The Art of Attention
Ever feel like you’re operating in a sea of noise? That everyone is yelling and screaming for attention, leaving you with no exposure?
You’re not alone. Especially when the brands we’re trying to build are for companies selling technical products.
In my experience, there are 2 ways to earn attention:
- Bizarre controversial content
I assume the majority of you reading aren’t inclined to go the path of Jake Paul and Logan Paul. If that’s right, consistency is your best bet.
This article will show you exactly how to cut through the noise and earn your place in the minds of consumers.
Use any one of these 15 brand awareness campaign ideas for your business.
1. Write a Monthly Newsletter
A newsletter program is an easy win for your marketing operations.
Newsletters directly inform your subscribers of activities you’ve been up to and projects you’ve completed. They also give you an opportunity to make new announcements.
But be careful.
Newsletters are decent, but if you do too many of them, they can come off as spam.
Lastly, if you don’t have any relevant news to share, adjust your cadence to quarterly.
2. Write 2 Blog Posts per Month
I encourage all readers to take up blogging as a hobby (even if just to experiment).
Blogging has been on the decline since the rise of podcasts and video have overtaken the war on attention. Yet, blogging still remains an excellent way to earn brand awareness.
In a way, it provides a formal tone to your brand AND you can control the quality of it.
Suppose you’re operating your business from home. Would your environment affect the quality of your content production for videos? Is your environment suitable to record a podcast?
When it comes to blogging, you have full control over the quality of your content. It’s a beautiful advantage.
Why do you recommend 2 posts per month?
2 posts per month is a good cadence. Don’t let blogging take up all of your time. You’re running a business afterall. You’ll need time to review your analytics, find what works, create opt-in’s, and more.
Creating 2 GOOD posts in addition to your regular workload is reasonable.
3. Record 1 Podcast per Month
Podcasts are an engaging way to discuss topics about your niche. They engage listeners on a deeper level and help connect your brand with consumer emotions.
They’re also a great way to quickly ignite your brand via guest events.
By featuring guest speakers, industry experts, and authorities on your niche’s topic, you’ll be able to grow your network, meet more influential people, and get attention.
When creating content with others, they’ll share it. This helps you quickly build up your audiences, get more email subscribers, and ultimately, grow your brand.
Why do you recommend only 1 podcast per month?
Maintaining production quality takes time. The more time you use, the less time you have to run your business. 1 podcast per month means you have more time.
For many of you reading, you likely don’t have a soundproof recording studio in your office. That means you’ll require a rental studio OR a rough and jagged homemade studio. My only tip for homemade studios is blankets. Padden up the walls to prevent your voice from bouncing everywhere.
4. Produce 2 YouTube Videos per Quarter
2 videos is a realistic target to hit (even if you’re a 1-person company).
From my own experiments with YouTube, there are 2 metrics to go for:
- Average Watch Time (%) – impacted by your production quality
- Subscriber Growth – impacted by your consistency to upload
Post too often, your quality takes a hit. Post too little, people don’t remember who you are.
Hit the balance.
Word of the Wise:
Don’t do video for the sake of doing video. Figure out how it’s going to fit with your current content operations and provide value to your audience.
Conduct an audit on the kinds of videos people are making for your niche. What do you like about them? What do you wish they featured? Could a difference angle be taken?
Answer these questions, commit, and proceed.
“Over 1.9 Billion logged-in users visit YouTube each month and every day people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views” (YouTube).
5. Make Highlight Stories on Instagram to Summarize Content
Interactive content is on the rise. This means people are going to want to watch, click, and touch the content you create.
Ever browse publisher content on Snapchat? It’s like that. A blend of interactive quotes, titles, snippets of text, and visual cues to assist learning.
Instagram’s Highlights feature gives brands the tools to create a similar experience. You can alter your existing blog posts and repurpose them into micro-consumable Highlights.
In all, this helps build a Customer Experience (CX).
People Consume Content Differently
Just because you’re already running a blog doesn’t mean you should avoid doing Instagram Highlights.
People consume content in different ways.
6. Recycle Your Content on Social Media
This old chestnut dates back to the dawn of social media and the emergence of Facebook (yet still very few businesses do it).
Use a social media scheduling tool like Buffer (free) to recycle your old content.
You don’t need to pretend it’s fresh new content, rather give it some legs to make it relevant again. For example, “We were looking through our website analytics and noticed a high amount of traffic to this blog post. This blog post features ABC; helping managers achieve XYZ”.
Something like that.
Schedule Content 1 Quarter at a Time
Don’t go overboard with scheduling content. If you’re running a marketing department, it’s likely you’ll have other campaigns and projects requiring their share of the spotlight.
Schedule your posts out over a quarter. At the end of each quarter, you’ll have an idea if you posted too often, too little, or if your content held little meaning to your audience.
Also if deciding to use Buffer, they’ll email you when your queue is empty. You can treat that as your trigger to assess performance and schedule more posts.
7. Volunteer Doing Something You Love
Volunteering builds character and empathy. On one side you’re helping fill a community need. On another side, you’re making new friends.
Either way you cut it, you’re building your reputation and likeability 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. Attend Workshops Related to Your Industry
Attending workshops as a participant provides many benefits:
- Gives you a chance to quality check your own knowledge and practices of the topic being reviewed,
- Gives you opportunities to network with others (sharing word about your company),
- Provides insights into the finer details of customer pains and goals,
- Gives you a chance to network with the guest speaker/workshop facilitator.
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. Facilitate Workshops Related to Your Industry
Positioning yourself as an expert of your industry build authority. You can fortify your position as an expert by hosting and facilitating workshop events.
In order to host your own event, you’ll need to have a following. If you haven’t hit your stride on followership, you’ll want to try the following techniques.
Local Workshops. 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 to 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
Don’t underestimate small local coffee shops (they’re packed with relevant 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.
Pair Print Ads with Digital Ads – Match Your Ad Creative
If operating close to your market, pair your digital ads with print ads.
We ran digital ads to our local community and created print ads that were similar to the creative we used online.
The response was great.
Not only did we re-engage people who already saw our ads, but we reached them through an entirely different medium.
“This is that ad I saw earlier! I didn’t know it 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 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 you run ads.
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 cheap (because not many people are doing it).
If you’re trying to gain exposure for your brand, count YouTube amongst your best bets of where to spend.
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.
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