We always look back at the past year and pick upkey learningsfrom which we resolveto learn more or understand the following year. 2015 is no different. 2014 has had some key learnings both personal and business. Being a marketer, the rise of social media and the greater acceptance of it was obviously a big takeaway. Nothing was more important for us last year than focusing on having a great year in social media. The talk around social media as a growth area is wonderful, though many seem to missthe multiple avenues of social media and how to leverage them. Social Media has moved beyond just tweeting or putting up Facebook posts or videos, smart “content” play has come to the fore especially the way you market it. That’s why, personally, 2014 was the year where “Content Marketing” played a major role in amplifying our presence on social media.
Content marketing should be about providing valuable information to current and potential customers to build awareness, trust, and generate positive sentiment for the brand.
If we want to build long-term relationships with consumers and encourage brand loyalty, we need various avenues to reach out to consumers. Content marketing is no longer at the periphery but at the very core of communications today. We need to build a sustained pipeline of content that doesn’t just end at the level of broadcasting it to consumers but actually starts conversations and builds long-term engagement.
Original Content needs to focus on the following key questions:
Why: Are they paying attention to what I am saying?
What: Does it interest the consumer?
Who: Am I relevant to them?
When: Am I talking to them at the right time and are they listening to me?
Where: The platform/tool I am using, does it appeal to them?
How: Are they benefiting from what we are saying?
Presently, India has the third-largest Internet user base in the world following China with more than 600 million Internet users and the UnitedStates with an estimated 279 million users.These numbers will only keep rising, making India a country for brands to keep connecting with consumers through ongoing dialogues and interactions that integrate several factors, starting from maintaining trust, building goodwill and credibility. The rise of connected computing devices in India is creating a whole new set of engagement opportunities to meet the new audience.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be only about creating “lists” or “clickbait” stories. Content can come in all forms, such as videos, infographics, posts, and contests. The effectiveness of content marketing is in the story telling. I feel that with larger phone and PC screens and a digitally capable India, visual content is going to become even more mainstream as we move into the New Year. Visual content allows brands to generate quality and engaging content starting from product information to industry trends to quick facts etc. In our experience, if the content is more visual in nature, it tends to generate higher engagement and is shared more by consumers.
As a brand and a content creator, one of the key areas of focus for us has been on not making a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution in keeping with the Different folks, different strokes, and different media philosophy/belief.One of the key things to keep in mind is not to start focusing on content marketing unless you have the right tools, the technology to help you execute, and most importantly have the genuine reason to talk to consumers.
In 2014, the potential of content marketing grew but there was a cautious approach to the medium with respect to utilizing its potential fully. However as Content Marketing evolves, we will see more innovation and techniques coming into play to maximize its benefits.
Also, when you are focusing on content marketing, you are not vying for attention with your industry, but with the larger set of brands from across industries. And with the consumers having limited attention span and time to spend it becomes all the more important to keep creating a relationship that isn’t vulnerable to intervention by other brands. Remember that the role of content marketing is to create and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience.
While content marketing is continuing to evolve, it’s clear that this valuable trend will only become more essential. If anything, content marketing will become such a conventional term that it will just become a part of “marketing.” As we start figuring out the potential of content marketing, brands and marketers need to get smart on how to leverage the content effectively and efficiently. Marketers who can find the best combination for content creation will produce sustainable customer relationships and the most impactful, long-lasting results.