When we enter the marketing world, we want to know who is the King so to abide the rules. Traditional advertisement is no long the King; “Content is the new King”. Everyone is talking about content marketing but at the same time, when most of us are being asked, “What exactly is content marketing” and we can’t answer with confidence. However, We just “know” that some brands are so good at content creation, but some struggle.
So what is content marketing?
According to the definition from Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
From the definition we know that by displaying product directly to consumers and thereby making a sale is no long the rule. We have to create something—a sentence, a picture, a video, or a feeling— that they want to see, to stay watching, to remember for more than eight seconds, and to share with their circles.
With the new trends in utilizing social media to create content marketing, some categories have encountered difficulties such as Financial Services and some of the consumer brands; on the other hand, some categories are naturally suited for utilizing social media. How can we solve this? There definitely are ways.
Even in Mad Men, such old but the most epic show in advertisement, we see how to take advantage of storytelling to turn a projector into Carousel.
A recent article on Forbes Agency Council, “Stay Ahead of Content Marketing Trends This Year” by Kelly Ehlers has discussed four ways to stay ahead of the “content on social media” game.
Kelly first summarized that the major content marketing trend in 2016 was “innovative social tools”, such as Facebook live and Instagram Stories; however, suggestion goes to stay focused and utilize the most strategically aligned channels to deliver content. She then suggested four ways to stay ahead: Native Advertising, Influencer Marketing, Video and Visuals, and Storytelling.
By Native Advertising, Kelly suggested that since audiences can use multiple ways to block advertisements, ads really should transform to content for audiences to want to watch it. And therefore, the best practice is to tell stories using content in the brand’s voice.
Kelly then talked about the growing trend in influencer marketing. She thinks, “Bloggers, instagram celebs and youtubers are the future spokespeople for products” which I think is forseeable. Although, I think that brands should be very cautious in using influencer marketing.Here are my thoughts.
Geographically, influencer should be known by target audiences; international brands can choose international figure and regional products should choose a locally outstanding character. Demographically, influencer should be within the same demographic group or at least is inspiring for the audience demographic group.
Brands should also take political viewpoint of influencers into account. For example, I don’t think picking a political sensitive person to represent a brand is a smart choice unless his/her political viewpoint represents what the brand does.
All in all, the most important thing for brands to keep in mind, from my perspective, is to stay consistent and stay true to brand personality. The worst thing is to create several personalities and voices through content creation and therefore confuse and lose audiences.
Meanwhile, brands should keep in mind that not all brands and industries should put a lot of effort into social media. For example, Instagram followers count for financial services and some consumer goods way less than those of beauty, luxury, and clothing brands. If a financial services company turns focus onto promoting its social media account and striving to increase its followers, most likely they will hit a rock.
As content games are crowding towards social media, brands should keep in mind that storytelling is the Queen. If the King is not at your convenience, please take good care of the Queen. Here I want to share a successful campaign from a bank that applied storytelling to create content.
The reason I think TC bank did very well is because we don’t even have to understand the language they’re using to stay engaged and feel touched. Storytelling for financial services can be more difficult than brands naturally need visual exposure, but with good thought, it still can be achieved.
(Cover Photo Credit)