And welcome to the future.
My name is Colin and I’m about to share 15 atomic brand awareness campaign ideas.
I’ve personally tried each of these and they’re pretty stellar. Now they’re yours for the taking.
And remember: you can support my blog by subscribing.
Table of Contents
By clicking each link, you’ll scroll to that section on this page.
1. Start a Newsletter that’s Actually Valuable
Everyone has a newsletter and most of them are crap.
Don’t be like everyone else.
If you’re going to sink the time, energy, and resources into facilitating and maintaining a GOOD newsletter, the best way to gain virality is to:
- Make your newsletter about a broader topic that more people can relate to
- Add some brand personality and fun to it
- Deliver content that’s actually worth clicking
The success of a newsletter really comes down to the content.
As for benefits to you, the business owner or marketing manager, your newsletter will give you opportunities to share:
- News of announcements
- Recent events you’ve attended
- Conferences you’re planning to attend
- State of operations
My favourite part of a good newsletter is the announcements. Across newsletters analytics I’ve seen, merch announcements always seem to do better than ‘we have a new product’.
Which is kind of funny. Merch sites are fairly easy to spin up. Building a product can be a multi-million dollar investment.
2. Write Good Blog Posts
I’ve been blogging for 8 years and trust me when I say there’s a difference between writing a blog post and writing a GOOD blog post.
You have to use images. Like.. a lot of images. Explainer images.
Your writing also needs to spark wonder, resilience, and possibility.
Without those elements, your visitors just hit a wall of text (and the majority drop off).
Sure, some people read FULL blog posts, but the majority skim them.
3. Record a Tasty Podcast
Podcasts are pretty easy to make (easier than a blog post in my opinion).
License a song for $50. Record your intro. Fade to the topic. Speak.
I did a few podcasts as an experiment with this blog. They were received well (people were impressed by the quality of my first production).
Benefits of a podcast include:
- Putting a voice to a person’s name and headshot (bloggers you know what I mean)
- Engaging your audience on a deeper level
- Attracting new fans on a new medium
- Networking with guest speakers
4. Make YouTube Videos for Topics in Your Niche
People hang out on YouTube.
Does your business or product have product reviews on YouTube? Do you have unboxing videos?
That would be a good place to start.
From there you can move into other topics like:
- A message from the President
- Video newsletter
- Animated videos with your podcast as an overlay
- Livestreams of events
- Video testimonials
- Video tutorials
From my own personal experiments with YouTube, I found the 3 most important growth tactics were:
- Doing keyword research BEFORE you record
- Optimizing content for Average Watch Time (which was impacted by production quality)
- Uploading consistently
5. Make a Mini Magazine Using Instagram Stories
Interactive content is on the rise.
People want to engage with content in new ways.
Using the “Story” feature on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, you can create a sort of mini-magazine for your audiences.
6. Recycle Relevant Content on Social Media
Find reason to give your old content new life.
If you have a content piece that’s fitting for new audience members, share it again through your social accounts.
And don’t pretend it’s new content — just make it relevant again.
7. Volunteer Doing Something You Love
Volunteering builds character and empathy.
On one side, you help fill a community need. On another side, you make new friends.
Either way you cut it, you’re building your reputation, likeability, and network as a volunteer.
People will support the things you set out to achieve and that can carry a lot of weight for your business.
Take some time to narrow down the things you could be helping people do. Then go find a charity or non-profit in your community that needs those skillsets.
It feels good to volunteer.
8. Go to Workshops in Your Industry
Workshops can be boring when you’re already proficient in the topic, but there are still a lot of benefits to attending:
- Get a chance to refresh your knowledge on the topic being covered,
- Gain opportunities to network with others (sharing word about your company),
- Learn about the pains/reasons why people are attending this workshop,
- Network with the guest speaker/workshop facilitator for your own future workshops.
The two activities I recommend you focus on most are:
- Observing participants to identify their pains and goals, and
- Connecting with the guest speaker/workshop facilitator.
Observing Participants. Who has attended the workshop? What are their job titles? How is each segment of the audience interacting with the content? Are the CEOs on their phones? Are the junior staff vigorously taking notes? Find out who’s in the room. Find out what content triggers them to write notes and ask questions. This will help you go back to your blog or website and creating meaningful content for audiences. It’s also an opportunity to refine your advertising audiences.
Connecting with the Guest Speaker / Workshop Facilitator. This person is facilitating for a reason. Either they have a strong network or they carry a lot of insight into your field. Either way, there’s value in connecting with them. If the Q&A section of the workshop ends early, invite them out for a coffee, or to set up a call sometime (or just discuss with them then and there).
9. Host Your Own Workshops
Trying to build your profile as an industry expert?
Fortify your position as an expert by hosting and facilitating workshop events in your local community.
In order to host your own event, you’ll need 3 things:
- A partner to co-host the event with you
- A drafted email to send their mailing list
- A venue to deliver your workshop
Doing Workshops in Your Local Region. Find a well-rooted community group that hosts events in your space. Reach out to them and start building a relationship with them (coffee, volunteer opportunities, etc.). Make sure you articulate your goal early in the relationship. If you come in and struggle to describe who you are and what you do, they won’t know how to help you. Instead, clearly state who you are, what you do for businesses, and give an idea of the groups you align with (Salesforce, Hubspot, etc.). If you don’t have recognized certifications to mention, take the approach of stating the kinds of businesses you typically work with (large enterprise, medium, 100+ employees, small businesses, etc.).
Doing Workshops Outside Your Local Region. It’s hard to do workshops outside your local region if you don’t have a foundation to stand on. Once building up your professional and speaker profile, you can start to probe at regions outside your local area. Use software to take inventory of all the events taking place in your industry for the year. Next, see if they’re accepting speaker applications. If they are (and are relevant to your speaker portfolio, apply).
This process is similar to how a band would grow. You won’t start out playing at large arenas, rather you have to start small.
10. Join Online Communities & Connect with Relevant People
Head to Google and type [your industry] + online communities. You’ll likely get results like “Top Communities for [your industry]”.
Scan the lists and identify online communities that fit with your brand and audience. Go through the process of joining the community (Facebook Group, Slack Channel, etc.) and update your profile to reflect your brand’s message and tone – once you interact in the channel, you’ll start to get profile visits.
Once complete, write a hello paragraph to everyone. Include your name, company, the reason you joined the community, and what goals you have for yourself and business (and how the community will help you).
Connect, interact, and discuss topics with other members. This will build your sense of cohesion with people in the group and put you on the good side of the administrators. From there, you can hook-up with other people doing similar things to you and strategize on ways you can collaborate and help each other succeed.
11. Share News & Stories About Your Subscribers
There’s nothing more rewarding than receiving news that your subscribers are achieving success (and that you’ve been part of their journey).
I love telling the story about a friend of mine, Aaron Crispen.
Aaron and I met through a Facebook group. He was looking for advice on his career and I offered the piece of guidance I had (I’m only a few years older than Aaron).
He subscribed to my blog, became a Facebook friend, and followed me on Snapchat. For years we’ve been back and forth with small bits of information, book recommendations, and more.
Aaron eventually went on to start a business with his father called Cumberland Signs & Designs in Somerset, Kentucky.
This news made me incredibly happy. I immediately hopped online and shared thanks to Aaron for being a part of my blog community and staying connected over the years.
But sharing his news achieved something else.
Skeptical followers saw the news I shared and were impressed. They weren’t sure how real I was as a marketer. Was I a fake-it-til-you-make-it kind? Someone chasing a dream?
They didn’t have that underlying foundation of trust, but after sharing Aaron’s story, they did.
The story of Aaron was enough to get them over the fence and build the trust they needed before becoming subscribers of my blog.
Take some time to share the love with some of the amazing people you work with.
12. Leave Business Cards at Your Local Coffee Shop
Never underestimate the power, reach, and connection of coffee shops (they’re always packed with people).
Print a small batch of business cards designed to feature your content, opt-in, or website. Invite people to take a card and explore your website later on their own accords.
You’d be impressed with your website visitors. They’ll message you, connect with you on LinkedIn, request help, and even introduce you to others who can help you grow.
Make a Big Impression — Pair Your Print Ads with Your Digital Ads
If operating close to your market, pair your digital advertising creative with your print advertising creative.
We ran digital ads to our local community and created print ads that were visible in our local coffee shop.
The response was great.
Not only did we re-engage people who already saw our print/digital ads, but we reached them through an entirely different medium.
“This is that ad I saw earlier! I didn’t know this was local!”
This experiment proved to be extremely effective.
13. Print Company Apparel You’ll Actually Wear
When you’re starting up, no one knows about you or your brand. By wearing your brand, you make a social statement.
But a typical tee-shirt with a half-assed logo won’t cut it. You need to sport clothing that fits with fashion, your preferences, and looks legit.
When I started my paddleboard company, SUP Baddeck (sold in 2016), I had to get the word out. I bought a black Helly Hansen sports jacket with minimal stripes and colors on it.
I took the jacket to an embroidery store and request they put patches on the jacket. On the left arm, I had them place the Paddle Canada logo on it. On the right, I had them place the SUP Baddeck logo. On the left chest, they placed the words “Lead Instructor, Cape Breton Island Watersports Inc” (the legal name).
The jacket looked amazing and I was proud to wear it. It made me look like I was a part of some formal professional group of athletes.
During a visit to a coffee shop, I noticed people were scoping me out (who wears patches on their jacket, after all?). I knew they saw the SUP Baddeck logo, but then I revealed my other arm – “Paddle Canada”.
By now, they could piece together that I was some kind of person who did paddling. When I turned around with my coffee to leave, they caught a glimpse of my chest – “Lead Instructor”. The mystery of who I was and what group I was a part of was complete.
I had interactions like this OFTEN.
The jacket cost me $250.00, but I saw every penny returned (and more).
I wore the jacket for years. Hiking, at the bar, opening shop in the morning, getting coffee, lunch, etc.
Each interaction helped me build awareness of SUP Baddeck.
You can do the same thing for your brand. Leverage logos and certification badges your audience would be familiar with like Google, Salesforce, Hubspot, etc. Then create an amazing piece of clothing you would love wear.
People will be able to piece together what it is you do, what company you work for, and what suite of brands you align with (Paddle Canada, Google, Salesforce, Hubspot, etc.).
14. Run Display Ads on Google Adwords
Display Ads get a lot of impressions, not clicks.
As a former analyst who has reviewed, assessed, and advised companies who spent $50k+ per month on digital ads, I wouldn’t suggest Google Adwords if you were looking for tons of clicks and website visitors. However, if you were looking for brand awareness, it’s among the first places I’d recommend.
With Google Adwords, your logo and brand can appear on websites. When visitors read blog posts or scan articles, they’ll gain exposure to your brand (earning you impressions).
Impressions don’t necessarily translate to clicks, but you’re not playing this game for clicks. You want people to pause, look at the ad, and think of your brand.
THAT is the magic of Google Adwords.
15. Run Video Ads on YouTube
People are spending insane amounts of time on YouTube.
More and more people are turning their attention to YouTube for explainer videos, tutorials, clips of TV shows and more.
And right now it’s very cheap to run ads on YouTube.
If you’re trying to gain exposure for your brand, count YouTube amongst your best bets for where to spend money.
Tip for Local Businesses
Run a video ad that introduces the business and the storefront. Adjust your Adwords account to only run the ad to people within your local region.
Sounds pretty obvious, but it gives you a huge advantage over big brands competing to advertise on YouTube against your bid.
If Nike were to run ads across all of North America with a bigger budget, it’s likely their bid would be small (they’re spread too thin). For the small business owner, the area is more condensed, making your bid higher despite having a smaller budget.
Take those wins all day.
Consistency is key. Make sure to take a look at your workload and determine which brand awareness ideas are most realistic to implement.
If you’re working a full-time job and trying to do brand awareness on the side, consider doing a podcast or blog.
For those of you who decide to implement these campaign ideas into a fully-functional org, enjoy the results.
Try using a combination of the ideas listed above. You’ll be surprised at the results.