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It might come as a surprise, given that businesses are ultimately created to turn a profit, that “helpfulness” is a characteristic a lot of brands want to convey.
In fact, the desire to be helpful was top of mind when Expedia chose to work with us — and inspired Out Travel the System, their hit branded podcast.
In this post, we take a closer look at helpfulness as a brand trait and dive into why and how you might want to portray it.
The concept of helpfulness
How content marketing can help you express it
And how this might look within a branded podcast
Without further ado, let’s get right into it…
Building your identity
When it comes to building your brand — and shaping its identity in the eyes of your audience — we think content marketing is an absolute must.
Sure, tone of voice, design choices, and paid promotion are important, but the depth of communication you can achieve with well-planned and value-packed content is second to none.
And good news! If you’d like to use content marketing as part of your branding process, there’s no shortage of mediums to explore.
Your choices include — but certainly aren’t limited to…
And, of course, the branded podcast
This entire list is great, of course, and all of these mediums appear in our own content marketing plan…
But as you may already know, we’re more than a little enthusiastic about the branded podcast.
This is a format that offers a level of depth and complexity you can’t get from even the best ebook or infographic.
It also happens to be…
More human than emails
More relaxing than webinars
More accessible than ebooks
More comprehensive than blog posts
And a whole lot more helpful than any infographic we’ve ever seen
All of this said, let’s take a look at why helpfulness is a quality chased by industry leaders like Expedia — and why it might be something your brand should aspire to.
A reciprocal relationship
These days, most entrepreneurs are facing a wildly competitive market no matter the nature of their work — and we’re willing to bet this applies to your business.
This means that those looking to dominate in their niche will have to offer a whole lot more than their service or product.
Yes, whatever you’re selling is probably unique in some way — whether you’re in SaaS, plumbing, or ecommerce — but these differences probably aren’t enough to make you stand out…
Especially if you’re closely rivaled or being undercut.
Consumers are choosing from the heart these days, and your brand identity will define the place you take in your market.
By establishing “who” your brand is, and conveying qualities they admire, appreciate, or identify with, you get one step closer to a connection that lasts.
This is the kind of substantial, value-driven loyalty that will ultimately inspire their investment in your service or product.
Bearing this in mind, helpfulness is a particularly effective quality to convey because it sets the stage for a reciprocal relationship.
When you create free content that helps folks out, you establish an atmosphere of give-and-take that builds investment and emotional buy-in among your target audience.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s take a look at how you can apply helpfulness within a branded podcast…
Creating helpful content
Expedia is really a great example of this.
Yes, we’re talking about a brand that dominates in its space — but it has no shortage of competition in an increasingly digital market.
Up against dozens of popular travel booking websites, Expedia offers that little something extra that helps it win the hearts of its jet setting audience.
So, how does Expedia do this exactly?
Partnered with JAR, the team at Expedia decided to provide real, tangible, and meaningful help that matters to the folks interested in what they have to offer.
Here’s how that looked…
We worked together to create a series packed with advice real travelers want, including tips and hacks designed to help them get the most out of every trip.
We leaned on Expedia’s access to data and over 20,000 expert travel affiliates to create high-value content that makes a lasting impact on its audience.
We decided to skip the serial format, and made each episode a standalone guide that offers maximum benefit with minimum listener investment.
The result of this plan of attack? A wildly successful series that builds meaningful, reciprocal relationships between Expedia and its rapidly growing audience.
Don’t take our word for it, though. The statistics speak for themselves.
Today, Out Travel the System boasts…
A 95% listen-through rate per episode
A 300% increase in listenership year-over-year
And 5-star reviews from over 200 audience members
So, if you want to establish your brand as helpful, you might want to (loosely) follow in Expedia’s footsteps.
Where to start
As you build your strategy, there are a few helpful questions you can ask.
What kind of help does your ideal audience need or want?
What helpfulness opportunities are your competitors missing out on?
What resources do you have that you can leverage to help your audience out?
And how can you most effectively apply them within a branded podcast?
A professional production agency will be key to putting your answers to work — and making a series that allows you to stand out in your niche, reach your long-term goals, and dominate your market.
Ready to launch your own branded podcast? Don’t be afraid to contact us.