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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.