Content marketing may seem like the upcoming buzz in Singapore and Asian marketing landscape; however, for most businesses in Singapore and Asia, they may not realise that they are already doing some form of content marketing.
When you are doing content marketing without realising it
Most businesses have a decent-looking website with information relevant to their brand as well as the targeted consumers. The website comes with nice visuals and fantastic content that attract the consumers to understand the brand even better. So long as you have a website, you are doing some form of content marketing already. And everyone is doing that, right?
The business website may also have a simple blog that talks about the latest trends, events, happenings as well as news that are related to the consumers.
Publishing written and visual content onto your Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram consistently is also a form of content marketing. Each content your brand posted on social media represents a story or marketing message you wish to convey to your audience.
Print media editorial
Content marketing started long, long time ago with the first editorial or advertisement made in print. A business with regular write-ups or advertisement on magazines and newspaper is therefore doing some form of content marketing as well.
So do we really need content marketing?
Some marketers may feel that since they already have a website, a blog, some social media channels, and regular write-ups on print media, they are doing fine with content marketing, right? In terms of quality and effective content marketing strategy, they have to do much more than that.
1. Everyone is also doing that
Since most companies already have a website, a blog, social media pages, or print write-up, doing the same thing will make no difference from your brand to your competing brands. In order to differentiate your brand from your competitors, you'll need a well designed long-term content marketing strategy.
2. Content marketing is an archive of branded content
Content marketing is about regularly feeding the consumer market with interesting, edu-taining (educational and entertaining) content. Having a website is just not enough. One of the top 3 reasons why companies failed in content marketing is because they do not produce enough quality content to present to their consumers.
Having one article a month is not enough to entertain your consumers in this fast-moving information market. Having three to four articles a month, with a minimum of 300 words an article, may look 'wow' for the marketer, but it is still not enough.
A rule of thumb, in order to see the success of your content marketing strategy, your business needs to produce between 10 and 20 well structured and worded branded articles on a monthly basis.
Having said that, print media content editorial is definitely not enough to showcase your brand with content strategy, due to its limited pages.
3. It's about turning social fans into influencers
Quality content marketing strategy via social media is more than just posting nice pictures, events, or videos on your social media pages. It is about looking at your social media channel in a magazine publisher point of view.
What is the theme or cover page of the 'magazine' you want your audience to see that reflects the image of your brand? What is the content your audience will be expecting to see from this social media 'magazine' of your brand? Will it be all about you or about them (the consumer)?
It is about posting original content and visuals that are interesting to the right audience such that they can push the share button to their family and friends.
A good content marketing strategy on social media is also about creating consumer-generated content. In other words, letting your consumers generate content for you!
Consumer-generated content is the most powerful content marketing strategy today; a good content marketing manager will therefore have to think of do-able social strategies that will influence more consumers to create more content!
A poor social media content marketing strategy, on the other hand, will be a social media page that posts content that are irrelevant to the audience, not original, or simply content that are merely promotion shouts-out.
Just imagine you are reading your favourite fashion design magazine, and the content is irrelevant topics like politics or home electronics. Or the content is taken from other fashion design magazines that you have read before. Or simply every single page is a mere shoutout advertisement with no value added to your reader in terms of education.
Such magazine will not be able to gain traction in its subscribers. Therefore, if you want to deliver a fantastic content marketing strategy on social media, then you have to place the right content for your consumers consistently!
4. Content marketing is a consistent and collaborative long-term strategy
Content marketing makes selling easier especially when consumers like to find out more about a brand's products and services even before they visit the shops. For business-to-business (B2B) companies, content marketing plays an even pivotal role in getting the corporate sale.
Having a consistent archive of articles or expert opinions shows consumers that you are the industry thought leader. Especially for corporate customers who want to compare your services to the many others competitors out there.
When your corporate prospects clicked into your website from your Google adwords strategy, alongside 10 other competitors' websites which were also advertised on the search engine, what can make your brand stand out is not just the products and services page in your website, but the archive of expert opinion articles in it.
Therefore, for B2B businesses, they have to produce a lot more content than the B2C businesses in order to win the customers from competitive digital market.
Content marketing is, hence, an effective marketing tool that will gradually improve your brand credibility in the long run, provided your brand keeps on producing good branded content.
5. Integrated content marketing
Other than putting up the price tag, some retailers in Singapore put up integrated content in their retail shops.
One example is Uniqlo Singapore. When you visit any of their retail outlets, you can read and understand more about their individual fashion apparels from the various information tags within the shops. This will make selling easier as the walk-in consumers can understand more about the product they are about to buy without asking the retail sales staff, leading to more confidence in the brand.
Another example will be 3M Singapore. Business prospects, investors, students, and consumers can book an appointment with them to visit their customer technical centre, to get to know their brand history, as well as taking them into a creative world of invention and innovations.
So, if you are expecting your potential customers to visit your company as part of your sales process, why not integrate some interesting content into your company to make selling easier?
6. Content marketing is about presentation
Content marketing is more than just a move, it is about presentation (a skill). Your competitors can follow your move into social media advertising, search engine marketing as well as advertising on print media. However, even if they follow you in doing content marketing, they are not able to copy your skills.
Take for example, there are two persons playing "Moonlight Sonata" on the piano. One is a beginner who just picked up piano lessons a week ago, while the other has been playing the music for many years in various concerts. Though they are playing the same Beethoven's piece, you can easily tell who played better!
Just like content marketing, the success is largely dependent on the writing and creative skills of your content marketers, how versatile he or she is in producing engaging branded content for your consumers on a regular fashion.
The golden opportunity of content marketing in Singapore and Asia
By understanding about the effective content marketing strategies as mentioned above, you will then realise that there is a huge first mover advantage opportunity for companies in Singapore and Asia to start content marketing today.
This is because many companies, even the bigger brands today, are literally not doing much on content marketing. Try to find a competitor to see if they have an archive of consumer relevant articles, you can hardly find one as well.
Content marketing courses are also not in many marketing diploma or undergraduate courses, therefore not many marketers may know how to make good use of this strategy. Furthermore, there are literally very few marketing agencies that provide quality content marketing services as well.
Therefore, by doing content marketing the right way, all businesses regardless of the sizes have the potential to win a larger portion of their industry market share in the long run. So, start writing something today!
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Jacky Tan is a brand strategist, professional marketing writer, blogger, speaker, and author. He is also the chairperson and keynote speaker for Marketing Asia Conference 2016. Jacky leads boutique marketing and branding agency 'Jack and Chaz Pte Ltd'.