Organizations have lofty goals for their content marketing efforts right now.
- 46% want to attract more website traffic
- 45% want to increase brand awareness
- 34% want to generate more leads
- 25% want to increase sales/revenue
- 23% want to improve customer loyalty and engagement
If you don’t have strong messaging at the core of your business, you won’t achieve any of these goals. There will be a huge disconnect with your audience any time you try to communicate with them through a video, blog, email, landing page…whatever that content may be.
Because you’re so close to the business, it’s nearly impossible to look at everything objectively in your messaging strategy. But, you have to.
Over the years I’ve spent working with B2B organizations on messaging, I’ve come across several red flags. If you’re seeing one, some, or all of these, then it’s time to overhaul your messaging strategy.
Your Brand Feels Blah
You kinda know what makes your organization special, but you have no idea how to put that feeling into words. So, you’ve avoided it and spent time focusing on developing your solution instead.
Your buyers and customers won’t know how great your solution is unless you communicate its greatness. If you can’t articulate this, how will they ever understand its value? They won’t.
When your brand feels blah, it’s no fun for your team. They don’t have anything to rally behind. This lack of vibrancy and direction in your messaging is a road to nowhere. Blah B2B branding will affect the entire business if it’s never addressed.
Your team needs to stop avoiding these feelings and start working through them. If this is beginning to sound like a brand therapy session, that’s because it is.
During this time, you need to figure out: What makes your organization special? Together, you’ll start to sort out your brand identity and competitive differentiators so you can weave these focal messaging points throughout your content.
Your Team is Dealing With an Acquisition
An acquisition or merger is an exciting/terrifying time full of new possibilities for your organization. This major transition brings an array of content marketing and business challenges.
Your separate customer bases know your brands as different entities and identities. It’s up to you to tell them who you are and what you’ll be offering as a unit.
Messaging inconsistencies will confuse existing customers. Confusion can lead to a lack of trust, which might lead your customers in a completely different direction to find a more straightforward solution.
Post-acquisition is scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Your team needs to game plan a way to get both brands on the same page. While mapping out this initial messaging strategy, determine:
- Which aspects of your messaging foundation are worth keeping. (Mission and vision statements)
- What fresh messaging approach needs to happen next to reposition your organization. (Positioning statement)
- How to pull everything together to clearly demonstrate why you’re the best choice on the market. (Value proposition)
Your Solution is New and No One Trusts it Yet
Introducing a new solution to the market requires solid brand communication. You’ll need to go the extra mile to convey to customers what your solution is, how it works, and why it’s important.
It’s common to feel a sense of imposter syndrome during this early stage. There’s an element of “fake it till you make it” when no one knows or trusts your solution yet. You don’t have the proof, and you don’t have the presence.
The best thing you can do with your messaging strategy as the new kid on the block is to focus on how to convey your solution’s value to your intended audience (aka: buyer personas). By understanding how to clearly communicate WIIFT (What’s In It for Them), rather than focusing on things they don’t care about, buyers will gain confidence in what you’re offering.
It doesn’t matter if your solution is new to the market if it clearly benefits them.
Your Revenue is Taking a Hit
An obvious one is to avoid messaging that’s outright insensitive or offensive. If your messaging is tone-deaf, it will damage your brand’s reputation and lead to negative brand perception. This will result in a loss of brand trust and loyalty, along with a loss of revenue.
There are also more subtle ways that messaging can affect the business. An overlooked revenue opportunity is messaging alignment. 68% of organizations said that brand consistency has contributed from 10% to more than 20% of their revenue growth.
A brand guide is extremely helpful in ensuring brand consistency across your organization. Even though 85% have brand guidelines, 31% are following the guidelines selectively, while another 13% aren’t even using them.
One of the best ways to increase the adoption and usage of your brand guide is to involve people outside of marketing in its creation.
Non-marketing team members should be interviewed during the messaging discovery phase to capture different perspectives. People can also contribute to polls and surveys. This gets buy-in, and they get to see a bit of their contribution in the finished guidelines.
Make sure your brand guide is both visually appealing and easily accessible. Also, revisit the brand guide to keep it updated and accurate, then reshare the latest version with your team so they’re clear about any changes.
Your Customers and Team Members Feel Left in the Dark
It’s normal for an organization’s solutions to change over time. While growth is almost always a positive thing, rapid changes to your business might leave customers confused if you don’t have the right messaging to ease them through transitional periods.
Rapid changes also affect your internal team…
- How in the hell can the sales team sell a solution that’s in flux?
- How in the hell can the marketing team market that solution effectively?
In times of chaos, defining or redefining your messaging strategy is a great way to reel everyone in.
Have the “tough love” talks to align team members and get everyone moving in the same direction. Together, everyone will be able to communicate solution changes in a way that doesn’t leave customers and team members in the dark.
Your Content Isn’t Getting Results
If your content isn’t getting the results you were hoping for, your messaging may be to blame.
A weak messaging strategy is going to be reflected in your content, which undermines your brand’s credibility. If your content consistently fails to generate engagement, take a long look at your overall messaging.
Your messaging should drive your organization’s content by creating a definitive brand identity and tone of voice. With so much content available today, buyers are much more likely to engage with an organization that is clear about what it’s saying.
Think of your messaging strategy as the undercurrent not just for your content marketing but also for the entire organization. It keeps everything flowing and cohesive, rowing in the same direction as a team.
Without it, the opposite effect will happen. All of your content marketing efforts will be eclipsed by wonky messaging and the business will be affected.
Don’t ignore these messaging red flags. Your content is an opportunity to connect with someone. Organizations that are the clearest communicators are the ones that get through to people.