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Field Notes

Field Notes #044: Brand POV (Part 2)

Brand POV (Part 2)

My previous Field Notes touched on why brand POV is important and how I’ve conducted a workshop/exercise to build brand POV with clients.

This time, I want to unpack how I distill that conversation into a company artifact/messaging architecture and how to apply that asset to your marketing engine—namely, how to create branded feature articles, as opposed to a typical search-driven blog post.

Turning your brand POV workshop into a brand asset

After holding your brand POV workshop exercise, you’ll be left with many (many!) notes. I highly recommend recording your workshop or having a transcript to revisit for exact quotes from your team. 

I recommend distilling your notes into a useable brand artifact (like buyer personas) using the following framework.

Let’s break it down.

First, identify the high-level themes discussed among the team. These are topics that both you and your audiences care about and are also topics that the client can uniquely speak to and solve for. This is where the experience factor comes into play. 

Next, determine common enemies or villains that both you and your audience battle together—things that both parties tend to dislike and want to absolve in the name of growth or peace (at least in the world of B2B SaaS).

After examining the conversation through these two lenses, you’ll find it easier to discover new angles to lean into that reflect your brand’s mission and voice. This is where those “hot takes” and strong opinions come out, and they’re often either contrarian opinions or new ways of thinking, like new frameworks or mindsets. Generally, your products should be able to complement these angles, and they should be consistent with your other branding and overall messaging.

Note: It’s possible your workshop surfaced some fundamental disagreement between leadership (hey, it happens—and I did encourage you to incite debate during the exercise). I would discourage you from focusing too much on where folks disagree and more on using those disagreements to triangulate a point of agreement. 

There are many things that Alex, David, and I disagree on, but those don’t make up our brand POV. If anything, those points of disagreement are good fodder for our Kitchen Side episodes, and we utilize what we do agree to inform our brand POV.

(Sometimes, disagreements are the earliest stage of the agreement, and the team needs a bit more discussion to reach a consensus. Each brand POV exercise is an opportunity to reach that consensus.)

Using the above framework to turn your workshop notes into a usable asset isn’t always straightforward. Still, after analyzing your conversation and letting your imagination run wild, you’ll see those one-liner opinions surface. After pulling on five to 10 threads, share these with your leadership team for feedback, namely the folks who joined the workshop. 

These make up your brand POV— in other words, your brand’s stance on the world around it. 

Applying your brand POV artifact to your marketing

Building your brand POV asset shouldn’t stop there. No one likes dusty documents that languish away in Google Drive.

The most straightforward way to apply your brand POV is with content marketing through feature articles (as opposed to your typical SEO blog post). Your brand POV can both inspire net new content topics and inform your SEO content with perspective. 

Let’s discuss building a brief for a net new feature article using your brand POV.

Take one or two themes from your brand POV document and tease out potential topics. Contrarian opinions and hot takes make for excellent options. These can be iterations of the theme itself or explore an opinion within that hot take.

(Don’t hesitate to pull in a new person who can examine your brand POV with a fresh perspective and call out topics they think would interest your audience.)

After determining article topics, build a three to four-sentence summary. This is similar to pitching a magazine or online newspaper; you’d have to build your pitch just like this to appeal to an editor. 

A good pitch should ideally have three main components:

  • The main thesis of your idea + an irresistible hook
  • The benefit and appeal to your reader
  • Who you are, why you’re best suited to write this article, and who else you’ll use as sources (SMEs)

But instead of sending this pitch to an editor, this information will inform your in-house staff or a talented freelance writer on how to shape the piece and conduct research or interviews.

Now let’s turn the feature article “pitch” into a marketing brief. To your brief, add the following:

  • Audience information
    • Your target audience and why they would benefit from your article (think: JTBD)
    • Customer journey stage (optional)
  • Brand information
    • How your brand fits in, e.g., how your positioning/messaging supports the op-ed topic or how your product fits into the conversation.
    • The corresponding brand POV theme, as well as a link to the document
  • Further context for the article
    • Links to inspiration/similar topics and relevant research
      • Note: Since these feature articles typically don’t compete for SERP space (you can distribute in other ways), you may be able to win a link in a complementary article that agrees with your stance
    • Suggested interviews and/or questions
      • Add the info for any team members or industry influencers who you can interview for research or powerful quotes
    • Target keyword
      • If you suspect your piece may rank for a relevant keyword, there’s no harm in placing this keyword in your title, meta description, URL, and headings. More on this below.
  • Potential conversion spots
    • Case studies or customer stories that support your article topic or opinion
      • These are great ways to showcase social proof and demonstrate how your business backs your brand POV
    • Pages to link to
      • Including SEO pieces that are relevant to your topic
    • Pages to link from
      • These are places across your website to place this article once published. This is an underrated distribution channel: place backlinks to new feature articles from high-traffic SEO pieces. More on this below.

đź’ˇ Share this Field Notes on LinkedIn and tag Omniscient Digital, and I’ll send you our Brand Content Brief Template to help you get things started. đź’ˇ

As for how else to apply brand POV to your marketing, consider using it for:

  • Rationale for choosing podcast guests, episode topics, and discussion questions
  • Ideas for new social posts and how to reply to comments or questions
  • Theses for gated content assets
  • Input for survey questions for data-driven assets
  • Differentiating factors for competitive content 

Distributing brand POV blog content

I don’t usually differentiate between SEO content and branded content because they could be one and the same… if Google didn’t cater to the least technical users, who tend to search informational queries answered with 101 articles.

That being said, you can still give your piece a chance to rank. Search optimization should be a secondary or tertiary goal of producing this type of brand content. One way to reverse engineer keywords for these feature articles is to plug your suggested topics into Google to see what ranks. A super long-tail query will likely surface similar articles or op-eds. 

Skim the pieces to ensure the intent matches, then take those relevant articles and do a site search in a tool like Ahrefs to examine any keywords the piece ranks for. It’s typically hit or miss in terms of what is worth pursuing, but you could apply that keyword to a couple of H2s, the URL, and the intro to give your piece a chance to rank. 

I do not recommend using a tool like Clearscope on these pieces (it’ll remove the nuance needed to resonate) nor do I recommend using organic traffic to measure success with these articles.

This brings us to the point of distribution. Given search is not valuable to rely on for these types of branded pieces, consider these distro ideas:

  • Placing links to this new POV content in existing and high-performing SEO pieces
  • Sharing on social and via email or repurposing some of these pieces as zero-click content to drive engagement and indirectly impacting traffic
  • Manually distribute your pieces to industry newsletters that do op-ed roundups (don’t forget UTM parameters!)
  • Set up an RSS feed on Slack so your other employees—mainly customer-facing folks like sales and CS—can see the pieces and use them for their work
  • Drive backlinks to these new pieces
  • Have your leadership team discuss these opinions on LinkedIn, on podcasts and webinars, and during keynotes or speaking engagements, and promote your articles

How do you measure the success of these pieces? If your distribution is thorough, total traffic and traffic from email or social media are good leading indicators over time. Also, pay attention to WOM during sales or customer service calls.

But overall, remember that applying your brand POV is more about resonating and building trust with your audience as a smart, leading-edge brand than getting clicks to your website. 

Want more insights like this? Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Recommended Reads

  1. Field Notes #039: Brand POV Workshops (Part 1) – If you haven’t read this Field Notes yet, do so now. This is the first part of the brand POV process and walks through how to do the workshop with your team
  2. Field Notes #042: Unpredictable ROI from Unmeasurable Content – David wrote another wildly valuable Field Notes on how to deal with the ambiguity of measuring success for this type of content.
  3. Infuse Your Content With A Point-Of-View—And More Understanding Of Humanity, Too – A great and relevant piece by our beloved Tracey Wallace.

Allie Decker

Allie is co-founder and Head of Client Success at Omniscient Digital. She previously led content initiatives at HubSpot and Shopify.