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How to Create a Content Brand with John Bonini

How to Create a Content Brand with John Bonini

All brands publish content, but there are those brands that publish content that’s so good and so helpful that it builds it’s own tribe of loyal followers. People that follow and share the content and recommend the products or services, without necessarily having purchased or used it themselves. The content is so convincing that they don’t need to! Can you think of any brands that produce content like that?  

John Bonini, founder of Some Good Content, calls these ‘content brands’ and he has done a lot of research into what elements work together to create a content brand, and why optimizing for algorithms is not a long-term win.  

John is highly regarded in the world of B2B marketing, specifically in the SaaS space. He was Head of Marketing at Databox until August 2023, and he’s now struck out on his own as a consultant helping B2B SaaS companies establish and grow their content brand.   

In this blog post, find out more about how to create your own content brand, the importance of an ‘anchor medium’ in your content strategy and how to determine what the best anchor medium is for you and your team, as well as diving into the big no-no that is link-dumping. 

Click below for the episode with John Bonini or keep reading for the key takeaway.  

Watch the highlights video below or head over to our YouTube channel for the full episode in video format.

What is a content brand?   

This phrase was first coined by John when he started to differentiate between brands that produce content because they have to – they’re publishing keyword-driven content to tick a box - and brands that create content that’s so helpful and high quality that you follow and share it because it’s that good!  

In his words: 

“A content brand is an organization that never has to earn awareness because its audience is always paying attention…”

They treat their content as a separate product and invest and staff it the way they would a product. 

You’re probably thinking, sounds expensive – but it doesn’t depend on team size or resources but rather focusing on an anchor medium and repurposing.  

How to Create a Content Brand with John Bonini

Do you have an anchor medium? (if not, you should!)  

It’s important to have a content strategy that flows from one main anchor medium. That could be a podcast, video series, blog, research papers… whatever works best for you and your team.  

As John explains, you start there and focus on the subjects you want to tackle, the guests you want to interview and so on and from that main piece of anchor content, you create two or three blog posts, a podcast episode, a series of videos for YouTube, or 12 social media posts… whatever works with your strategy and goals 

By focusing in on one anchor medium, youre streamlining processes, you’re able to focus on something that your team are passionate about and aligns with their skill sets. The repurposed content from this core piece can be distributed over a longer period, helping to grow your audience and build trust.  

How to Create a Content Brand with John Bonini

How to create branded content people trust   

In B2B marketing right now, two things are happening, John explains. The first is that AI has made it much easier to create generic, branded content and the second is that content is no longer performing as well as it used to because people don’t trust it.

If you want to buy an amazing backpack, you’re not going to rely on what comes up first on Google anymore, because you know that theyre only there because they have a good SEO strategy, not because they’re the best backpack for you and your needs, so instead you go to TikTok or Reddit or wherever you have a community you trust.  

So how can B2B content marketers circumvent this?  

John’s advice is to make your content less from a point of, “I’m going to educate you,” and more about, “I’m going to talk to others and share the insights that I learned with you…” 

Create content with your audience not just for them   

Tying in with the above, John explains that his favorite anchor medium is a video podcast because you get the most bang for your buck – you get unique angles for videos, blog posts and social content for months. But another bonus is you have guests on your podcast – so you’re interacting and creating content with people among your target audience.  

This is what he means by creating content with your audience not just for them. It’s a warmer introduction to your brand than, “Hey, check this out, click here, buy this.”  

What is link dumping & how to avoid it (because you want to avoid it!)  

Just the phrase ‘link dumping’ sounds like something you need to avoid at all costs! But John is quick to reiterate that by link dumping he doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share links. It’s how the links are shared.  

People need to promote their content via links, but if you record a podcast episode for example, and then share the link on socials saying, “Hey I recorded this, here’s the link” that’s link dumping. If you take the link out the post says nothing. You learn nothing.  

The key is to make the post valuable, interesting and worthwhile in its own right. To test this remove the link and ask yourself:  

  • Is it still insightful? 

  • Am I still learning something? 

  • Was I still entertained? 

If the answer is yes to any of these, then post away with your head held high. If the answer is no, you’re link dumping! 

The importance of including zero click content into your content strategy is that you are providing free value first and foremost and in turn, building affinity and trust with your audience.  

John has built a large B2B marketing community through his excellent newsletter Some Good Content, so do subscribe 

For help repurposing your content, please reach out to us because whatever it is, we can help!  

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