Content marketing: Sometimes less is more

At Content Marketing Singapore 2015, speakers discussed the advantages of quality over quantity

SINGAPORE — When it comes to content marketing, sometimes less is more, according to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute.

Speaking at the end of Campaign’s Asia-Pacific’s second annual Content Marketing conference here last week, Cleveland, Ohio-based Pulizzi was referring to a common misconception that good content marketing means churning out tons of different content.

The two-day conference, which included a day of workshops, explored the best practices for content marketing — from strategy to content creation to distribution and measurement.

In the final keynote of the conference, author and content marketing expert Andrew Davis set out his golden rules for success, which centred around creating stories that "inspire audiences to act."

"Want demonstrable ROI from your content marketing?" he asked. "Focus on moments of inspiration. Content marketing doesn’t need a call to action but it must tell a story that creates a moment of inspiration."

Case study: Johnnie Walker

One of the highlights of the day was a case study, presented by Diageo and Unruly Media, on data-driven content creation and amplification in the social age. The company had a challenge generating new consumers for premium brand Johnnie Walker Blue and increasing sales by 40%. Its target audience was "high earning, not yet rich people," a group that consumes media in a totally different way, said Gita de Beer, global business development director, Diageo Reserve. They don’t watch TV and consume content solely on digital, she said.

Seeking to make sense of digital data, Diageo reached out to Unruly. "One of the things we saw was the amount of sharing on branded content was exploding," said Phil Townend, Asia-Pacific managing director for Unruly. "We had to create content that consumers shared and talked about. Endorsement is especially important in the expensive luxury category."

According to Townend, valuable virality is the sweet spot between shareable content that is relevant to the audience and integral to the brand. "This social sweet spot is critical and what we helped Diageo craft," he said.

Diageo snagged actor Jude Law to appear in a six-minute online film. But based on Unruly’s research, Diageo discovered that the content needed to go beyond just a film. It needed layers to make the content go viral and needed to trigger three emotions: acceleration, surprise and inspiration. In line with that, the carefully devised media plan took a 360-degree approach across earned, owned and paid.

Diageo focused investment on the first 10 days of the film to create earned video views. Research showed Wednesday was the best day to launch—because that’s when people go online scouting new content. Diageo and its agencies used influencers including social bloggers, lifestyle bloggers and its PR network to drive the message.

The end result? The campaign notched up 45 million views, the brand’s equity score increased by two points and sales increased 60% in target markets.

Securing buy-in for content marketing

In another session, Rockwell Automation’s Lynn Nickels and Jodi Sourini made a case for securing buy-in for content marketing in the B2B sector. "We’re not a consumer company," said Sourini. "We never get funded and we work on old systems, so we really need to make a compelling case."

Nickels suggested presenting CEOs short, attention-grabbing videos, highlighting a few key differentiators. If you’re struggling with content, she said, look within the organisation at manuals and feedback from call centers. "Good content can be found within the company. We once repackaged a 27-page tech document into a one-page infographic with all the key points."

Robert Rose, chief strategist at the Content Marketing Institute, moderated a panel on content-marketing technology and what marketers need in their toolboxes. Citing research reports, Rose said CMOs and CIOs feel unprepared for technology changes. Often, marketing teams tend to go around IT to get new products.

Arun Mahtani, chief content officer for APACMEA with Edelman, has had projects stalled because of inflexible IT departments. "They’re a conservative bunch," he said. "This is especially true in big companies. Bring the CIO into content and technology discussions at the start and not at the end."

It is his view that marketing, not IT, needs to lead the process. "They’re the ones with the business objectives. They need to partner with IT and say this is what I need, what do you recommend?"

The plus side, for Rockwell's Nickels, is that there are some really great tools at affordable prices. Her big challenge is to get buy-in from management.

Twitter’s content lead, Christel Quek, said marketers tend to focus on production of content, but they should also be concerned about recycling and reusing content to give it a longer shelf life. "We have to think of leveraging several distribution properties," she said.

Quek added: "I’m a firm believer that we need technology to track and measure the success of our content, so we can improve. But don’t go out looking for new technology. It needs to start with what you are trying to achieve."

Earlier in the day, Lenovo’s Rod Strother told a panel at the event that content marketing is essential for connecting with Millennials.

"We’re trying to make a connection with our customers," said Strother, director of Lenovo's digital and social centre of excellence. "We can connect through our products and through advertising, but with a key audience for Lenovo — Millennials — content really is the glue." 


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