Developing a memorable brand is a goal of every business. But having a logo, a website, and your face plastered all over social media chatting about your work will only get you part of the way there. Your content plays a large role in your brand, and in developing rock solid brand recognition. Do you have a website you go to frequently to catch up on industry news? How about a blogger you follow because you adore their content and the topics they cover?
Sure, part of you pulls up those sites regularly because you like what they represent. Maybe someone recommended them to you. But the reason you keep coming back is the content. You enjoy the discussion, you love the voice that everything is written in, their story resonates with you, and you know what to expect when you visit their site. Their content is what keeps you coming back for more, and it’s what helps you recognize and appreciate their brand. So how can you create content that develops your brand? I like to break it into five easy steps.
1. Keep Your Voice Consistent
This might sound like a no-brainer, but as business owners I find that we’re all at risk for falling into the “I’m an uber-professional who knows more than you know” content trap. We’ve all been there. You have so much valuable knowledge and expertise that you want to share in your content that you get preachy. You might use big, jargon-y words that will have prospective clients running for the hills after reading one paragraph of your latest blog post. You might even use terrible buzz words because you think they’re attention-grabbing and you’ve seen them on nine other advisor blogs (hint: this is a mistake).
Instead, focus on keeping your voice consistent. Figure out who you are and how you want your business to come across. I find the easiest way to do this is to stay true to how you speak in an actual client meeting. Are you professional but friendly? Are you incredibly laid back? Use that voice across all platforms – in blog posts, in client communication, and in social media. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. Which takes us nicely into our second step for developing a brand with content…
2. Be Genuinely You
People in the financial planning community usually have some pretty big, pretty specific opinions on all things finance. Of course you do, you’re passionate about what you do! Let those big opinions shine through in your content. And stick to your guns. If you’re constantly qualifying what you say, or you consistently publish opposing view points, people who you want to work with will be driven away.
I’m a big believer in the “Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe” concept. You want to work with clients who are on board with your planning philosophy. Even more big picture than that, you want to work with clients who are on board with you as a person. All client relationships are built on trust and mutual understanding. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. People will either see it as an act and feel uncomfortable, or they’ll realize you weren’t being genuine with them down the line and it will come back to bite you in the behind. So don’t hide behind a mask or only discuss “hot topics” that you think people want to hear about. Let your content represent who you are and what your business is about.
3. Write a Brand Story
This is something that you may have done at the beginning of your business venture. Namely when you were creating content for your about page or LinkedIn profile. But your brand story evolves – just like you and your business evolve. I suggest revisiting your brand story every quarter and rewriting it to represent where you’re at now. What are you most passionate about when it comes to personal finance? What are your goals for your clients? Who are those clients? What does your practice value and place focus on? Why do you wake up every morning, grab a cup of coffee, and get to work instead of laying in bed and binge watching Netflix?
This brand story should help you emotionally connect with your business – over and over again. Return to it when you’re creating content – any kind of content. Make sure that content is rooted in your story. Don’t produce blog posts that don’t reflect what your business values are. Don’t hit “publish” on a social media update that doesn’t link back to your original “Why I’m Doing This” idea.
4. Post Consistently
You don’t have to be a rock star who has a new blog every day, a weekly podcast, regularly updated social channels, and a monthly newsletter. I advise clients who are overwhelmed by the idea of needing fresh content to create a schedule. Make the schedule simple, and make it something you can comfortably commit to. Do you have time to blog once a month? How about twice a month? Do you have an hour every week to schedule a few social media updates ahead of time? Can you find some collaborators to do a monthly podcast with? Baby steps are the easiest way to stay consistent. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and then be disappointed when your content strategy isn’t working out, or if none of your clients read your incredibly sporadic blog posts. (Shameless plug: If you feel like you don’t have time to be consistent, or if you just have one thousand other business related things that require your focus, let’s talk. It may be a good idea for you to outsource your content creation!)
5. Remember: People Are Visual
This is an easy trick that very few people do: brand your content with visuals! Slap your logo on your podcast site, or always keep your font in your blog post title images consistent. Use a free resource like Canva to create unique graphics, and always use consistent color schemes or other design elements to stay recognizable. Use the same handful of head shots so that people start to recognize your face and associate it with your business. Don’t change your logo all the time, and use elements of your logo design elsewhere in your content – like in the header or as a watermark of your marketing materials. People are incredibly visual. The more consistent visual elements your content has, the more likely they are to recognize your brand when it counts.