Marketing Best Practices

How to Choose the Right Content Format for Your Brand Story

Justin Lafferty By Justin Lafferty June 14, 2016

So you’ve got an awesome idea for your next brand story, but you’re not quite sure how to go about putting your thoughts into reality. You’re not alone in this: you’ve got the full support of your fanbase and customers.

Let’s explore two ways you can determine whether your content idea would make for an awesome video, a well-written blog post, or some other medium.

In Data You (Should) Trust

If you’ve been posting to social media for a while, you’re in luck. Facebook, Google and Twitter can tell you (for free!) what kinds of posts your fans want to see. If you’re just getting started, you can experiment with different types of posts and check the data to see what really resonated.

Facebook Insights can be a very powerful tool when building out a content strategy, especially if most of your fanbase is on the platform. By seeing what kinds of content are already successful, you can reverse-engineer your plan, creating a brand story that your fans will want to share — instead of just hoping it’s something they’ll like.

If you’ve never checked out Facebook Insights, do so now. Go to your page and click “Insights” on the top bar.

From there, you can monitor your fan growth and engagement. However, most germane to our topic is the post type data. From this display, you can see how well different types of posts do.

Facebook Post Data

This will go a long way in determining which format is correct for your brand story. If videos are working like gangbusters, maybe it’s time to get the camera rolling or explore emerging formats like Facebook Live.

You can also determine when your fans are online most, so you can find out not only what type of content works best, but when it should be posted. This will likely be different for you than other generic templates offered online.

Fans Online

Facebook also offers deep video analytics, so you can see how long your fanbase tends to watch your videos. If their attention span is only a few seconds long, maybe an attention-grabbing teaser to exclusive written content is what you need. If fans are watching minutes of your videos, it’s probably time to put your CEO or superstar employee in the spotlight and have them be your internal brand ambassador for a longer video.

If your company is strongest on Twitter, there are plenty of ways to learn more about what types of content are most popular. Twitter is rapidly building out its analytics platform, giving you more power when you post. While you can’t break down by post type quite yet, you can get a look at your most engaging posts and see which posts earned the most engagement. From there, you can determine if you need a photo-driven post, a video, or a link to a blog post.

Play to Your Strengths

Used in concert with smart data, knowing and utilizing your strengths as a brand storyteller will have people coming back for more.

Maybe you have a COO who regularly speaks at conferences and can give TED-like talks on Periscope. Maybe your marketing director is a wordsmith with an inkstained background who can turn a phrase with ease, driving plenty of traffic to your website or your Medium blog. Before choosing your brand story formats, look at the tools you already have available to you.

Video is the hottest format right now, as social networks cater to video publishers with prime real estate on social feeds. But if you just don’t have the on-screen charisma in your company to pull off a 30 second or 3-minute video, it might be time to find other ways for your story to shine through.

Examining the influences of your staff can go a long way. You could already have an expert on your staff.

You can also look for people outside of your walls who are spreading your company’s good name. Many brands have partnered with influencers, who are already Tweeting, posting to Facebook and Snapping about their company with devoted fanbases. User-generated content can go a long way, allowing companies to reach more and more people.

There are a variety of social listening companies that can offer you data on who is talking about your brand, or you can just search mentions and company hashtags. Klout can be another way of identifying influencers who may be willing to tell your brand story for you. By approaching high-Klout score people chatting about your brand, you can gain an important ally.

The most important thing to remember, when formatting your brand story, is that there’s no one right answer. What works today might fail tomorrow. What flopped today could be the winning strategy a week from now. The brands that really get storytelling know that agility is a key trait.

In Summary

  • Be well-prepared with data and know what your company excels at.
  • Be flexible and willing to adapt to what your fans want to see.
  • Be approachable by super-fans and influencers who can help share your story with new audiences.

About the Author

Justin Lafferty is the founder and CEO of On Base Marketing and the former editor of SocialTimes. Follow him on Twitter: @JLafferty21 and @OnBaseMarketing.

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