As we head into the 2020s, content marketing will become an increasingly important way to connect with customers and to develop long-term market awareness. However, with more content than ever flooding the Internet, it will take clever positioning and a creative approach to break through the noise.
Brand partnerships offer a stellar opportunity to achieve these goals. By working together, companies can enhance the value of their content marketing campaigns. These agreements allow companies to lower costs, to widen their appeal, and to produce more engaging content.
Not all partnerships are created equal, though. A bad strategic alliance can turn as sour as bad romantic relationship.
Going into the process, it’s important to know how to find the right partner and how to create the right kind of content. That way, both sides of the partnership can boost brand awareness, increase sales, and, ultimately, drive profits.
With that in mind, here are the dos and don’ts of creating brand partnerships for content marketing in 2020:
Do: Create a Vision
Before taking any other steps, you need to figure out what you are trying to accomplish. This decision will inform everything else, from the partner you pick to the kind of content you will create. After all, how do you know who to target for a productive partnership, if your own goals aren’t defined?
The more detailed you can create your vision, the more you can accomplish. Map out goals and outline checkpoints that you’d like to reach along the way, complete with the metrics you’ll use to define success. Once the plan is in place, you can start searching for an appropriate partner.
Don’t: Close Yourself to Feedback
While it’s true that you need to detail your goals before heading into a partnership, you can’t irrevocably lock your initial plan in place. Any successful partnership involves two-way communication. It’s true in your personal life and it’s true in any business transaction.
As such, you need to stay responsive to your partner’s business goals as well. They have benchmarks they are trying to hit as well. To garner all the benefits a brand partnership provides, you need to give a little to get a lot.
Do: Focus on the Long Term
Brand building takes time. As such, don’t get caught up in short-term concerns. Along the same lines, don’t panic if the content you produce under your brand partnership doesn’t immediately create the kind of response you had expected. It might take additional effort to generate a meaningful buzz.
As such, keep your focus on the horizon, making sure you are setting yourself up for long-term success. Remember, this partnership shouldn’t be a sprint. It should be a marathon.
Don’t: Settle for Just Any Partner
Yes, you want to take your time and stay open to input from your brand partner’s suggestions. But those points imply a certain underlying assumption. That is, you assume you’ve got the right brand partner to start with.
It’s the defining step in the process. No content you produce will bring you the desired result if the underlying brand relationship isn’t worthwhile.
As such, don’t rush into an arrangement without considering all the implications. Conduct all necessary due diligence. Once you form a brand partnership, your reputation will be tied to that of the other company. Choose carefully.
Do: Thoughtfully Target Your Audience
Content marketing is about finding the right audience. You want to separate potential customers from the great morass of Internet users. It’s real needle-in-the-haystack stuff. The content marketing should act as a magnet, hunting out those prime needles.
The more closely tuned you are to your target audience, the more successful your marketing effort will be. Before creating any content, figure out who you are trying to reach (in concert with your partner, of course), and craft engaging pieces to draw them in.
Don’t: Get Locked In
Your strategy is likely to evolve as you move along. Since the process is dedicated to the long-term development of your brand, it will likely unfold over a relatively long span of time. Meanwhile, your definition of success will likely change as your content starts to find its audience.
At the same time, you’ll gather information about your audience and about the kind of content you are creating. These should inform your decisions as you progress.
All of this should force you to rethink your goals as things develop. Don’t dig in and blindly follow your initial assumptions, even as the data urge you to change course. Be flexible and willing to adapt. It will guarantee that your brand partnership can flourish for the long term.