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Friday, 3 March 2017

Deconstructing Content Marketing in 12 Executable Steps

A leisure avocation can on occasion spark an endearing passion that may last throughout one's lifetime. Ever since I started with my blog, I have always been very interested in Content Development and its marketing. Consequentially, it should not come as a surprise that I quit my job at Capgemini, a leading IT MNC, and am currently working at PACKT, a leading publishing company of information technology and an excellent developer skills platform.
A childhood hobby of reading books (voracious I may add!) has now translated to a fulfilling and rewarding career.
My current role being a Content Development Editor (CDE); the development part of the aforementioned interest has been quenched but left me thirsting for marketing.
 So when an opportunity came along to attend a session on Content Marketing, I quickly jumped on the wagon. I will be now be listing my learning from the same.

Marketing should become a service and inspiration; not interruption

Take the case of Felix Baumgartner's jump from the stratosphere in the year 2012. Felix became the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular assistance relative to his descent. More than the physics, what is more important for our study is how well Red Bull managed to place themselves in the mix.

Looking at the video, we see that there is very limited product strategy in this case. One thing very obvious from the video is the visibility that Red Bull garnered from this stunt. The feat got tremendous views all over youtube with heavy coverage from print as well as electronic media. 

Now let us look into Lifebuoy's global campaign

First birthdays of any individual are an important occasion. More than the ward itself, parents are overjoyed. A lifebuoy commercial showcases celebrations of a different kind. The twist in the tale being that the birthday is not the first rather the fifth. Yes, you read that right. FIFTH and not FIRST. Watch the video for a little more insight.

 A very clear message that this video managed to convey is that the brand cares about you.

Chief learning from these examples is:Visual marketing should be about how the brand sees itself .


Framing the correct content strategy

It is very important that you follow a structured marketing strategy and not get wayward. Let us first start with what not to do for a campaign.

Never make an aimless Visual Content

An advert should be well directed. Often in pursuit of catchy phrase or a picture marketers completely forget the product
Take the example of this campaign.

It doesn't really matter what the brand tried to convey; the campaign reflects very poorly on the brand as it espoused misogynistic tendencies and caused quite a furor when released. Neither is the product anywhere related to the advert. To avoid this scenario we need to have a structured strategy.

Following a structured strategy

Content Strategy can be organized into the following ways:
  • Category Truth- High involvement/Low involvement
  • Consumer Persona-Target Group
  • Buyer's Journey-Content should remove all doubt and consumer should have trust
  • Brand's Journey

It is also important to consider the channel when framing the correct strategy namely (online/offline).

Finding the sweet spot

The following picture should give a better idea of the middle path I am talking about:

Finding out what the customer wants

In order to understand what the consumer wants from the company, the organisation should be proactive in getting the consumer involved in the product development. 

A very good example would be the customer interview program adopted by my organisation, Packt,wherein we have the employees take a call with the users/readers/subscribers, jot down their  preferences and collect a mountain of information.

To simplify this further, pick up the phone and keep asking people about their experiences and take their opinion. Hundreds, thousands; the more the merrier.

Having the customer involved is a very good way of getting a refined product. The firm can identify on the improvement areas pinpointed by the consumer and make an action plan accordingly.
A key concept here is understanding the end user mindset.

Execution steps for extracting good content marketing

Partly in fear of making this blog too technical, I am listing out a few good execution steps for what makes up a good marketing strategy
  1. Be Honest

    • A leading travel and tourism company advertised this image as Andaman and Nicobar, India, when in fact the pictures are of Galapagos islands, Ecuador.
    • You cannot promise them high heavens and not deliver ( I hear that is the purpose of marriages so let us leave it at that!).
    • Never misrepresent. The factor that is ultimately going to affect the credibility of the brand is the veracity of the claim.
  2. Tell a human story.

    • Make the content relatable.
    • Tap into an emotion.
  3. Be Original
  4. Try animation
    • A simple storytelling will be able to achieve what a high budgeted marketing campaign will not.
  5. Re-purpose
    • Create one content in a compact and one in an abbreviated form
    • Use Infographics
    • If you have a content that is 12 minute long, you might consider having a 60 second condensed form of the same material.
    • Condense your matter into snack-able bytes.

  6. Pick latest trends
    • Latch on to the latest trends, technologies, tools and so on as per relevancy to the product before the competitor does.
  7. Optimise for mobile
    • It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Smartphones have taken over the world (literally and metaphorically). 
    • Landing page of the website should be always be optimised for mobile. 
    • You are losing out if your website is not configured for cellular viewing.
  8. Optimise with A/B testing
    • Try multiple ways of representing content. 
    • See what works best then pursue it. 
    • Basically, trial and error.
  9.  Call to action
    • Once a strategy has been put in place stick to it till a stipulated time or until a proven method comes along. 
    • Unnecessary chop and change isn't really going to take you forward, rather it will be detrimental for the product as frequent changes will make the user lose confidence

  10. Tag, Tag , Tag - Use Social Media frequently
    • Social media platforms like these are effective in helping your business grow. 
    • Features like FB live and youtube stream should be utilized for major events that the organization may be having and would like to channel to public.
    • Always have a video channel and a separate page for each video

  11. Reach out to partners and influencers
    This list includes:
    • Business partners
    • Corporate Events
    • Bloggers
    • The most important in the list: The Employees. These are your biggest influencers.
    12. Package the content correctly
    • It is important that you package the content correctly.
    • Be careful while choosing music and other media for your content.

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