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How do you frame conversations and experiences around your content? The same way you would build any infrastructure, combining the necessary tools, people and process. Framing your content provides the fundamental structure that every brand needs when it comes to ‘how‘ you want to present your brand to the outside world. Effectively framing your content can put you in a position to create value, reach your business objectives and present consistent messaging across all areas of your brand.
In this article, I’m going to discuss three tools that you can use to frame your content. This will allow you to reinforce your brand identity, prioritizing your content and continue to develop your online personas. Once you have all the key pieces in place, it’s time to start defining — who you are — and how you want to ‘present’ — who you are — to your target audience.
When framing your content there are three main tools that you need to use to help characterize your brand, they are:
- Identity Pillars
- Messaging Architecture
- Voice & Tone
Framing your content is process for building around your overall brand, it is essentially the equivalent to a blueprint. You have your ‘identity pillars‘ that hold up the core philosophies of your brand (principles that you can stand on). The ‘messaging architecture‘ that brings the conversation and your business objectives together (How do you achieve brand functionality and cohesiveness?). Lastly, voice and tone, helping to shed light on your brand’s personality (what you say and how you say it).
What Are Identity Pillars?
In order for your content to be well-received, you need to know how your target audience views of your brand. Identity pillars are in place to help you present your brand in a way that people automatically associate certain characteristics with your business.
Is your brand: Trustworthy? Reliable? Exclusive? Fresh? Minimal?
Identity pillars can help you shape your content in a way that speaks to your brand’s core values and sets you up to achieve your business objectives. Clearly defining your brand’s top characteristics is the first step in creating identity pillars. The biggest advantage of identity pillars is that you control narrative and determine the path that your target audience takes.
This built-in advantage allows your business to improve/change/influence the perception surrounding a product or service. While also effectively communicating with your target audience and producing a deeper connection. This is why identity pillars play an integral role in marketing and branding. If you’re releasing a new product or want to re-brand your business, building out your identity pillars should always be the first step in the process. For example, if people view your brand as fickle. The best counter to that notion is being consistent across all-areas of your business. This action-backed strategy will ultimately change the perception of how your target audience perceives your business.
Clearly, identifying your business objectives, understanding your brand’s top characteristics and effectively bridging the two. Will put your business in a position to execute the messaging associated with your brand’s identity pillars.
Why Should You Prioritize Messaging Architecture?
Prioritizing your messaging architecture is essential for every business. Why? It’s important to know what you want to say, what’s even more important is knowing when to say it. A messaging architecture is an outline of how you want to communicate your brand’s top characteristics to your target audience. This includes prioritizing your business objectives with your content marketing efforts to form one clear message within your content. No matter the size of your business, your content should have a focus. Whether it be growing an online community, recruiting your content dream team or increasing brand affinity.
For example, if you have a new product release coming up. The focus of your content marketing efforts should be centered around ‘informing‘ your target audience about your newest offering vs. presenting an already established product that has already received the proper roll out. Identity pillars help lay the foundation for your messaging architecture, while giving your target audience an idea of what to expect when it comes to quality, service and what your business has to offer.
Messaging architecture leads the way to the next level of framing your content, which is voice and tone. Constructing your brand’s identity pillars will allow you to present “who you are” and “what you stand on”. In conjunction with a prioritized messaging architecture that provides an outline of how to communicate with your target audience. Developing a strong voice and tone will allow you effectively present your brand’s top characteristics through tag lines, advertising and conversational transactions .
How To Develop Your Brand’s Voice & Tone
Developing your brand’s voice and tone is the third step in framing your content. This is how your brand expresses it top characteristics while communicating with your target audience. This is the interesting piece of framing your content because it requires a little savvy and timeliness. How you articulate your brand’s voice can be the difference between a well-received conversation vs. a one-off transaction.
Choosing your brand’s voice and tone should be pulled from your identity pillars and messaging architecture. There’s a number of factors that you’ll want to include when developing your voice and tone. For instance, the industry you’re in, how you want people to ‘feel‘ when interacting with your brand and how you want to prioritize your messaging architecture. For example the voice and tone of salesman compared to a customer service representative are completely different. When communicating with your target audience online, it’s appropriate to combine the two. If you have a new product that creates value and serves a purpose for your target audience, how do you present that information? Aside from pulling from your identity pillars, you’ll want to refer to your company culture as a reference point. Do you help your target audience create value? Enlighten them? Give direction?
Keep in mind, your brand’s voice and tone should continue to develop over time. Your brand’s tone should be flexible and appropriate for the given situation. For example, you don’t want to come off as a wisecrack with someone who has an issue. Or, if someone needs help with a purchase, your brand’s voice and tone should be one that is eager to help.
For best practices when it comes to voice and tone, you want (to the best of your abilities) to accommodate your target audience’s needs when they are engaging with your content or communicating with your business in general. It all starts with infrastructure, building a strong foundation with your identity pillars. Followed by prioritizing your messaging architecture and bringing it all together with a flexible voice and tone.
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