I loved KFC’s humorous World Cup Cricket videos, Pick n Pay’s short recipe videos – a completely addictive format - and Tastic’s series of recipes from South African foodie influencers. Look at bit further afield to the winners in the content strategy category of the Bookmarks 2019 and you will find more examples of world-class content marketing – and the local creative genius and passion that goes into crafting it.
As exciting as it is to see content marketers at work in South Africa, I can’t help but feel that South African brands aren’t doing enough to exploit the wealth of opportunity offered by this (relatively) new marketing tactic.
Technology gave us books with the invention of the printing press and then spawned a plethora of other content formats, from TV and movies to radio. Then came the internet and social media and suddenly everyone had a voice and could publish something online, as could every brand. And so, digital content marketing was born, and marketers could, with relatively little effort, leverage the power of digital publishing and the tremendous reach and exacting measurement that comes with it.
Content marketing is an exciting tactic for many reasons. It gives brands a chance to build trust and authority with consumers and even warmth and affection. It is the tool your brand needs to stand out in cluttered newsfeeds and crowded inboxes, to build an engaged audience and influence purchase decisions. And, if you do it right, you can even build audiences that you own and can reach without relying on the likes of Facebook, Snapchat or even Google.
Content marketing has many other benefits, perhaps less glamorous but just as important. Quality site content and links to that content are an important ranking factor for Google. And, great content can be used effectively to amplify your efforts at every stage of the buyer journey, from awareness to consideration, purchase and our golden child, retention.
Content marketing is that point at which all of our creative power to educate, inform and delight must come together in one moment that stops a scroll, wins a click and prompts a laugh – or a cry. It gives us the creative headroom, far beyond the constraints of a TV ad or a press release, to create something wonderful and powerful, something that shouts for our brand where other formats only speak.
One of the exciting things about content marketing is that it evolves as quickly as technology does. Just when we thought we had mastered blogs and social media, video started stealing headlines. Then social messenger apps. Now Facebook Groups and, before you can say click-through rate, you’ll be creating skills for Alexa!
Content marketing does not, however, come easy. It is a long-term investment that requires marketers to move from thinking like brand champions to thinking like publishers. So, get ready to change gears! You might have to reskill, bring new skills on board or look to agencies for help. You will have to move out of your comfort zone and become an expert at a tactic that is still very new.
Don’t be scared to experiment and to test – you won’t get it right the first time. And, most important of all, remember to measure every click, like and view so that you can keep track of and optimise performance.
As a marketer and a creative, I guarantee you will enjoy the opportunity to create something beautiful or educational, funny or inspirational for your brand.