6 Tips to Help Your Brand Stand Out in the Digital World

Written By: Kyle Musser

If you’re like most entrepreneurs and content teams, there’s a good chance you’ve asked the question…

“How does our brand stand out from the crowd in this incredibly noisy digital world??”

From Fortune 500 companies on down to the small business owners and growing brands that we serve here at DCLabs, many creatives are asking this same question on a daily basis when it comes to evaluating and executing a standout content creation plan.

Now the simple answer to that question is that you (and your brand) will never stand out and get noticed if your content is mediocre and if the message doesn’t resonate with your target audience.

And the sad part is that this is the case for many businesses and brands who are playing in the digital creation game.

I say playing because the reality is there is a difference between a pro and an amateur content marketer. And when you play the game as an amateur, the simple fact is that your brand will get crushed by the pros resulting in negative ROI of time, energy, resources, and effort.

Which can leave you feeling like this…

via Giphy.com

But the great news is that there is hope for you, your brand, and in keeping the roof over your business. ;-)

Before we dive in, quick question…

Ever heard the term “Kaizen”?

If you’ve never heard this before, then implant this deep inside of your memory because it’s a lesson that all entrepreneurs and content creators should embrace every single day.

Kaizen simply means… “Continuous improvement” in Japanese.

Many of you who probably aren’t in supply chain or lean manufacturing have never heard of this, but here’s why it’s relevant.

When it comes to the conversation around your brand created through the content strategy you currently have in place, I want you to rate it on a scale of 1–10 in terms of things like…

and so on.

Got an answer?? Good!

If you’re like most brands (and entrepreneurs), you’ll probably rate yourself on the high end in an effort to make yourself feel better about your investment into content creation. Or, you’ll rate yourself on the low end based on the notion that good is never great when it comes to anything in your business.

And trust me, we’ve all been in one of those places.

Whether you’re just starting a business or you’re working with a team that’s in charge of all your brand’s content creation, promotion, execution, etc., the truth is that we all can be doing better in every single aspect of our businesses.

So while this can be quite frustrating, especially for those solopreneurs and small business owners reading this who are always questioning where you’re going to find the time (and money) to create (let alone improve) the content you know you should or could be producing.

This pull to “constantly do better” or the principal of “Kaizen” can be quite frustrating and even sabotage the creative process if you don’t keep it in perspective to your overall goals.

As we like to call it…

“Creating Conversations that lead to Conversions.” Kyle Musser, Founder and Chief Brand Advocate

But like I said before, this doesn’t have to be the end for your brand when it comes to content creation and standing out in the digital world.

Better yet, it doesn’t have to require massive amounts of resources to make an impact and stand out. :-)

I say this because the reality is that we live in unbelievable times here in 2016 for content creators, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.

Never before has it been easier for literally anyone to quickly put a plan in place, immediately test that plan out, and progressively iterate your way into success on your terms.

But that being said, what you must have if you want to achieve success is a plan. Or what I like to think of as principals that you (and your team) can live by when it comes to producing higher quality content that impacts, influences, and of course… converts!

So if you’re still here, it’s time to check out the…

via DCLabs Design Labs

Tip #1 — Start and validate (more) small experiments.

When it comes to anything in business, I like to share with my clients and remind my team about one of our core values here at DCLabs and that’s…

“A commitment to continuous experimentation.”Kyle Musser

This philosophy was born out of the idea that things are never going to be as perfect as we envision them to be when it comes to putting our creative work out into the world.

For those of you familiar with the startup and tech world, you’re most likely familiar with Reid Hoffman and the notion of “Just ship it.”

See most (if not all) of the successful entrepreneurs I’ve worked with and learned from over the years seem to have a similar philosophy when it comes to their businesses as well.

Think of a venture capitalist who’s job is to manage risk and reward. In most VC scenarios (like much of business and life), you can go back to the 80/20 rule for managing your efforts and the return on those efforts.

So let’s say you have $100m fund spread evenly across 10 investments. Now over the course of the duration of the fund’s investments, you’ll most likely see 20% of the investment (2 deals) account for 80% of the returns during the harvest periods.

Now, take that same philosophy and apply that into your brand’s digital strategy….

Just imagine for a second a place where you and a team make the commitment to launching, tracking, and analyzing 5 new content experiments over the course of lets say a month.

Sound reasonable?

Now, let’s say your goal is to grow email subscribers by X% for this month and then turn X% of those people into buyers for whatever your thing is.

How are you going to do that you might be asking, which is a great question!

If we’re just talking the social aspects of your brand’s digital footprint, let’s break down 5 easy experiments that ANY business owner could run with little effort and minimal budget starting today…

Instagram — Post 1 new piece of photo content per day. Whether it’s a quote, a shout out, etc., it’s an easy way to visually craft and share the story of your brand and add value to your community.
Instagram Stories — Since the stories go away after 24 hours, let’s say you just did 1 new story feature every couple days. That’s 2–3 stories per week adding value to your audience and building a deeper community connection for free. And since it’s a newer feature which less people are utilizing vs. Instagram as photo sharing app, there’s a good chance that your content will actually be seen by your fans.
Snapchat — Depending on your audience and your business, you could either share personal life clips or even some more behind the scenes of your brand. Either way, Snapchat as a platform gets ridiculous engagement and the filters are always a great time.
Facebook Live — Not only is Facebook Live another game-changing content tool, it’s also a great way to grow your page’s organic reach (Link) for FREE! Yes, you read that right. And my assumptions tell me that Facebook Ad targeting on these Live Streams (Link) is coming very soon. If you have a smartphone, are a business owner with a Facebook Page, and are not utilizing this… you’ll regret it if you don’t start now.
YouTube — We’ll talk about this later, but Gary Vaynerchuksays “Document, don’t create”. What if once a week you highlighted a lesson just using your iPhone or did an interview over Skype that you then put up on your channel as a way to add value to your community? Either way, it’s a win and it’s free, quick, and easy to create.

Sound like a lot?

If you think about it for a minute, running a bunch of small content experiments has the potential to reap massive rewards because you’re allowing yourself the freedom to see what works based on your audience and your specific niche.

Better yet, all 5 of these content experiments I just shared above are FREE!

All it takes is a little bit of planning and a whole lot of execution. Don’t be afraid to get out there and try something new today.

Be proud of the fact that you shipped a bunch of small digital experiments during the next 30 days. Then after you try these experiments out for a month, take an inventory of which one seemed to have the highest engagement, shares, etc., and double down on that the next 30 days.

What’s cool is once you start to see some traction, you can then make some adjustments be more intentional about how you’re shipping content…

Tip #2 — Document, don’t create.

I already shared this message from Gary Vaynerchuk in the tip #1, but this video explains it all in more detail…

shout out to Gary Vaynerchuk and DRock

I don’t know about you, but the idea of creating new content for my audience (you) sometimes seems to be quite intimidating. Especially when I first started DCLabs just about a year ago.

And I know that this is true for many of you reading this because I encounter this quite often when it comes to coaching clients through the creative content production process.

But take a minute and imagine if you just went about your week doing what I like to call Living, Learning, and Passing it on. How would this mental shift change things for your business?

We all tend to have this false perception of our knowledge, expertise, and experience that leaves us feeling that we’re “not good enough” to share what we know with the world.

But I’m here to tell you that is complete bullshit.

The real truth is that we all have something to share. And whether what we create resonates with someone new or your current audience is beside the point.

Point is that in this age of connectedness, we have this never before seen the crowdsourced capacity to add value to others’ lives with the click of a button.

And circling back to tip #1, imagine that throughout the month instead of creating content you just documented your journey. The journey of your brand, of your startup, of life as an entrepreneur, or just as a human.

We’ll get more into this in a later tip, but I just wanted to point out the beauty of the digital world and how connectedness is driving us forward in ways we never before would have imagined.

I can speak from experience that there have been a few times where as an entrepreneur (wantrepreneur more like) I was in a dark place. I felt down, sorry for myself, and anxious about the progress I was having while I was building my thing.

But because some else took the time to create a piece of content that shared a similar story about their own journey like John Lee Dumas onentrepreneuronfire.com or Lewis Howes on School of Greatness Podcast, I was able to put myself back into a mental state of clarity, focus, intention, and abundance.

We all (or most) have stories to share that can inspire, encourage, and provide insight to others. The difference maker is you have to be willing to embrace vulnerability not as a weakness, but instead as a show of courage and leadership ability.

So if you’re up for a challenge, commit each week to sharing just 1 story from your journey. Whether it’s on Medium, on your blog, or even on YouTube.

Take Nathan Barry’s advice to heart and teach everything you know

via ConvertKit “Reach Podcast’

Tip #3 — Focus on building a brand, not just a business.

Look, we don’t need another business that’s creating widgets on an assembly line somewhere just to make a buck.

What we need, is people (entrepreneurs and founders especially) understanding the power and influence that comes with building a brand vs. just starting a business.

When I think about this and how it relates to DCLabs, I’ll be honest there’s been times so far where I’ve debated going to work for another boutique agency vs. my own here at DCLabs.

Even as I write this, having a dip in client deal flow (vulnerability in real time)… I’ve been exploring some various options in terms of my entrepreneurial pathway.

But when I think about my own personal brand and the future of DCLabs a content and community authority, I realized something.

Since I know that my mission is to help Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Growing Brands Create $100m in brand equity in the next 5 years, I knew that starting a business just to start a business could never serve a mission that big.

Instead, I’d have to focus all my time, effort, and energy into building a brand that over time can serve as a leading authority in digital agency space.

By taking that route and adopting that thought process paired with that big vision, my assumption is that I’m setting myself up to attract the resources (people, capital, clients, social equity, etc.) to make that happen.

Now maybe I’m just another one of these dreamer millennials, but it’s my belief that a business entity alone can never achieve a purposeful mission.

Brands are personal, they connect people to someone bigger than just a product, and brands have stories to tell.

Our story is that we believe in small business and have a passion for serving entrepreneurs in achieving their vision. And because we are aligned with our clients and our community that we know it’s our duty to produce content in a way that guides each of you down the pathway to unlimited profits.

Whether you realize it or not, the fact is you are never the hero to your customers. What you are (or should be) is the one who’s guiding and serving your customers along their journey.

That said, what’s your brand story?

If you’re not sure where or even how to figure this out, check out the Story Brand podcast with Donal Miller and Dave Ramsey…

Tip #4 — Don’t be afraid to showcase the human side of your brand.

I decided to throw this one in the mix after reading this article over onBusiness 2 Community

More specifically, this idea from Adam Franklin,

“Every potential customer is on social media, the key is to be human, generous and connect with them.” — Author, speaker, and co-founder of Bluewire Media.

Right now, I believe we at a very interesting point when it comes to the evolution of technology as it relates to human beings.

Think about the last time that you were out and about. Let’s say at you favorite restaurant, coffee shop, sports game, etc.

Now look back and think about how many people either had their phone in their hands like it was an added appendage or were actively doing something like Snapchatting or playing Pokemon Go???

If you haven’t realized it, social media is no longer social media a separate thing. It’s quickly becoming a part of human behavior and an integral part of our daily lives.

Let’s take Facebook for example. I can speak personally that I’ve curated my feed even with close to 4k “friends” to a point where I see mostly business groups, masterminds, other entrepreneurs, etc.

I see so many complain about how much garbage is on social media, but the reality is consumers are still coming back more and more.

But with technology becoming more integrated and more advanced, comes the ability for all consumers of digital media to curate based on their own interests, likes, hearts, comments, etc. Even if they don’t actually realize it, every action (like physics) has a reaction.

We’re now at a point where our social networks are not only used for connecting with like-minded people or family, but we have moved into an area where social has become the personalized portal to the online world for many people.

Just take this snippet from Slate…

“This world includes news — more than 40 percent of American adults say they use Facebook for that purpose — but also entertainment, games, and yes, updates from friends and family.”

But thinking bigger and deeper than that, what I love and excites me about social media is that it’s continuously breaking down many of the corporate elements and practices put into place during the 50 years.

People want and crave to see the human side to the brand’s they interact with because that’s what business thrives on… PEOPLE!

So again, going back to tip #1. Make the decision that when it comes to your content strategy, you (and your team) are implementing a mix of human elements into your brand.

Whether it’s highlighting your customers like Shopify does…
Giving your fans a shoutout on Instagram like Nike does…
via KISSMetrics Blog
Highlighting other brand culture’s on your blog like Bufferdoes …
Or attracting the best talent in the game by giving people behind the scenes of your business like Digital Telepathy does…

Whatever ways you and your team choose to utilize as a way to highlight the most important part of your brand (people), don’t forget to be human and just have fun!

Because if you’re not having fun, what’s the point… ;-)

Tip #5 — Be patient and put the reps in to build a great brand over time.

Oh boy, the mindset of impatience be a dangerous one for any entrepreneur or content team if not properly kept in perspective and put into its place.

Our friend Neil Patel, founder of KISSmetrics puts it like this…

“If you are looking to stand out in the social media world, you don’t have to come up with something unique or creative. You just have to be willing to put in the time.”

It’s easy in business to make decisions based on short-term thinking, especially when cash is tight and resources are low.

I’m saying this because I’ve been there numerous times where I had a couple options. Either I could lead creation in a way that first creates value for my community vs. create in a way to first extracts value from people.

And I’ll tell you first hand when you choose the latter, you are sacrificing the future equity and social capital your brand by making decisions in this state of creation.

Content creation isn’t about making one of the most viral video’s of all time before it actually goes viral…

Instead, it’s about consistently putting the reps in day after day, after day.

Or to put a number to it, focus on putting in your 10,000 hours in likeMalcolm Gladwell shares in his book “Outliers”

Then (and only then) after you’ve committed to that process, can you truly evaluate your progress and look back on what you’ve created with a clear objective view as to the results.

Success in anything in business doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, I don’t believe there’s a such thing as an overnight success.

Make a committment today to focus on the long-term vision you have for your brand and your business. Do this, and you’ll be amazed how fun the process of creation actually becomes…

Tip #6 — Embrace change, or die (quickly).

If that currently sounds like you, there’s a good chance reason I know why…

Change (falsely) scares and intimidates most people.

But the scariest part about change is not the process. What you really should be scared of is the fact that it’s happening with or without you.

Whether you like it or not, technology is evolving and human behavior is evolving.

Our agency friends at VaynerMedia are a perfect example of this. As Madison Avenue (think Madmen) clings to old ways of thinking and doing business…

Via Giphy.com

Where many agencies (and brands) focus on things like print, television, radio, etc., the winning brands and businesses of today’s digital world understand that the biggest key’s to success today are flexibility and willingness to continuously experiment.

Platforms might be changing each and every day, but that’s the nature of technology. It’s designed to be a disruptor, to evolve, and to mold into something greater.

As Peter Diamandis puts it,

“The only thing that’s constant is change.”

Business doesn’t care about the nostalgia that you have for how you used to do business.

So while platforms like Snapchat, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, etc., are winning right now here in 2016 as I type this, the reality is they might not be (as) relevant tomorrow.

But just because the vehicle that your brand message is delivered through is constantly changing, that doesn’t mean you have to change your principles by which you and your team go about sharing your story.

More importantly, take this quotable to heart…

“When deciding which social platform to be on, consider just two things: where your consumers currently are, and the next place they could potentially be.” — Jason Cruz

Change is happening whether you like or not, so always keep in mindcontent and context when creating content around your brand.

Gary Vaynerchuk

So that’s it for the 6 Tips to Help Your Brand Stand out in the Digital World. And for those of you that made it to the end, here’s a recap…

Tip #1 — Start and validate (more) small experiments.
Tip #2 — Document, don’t create.
Tip #3 — Focus on building a brand, not just a business.
Tip #4 — Don’t be afraid to showcase the human side of your brand.
Tip #5 — Be patient and put the reps in to build a great brand over time.
Tip #6 — Embrace change, or die (quickly).
QUESTION: Which one of these tips most resonates in helping your brand stand out in the digital world?
Be sure to leave your comments below and share it with a friend…
And if you’ve found this valuable, I’d be much appreciated if you could leave a HEART below… :-)

I’m Kyle Musser,

Founder and CEO (Chief Experiment Officer) of digitalconversionlabs.com. Come check out what we’re up to and be sure to check out our FREE RESOURCES by clicking on the link below the image…


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