“There is no point having a great idea then whispering it to yourself. You got to get it out there.”
Simon Kemp of We Are Social said that last Wednesday at our fourth Content Conversations Singapore meet-up, which summed up the broad-ranging discussion we had that night.
As content marketers, we invest great time and effort into creating content that is authentic, compelling and relevant, but how do we make sure it cuts through the noise to reach our intended audience?
Last week, we brought together over 80 industry professionals from across the marketing and publishing industry to talk about the importance of content distribution. In the previous Content Conversations event in March 2014, we established that content was ‘king’, but would our peers agree that content distribution is ‘King Kong’?
Here were the key takeaways:
Readers don’t care about your brand. They care about improving their own lives and keeping things interesting.
Brands looking to commit to content marketing should first recognize that the competition is changing. You are no longer competing for attention with just the brand sitting next to yours on the supermarket shelf, or sharing the same Gartner Magic Quadrant. You’re going up against any story streaming across the reader’s newsfeed.
The reality is that these stories are less likely to come from other brands, and more from publishers talking to the same audiences, alongside those irresistibly cute puppy photos. And the fact is, these drive exponentially more organic social sharing that “real” content. Why? Because it makes people laugh and feel good about themselves, and all human beings are wired to respond to that.
So how can brands capture their share of that attention? By adding value to people’s lives.
Many products are commodities, and very few are built to capture our imaginations. So if you are not Red Bull or GoPro, what do you do?
Crystal Lin, Brand Manager for Huggies Singapore, says they recognized this situation. “Parents don’t search for information on diapers. It’s just not high on their list of priorities. So Huggies had to find a way to build a relationship and trust with moms, by giving them resources that help them throughout their pregnancy and while taking care of their infants.”
People have needs in their everyday lives that are waiting to be met. As a brand, can the content that you produce address these daily needs? Beyond that, what search terms or platforms are online users using when they seek solutions to their needs. Brands need to position their content so that it can be easily discovered.
Creating value-adding content isn’t enough. Distribution has to be baked into the plan.
Matt Whittingham, CEO at inSing and HungryGoWhere, described his editors’ frustration with the reality that even the best articles had such a small window of opportunity to be discovered. inSing have now adopted a strategy that combines a mix of search, social, discovery, and display, all playing complementary roles in growing their audience.
Matt’s advice? Measure the audience engagement that each channel delivers and measure the traffic. But take a long-term view as well: page views and time on site are great, but repeat visitors are more valuable when building their media brand.
Saurabh Dangwal, who leads digital media planning for P&G APAC at MediaCom, provided a different perspective: “Content is of no value unless it does something.” This could be one of many things: Does it start a conversation? Does it lift brand intent? Does it drive sharing or sampling or leads or sales? Once these questions are answered, the appropriate digital media mix can be brought to bear to aid distribution.
Both of them made sense. Compelling content needs to stick and drive repeat visitors to a brand’s platform for audience engagement. But numbers aside, content can deliver greater value if it can grow and create something larger than itself – a self-sustaining conversation or community.
Which came first, content creation or distribution?
Traditionally, we created content, published it, and then promoted it. It was a workflow that worked in the world of print and television. However, in digital, that process is compressed and even flipped on its head. Today, before creating content, brands and marketers are using customer insight to decide where their stories should live, and then produce content for that medium.
When we planned this edition of Content Conversations, we thought the discussion would veer towards tactics and metrics. Instead, what emerged was a collective agreement that the success of content distribution is a combination of planning for it, using it in the right way, but also producing the right kind of content in the first place.
If you found this summary useful and would like to know when the next Content Conversations Singapore Meetup is happening, join the group at Singapore Content Conversations Meetup or get in touch with our team in Singapore through firstname.lastname@example.org.