Back to Square One: How Your Brand Identity Can Help Your SEO & Content Marketing
In today’s digital world, it’s not new to hear that the marketing sphere is cluttered. At any given time, there are an infinite number of brands ready to answer a consumer’s every need. So how do you stand out? With a clear brand voice and story that sets you apart from the noise. The growing importance of social media is leading to more brand interactions than ever, making Millennials the most brand-loyal generation to date. If you want their loyalty, you better have a strong, authentic brand voice worth standing behind, and you better keep it consistent. Without a brand voice, all the effort you put into SEO and PPC just reads hollow, and consumers can pick out disingenuous copy from a mile away. So where do you start? How do you create a brand consumers want to engage with?
Creating Your Brand Identity
It’s easy to get excited about a new and improved logo, color palette, and tagline, but these elements fall flat on their own. It’s the story behind all of these pieces that brings everything together and adds a robustness. Stories are powerful; they’re how your brand can connect with the consumer on a real, emotional level. However, keep in mind that creating and committing to a brand identity is a complex process. But the complexity shouldn’t scare you! The branding process can be an enjoyable one that leads to a better understanding of your brand as a whole. It’s an easy way to get everyone on the same page, from the CEO to new hires. When considering your brand identity, either for the first time or as a rebrand, these are the two most important questions:
- What sets you apart from the competition? What are the qualities you represent in your market? Are you newer? More experienced? More approachable? Have better customer service? Think about what inspired you to start your brand—what gap in the industry are you filling?
- Who is your target audience? As much as you want to, you can’t market to everyone. If your audience is recent college grads, your brand voice is going to be much different than if you’re reaching out to working mothers. Think of who your ideal customer is and understand what makes them tick, what captures their attention so you can create content to resonate with them.
That’s it. The answers to those two questions will shape your entire brand. Before you start researching the psychology behind the color of your logo or brainstorming a snappy tagline, you need the answers to the above questions. This provides you with a strong foundation to build the rest of your identity and allows your marketing efforts to come from a place of authority in your field and authenticity in your words. Your answers will provide you with your brand personality when engaging consumers and writing social media or PPC ads. They will shape your competitive advantages. The intersection of your differentiating factors and what’s most important to your target demographics will inspire your future content. But most importantly, it will tell you who you’re not marketing to.
Marketing to Your Audience & Your Audience Only (Don’t Fear the “Left Behind”)
Part of defining who you are means defining who you are not and in turn, who your audience isn’t – which can be a scary thing! You’re putting a stake in “this is who I am” along with “this is who needs my product/service/etc.” and reaching out to consumers who identify with or respect that identity. It’s easy to panic, imagining all the people you aren’t reaching, but trust us, it’s for the best. By focusing on your own niche audience you’re more likely to have richer, deeper connections with the consumers you are perfect for, while simultaneously building your brand’s level of trust and authority. When you’re trying to please everyone, your messaging doesn’t have a clear voice or purpose, which means you aren’t saying anything. That is how you become a part of the noise and clutter.
How Does Your Brand Connect to Your SEO & Content Marketing?
Now that you have a strong brand story and accompanying voice to stand behind, how does that affect your SEO? Does having a strong brand affect your rankings? Well, technically, no. But it’s also not that simple. A strong brand does lead to better interactions, more social sharing, and more authority, which search engines do care about.
Google cares about the E-A-T factor of a company: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Those are all brand-related metrics—how consumers react and interact with your brand influence those key factors. By connecting with consumers, growing your audience, and creating relevant content, you increase your image as leader. Your audience begins to trust that you deliver on everything they need from you. People will start to link to your content, using it as their guiding principals, encouraging others to put their faith in you too. Having a recognizable brand presence contributes to better click-through rate from SERPs, and may help Google better understand the relationships between your business and the products and services you provide. From Google’s most recent version of the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines: “A very positive reputation can be the reason for using the High rating for an otherwise Medium page.”
Building an impenetrable brand hyper-focused on your niche audience affects your targeted keywords, too. By aligning your keywords with what your perfect consumers search, you are ensuring that they find the solution they are looking for (i.e. you). Cohesive, relevant keywords keep your messaging honed in with creative that actually resonates with those you want to connect with—and this is relevant to your optimized content as well. A strong brand gives all of your content, from PPC ads to social posts to blogs, a unique voice that cuts through the noise. You’ve narrowed down your audience. They have a specific problem or question that you can answer, so provide them with what they need.
Your Voice Matters
Now everything is aligned: your keywords, your content, and your SEO strategy. You’re encouraging brand authority and trustworthiness. But most important, you have brand consistency leading your strategy towards one singular goal. If you come off as wishy-washy, unsure of your own message, why would a consumer trust you? But with consistency you build brand awareness, recognition, credibility, and loyalty.