How Small- and Mid-Sized Companies are Making a Killing With Brand Expansion


A magician never reveals his secrets.  But, you and I?  If we want to make money in today’s convoluted (but exciting!) world of marketing, then we’re going to have to let our guard down.  And, you know what?  That’s not a bad thing.

If you’ve done any research about blogging for business, you know that success is totally connected to exposing yourself in an honest way and sharing your knowledge.  And it’s not just small businesses that are doing this.  Power players like General Motors are running great blogs that share knowledge and information.  For an example, take a look at the great job they’re doing with a blog for the Chevrolet Volt.

Also, fellow CEM blogger, Renee, has a great post about how some major corporations have been using blogs and other social media outlets for hearing out angry customers, and resolving conflict.  Brand expansion isn’t just about getting your voice out there, it’s about being effective.

Essential for Brand Expansion

While this blogging for business stuff is great, one of its most effective uses is for brand expansion.  A company’s blog can expand its brand by establishing authority and credibility.  Even better, these expansions mean more possibilities for your company, and more profit coming your way.

Let’s take a look at some ways that other companies are expanding their brands, and building authority in the process!

The Geniuses at PPC Hero

PPC Hero… that’s “pay per click” for those of you who, like me, are less tech-savvy.  This site is a fantastic resource for anyone who is building a website, and wants to use pay per click advertising, but doesn’t know where to begin.  Their focus is all about educating others on how to effectively use PPC strategies.  All of their information is completely free, and covers a wide spectrum of knowledge.  Pretty cool, right?

Well, when I first found out about PPC Hero, my question was simple: Who owns this, and what’s their motivation?  Running a blog isn’t easy.  And, this one isn’t short on custom graphics, information-packed resource pages, and other features that demonstrate a lot of quality backing the site.

Well, if you click on their Services page, it’s easy to find out that PPC Hero is powered by Hanapin Marketing.  And, Hanapin is no small marketing company either.  They’re experts at transitioning PPC accounts, and they assume you have budgeted at least $15,000 per month for the job!

So, why has Hanapin undergone this brand expansion?  Well, it’s simple.  There are at least two main motivations here:

  1. By educating and encouraging small PPC website owners, Hanapin develops brand loyalty.  Their business blog (PPC Hero) isn’t just a page with links and resources, it’s a brand that people will connect with.  Small site owners will “grow up” with PPC Hero.  And, when they need the big services, who are they going to turn to?  Naturally, they’ll ask Hanapin to take over.  After all, Hanapin and PPC Hero brought them this far; why not take the next steps together?
  2. Secondly, when a site owner who’s already fairly well-established begins to do research on PPC services, Hanapin will probably appear on their radar.  When they see all of the free knowledge that Hanapin is willing to share via PPC Hero, they’ll wonder how much Hanapin knows and chooses not to share for free.  Now, that’s an alluring concept!

Content Marketing Institute

For copywriters like us, the Content Marketing Institute is a huge resource.  I think it was somewhere during the night between my first and second day as a content writer that I discovered CMI.  I’ve been a regular reader ever since.  They’re an information powerhouse, full of resources on everything from blogging for business to networking.  And, as you might imagine, they aren’t just a great magazine.  The magazine, blog, and even the largest content marketing event in the world are all a part of CMI’s brand expansion.

I went to the homepage as if I wanted to hire CMI’s consulting services.  However, nowhere on the homepage do you see a flashing box screaming “Buy Our Services!”.  Rather, there’s a simple “Consulting” link on the navigation bar that’s wedged between “Events” and “White Papers.”  CMI doesn’t have to push their consulting services.  People are desperate to hire them because they see that the company is a dynamo!

The magazine, events, and blog are all just a part of CMI’s brilliant brand expansion.

SuccessWorks

My last example is one of the most impressive: SuccessWorks.  (You may recognize the URL, seocopywriting.com.)  The team behind SuccessWorks is quite impressive.  They operate a great blog, full of tips about effective copywriting for search engines.  But, their real bread and butter is their SEO Copywriting Certification.  They offer a three-month course that certifies anyone in SEO Copywriting.  I’m sure the instruction is great, but the price they charge… go ahead and click it.  I think you’ll be quite surprised how high tuition is for this course!

But, their course material is definitely selling.  Even better, this three-month long course is all a part of SuccessWorks’ brand expansion.  What’s the service behind all the education?  Of course, you guessed it: copywriting.  And, after all, if you had the money, why wouldn’t you buy their services?  If people are paying them $769 for a course in copywriting, they must know what they’re doing!

Your Business

So, my examples have focused on content writing and the SEO industry, but the same principles apply to your business!  If you’re truly interested in brand expansion, one of the best ways to do it is to show that you are an authority!  Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge.  If you really do something better than everyone else, then writing about it for others isn’t going to result in a drop in sales.  Rather, you establish yourself as the authority, and customers will want to buy your services!

What brand expansions will you attempt in order to build authority and share your knowledge?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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