business owners often mistake content marketing for advertising.
The “How will that add to the bottom line?” comes up a lot when you advise them to publish content that doesn’t directly sell their product or talk about their brand.
My response is, why do you watch the news? Is it because of the advert breaks? Or is it because you want to want to know what’s going on in the world?
The news itself is the content, and it does not directly add to the bottom line of BBC or CNN or your local news broadcasting channel.
It’s the adverts in between the news that make them money. However, without the news content, they won’t have an audience to advertise to. Do you get the logic?
Let’s apply that to your brand. You want to attract an audience, don’t you? How about creating the kind of content that would interest them? The content may not directly add to your bottom line, but it will attract an audience to your brand.
Know your audience
So now you understand why your content shouldn’t be an advertisement in any form. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t advertise, there’s a place for that, but you shouldn’t lump it with content. Let the advertisement be another section of your strategy.
In creating content, you should focus on content that captures your audience’s interest. To do this, you first have to define who your preferred audience is.
A perfect example is Red bull. They sell energy drinks, right? But here’s a little snapshot of their content strategy. They sponsor extreme sports events, capture those events and publish them online for their audience to watch and enjoy. Who is their target audience? Young people with an appetite for risk and adrenaline.
I know, I may have oversimplified the whole strategy, but I want you to understand it. Red bull is not on social media posting pictures of their canned drinks. There are only so many times that they can do that.
Define your audience, create content that interests them. That’s the only way to capture their attention.
Consistency is everything
Given everything I have said thus far, content creation takes a lot of work. Early on in the journey, you’ll put in a lot of work and won’t get much gain out of it.
My charge to you is to keep at it. It takes time and consistency. Don’t read too much into the analytics during the first few months. Keep an eye on them, but don’t let the numbers discourage you.
You have to show up and put in the work consistently without fail. Growing a brand through content is a journey. Over time you’ll make mistakes, learn from them. You’ll also have some successes. You should learn from them as well. Whatever you do, don’t let your failures or successes get in the way of your consistency. That’s the most important thing.
Check your mindset
As a business owner, it’s crucial to have the right state of mind when building a brand. Remember I said that great brands are built around an audience. In all your content creation efforts, genuinely seek to connect with people. The end goal is to create healthy relationships between your brand and people.