If you’re like most content marketers, your business depends on successfully building a readership, then turning a portion of that readership into loyal customers. Writing great content is a solid start, since you’ll start attracting large volumes of traffic, but if you want to see an objective increase in revenue as a result of your efforts, you’ll need to bridge that gap between attentive readership and brand loyalty.
If you’ve already got a consistent content marketing strategy with a decent number of visitors, you’re halfway there already. With a handful of adjustments, you’ll be able to start turning more of your regular readers into die-hard brand loyalists.
Consistency is everything, and hopefully you’ve already done a great job of maintaining a consistent brand voice. Crafting a unique brand voice gives you an edge over the competition because it gives users an identifiable experience, and over time, that experience will become familiar. Eventually, when users seek out a source of information, they’ll naturally gravitate toward the one with the most familiar basis—if your brand voice is engaging, that means yours.
But brand voice isn’t the only element you’ll need to keep consistent. You’ll also need to stay consistent in your range of topics, and the format of your content posts. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to restrict yourself, but you will need to build expertise in a niche topic if you want to establish yourself as an authority. Giving users a consistent visual experience, with consistent fonts and formatting, will only add to that familiar, all-around brand experience, and as a result, your readers will start to become more formally acquainted with your brand.
That unique experience can sometimes get lost if you don’t associate the experience with your name. You’ve probably had this experience before; you remember an article you read, and were impressed by its topic or its presentation, but you can’t for the life of you remember where you read it. This is a symptom of a name familiarity problem—you had a great brand experience, but you can’t remember the brand.
If you want your people to remember your name in addition to the great experience they had, you’ll need to keep your name top-of-mind as often as possible (without being annoying about it). The solution can be as simple as making your logo more prominent on your blog, or including your brand name at least once in each article.
Most readers don’t naturally seek a content source out after reading only one or two articles. They’re usually drawn back in, either by another interesting piece of content, or a reminder of the brand’s existence. In the world of online marketing, your best options to produce those reminders come in the form of email or social media marketing.
Keep an email signup list on the side of your blog and make it prominent, so users are more likely to sign up. Once you build out an email list, you can send out newsletters with your most popular or most recent content at the top—it serves as an appropriate reminder of your content, with an additional opportunity to promote your brand. If you send these newsletters out too often (like every day), your users will unsubscribe or think of you negatively. But if you find a sweet spot (like once a week), you’ll nurture the growth of the brand loyalty seeds you planted with your original content.
You should also feature social media icons on each individual blog, both to get people to share your content and to identify users who have done so. On each platform, you can follow up with individual users who have shared your content, and ask them what they’d like to see in the future.
Interlinking your content is one of the best strategies to keep your readers engaged, and let them know how much you have to offer. In each of your articles, make it a point to link back to other articles you’ve written in the past, either as an elaboration on a point or as evidence supporting one of your claims. It gives people the chance to learn even more about your topic of choice, and keeps them from leaving your site prematurely. For your average reader, it’s also an opportunity to become more immersed in your unique brand experience, and that means a higher chance at becoming a true brand loyalist.
As a side note, interlinking your content is also good for SEO because it reduces the complexity of your site and brings more relevance to each interlinked page.
There are many ways to reward your readership, so the medium is entirely up to you, but rewarding your readers is a lynchpin in your brand promotion strategy. Giving users rewards for visiting you or for reading your blog will associate your brand with positive feelings, and your users will be more likely to come back for more.
Some brands do this by announcing special offers in the bodies of their blog posts, or by initiating competitions and giveaways through social media. The reward doesn’t have to be monetary, either—you could choose to reward your readers with exclusive pieces of content for email subscribers, or other exclusive experiences.
Your blog should already have a comments section attached to it—if it doesn’t, create one immediately. Comment threads are your best opportunity to connect with your readers individually and make them feel like their voices are heard. Responding to a user comment lets that user know that he/she is more than just a reader; he/she is an integral part of the community, and is seen as a valuable contributor. This simple action fosters feelings of belonging, and therefore inherent loyalty.
Keep an eye on the comment threads attached to each of your blogs, and respond as soon as possible to each new comment. As your blog becomes more popular, you may not have the capacity to answer every comment, but address the ones you can whenever you can.
You can also heighten this brand immersion and these feelings of belonging by addressing your readers individually. For example, if a Twitter user makes a post about how much they loved your comment, call some extra attention to them and thank them for being a loyal reader. If you get attention from other bloggers, share links to their content on your social profiles or even in the body of your onsite content. If you’ve received topic recommendations from your readers, acknowledge their contributions by naming them in the body of your recommended work.
Individually, these strategies are relatively minor. They don’t require much effort to integrate into your existing content marketing strategy, and they aren’t going to radically change your direction. But together, these campaign adjustments will make your content far more capable of taking average readers and getting them motivated and excited to engage with your brand. Once that familiarity and admiration are established, your readers will actively seek out your brand for their needs—both in terms of regularly reading your content, and eventually making a purchase.