Beyond link quantity: four ways content contributes to your brand

“How many links will this campaign receive?” “Can you guarantee X number of links?”

These are questions that frequent the inboxes and client catchups of content marketers and digital PR professionals everywhere.

The measurable KPI of links generated usually steals top spot at every stage of the campaign process from a client’s perspective, with content marketers and digital PRs usually pushing back in an attempt to ensure the fluidity of a campaign’s success. What often gets lost in this battle is the overall impact producing content has on a brand’s image.

All content has the capability to become part of a brand’s story and connect directly with its audience.

Here are four ways a well-executed content strategy can bring extra value to your brand beyond links:

1. Positions your brand as an authority within a niche

Grounded in extensive research, compelling content is created in response to the media landscape and competitor insights while also ensuring the topic appeals to your audience. Arming yourself with this knowledge means that you address media interest, audience needs and spot gaps in competitors’ content.

The result? An opportunity to enhance your brand’s thought leadership efforts – an essential component to building and maintaining your brand’s image. With this targeted approach to thought leadership through content, your brand will be positioned as a pacesetter in the industry in the eyes of both competitors and relevant stakeholders.

While working with Bimuno we used their niche expertise to build their authority and position them as thought leaders in conversations about gut health. By developing a campaign about the gut-brain connection, this complex topic has found its way to wider audiences through a set of examples that linked common emotions such as love, fear and sadness to the gut. This campaign proved that relevant content has the power to position your brand as an authority for your target audience and your product as one that can be trusted.

2. Increases your brand’s reach

Insights and data can suggest that your audience are seeking content that might not be a natural choice for your brand. While you initially might be hesitant to do so, tackling topics that broaden your audience exposes your brand to potential new customers.

Whether you’re working with an in-house team or outsourcing to an agency, everyone involved must understand the value of tackling topics beyond the brand’s usual editorial remit. If you’re working with an agency on content creation and a link-building strategy, the idea of adding these somewhat unconventional subjects to the plan should be second nature. As long as you equip your agency with up-to-date style guides, your brand should be in safe hands with the content ideas they produce based on insights and data. As extensive research for content creation ensues, so too will your brand’s image and tone of voice to keep up with your audience’s expectations.

Working with Towergate Insurance since 2014, we’ve produced numerous highly successful campaigns such as ‘Art of Food Photography’. This campaign introduced the brand to highly-relevant audiences by talking about food photography, which is not a typical angle or discussion point for them. Marrying this conversation with Towergate’s photography insurance page gave the brand exposure to audiences that otherwise might not have been familiar with it.

3. Helps you understand your audience’s needs for crucial visibility

Content creation is a stab in the dark without audience research. Pinpointing the topics, channels and products your customers care about not only steers your content matter but gives you a direct route to land it directly in front those whose perception (and purchase decisions) you want to influence most.

Insight tools such as Google Analytics are a great way to collect key demographic information like age, location and interests that can inform a newsworthy campaign, further pushing your brand’s message by proxy. Moreover, understanding what your audience is searching through bespoke and precise keyword and audience research is a critical validation step in building the ultimate content strategy.

By understanding the site’s core audience and their search habits, we drove a 41% increase in organic visibility for Lindy Bop, a vintage clothing retailer. A series of recommendations to overhaul on-page targeting, better categorise products and surface pages customers were struggling to find, drove thousands of page views within their first months.

4. Bolsters media relationships

If your media contacts know they can rely on you to provide relevant content on a particular topic, they’ll keep coming back to you as an authority in future. Accurately targeting content through tailored outreach lists per campaign is central in this approach. Without it, you risk burning bridges with gatekeepers who can place your content in front of large and active publication audiences.

While the primary goal of outreaching SEO content is securing backlinks, campaigns frequently land great coverage in relevant publications minus this golden nugget. If this happens, reassure your team that coverage in relevant publications, even sans backlink, is still a big win in building brand image and reputation. Even a mention in an article within an applicable publication is enough to pique the interest of your audience, not to mention draw attention to causes you care about and want to be associated with as a business.

We built mutually beneficial relationships with influential publishers to grow brand authority and trust for one of our financial services clients. Noticing a gap in the market for a strong piece of content on mortgages for self-employed people, we approached Ideal Home to collaborate. Together we created an in-depth guide on the topic, from there the relationship grew into our client contributing to an ongoing series of expert round-ups on newsworthy issues in the home ownership space.

This initial piece now ranks very well for queries around mortgages for self-employed people, placing the brand in front of a huge, well-targeted audience whilst establishing them as trustworthy experts.

Content that’s churned with the intent to build links may succeed in the short-term, but a sustainable strategy needs content beyond a link-building tool to establish authority, address topics of importance, challenge the status quo and contribute to your brand’s innate values.

Taking a holistic and aligned approach to owned, earned and paid digital channels sends a consistent message to all your stakeholders, makes the most of data-led and strategic content and feeds into the overall boom of your brand.

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