In my previous column, Does Your Brand Have a Content Marketing Strategy? I interviewed Ray Grieselhuber, the CEO and co-founder of Ginzametrics, producer of the Ginzametrics SEO Platform.
Below are more on Ray's thoughts on how content marketing plays out in Asia including practical advice on how brands can get started.
Andy Radovic: Do you feel content marketing can be a legitimate customer acquisition tactic?
Ray Grieselhuber: Absolutely. This has been proven repeatedly in B2B with companies like Hubspot, Salesforce.com, Marketo, and more. At Ginzametrics, we also acquire most of our customers via content marketing. Very large brands such as Coca-Cola and P&G have committed to using content marketing to help them achieve their goals for expansion.
Radovic: Do you see any overlap with SEO and content marketing, or do they simply complement each other rather than compete?
Grieselhuber: We see SEO as becoming part of content marketing, moving under that umbrella. Good SEO has always been about creating content that matters to consumers and making sure it gets found. Anytime your company is creating content, you should be thinking about how well it is optimized for search. There are many reasons for this but most importantly, it is worth remembering that people will often interact many times with a product or brand before making a purchase. If they encounter your product once but aren't able to easily find it again, you've lost someone who was already in your funnel.
Radovic: As most of our readers are in Asia, do you see any differences in how content marketing plays out here?
Grieselhuber: I think it will look different on a number of fronts.
First, Asia does not have as strong a SaaS market as the U.S. does, so many of the content marketing techniques from that industry won't translate directly.
Second, gaming remains much more pervasive (and monetizable) in Asia so there are more opportunities to use games as part of content marketing campaigns (along with videos, mashups, and more.)
Third, in e-commerce, there is still a resistance by many large e-commerce firms to try new things with regards to content marketing (and SEO for that matter) so I think there is some maturity that needs to happen before these firms are willing to engage their customers directly via content.
One interesting example from Asia is the influence of over-the-top messaging platforms such as Line. Brands are spending money on these sorts of platforms to engage at very micro levels and consumers are showing a willingness to reciprocate in the form of buying virtual goods, signing up for campaigns, following brands, etc.
An important idea to repeat about content marketing is that there is no inherent assumption that content marketing is only used in an inbound marketing context. The terms inbound marketing and content marketing are often conflated but I believe they are orthogonal. Larger companies in Asia who are used to spending large amounts of money on mass communications may feel more comfortable initially with outbound content marketing and then learning how to take advantage of both the type of response measurement you can get from digital on a really large scale and then get even better at it by combining outbound and inbound.
Radovic: How can technology aid in the content marketing process?
Grieselhuber: The only way to succeed in SEO and content marketing is, at a minimum, by having two things. First you need a consistent process around discovering and creating the best content that your team is capable of. Second, you need to be able to measure the impact of your content marketing and make improvements to your campaigns, at scale. The first part really comes down to you and your team. The second part, fortunately, can be achieved by investing in technology that automates all of the data collection, analytics, and recommendations you will need in order to grow.
Without data and the insights that come from that data, you're essentially flying blind. There are many tools out there that you can take advantage of, including your existing analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Site Catalyst, Webmaster Tools, and more.
What we do at Ginzametrics is provide you with a comprehensive platform that you can use to manage your websites, content creation, keyword and social targeting, and measure your performance over time. Additionally, our customers rely on our actionable recommendations to improve the quality of their content, topic targeting, site architecture, and more.
In almost every industry you can imagine, companies are realizing that they are sitting on top of a gold mine in terms of new growth opportunities, untapped revenue sources, and low-hanging fruit for optimizing existing business with the data that they own. This is the reason that big data is now a priority for almost everyone we talk to. We view our job at Ginzametrics to help you turn the data you already own into actions that you can take to grow through organic search and content marketing.
By taking advantage of our cloud-based platform and APIs, our customers are able to switch on these insights almost overnight and plug them directly back into their own internal data warehouses and teams that can then take action. We see this sort of data and automation as the future for all of content marketing and are excited to play a part.
Radovic: Any tips you can share with our readers on how to get started in creating a content marketing strategy?
Grieselhuber: That's almost an article by itself! I'd start off by making the case to management and getting buy-in from everybody on the team. A successful content marketing strategy is marked by consistent, responsive execution over a long period of time. You have to be willing to invest time and resources (e.g., money) in order to make it really work and you need patience in order to experiment with the many different options you have. A common misconception is that marketing strategies based on SEO and content marketing should be "free" because you're not paying for ads. You don't engage in content marketing because the traffic is "free" but because the ROI on it can be so high. So, you need to present the case for both the opportunity and also the need to take a pragmatic approach over the long term. If you don't do this first, you're not going to succeed.
Next, you will want to start small and start figuring out what your internal best practices are going to be. I wrote on our blog about some ways that you can start small with content marketing and expand from there. The key is to set achievable goals for yourself and then grow from there. Once you feel like you have a decent process in place, you can create an editorial calendar and start planning your content around themes: seasonality, events and conferences, recent news, product releases, and much more. Going through the process of creating an editorial calendar will reveal the almost limitless opportunities you have to create content.
Once you've created an outline of the type of content you want to create, spend time validating, using data, that you have identified that right topics and are going to be optimizing your content for the right keywords, audience targeting and more. This is usually where technology starts to come in.
Next, take a look at what your competitors, partners, and complementary businesses are doing. You will want to monitor these players as you distribute your content and this is where the fun really begins.
Two final things to consider in a basic content strategy. First, think about ways you can utilize offsite content (YouTube videos, SlideShare decks, etc.) and user-generated content. Done correctly, both of these content channels can provide rich engagement opportunities with your audience. Second, remember that all of your content should be optimized with multiple devices in mind. The most valuable consumers in many markets interact with at least two screens, and maybe more, all day long. Plan for mobile and multi-device consumption and sharing of your content upfront and you'll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.
Well there you have it. Content marketing is not going anywhere anytime soon and brands will need to quickly and aggressively get into the game to compete in this new world. Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing says that "if you're not creating content, then you don't exist." We agree.
Image on home page via Shutterstock.
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Andy Radovic is a strategic digital marketer with 12+ years experience working in the digital media space across a variety of agencies, spanning stints in the U.S., Japan, Korea, and now Singapore. Currently working for Maxus Asia Pacific, part of the GroupM network, the world’s largest media investment management organization, and media communications and planning arm of parent company WPP. At Maxus, Andy leads regional digital duties for Asia Pacific with a focus on building out the Maxus digital product offering across Asia Pacific focusing on search, social, mobile, digital analytics and e-commerce. Prior to Maxus, Andy headed up digital for GroupM in Japan and Korea. Before GroupM, he has worked for a variety of startups in Asia and the U.S. across the technology and digital media categories and is a frequent contributor to ClickZ.asia, iMediaConnection, and RevenueToday.
March 19, 2014