Content Amplification Strategies to promote content

Why content promotion is essential

Good content can go a long way in effectively building brand recall and trust with a brand’s target audience. This has made content marketing a key ingredient in every business’ digital marketing strategy.

With all marketers the world over dishing out content to reach, inform, engage, educate and connect to their target audience to build their brand, the amount of content produced on a daily basis has grown exponentially. Sure, the internet population has grown as well, but content creation and publishing is growing at a rate much faster than the growth in internet connectivity. In fact, as per a recent AOL and Nielsen report, over 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared every day! Even if we assume that only 1% of this content is great content, that’s a really huge number of great content pieces being published every day! In such a scenario, it is critical to ensure that content cuts through the clutter and reaches the audience it has been created for.

Content amplification strategies

Simply ideating, creating and publishing content does not work anymore and content distribution requires as much, if not more, effort as content creation. A word of caution here though – content amplification works best for content that has been ideated and created keeping in mind the interests and needs of the target audience. So, here are content amplification strategies you can use to effectively promote your content:

Respond to questions on Quora

Quora is recognised as the most comprehensive and trusted online forum. You can ask and answer questions relating to any subject matter. Since forums provide an open source for your Target Audience to discuss a topic, you can add value by responding to their queries using your existing write-up, if relevant. You can also link back to your blog or website, which effectively renders your work as a credible source.

Tweet various snippets from your content

Have interesting stats or facts that are share-worthy as individual pieces of content? Share those snippets on Twitter. The microblogging giant is one of the most active social media platforms today, so anything interesting that fits within 140 characters is bound to be retweeted. You can even take screenshots of other elements like pictures, infographics and quotes and use a shortened URL of your website for promotion.

Get featured in industry roundups

Roundups are collections of the best or most happening events in a particular industry. If your content is information based, you have a high chance of featuring in a roundup. Begin by searching for relevant roundups on Google (limit your search to the past month), then pitch your content to the roundup curators. If luck is on your side, the curators will feature your content in their collection. Roundups are searched extensively by business professionals, so your content will reach a niche audience, which works brilliantly for amplification purposes.

Contact people who have shared similar content

While researching for your content, you will surely come across existing articles that have written on the topic similar to yours. Content from reputed sources should already be generating traffic through social media shares. Your best bet is to copy the URL of the article and search for it on sites like Twitter and Facebook. You will be able to spot people who have shared the content, so contact these people through a direct message, requesting them to share what you have done as well.

Link to relevant sites/Mention entities when sharing

While researching, you may also come across interesting pieces of information that were quoted by credible sources. It is advisable to link to these sources while writing your article. When you publish your content and promote it on social media, use Twitter mentions or Facebook hashtags to prompt those sources that you’ve used their information. Doing so will increase the chance of your article being viewed by multiple individuals through the mentions.

Use Sniply to leverage the reach of content from more reputed sources

Sniply is a very simple yet effective tool that lets you create a one-liner message about your article and display it along with a button prompt. You can use Sniply to overlay your custom message onto any other piece of relevant content. The tool lets you drive conversions from one piece of shared content to another. Let’s assume you’ve found content that shares information about a topic similar to yours; you can use the Sniply tool to add your link to the topic, prompting the reader to delve deeper and gain more knowledge on the subject matter.

Post on relevant LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn is nothing but the Facebook variant for all things professional. If you’ content has information that can help professionals, LinkedIn is the best platform for promotional purposes. Much like Facebook communities, LinkedIn has an option where you can create groups. Find such groups that could make the most out of your content and share it on their pages.

Contact people who have linked to similar content

There is competition everywhere nowadays; you are sure to find a whole lot of articles similar to yours. Some of these articles would have gained immense social share yet may lack certain pieces of information that your article has. You can take advantage of this by pasting the URL of the similar articles on Ahrefs or Open Site Explorers. You will get a list of pages or sites that have used those articles as links. Reach out to those sites and ask them to link your fresher and better content.

Turn content into a ppt/pdf and upload to SlideShare

SlideShare is the perfect place to promote presentations to get the visibility you need. Once you upload your content on Slideshare, you can also share the link on LinkedIn as well. LinkedIn, as we all know, is fast becoming the go-to spot for business professionals when it comes to reading about industry related news and topics.

Leverage the reach of Influencers

Reaching out to influencers at scale is a good idea to amplify your content. Getting your content featured by some key influencers or getting them to share your content can amplify your reach drastically. Pick influencers that are relevant to your domain and engage with them. Contact more than one influencer and engage with them regularly for better reach.

The content mentioned above include promotion strategies that are used to their fullest potential by some of the best content marketers on the planet. Of course, some of these strategies may die out while others will evolve, so to stay ahead of the curve, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled and ears tuned.

If there are any content distribution channels which you have tried that could be added to the list, do let us know in the comments below.

How digital marketing is evolving in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India

Be it a blog, an e-mailer or even posting a simple creative online, a business reaps all the benefits of digital marketing. While the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital, is it the same case even in Tier II and Tier III cities in India? One might still be doubtful on how a business in Bihar, or in a small town like Tiruchengode might make use of the digital medium but Social Beat begs to differ.

With more than 3,133 cities that fall under the tier II and tier III category, comprising of almost 31.16% of India’s total population, one cannot simply avoid taking them into consideration while discussing about advertising and marketing online. According to a report by one of world’s leading media investment management group, 2016 and early 2017 was supposed to see a 51% increase in digital marketing in Tier II and Tier III cities. We are also seeing a lot of traction with digital content in regional Indian languages.

How to make digital marketing for Tier II and Tier III cities possible?

With internet access and as well as buying power of smart phones, thanks to the initiatives of the Government and some of India’s biggest internet companies, business in these cities now have a larger playground. Since almost 32% of the rural population with the above facilities access the internet on their mobile phones, it is important to generate such content for higher reach and engagement. For example, Facebook now has 160 million users in India, which are spread not just in the top cities but also in smaller towns and even some villages.

Firstly, to leverage digital for smaller websites every digital asset needs to have a great experience on mobile. Be it a website/landing page or a simple single creative – whatever helps in lead generation or branding of a business, it needs to be mobile-friendly. On small screens, the call-to-action button as well as the navigation button needs to be crisp. The copy has to be short, quick and easy to grasp.

 

 

Vernacular Ads work the best with respect to lead generation / marketing your brand:

 

 

Not just vernacular Ads but vernacular websites work miraculously well for business that either have their base in Tier II and Tier III cities or if they want to target their potential investors in such cities –

 

 

While running a Facebook Ad, it is important to understand that the target audience (TA) first needs to be someone in-and-around the city. For example, if it is a real estate project in Trichy selling affordable homes, the TA needs to be someone who when views the Ad will be able to:

A – Relate to the project in terms of location, approachability etc.

B – Compare the price of the project with other such builders

C – Visit the project with ease

D – Take a decision

While the project in the example cited above is in Trichy, the target audience can be just Trichy to start with but will not have a lot of reach unless we explore the little towns and cities in-and-around Trichy itself.

 

 

Selecting even the tiniest of towns that we might think will not make a big difference will definitely show results. The potential reach crosses over 730,000 people out of which there is a chance of a bare minimum of 40% to convert into customers.

 

 

With regards to the interests and behavior of the target audience, it is always better to keep it a little generic such as focusing on job titles, important IT companies / industries around the city etc. including minor yet vital details like their interest in Business magazines, stocks, shares, etc. If the campaign does well, and if it is for a real estate project in particular (where you think NRIs would like to invest in), go ahead and try a few NRI targeting options too – you never know, it might work wonders!

 

 

Looking at utilizing Google Adwords as a platform to advertise in Tier II and Tier III, it is highly recommended for the below reasons:

  1. Less competition in Tier II and Tier III cities which is good for businesses trying to create an identity for themselves / acquire leads.
  2. Better ‘Search Ad’ results due to the high search queries
  3. Good quality leads since the TA is niche and the demand for product is more

The keywords used for these Ads are usually very simple, straight forward terms. For example, for an e-commerce organic food store business, Google AdWords are likely to work better for keywords – ‘healthy food’, ‘organic vegetables’, ‘fresh organic food’ etc. rather than keywords like ‘organic grocery’, ‘organic farm food’ etc.

Tier II and Tier III cities’ have potential for most businesses and these cities are growth drivers of the future. Tell us how which strategy has worked for you in smaller towns!

 

What Type of Content My Target Audience Will Find Engaging?

Content is King; a statement that has held true since the age of advertising. Like all great things, content marketing has evolved and improved over time. Gone are the days when brands would simply pin-up posters of their products in any given location to try and entice consumers.

Ogilvy Rolls Royce Ad

Take the above ad for example; published in 1958 by David Ogilvy’s company, the ad created a sensation among Americans of that era, and greatly pushed the sales of Rolls-Royce. Reading it today, you may find it hard to skim past the long content, but Ogilvy utilised one of the most powerful elements in advertising that still holds high regard today: Audience Engagement.

He did so by using a powerful Headline that was able to connect well with the emotions that the Target Audience felt at that time (the posh society of post-war America). Flash forward 6 ½ decades, Ogilvy’s methods of engagement are still applicable but have been morphed to fit into the current scenario of an internet and technology savvy world.

Content marketing is an advertiser’s new best friend; 71 percent of consumers today feel bombarded with ads on social media. Instead, they want more than just a flashy product commercial; they want an experience, a little taste of what to expect. Content Marketing can achieve that by creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content. The method also adds a layer of trust in Target Audience, Creating what brands crave the most: Loyalty towards their products. Since this is an extensive article we’ve we’ve split it into sections to make it easier for you to navigate and read through.

  1. Why must you implement a content marketing strategy
  2. Popular content forms in use today
  3. Platforms on which content marketing thrives
  4. The content marketing formula
  5. Brand/Product/Service specific content marketing

Why must you implement a content marketing strategy?

Leads/Sales for a long period over new channels:

The fact that content marketing gives you an open playing field to mix and match with various content forms over a multitude of platforms, there is a big chance for your brand to generate leads, improve sales conversion and ultimately get closer to your Target Audience on a more personal level.

Reach consumers who use ad blockers:

Everyone hates a pop-up ad; they’re annoying, disorient you from an online experience and are generally considered as spam. Content marketing provides a more genuine, trustworthy advertising approach, one that actively induces consumer interaction.

Get Organic traffic/SEO:

Without SEO, anything you publish online will be lost forever in the massive sea of stars that is the World Wide Web. Content marketing has proven to be an SEO friendly marketing method, and provides credibility with boosting organic traffic.

Ad Fatigue:

Imagine seeing the same ad over and over again as you scroll through your Facebook feed. It can get annoying to the point where consumers lose interest in what the ad is trying to communicate. With content marketing, marketers can keep the essence of the ad fresh while varying the way the ad is presented.

Popular content forms in use today

Infographics:

Pretty much self-explanatory in its naming, Infographics is a presentation of data in a visual way. The concept is widely popular among readers, and gives license to creative freedom in graphical presentation, adding loads of value to the written content. Being a more comfortable way to consume information from, Infographics are likely to be shared three times more on Social Media than general content posts.

inphographic

Memes:

Short and sweet, Memes are one of the easiest content forms you can make. But bear in mind that they are not used for information, rather for entertainment. If done right, memes have a high chance of going viral, as consumers love nothing more than to share something outright hilarious.

Meme

Videos:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then videos are worth a million. No matter what you are promoting, there are always ways to present in on the screen. Videos have proven to be one of the most searched forms of information or entertainment, so to give your SEO a big boost, consider making one that is relevant to your brand, product or service.

Guides and E-Books:

Guides are a detailed form of content and specifically meant for sharing information. Guides work well for SEO purpose as Google’s crawlers are now paying more attention to long-form content that mixes and matches other content forms.

Guides & Ebooks

Book reviews:

There is a book for everything today, and your target audience is bound to pick up one. Avid readers will love to know how good a book is before they have a read, plus it gives off the impression that you are well versed in your subject matter, adding a layer of credibility to your brand. You can induce some consumer reaction by asking personal reviews.

Book Review

Product Reviews:

Like books, product reviews will boost your brand’s credibility, and if you engage professionally with services providers and manufacturers that are relevant to your industry, that credibility increases tenfold. Collaborate with influencers who can review your product and add a trust factor among consumers.

Product Reviews

“How-to” posts:

The age old 5Ws & 1H concept is still effective to date, and a “How to” post is something that is frequently searched. If you are SEO hungry, “How to” posts will help generate the same, as the format takes advantage long tail keyword searches, ultimately bumping up your site ranking.

How To Post

List:

Humans are hardwired to be obsessed with lists. If you make one relevant to your product or service, chances of it being read are very high. Lists are everywhere and can comprise of anything, and Google analytics have revealed that a numbered list (odd numbers count) are the most popular.

Lists

Case Studies:

Nothing spells professionalism better than a good old case study. Need to explain what your product or service is and its impact on consumers? Perform a case study with all those intricate details. Ultimately, you’ll get a healthy dose of credibility and if promoted well, a strong consumer following.

Case Study

Podcasts:

The radio may have lost its charm among general audience today, but audio files still hold high regard among commuters who like a good plug and play of useful information. If your Target Audience falls under such a category, podcasts could be a useful medium for some knowledge sharing.

Podcast

Remember, there is no hard and fast rule that you must try every form of content marketing. Instead, focus on adapting and implementing an idea into a select content type. When that idea morphs into a quality piece of content, your Target Audience will evolve from one-time consumers to a dedicated and loyal fan following.

Platforms on which content marketing thrives

No matter what type of content you choose to work with, you’ll need a base, a platform on which you’re content becomes viewable. In the online world, content representation into three types.

Platforms on which Social Media thrives

Paid Media:

Media that is bought and sold for; online advertisements like Google AdWords, Facebook ads, YouTube ads and sponsored content, have shown a very high percentage regarding reach towards the Target Audience, and is also reliant on ROI. Strong reach may increase the chance of a targeted user getting convinced to purchase, yet may not provide a longer, more sustainable impact that permanently etches your brand into the consumer’s memory.

Owned Media:

Owned media refers to platforms through which your content is promoted. Your Website, Facebook Page, YouTube profile, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram accounts are types of owned media. Think of owned media as your virtual office, space for you to actively promote everything your brand represents and connect to your Target Audience in the online world. Since owned media is just a platform, you are free to use it in any way you like for your content marketing needs. How effectively you use it, with your chosen content strategy, will determine the overall reach and interaction with potential consumers.

Earned Media:

Even if your brand is marketed well online, consumers need to be certain and feel a sense of trust with your product. You can achieve that trust factor through earned media; sharing of social media content, Twitter mentions, blog mentions, product reviews and influencer marketing. Of course, to gain such high level of trust among consumers, it takes time, but also pays off handsomely, in the long run, immensely boosting your brand loyalty.

The content marketing formula

Content marketing isn’t something you could just cook up out of an empty pot. The process requires careful planning and meticulous detailing with a whole host of ingredients blending to make fantastic pieces of share-worthy content on various platforms.

The Basic Formula:

Content Marketing = Ideation + Creation + Publishing + Promotion

Content Marketing Formula

Ideation:

Everything begins with an idea. It is from this seed that your entire content marketing plan branches out. To come up with a path-breaking idea you need to do research and lots of it. You achieve great content marketing when you bridge the gap.

“What they’re looking for”- Analyse your Target Audience:

This is the first and most critical step towards creating your content plan. When you can understand who our audience is and what their expectations are, you will be able to create more relevant content. Analyse these aspects:

  • Audience demographic (age, sex)
  • Audience geographic (location)
  • Audience behaviour (reactions towards competition brand’s content)

When you narrow down the points mentioned above, your next step is to hunt for relevant topics that are trending, valuable and share worthy and in some way link to your brand, product or service.

Analyse the Target Audience

“What we want to say”- Create a content strategy:

Question yourself as to why you are about to create a piece of content. What is your end goal with the content you are about to create? To make this easier and more understandable, create a content strategy. Your strategy must be able to answer one or all of these goals:

  • Boost brand awareness
  • Increase brand reach
  • Page promotions
  • Boost website visits
  • Focus on consumer interaction

Remember, strategies could change even after your content is created and published. Be open to a trial and error method before you push for massive promotions.

Creation:

With your strategy set and your ideas in full flow. It’s time for the actual creation of your content. Again, depending on your Target Audience, your type of content will have to vary in, but make sure you stick to a content formula that is valuable, relevant and has great visual appeal. Based on current market trends and audience expectation, keep your content fresh by mixing and matching its various forms like GIFs, Blog posts, Infographics, Videos, etc.  Ultimately, your content creation must sync well with your strategy and be able to:

  • Solve a problem
  • Trigger a purchase decision
  • Add value to SEO
  • Entertain

Creative Social Media post

Publishing:

Much like creating content for that relates to your Target Audience, publishing your content must also have a timed approach. Google Search algorithms and Facebook’s targeted post boosting have made it easier for marketers to preselect a publishing time and date, resulting in better and more accurate reach to the consumers. It is important to optimise content that is share-worthy on mobile devices as well, with a majority of consumers now spending more time on smartphones.

Publishing funnel

Promotion:

With over 27 million pieces of content being shared every day, your content is just a small grain of sand in a huge desert. To make that little grain noticeable among the rest, you need to make the most out of the promotional options available. So how do you amplify your content?

promotion strategy

Remember, none of these techniques will work wonders unless you connect them with the golden catalyst of content marketing- Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is a broad topic, so we’ve saved it for another detailed post.

Brand/Product/Service specific content marketing

Since content marketing is an ever-evolving subject matter based on shifting trends and change in consumer behaviour, there is no surefire successful approach to choosing an approach to your strategy. But, some content strategies work well over others depending on your brand, product or service. Let’s look at a few successful strategies.

Content Marketing for B2B:

When it comes to B2B content marketing, ultra-professionalism is important. Your task as a marketer will be to convince other business of working with you or using your services. Make sure your content is concise, to-the-point and expresses heavily on your services and the benefits it could offer to another business.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress Blog/Website, YouTube, Google AdWords

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to), Product Reviews, Product/Service specific social media posts

Content type for B2B

Content marketing for FMCG:

For FMCG brands, the content strategy must heavily revolve around consumer interaction. This means marketers are free to explore all sorts of content and modify them in a way that involves consumers intrigued and curious to know more about the brand’s products.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Guest blogging

Content Type:

GIFs, Memes, Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Guide based blog posts

content type for FMCG

Content marketing for real estate:

With a recent influx of the real estate market in India, developers are making a move into the online space to boost their project promotions further. As always, the competition is fierce, so the best reach towards consumers decides the big winner. Considering how huge the real estate industry is, having an online presence for developer and broker, while also complementing each other’s presence, is vital for the success of a real estate brand in the online space.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Google AdWords, WordPress Blog, Twitter

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to), Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Landing pages

content type for Real Estate

Content marketing for lifestyle brands:

Lifestyle brands, especially those in the fashion industry, have a mainstay in the digital marketing space. To get better online presence, lifestyle brands must be appealing both to targeted consumers and businesses.

Best Platforms:

Facebook, Instagram, Google AdWords, WordPress Blog/Landing Page, Twitter, YouTube

Content Type:

Emailers, Helpful blog posts (Tips/How-to/Lists/Guides), Influencer promotions, Product specific social media posts, Video Promotions

content type for lifestyle brands

We end by quoting a famous line by David Ogilvy, “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine”. Content marketing is the most trusted and honest form of marketing and one that is sure to go a long way in establishing a healthy relationship with your Target Audience.

Are there any innovative content strategies you’ve cooked up? Feel free to share the in the comments below.

8 Digital Marketing Trends to expect in 2017

With another year gone by, new technology, tools, and trends have emerged in digital marketing. Keeping this in mind, we have put together eight key trends that we think would be ones to watch out for in 2017.

Mobile UX will be a key focus area

With 90% of mobile usage on FB and more than half of the searches happening via mobile, its already a focus area. We are going to see brands invest a lot more in the mobile user experience, especially when it comes to speed. Google has already launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Facebook is expanding its Instant Articles feature, both of which is going to expand their reach in 2017. Google is also pushing the Progressive Web Apps (PWA) framework to enable websites to give theirs user an app like experience via the browser. Even social media engagement via mobile is going to change with brands adapting to how they can get more engagement on mobile devices.

Less is more when it comes to content

Brands often believed that more content is always better, but with millions of content pieces and social media posts going out every day, the opposite is true. 2017 is going to see a sharp trend towards brands focusing on high value content, which is engaging and far more personalised. With voice search growing in scale (currently at 20% of mobile searches in USA) many of our digital activities are going to be conversation. Even more a reason why content needs to be unique and stand out from the competition. Google also tends to pick more structured and details content for their “Answer Box”, which comes above the regular search results.

Everyone can run digital marketing at scale with automation and machine learning

With automation and machine learning playing a large role in advertising this year will see even smaller brands adapting programmatic advertising. With platforms like Double Click for Google as well as Power Editor for Facebook, a lot of elements will get automated. Google has also launched responsive display advertising allowing for brands to run ads of multiple sizes without having a design team. YouTube is also soon launching a feature to allow for automated product showcase below videos, wherein machine learning would determine which product it is, rather than the brand manually having to tag which videos showcase their products.

Regional language content will grow multi-fold in adoption

The last time Google reported data on this, it showcased that Hindi content was growing faster than English content and this is likely to grow even further in 2017. With Netflix, Amazon Prime and others spearheading the video content in multiple languages, we are also going to see written and visual content growing in regional languages, especially Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Bengali. Facebook has also launched an auto-translate feature for all the Brand Pages – though nascent it is bound to improve this year.

Even small brands will leverage the video medium

Building the brand is key and what better way than videos? Its never been easier to create videos with the help of free and low cost tools. As per statistics by Facebook, users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day and most of these are on their mobile devices. Facebook has made it even easier with its Facebook Live feature, which is a very engaging tool, especially for the entertainment, fashion and hospitality industries.

Attribution will continue to be grey area

Especially for online/offline the attribution will continue to be a grey area. While there have been many initiatives launched and many in the pipeline, most restaurants, retailers and offline stores find it difficult to attribute walk ins and business results to the digital medium. Facebook and Google Maps have been improving their proximity data to understand if users are at a specific location and encourage them to review the location. Google is also in early stage testing of beacons to allow for better attribution but it’s still 1.5 – 2 years away from mass adoption.

Consolidation in the social media networks

Brands have always found it difficult to be active on multiple social media networks and we do expect some consolidation. Twitter has been in talks of selling out and even growth of Snapchat has not increased. As platforms evolve and mature, we will see brands also focusing on select platforms that make sense – usually a maximum of 2-3 platforms.

Virtual Reality will not take us over by storm, just yet

There has been a lot of talk around virtual reality devices, including the launch of the DayDream by Google. While the experience it provides is phenomenal, it is not going to be main stream yet. While the cost of devices is getting lower, the adoption of these rather bulky devices is still limited to a select few tech savvy individuals at least in India.

The article was originally published at Business Standard

Content Marketing in 2017 – Digital Chai Pe Charcha, Bengaluru

The second edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha in Bengaluru was held on 9th Dec, 2016. We had an audience of 25 including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking active part in the discussion. The topic of discussion was achieving content marketing success in 2017 and beyond.

img_20161209_162716354

We had done a similar discussion on content marketing in Chennai in early 2016.

You may find it interesting to read our other blogs on Content Marketing.

 

Making Content Marketing work for your Brand – Digital Summit

Below is the gist of the panel discussion on Making Content Marketing work for your Brand at the Digital Leadership Summit In Chennai In August 2016. We had two panellists moderated by Mr Prem Kumar Sivakumaran from The Smart CEO Magazine: Ms D Vijayalakhmi – Murugappa Group and Mr Rajasekar KS – matrimony.com.

Content-Marketing-Panel-Social-Beat-Digital-Leadership-Summit-2016-Chennai

Summary of the Pannel Discussion

  • Content marketing needs to be more about content and less about marketing
  • Target the right platform that connects with all your key audience
  • Make it lesser about the brand and more about the reader
  • Connect with your audience with emotional stories
  • Video is an effective marketing tool that will continue to grow

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the current buzz word, and the session started with a discussion on what each of them feels about content marketing. We also have had a Digital Chai Pe Charcha On Content Marketing Success in 2016 andyou Can Read It Here.

Viji from Murugappa Group highlighted that content should be something that is interesting to all readers. Content that makes the reader feel good, look good and do good is a successful content marketing campaign. It should be lesser about the brand and more about the audience. For more detailed steps on creating high quality content check out our blog on 10 Ways To Create 10x Content.

Rajasekar expressed that content marketing is more about content and less about marketing. While most brands believe that it is about amplification, Raj said that it’s more about understanding the customer and their problems. He also said that when a company starts talking about customers problem, its business starts and when it starts talking about its business, its problems start. Content should engage the customers; then it can be a successful one.

Content marketing strategy

At Murugappa Group, it is predominantly about the brand itself. Viji spoke about how at Murugappa, they also think of fun and meaningful stories and try and connect with the target audience, even when it is about the B2B brands.

Raj spoke about their initiatives at happymarriages.com, a content marketing initiative set up by BharathMatrimony. He talked about how it was initially tough to create content around it because people were unwilling to talk about their expectations from marriage. So his team set about trying to understand what issues couple would face. After three months of research, they arrived at 500 themes and worked with authors, senior writers and an internal team to write engaging content that the audience could relate to.

While talking about strategies, one of the members of the audience asked an interesting question about with so much content out there, how do to stand out? The panellists agreed that crowdsourcing high-quality content is the answer. They also spoke about examples of organisations such as Amercian Express Bank, GE initiative that has done a great job in standing out. Prem also highlighted using a platform such as curata.com, a platform that curates content, which also enables marketers to scale content marketing to grow leads and revenue.

How do you measure success?

The panelists both agreed that although you can look at shares and likes, the success can be measured only when you get customer feedback. If a content piece has solved the customer’s pain points, then you have succeeded. They also urged any company using content marketing to use this as a metric.

Video is an effective marketing tool

The panellists spoke about how video is the most captivating of all channels, and each of them highlighted how they leveraged video in their organisations. Raj explained how his team went to five cities and interviewed 36 couples. They chatted with customers about relationships and aired these on national TV.

Viji talked about the Murugappa Madras Song. She highlighted how the company found a connect and used that to create a video that went viral. The video was so powerful that even a  city-based league team requested the conglomerate to make an anthem for them as well.

The panellists also urged marketers to resist making a viral video for the sake of making one and asked marketers to keep their ears tuned to the customer.

There are a lot of ways in which you can create good quality videos with a low budget. Read our blog to know more.

Emotion is essential

Whatever be the industry, there is always a way create stories. The key is to understand the audience. Viji mentioned the farmer video that the Murugappa Group made. They asked a simple question, “What is the most important job in the word?” This emotional video stuck a cord with the public and was shared far and wide not only on social media but also on WhatsApp.

Integrating PR and content marketing

The panellists advised startups to leverage PR and stated examples of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and how they used their social media campaign to not only gain visibility but also get a lot of PR coverage as well.

Raj also spoke about Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Airlines jumping off a ten storeyed building and how the media wrote about it. He also asked marketers only to do these crazy stunts if it suits their personality and the brand. PR is the biggest pipe to the audience, and it can get customers. So whatever campaign a marketer does, it is important to leverage PR.

Content marketing is a must-do for all brands, and more brands are willing to spend money on it. Raj also spoke about how any marketing initiative is ultimately boiling down to content and about how marketing cannot exist without content. Content is the only pipe you can sell any product.

Prem also added that the first ever content market initiative was done in the early 1900s by John Deere, the tractor company when they created a magazine ‘Furrow.’ So the concept is not new only the term Content Marketing is.

 

 

 

Vikas at MDI, Gurgaon on Role of Content & Influencer Marketing

It was an interesting evening spent at MDI Gurgaon with students of Consumer Behaviour. We were talking about the role of Communities, Content & Influencer Marketing on Consumer Behaviour. See the below slide share for details on the discussion we had.

The students had a lot of questions, especially around influencer marketing and its ethics. Many of these can be found in the FAQs of Influencer Marketing here.

MDI-Gurgaon-Influencer-Content-Marketing-Lecture-Vikas-Chawla

 

Digital Chai Pe Charcha – Content Marketing Success in 2016

The second edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha, held at our office on 27th Feb 2016 received a great response with about 25 participants including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking active part in the discussion. The topic of discussion was achieving content marketing success in 2016 and beyond.

DigitalCPC

As a recap for those who attended the session and for the benefit of those who didn’t, here’s a summary of the key takeaways from the session:

Why Content Marketing is essential:

Content marketing is a key part of any marketing strategy and is known to produce business results, as shown by the Hubspot survey below:

Hubspot Survey

Also, as compared to paid media, it has a more sustained long-term impact:

Earned Media Source: Neil Patel

Also, with most users being bombarded with ads from a large number of brands and with the use of ad blocking growing at a rapid pace, inbound marketing through valuable content works better and helps reach out to an audience that paid ads would never reach.

Ad Fatigue

“10x Content” is required to make your content stand out:

With over 27 million pieces of content being produced every day, creating content that is good and unique alone doesn’t work. You need to create content which as defined by Rand Fishkin is “Content that is 10 times better than the best result that can currently be found in the search results for a given keyword phrase or topic.”

Creating 10X Content:

Read your audience’s minds:

The key is to find questions that your target audience is looking for answers to and problems they are looking to solve. Tools and platforms that could help you with this research are:

Combine User-focused content with search engine focused content:

Once you find topics that you could create 10x content on you would also need to check if there is a large enough number of users who are searching for content around those topics. This is where Google Keyword Planner comes into play and helps you figure out which topics you should create content on to get large volumes of organic traffic.

Find the most successful content around the topic:

Once you decide on a topic to create content on, you need to research the topic, do a competitive analysis and find the most successful content around it. This can be done by searching for different keyword variations on Google Search to identify top ranked content or by using a tool like Buzzsumo to find the most shared content on the topic.

Make your content better than any other top content out there:

Ensure your content:

  • Is longer, detailed, more thorough
  • Is more up-to-date
  • Contains better visuals – infographics, images, slideshares, videos
  • Has an enhanced User Experience

For more detailed steps on creating 10x content check out our blog on 10 ways to create 10x content. Some examples of what 10x content could possibly look like are listed below:

Content Amplification is Key:

Simply ideating, creating and publishing content does not work anymore and content distribution requires as much, if not more, effort as content creation. Some avenues for content amplification that you could use would be:

  • Promote on Social Networks
  • Use LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads & Promoted Tweets.
  • Notify your email list
  • Respond to questions on Quora, Reddit, comment on blogs, take part in industry forums
  • Leverage the reach of influencers
  • Get featured in industry roundups

You could also check out or blogs on 21 SEO Link Building Techniques for 2016 and the 15 Best Social Bookmarking Websites to promote your content. For other useful content amplification strategies, you can also take a look at our slideshare below:

Q & A from the session:

Some of the questions that came up during the discussion with the answers are listed below as well:

Q: Is content marketing the way forward for SEO as well?

A: The focus of SEO has shifted from just keyword optimization and link building to not only producing quality content that addresses users’ needs but also delivering that content to the user with the best experience possible. Content is now the new SEO and creating 10X content is going to be the way forward in 2016.

Q: How do you measure results from Content Marketing?

A: Three metrics would help measure the impact of your content marketing efforts:

  • The social impact – Shares on social media platforms
  • Organic and Referral Traffic – Number of visitors to the blog from Google Search, Social Media and other referral sites
  • Conversions from the blog – Enquiries generated from your content marketing efforts.

Q: How long do content marketing efforts take to start showing tangible business results?

A: There is only one right answer here and that is – it depends. There are multiple factors that will impact your success timelines like your existing domain authority, the time and effort invested in content creation and promotion and the content promotion budgets, if any. Typically content gets indexed in a few days and you can start getting traffic but time period to get business results can vary from 3-4 months all the way up to even a year. For example, when we started our influencer marketing platform, Influencer.in it took us 4 months before we started getting tangible results in the form of enquiries via our content or via google organic traffic.

Q: What tools can be used to create Infographics when one does not have a design team?

A: Piktochart, Infogram and Canva are good tools to help you craft beautiful infographics

Q: Does post regional language content help content marketing efforts?

A: Yes, translating content to regional languages can help reach out to a newer audience, provided that audience is relevant to your business. Regional language content can also help increasing search traffic to your website, as shown in this article on the growth of regional content as well as this case study by Neil Patel.

Q: How do I know my content is 10x?

A: Whether your content is 10x or not is a little subjective – what may appear 10x to you may not look like 10x to someone else. Nevertheless, below are some validation questions to help you figure out if your content is 10x:

  • Is your content longer, detailed, more thorough and more up-to-date than any other content on the web?
  • Does the content contain better visuals – infographics, images, slideshares, videos?
  • Does your blog have an excellent User Experience?
  • If you were your target audience, would you find this content valuable enough to link to it or share it?

Here’s what some of our participants had to say about the session:

FB

 

Those of you who missed the inaugural edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha last month can check out the meeting summary here. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter or check out the hashtag #DigitalCPC for more details on the next Digital Chai pe Charcha meet.

Are there any digital marketing challenges or problems you face in your organization? Do let us know and we would be happy to include them as discussion topics in upcoming Digital Chai Pe Charcha sessions.

Content Marketing vs Native Advertising

  • 86% businesses now leverage content marketing in one form or another
  • 70% audience want to learn about products via content instead of direct advertisement
  • More than 67% clients ask their content marketing agencies about native advertising

Outbound and Interruption Marketing is losing its sheen in favor of Content Marketing and Native Advertising. Though they seem similar but there is quite a difference between the two forms of marketing. This article will help you understand the difference between Content Marketing and Native Advertising.

content-marketingVsNativemarketing

What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is a marketing approach that involves creating valuable and useful non-promotional content by brands. The important part in the first sentence is “valuable and “useful”. Self-serving and promotional content cannot be placed in the content marketing bucket: Value-add is the only secret.

Goals of Content Marketing:

The goals for content marketing can be broadly categorized as follows:

Different Forms of Content Marketing

Content Marketing can be done in varied formats but some of the key ones are discussed here.

  • Videos are one of the most engaging form of content on the web. The consumer web video traffic is expected to reach ~80% by 2019-2020. For a long time, video marketing was considered a game for the big brands. But off late, this trend has been broken with small businesses and startups leveraging the medium to showcase excellent meaningful content. OYO Rooms launched a video on the occasion of Independence Day that garnered more than 3 lakh views in a couple of days. The Madras Song by Murugappa Group was launched as a tribute to the city of Madras on the occasion of Madras Week. The video stole the limelight during the 375th year celebrations of Madras.
  • Blogs are an excellent way to build an engaged audience, showcase your company as an industry thought-leader and the same time boost search engine rankings. According to a recent Hubspot Survey, regularly blogging boosts lead generation by ~126%. It also provides fresh, unique content to your website that is an important factor considered in Google search rankings.
  • Infographics are graphics that showcase long content in a visual and interesting manner. Our brain absorbs and process visuals faster than any other form of content. Hence, infographics as a form of content can be a great way to showcase information and make your blog more engaging.
  • Slideshares and Case Studies are another fascinating form of content marketing. These are more suggested for B2B businesses. Companies are looking out for specific information and if your case study or a Slide Share can help fit into the gap, you will gain a relevant mindspace among your potential customers.
  • Relevant and Informative Social Media Content can go a long way to help create an engaged community of potential customers. Innovative and clutter-breaking content can help your brand quickly carve out a niche on social media. Petwish – a startup in the pet food space, did an interesting content series around different dog breeds in India. The content quickly became viral among the pet lovers across India, which was an excellent audience for the brand.
  • Podcasts or audio telecasts are possibly one of the most underrated content marketing tactics. It gives you access and visibility to a different set of audience – who are tuned to short content in a format where they can multitask “on the go”. For example, a motivational podcast while on the way to office in the morning or solid investment advice from an avid investor that will help you plan your investment strategy for the coming week.

Metrics to track the effectiveness of Content Marketing:

  • Number of shares and likes
  • Number of backlinks/mentions to your content
  • Number of leads

Tips for an effective content marketing strategy:

  • Identify the needs of your target audience
  • Create 10x content – make it better and more thorough than anyone out there
  • User-generated content needs to be a part of your content strategy
  • Content Amplification is important – creating content alone won’t help until it reaches the right audience
  • It’s a long term game so do not expect quick-fire results

 

What is Native Advertising?

Native Advertising is a form of paid advertising where the content put out seems similar to the native content of the platform. You would have come across one or the other form of native advertising daily – while reading an e-newspaper, browsing through an ecommerce portal or on your favorite Google Search Engine. According to Business Insider, The global native advertising spend is estimated to cross $21 billion by the year 2018.

Goals of Native Advertising

  • Increase brand / product awareness
  • Supplement Content Marketing in amplification
  • Drive traffic to your website or landing page
  • Boost lead generation and Sales

Different Forms of Native Advertising

  • Content Recommendations are one of the most prominent form of native advertising. You would have seen sections at the end of news articles under the title “Recommended Articles” powered by recommendation engines. These native ads are done via platforms like Outbrain, Taboola and Content.Ad.
  • Influencer Marketing is a rapidly growing form of native advertising. Under this, the influencers and bloggers talk about your brand or product on their blogs or social media channels with a backlink to your online property. The articles are seeded along with the other articles on the blog.
  • Search Engine Ads are those that surface on top of your search results. This form turns out cheaper than the other forms of native advertising, based on the cost per lead or sale.
  • In-Feed Ads are presented within the list of natural articles from the publication. Though these ads are well-blended within the native experience of the reader on the platform but they are marked as sponsored ads for the benefit of the customer.
  • Promoted Listings are the product listings that show up on top of the category page on ecommerce websites.

Metrics to track in Native Advertising

  • Reach or Impressions
  • Clicks or Traffic to your website/landing page
  • Leads or Sales
  • Cost per Click
  • Cost per Lead

Tips for Native Advertising

  • Create separate landing pages for different native ad ideas. The hook to get people on your landing page and the content on the page need to speak the same story.
  • Research your audience well to create and experiment with multiple hooks to see what works well for your audience.
  • Make it interesting. Only bragging about the brand doesn’t work anymore. Show the content and convince the reader that you are the one who can deliver the experience or service to the user.
  • Do not shy away from allocating a good budget for this to show results. The cost per lead or sale from native advertising is traditionally higher from content marketing.
  • If SEO is a prime goal for your experimentation with Native Advertising, then you should pause it immediately. There is no SEO takeaway from this exercise.

 

Content Marketing To Make Your Brand Trend

Content is any brand’s most powerful weapon which can be used to fulfill marketing and branding objectives. A strategic approach towards creating and distributing content creatively can attract customers and propel them to take the desired action. While all brand managers are aware of this mantra and are working towards it, how can you differentiate your brand amongst the rest and make it trend?

content-marketing-to-make-your-brand-trend

Here are some interesting content marketing tips to make your brand famous and captivate your audience:

THINK DIFFERENTLY

While most brands that fall under the same industry or category have similar social media strategy, the one who thinks differently always reaps better results. Having a fresh perspective towards generic concepts can help in delivering content that interests the user and eventually improves your organic reach and engagement.

To quote an example, Planet SuperHeroes came up with an infographic on the New Year’s to show its audience how their lives will look like in 2016. Unlike many brands that did run-of-the-mill updates and wishes on this occasion, PSH went ahead with content that’s relevant to its audience. Boy, did this unique approach towards content marketing bring them organic results? See for yourself below!

PSH - Think Differently

Here’s another example of unique content marketing strategy by the Tamil Nadu’s Chief Election Officer, where movie and television references were used to spread awareness about the upcoming State Assembly Elections.

TNECThinkDifferently


CREATE USER-FOCUSED CONTENT

Instead of just talking about your brand’s product and services, create useful content that interests your audience. This way, understanding your target group’s expectations and behavior can positively impact your social media content strategy. Spend time on public forums and communities to study the relevant topics discussed by your consumers. Create content that your customers are most likely to consume and will come back to you for more such information.

Petwish is an online pet portal brand who published a series of posts on different dog breeds and their lifestyle characteristics – to help customers choose the ideal dog breed for their family. This being an example of a customer-centric content approach, the campaign went viral garnering 42K shares and 20K likes on the page, all organically. Through this campaign, the brand was able to position itself as a knowledge source for its customer base and indirectly boost its branding and marketing efforts.

Consumer focused approach

TAKE PLATFORM-SPECIFIC APPROACH

While planning your content marketing strategy, keep the communication same across platforms but approach them differently. Design your content to suit the language, environment and behaviors on different digital media platforms. While creating unique content is one thing, distributing it thoughtfully across platforms will help get the most value out of it.

Thus, understanding the potential of each platform and taking a channel-specific approach could result in reaching the right audience, the right way.

HIJACK LATEST TRENDS OR TOPICS

Creating content around trending topics or events is an age old technique that many brands have used and succeeded in the past. Spontaneity, messaging and creative presentation are the three important factors to keep in mind while plugging-in your content around a trending event. Use the right hashtags or keywords to make your content easily discoverable. And a tinge of good humour or objective take on a social issue would go a long way in increasing the shareability and making your brand trend along with the topic.

Below are some of the examples of brands that capitalized on the ‘Be like Bill’ meme that took over the Internet few weeks back.

BeLikeBill Apple

BeLikeBill_PH

USE HUMOUR, IF RELEVANT

Who doesn’t love humour when it’s appropriate and impressive? With memes and funny illustrations dominating the social media world, humour is undoubtedly the best universal language that brands love to speak.

Witty or good humour bridges the gap between a brand and its customer in so many levels and helps in building a community. Spontaneity coupled with creative humour has resulted in a number of successful brand campaigns in the past and will continue to do so.

MAKE USE OF VISUAL MEDIUM

2016 seems to be year of Visual Marketing with video content and infographics having the best ROI and reception amongst the users. Visual content grabs the audiences’ attention much faster than text and generates more social engagement. According to a recent study by Cisco, video will account for 80 percent of the global internet traffic by 2019. And the numbers have already begun to rise, as more and more brands are gradually moving some of their TV budgets to digital videos.

With the increasing availability of platforms such as YouTube, Vine, Periscope, Blab, Flipagram, etc. and the user community shifting to mobile and social, brand managers should make use of these visually appealing content forms to gain valuable results.

VisualContentInfluencer

VisualContentMurugappa

ROPE IN INFLUENCERS TO AMPLIFY CONTENT

If you have great content and are trying to amplify it through impactful sources, look no further. Influencer marketing helps in identifying leaders with a significant follower base, who can deliver your brand’s message to a wider audience and influencer their opinions / purchase decisions. Using influencers for your content campaigns can result in higher reach and engagement, thus giving you more mileage than your competitors.

What are the content marketing efforts that you’ve taken so far to improve your brand’s online presence? Do let us know about your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section!