Anchor | One Big Idea by Jaideep Shergill: Using content for marketing

10 Jan,2013

By Jaideep Shergill, CEO, MSL India

 

As the nature of marketing communication shifts decisively from hardsell to engagement, content marketing is becoming a powerful tool for brands to build relationships with customers. Many brands are investing in brand publishing, engaging agencies or building content teams of their own.

 

Marketers are also using content instead of television/print/online ads to sell products. While it may not have a direct-line relationship with the achievement of sales goals, it’s the key to capturing attention. Most marketers understand this and are transforming their marketing campaigns accordingly. Brand publishing, have no doubt, is exploding.

 

Chris Weinfeld, of BlueGrass Interactive, has been quoted as saying: “Companies are now caring about putting out content that people want to read… Instead of just investing in their blog and blogging strategies, they’re investing in content people will want to share. Even if it’s not directly related to selling something, it’s still branding.” BlueGrass is an interactive solutions firm based in the US.

 

Hence, it’s clear that companies are using content for a variety of functions – from brand awareness to generating leads and increasing brand loyalty.

 

To achieve all of this, you must tell a good brand story. It’s the differentiator in the competition for customers’ eyes and ears.

 

Take the ‘Kony 2012’ campaign. It was the compelling story told by the non-profit Invisible Children about the atrocities committed by Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony that got people involved. Millions of dollars were donated to the campaign to bring him to trial and the world became aware of the internal strife in Uganda.

 

Here are three things to remember when rolling out a content strategy:

 

  • Give up control, create a connection: The audience is your consumer and your advocate; let it drive your content. Design content for your audience, allow it to be shared and let it lead to a conversation based on mutual interests.
  • Identify the target: Any marketing exercise requires a well-defined audience; so does a content campaign. You can use demographics (income, age, geography) as well as behaviour (goals, purchase patterns). Usually, for new brands, it’s about building the audience, while for established brands it is about keeping an existing one engaged.
  • Adapt the message: In any conversation, listening is the key. A smart marketer will always note what consumers want and evolve the conversation accordingly.

 

 

 

As you read this, it’s likely that your competitors are investing in content marketing. It’s time for you to do so too.

 

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