Why content marketing matters more than ever in 2016
Why content marketing is a golden opportunity
Content marketing may seem like the upcoming buzz in Singapore and Asian marketing landscape; however, for most businesses in Singapore and Asia, they may not realise that they are already doing some form of content marketing.
Most businesses have a decent-looking website with information relevant to their brand as well as the targeted consumers. The website comes with nice visuals and fantastic content that attract the consumers to understand the brand even better. So long as you have a website, you are doing some form of content marketing already. And everyone is doing that, right?
Publishing written and visual content onto your Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram consistently is also a form of content marketing. Each content your brand posted on social media represents a story or marketing message you wish to convey to your audience.
Content marketing started long, long time ago with the first editorial or advertisement made in print. A business with regular write-ups or advertisement on magazines and newspaper is therefore doing some form of content marketing as well.
Some marketers may feel that since they already have a website, a blog, some social media channels, and regular write-ups on print media, they are doing fine with content marketing, right? In terms of quality and effective content marketing strategy, they have to do much more than that.
Since most companies already have a website, a blog, social media pages, or print write-up, doing the same thing will make no difference from your brand to your competing brands. In order to differentiate your brand from your competitors, you’ll need a well designed long-term content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is about regularly feeding the consumer market with interesting, edu-taining (educational and entertaining) content. Having a website is just not enough. One of the top 3 reasons why companies failed in content marketing is because they do not produce enough quality content to present to their consumers.
Having one article a month is not enough to entertain your consumers in this fast-moving information market. Having three to four articles a month, with a minimum of 300 words an article, may look ‘wow’ for the marketer, but it is still not enough.
A rule of thumb, in order to see the success of your content marketing strategy, your business needs to produce between 10 and 20 well structured and worded branded articles on a monthly basis.
Quality content marketing strategy via social media is more than just posting nice pictures, events, or videos on your social media pages. It is about looking at your social media channel in a magazine publisher point of view.
What is the theme or cover page of the ‘magazine’ you want your audience to see that reflects the image of your brand? What is the content your audience will be expecting to see from this social media ‘magazine’ of your brand? Will it be all about you or about them (the consumer)?
Consumer-generated content is the most powerful content marketing strategy today; a good content marketing manager will therefore have to think of do-able social strategies that will influence more consumers to create more content!
A poor social media content marketing strategy, on the other hand, will be a social media page that posts content that are irrelevant to the audience, not original, or simply content that are merely promotion shouts-out.
Just imagine you are reading your favourite fashion design magazine, and the content is irrelevant topics like politics or home electronics. Or the content is taken from other fashion design magazines that you have read before. Or simply every single page is a mere shoutout advertisement with no value added to your reader in terms of education.
Such magazine will not be able to gain traction in its subscribers. Therefore, if you want to deliver a fantastic content marketing strategy on social media, then you have to place the right content for your consumers consistently!
Content marketing makes selling easier especially when consumers like to find out more about a brand’s products and services even before they visit the shops. For business-to-business (B2B) companies, content marketing plays an even pivotal role in getting the corporate sale.
Having a consistent archive of articles or expert opinions shows consumers that you are the industry thought leader. Especially for corporate customers who want to compare your services to the many others competitors out there.
When your corporate prospects clicked into your website from your Google adwords strategy, alongside 10 other competitors’ websites which were also advertised on the search engine, what can make your brand stand out is not just the products and services page in your website, but the archive of expert opinion articles in it.
Q. Why is content marketing so important, and why should it form a key part of any brands strategy in 2016?
LF: Consumers today are bombarded with more adverts and messages than ever before, so the impact of more traditional channels is somewhat diluted. Content marketing has the capacity to resonate more powerfully with your customers because it’s carefully tailored to their needs and interests. It’s a way of conveying your brand’s personality and offering without being overtly promotional, which can go a long way toward building brand trust amongst your audience. More and more brands are recognising the impact of content marketing, so those who choose to ignore it will increasingly fall behind.
LF: Above all, a successful content strategy hinges on painstaking research. Making great content isn’t enough if it’s not suited to the customers you’re trying to target. You must understand what your target audience’s interests are, what questions they have, who influences them, and what types of content they respond best to. All of this information needs to be backed by research.
You also need to be completely clear on what your business’s objectives are – whether that’s driving conversions, increasing social following, generating press coverage and so on. Any creative ideas you deploy have to sit at the intersection of these two factors – resonating with your audience while achieving your goals. Ensuring that those ideas are sound and backed by the right research will maximise your chances of success.
How to develop trustworthy, research-based content
There’s no one right approach—these are general guidelines to content development. Use them to establish your game plan and shape your thinking as you attempt to answer your target audience’s burning questions.
Determine the need
Although a keyword’s search volume is certainly an indicator of interest, it should never be your primary or sole factor in developing a content strategy . Instead, one of the most tried-and-true methods to figure out what your target audience wants: get plugged into the community.
Keeping up with with your niche through authentic interactions with real people ensures you meet readers where they are and helps to address their biggest pain points and most pressing questions.
Research your butt off
Have I said it enough times? By now, you understand my obsession with research-based information and its value to your brand. But you won’t be able to extract that value unless you know how to find it.
I was lucky enough to learn the magic of Boolean search methods as a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It’s one of the first things you learn as a budding researcher. Boolean search helps you wade through online information more efficiently than any other search technique (that I know of).
Using Boolean search methods
“Boolean search” simply means using operators in your search engine query to filter the information you need most. So, for instance, the only way I search when writing web content is with the operators, “AND,” “OR,” and the occasional * symbol.
For example, my everyday search structure is “[search term] .edu OR .org OR .gov.” This ensures that I get authoritative sources almost exclusively since these domains are typically associated with established higher education institutions, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, respectively.
Provide objective information with expert guidance
It’s not useful for anyone to exist only surrounded by those who agree with you. Instead, you should aim to be an impartial, objective source of factual information. But that’s easier said than done.
The importance of seeking expert guidance
Think of it this way: Too many people are subjected to misinformation or disinformation online. The former means to give accidentally misleading or inaccurate information. On the other hand, disinformation deliberately shares false or inaccurate information (often to discredit others).
This could mean hiring an experienced professional in the topic you wish to cover. For example, you could invite an expert on for a podcast interview. That way, they can explain complex topics themselves. There are many ways to share factual, engaging information with your audience. You don’t have to go it alone!