By {grow} Community Member Craig McBreen

There’s a monumental shift going on and it’s affecting my little world in a profound way.

The world of visual branding solutions is kinda, sorta my bailiwick.  I work with a company on their positioning statement, logo, tagline, and a website. You social media pros might call this horse and buggy stuff.

But here’s the thing. The type of companies I work with are finally beginning to smell the new media scent wafting into their little realm.  I’m even getting inquiries about this supposedly newfangled term: content marketing.

So why is a “visual” kind of guy excited about content?  Digital online marketing energizes me because I see the endless possibilities and guess what? It all revolves around this soon to be ubiquitous term, content marketing.

What really gets me going is transforming a company’s brand into something with a little emotion and that’s a heck of a lot easier than it ever was. Why? Because we have this wild and wonderful world of new media … and standing out involves telling your story.

Sure a firm can dive into analytics to measure traffic, find the search words people are using to find them, and the type of content they seek.  But if you only focus on the numbers, you’ll miss something important.

Telling stories is fun. Fleshing out a company’s essence and making them shine kinda rocks, at least for me.

Tooting the company horn and telling the world how special you are is not passion. That’s milquetoast, downright boring and frankly won’t cut it much longer.   You get that, right?

There’s a crap ton more to your little brand than the company mission statement or a well-crafted “About Us” page.  It’s about telling a deeper, more meaningful story. And social media is the platform many small companies need to embrace, but also the medium so many get so wrong.  In fact they are royally blowing an opportunity to be the cool, black sheep that breaks from the flock.

Brand differentiation is now easier and a more enjoyable process than ever and our friend, social media, um, content marketing, is the ticket to the dance.

So, how does your little company break from the flock?

1. It’s all about the content
I don’t think every small company needs a blog, but I strongly believe most need a content strategy.  It’s part of that old fashioned thing we call branding.  It might take the form of a well-developed PR page or even better, crafting an in depth success story about a client. If you don’t have time, why not focus on micro-content?

2. Learn to tell your unique story
What if your engineering firm has a strong focus on community? Bring some visibility to that not just by writing how generous you are. Instead focus on the groups you’re supporting, or better yet, individuals within those groups. Or write about why you are so passionate about giving back. Let that emotion seep out, people love that and want to do business with folks they know and trust. Be human.

3. Discover your sweet spot of delivery.
If you own a basement waterproofing business, why not put your own gurus in front of the camera? This delivers your expertise and shines a light on your own wizards. With that comes personality and your company’s essence will come out in a way that just might surprise you.

4. Find your home-grown brand evangelists.
There might be several people within your company who posses an undiscovered talent. If you have a new content focus, why not test it and see who wields the golden pen? Part of a brand story is getting employees on board and what better way than to let them tell this story in their own special way, right?

Say you own an accounting firm and one of your employees is positively bat crazy about Auditing and Assurance? Sounds like a great blog post, at least with the accounting crowd. Why not write a 10-step plan about the process and allow users to download it. Maybe it could become a series of 10 blog posts.

I’ve been in the traditional world of branding for a while. I now want my clients to get on board because I see this as the only way forward. But the added benefit is this: Businesses have the ability to truly stand out like never before. Each company has its own special form of genius and what better way to make it shine?  Embrace the content.

Is your company finding any content successes yet? How are you telling your story?

Craig McBreen is the owner of McBreen Design and writes at craigmcbreen.com. A Seattle-based branding consultant who also likes to write about social media, breaking out of routine, and the power of creativity as a daily practice. You can follow him on Twitter @craigmcbreen.

Illustration courtesy of BigStock Photo

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