The digital landscape is a crowded place, with thousands of brands from around the globe all fighting for a piece of the audience’s (limited) attention. It’s no longer enough to just put your information out there and hope for the best; you need to connect with your market like never before – so how do you go about it?
Here, Charlotte Nichols, founder of Harvey & Hugo, a PR and marketing agency that helps make brands lovable and memorable, shares some of the knowledge she’s built up over 15 years in the business of brand-building. Building brands starts with building connections, making your audience feel something, whether consciously or subconsciously.
A couple of great examples are the Yorkshire Tea and Innocent Smoothie Twitter accounts. They’re not selling anything – not explicitly anyway. There’s no shouting about how great the product is, but what they do do is create a camaraderie, a feeling of being in on the joke, with their audience.
So next time they are looking for a caffeinated beverage, or a health boost, they’ve made those positive associations with a brand – and let their wallet do the talking.
Grabbing attention doesn’t even need to be this obvious. Plenty of brands work their magic by tootling away in the background; for example, could you tell us the most recent adverts that popped up on your Instagram feed? Probably not, yet, on the deepest of levels, your brain will have made some sort of association – ready to be built on the next time you see the ad.
In fact, while there are plenty of jokes about people skipping the ads on YouTube, those five seconds of ‘enforced’ viewing are enough to make an impression, and in reality may well be worth the £10k price tag.
So, how can you cut through the noise to get noticed?
Don’t be late
Timing is crucial. You could spend hours perfecting your content to get it just so, but in this time a competitor could have quickly created a piece on the same topic, and posted it. One proofread is enough if you want to make sure you’re not left behind.
Stand out from the crowd
In a sea of words, be a picture. Tweets with an image or video have been shown to receive 150 per cent more retweets than those with no visual attachments. The online world is alive with a huge, constant buzz of content, so posts with a simple block of text just don’t cut it. Infographics and animations are great visual tools for getting your point across in an attractive way.
The real you
It’s important that your online content paints an accurate picture of your brand. Sharing posts about the people in your business is a great way to give your content personality, as well as letting the audience know what you’re up to and why you do what you do.
Make sure you’re accessible
Think about who you’re targeting, and how they’ll be able to access your content. A downloadable podcast that doesn’t require an internet connection is a great way to appeal to a travelling audience. YouTube videos with subtitles are more likely to be watched by those who can’t listen to sound at work or when they’re putting the kids to bed. Essentially, you need to make it easy for your audience.
Ask questions, create polls, tell a story or hold a competition; the more people feel involved, the more likely it is that your content will be remembered. If you’re promoting an event or starting a new campaign, creating a consistent hashtag across social media is a great way to keep all your content together, putting you on the radar of people who may not otherwise find you.