Content is king and with audience attention shrinking by the day; this simple fact is becoming even more apparent. The old playbook, where advertisers owned content and needed traditional media to reach consumers, is broken; said Ryan Bonnici, Marketing Director at HubSpot, APAC & Japan.
“Think who you are creating content for. Create a buyer persona based on your ideal consumer. This will inform your strategy,” he said. According to him, compelling content is something that provides value, has relevance, is timely and is unique. He advised marketers to use easily available online tools, like Google Trends, Snip.ly, BuzzSumo, etc. to decide the kind of content to create while keeping in mind what rivals were up to and what their audience was talking about.
Stating that personalized content was one of the key things for a marketer, he said, “We need to start thinking of personalized content in a more dynamic way and this can be done by gathering more explicit data from your audience. The next step is to gather implicit data depending on their behaviour online. Build a 360 degree view of the person and then personalize the experience.”
Bonnici also stressed on the importance of optimizing for conversion, which would have a direct bearing on business while also providing utility to the user through the content. One of his suggestions was for marketers to reverse engineer the consumer funnel to actually understand how much the company can spend on getting a single consumer.
Bonicci’s point on optimizing content for conversion was also echoed by Ayal Steiner, MD (APAC) at Outbrain. According to him, the age-old belief that content marketing is only good for brand awareness is flawed. “Until recently, the only way for marketers to tell their story was through interruptions (in the content) through display ads, search ads, etc. but performance and content marketing are now coming together,” he said. He justified this by pointing out that content marketers want to show results while performance markets want to tap into more interest moments.
Steiner also noted that the digital medium has three key moments; search, social and discovery. The trick, he said, was to inspire a call to action on the content landing page. “Content landing pages should be interest-based,” he said. “Content should be part of your performance marketing strategy. The interest moment is a data goldmine for advertisers and you have to use it.”
He pointed out that any person who has shown interest in the content has already declared to be the relevant target audience. To further narrow down this targeting, he advised marketers to use titles and headlines to pre-qualify and target the right audience. “Pay a little more to reach the right audience,” was his advice.
Another way of capturing audience interest and ensuring that they move closer to a conversion is by engaging their attention throughout the funnel. “To find the audience again you have to engage and re-engage with them. To do this, sequence your stories as the audience movies down the funnel by showing different attributes each time. This is especially useful for products that have longer decision times, like cars, mortgages, etc.”
Creating great digital content has become highly sought after in India as is evidenced by the mushrooming of a number of digital content creators, some backed by big names in the industry as well as the success of popular studios like The Viral Fever and AIB’s Vigyapanti, among others.
International content marketing specialists like Outbrain and Taboola have also entered India and are seeing it as a high growth market. The Times Group, India’s largest media network recently launched their in-house native, content advertising platform called Colombia.
The entry of new players and the steps taken by companies like The Times Group are good for the ecosystem as it creates more awareness about the importance of content when it comes to digital marketing, opined Neeraj Singhal, (Sales Director) at Outbrain India.
Meanwhile, though B2C companies have taken to content marketing like a duck to water, there is no reason for B2B companies to shy away from the idea, says Thomas Cherian, Head of Corporate Communications, India & SAARC at Cisco.
Research suggests that B2B brands need to do this (content marketing). They should no longer just think about pushing customers to buy. Engage audiences in content that matters and talk about larger topics that directly relate to your brand. Amplify your content on social media, while experimenting with new platforms like Vine. If you can do this then you can create some really memorable content,” he said.
Bonnici, Cherian and Steiner were speaking at the ongoing Click Asia Summit in Mumbai.