9 Things we learned at the Asia Global Content Forum 2017

“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” What was true for Ogilvy in the 1960s is still relevant today.

Content creators from various industries, including Mutant’s content team, gathered at the Asia Global Content Forum 2017 in Singapore to discuss the challenges in the creation and deployment of content across markets in the region.

Here are a few insights we gleaned during the forum:

1. SEO is still relevant

Although marketers have started to shift their attention from keyword to producing quality content, search engine optimisation is still crucial for content to reach the right audience. Remember that in a world where the destination is everything, we need to know how to get there. Search is a brand’s signpost.

All marketers understand (or should understand) how ‘search’ works and why certain pages rank higher for a particular keyword than others. If keyword stuffing is still your modus operandi, then you need to read more about how content and SEO can work together. 

SEO is still relevant, but it shouldn’t be your main focus. Rather, it should be one part of your content marketing strategy. Marketers can get hung up the ROI gained by SEO, but it’s the wrong question to ask. Focus instead on overall quality content and then how to get it in front of people.

2. Interactive Marketing from Stranger Things

The wildly popular Netflix series Stranger Things might seem at first glance just a sci-fi-inspired show for teens. But the series’ dark, perplexing world has captivated millions of viewers from around the globe  (not least thanks to a healthy dollop of 1980s nostalgia for the adults). The TV drama shows the unknown, and the emotions unleashed by it, appeal to audiences the world over.  

Netflix has taken advantage of this fascination and made their promotions for season 2 interactive with a free mobile game, including trailers and short preview clips. What do we learn from an old-fashioned 2D game about a strange world? We want to be part of it.

Bringing Stranger Things into daily life, Netflix also partnered with Lyft, making car rides strangely entertaining – including a vomited slug, which is something that not many brands would dare try. The promo resulted in increased Lyft requests and a spike in social media mentions.

3. Don’t neglect the notion of play

When it comes to the concept of play it’s hard to not think of LEGO. The brand has been at the forefront of playful marketing for decades. While LEGO is traditionally a toy for kids, the company has managed to get the attention of their parents (and other adults, too), by enabling them to experience and relive the playfulness of their youth.

One such example is the LEGO Kronkiwongi Project. LEOG asked children around the world to build a ‘Kronkiwongi’, not giving any instructions but letting the imagination of kids running wild. The creations were shared with parents on Facebook, resulting in thousands of further submissions and a significant uplift in brand connection to imagination and creativity.

Other reasons why LEGO is a content hero:

  • They engage adults with movies
  • They capitalise on the success of other brands (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Batman, …)
  • LEGO tells universal stories of good against evil that resonate in every  language
4.  Authenticity is key

With more than 2 million blog posts written daily and more than 1 million photos posted on Facebook every 60 seconds, it’s becoming harder and harder to get your message across. According to HubSpot, 65% of companies state that generating leads and traffic is their top marketing challenge.

Having an authentic message is crucial to catching people’s attention. But it is not all. Marketers also need to find the right channel to amplify their message. So, tailor your brand’s message for each of your marketing channels.

5. Convey value early

When Facebook decided to play videos in the newsfeed automatically, marketers saw a huge opportunity. What seemed like a mere convenience to users is a game-changer for brands. Conveying value early in videos has become crucial for companies to increase their awareness and message association.

Remember that users have an increasingly shorter attention span. So, when creating content, make sure you come straight to the point. No matter the what market in which you operate, offering readers and viewers value is increasingly important. Read more about brand video content.

6. Never be stagnant

Best practices (for writing, SEO, email marketing and more) are great. But if everyone is following best practice then no one is doing anything different. Benchmark other brands’ methods to get a better understanding of what works, but don’t copy them step by step. If you want to succeed – be creative and unique. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

7. Curate to tell a story

User-generated content can be an amazing addition to your marketing efforts. Social media makes it fairly easy for marketers to run campaigns that incentivise audiences to create content for you.

But don’t forget about storytelling. In order to tell your brand’s story, you need to curate user-generated content or risk your brand message becoming a jumble.

8. Localisation is the way to go

It might be obvious to some people, but what works in Australia does not work in Singapore – and vice versa. Each market deserves its own ideas. If you as a marketer can’t operate at market level, you are wasting your money. Spend your effort on interrogating people locally to get a feel for the pulse and speed of things.

While algorithms for natural language translation are becoming more prevalent, they aren’t at the point where niche terminology and industry terms are accurately translated and localised.

9. Market expansion with content

When rolling into a new market content is key. But it’s also a major issue for many companies. Having a well-running content platform in one market and wanting to launch it in a new market is not as easy as it seems.

Want to know where to begin? Read more about how to get your brand heard in a new market.

Need help with developing creative content – drop us a message at hello@mutant.com.sg

Turn user-generated content into Digital Marketing gold

Is your social media strategy starting to feel a bit stale? Do you feel like you are running out of content to post? More importantly, are you having difficulty connecting with your audience? User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content that is created for a brand by its fans – ranging from online reviews to customer photos on Instagram. While the brand gets free content and promotion, users are rewarded with discounts or similar offerings. Consumers trust peer recommendations more than any other type of advertising, so your audience is more likely to trust your brand if the content is user-generated. Simply put – it’s marketing gold!

But how do you incorporate it into your existing strategy? Carrying out a successful UGC campaign requires a thorough understanding of your audience and a well thought-out strategy. Stumped on ideas? Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Create a buzz

If you want people to be speaking about your brand, you need to give them a good reason! From Coca Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign where they swapped their logo for random names, to Starbucks’ festive ‘Red Cup Contest’ campaign, there’s a number of different ways you can create a buzz for your brand with products. One of the more recent UGC campaigns that got everyone talking was #castmemarc

Popular fashion designer Marc Jacobs took to social media, announcing that he’s casting models for his next advertising campaign from Twitter and Instagram submissions. The campaign generated over 15,000 submissions in just 24 hours from fashionistas around the world! Needless to say, this led to a trend of ‘selfie-casting’ with companies using social media to discover the next face for their campaigns.

UGC idea for your brand: Create a campaign completely bespoke to your brand that has not been done before, think outside the box!

Suggested read: Writing for Social: Why one size just doesn’t fit all

Leverage the power of the #

A hashtags is the most popular way of initiating UGC. Used effectively, it can spread like wildfire. A brand that’s slaying the UGC hashtag game is the renowned online retailer ASOS. Creating a curated page on their website for #AsSeenOnMe, customer could submit their images via Instagram or upload them directly.

While that already created a lot of buzz, ASOS went a step further making every shared image shoppable, linking it to the product item featured in the image. 

UGC idea for your brand: Add customer photos to product pages

Offer cool rewards

You don’t have to give out discount codes or pay anyone? It can be as simple as sharing the content of users. When it comes to UGC, the smallest gesture of appreciation of a ‘like’ or a ‘share’ can go a long way. In 2015, National Geographic launched their ‘Wanderlust Contest’ campaign, encouraging users to post photos with the #WanderlustContest hashtag, for the chance to win a National Geographic photo expedition to Yosemite National Park.

The idea took flight – the campaign photos were featured on their website with their hashtag still generating over 60,000 posts. Campaigns of this nature underline the power of the hashtag, in conjunction with a creative, shareable reward.

UGC idea for your brand: Offer rewards to customers who write reviews

Make its easy for users to generate content

Having a UGC strategy is a great idea, until it becomes complex. Keep your platforms easy to coordinate, straightforward and fuss-free. This way you won’t be putting off your users from engaging. Take GoPro as an example, the GoPro product is literally a content creation machine, coming from the better-known phrase it’s a ‘video camera’. Yes, this is a given advantage, but, as much as GoPro’s product lends itself to UGC, you still need to make it happen. GoPro recognised this and made it happen, introducing their DIY product to the world allowing us to share our experiences, like those in the below GoPro user-generated clip:

Similarly, creating tools and platforms to enable your customers to share content without the fancy software makes a world of difference to encouraging UGC for your brand. Empower users to capture, create, share and enjoy their own work with others – to your brand’s benefit.

UGC idea for your brand: Introduce a platform that is easy to use with simple guidelines to follow for your users

Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg to see how we can help you create your own user-generated content.

 

 

 

How young brands can create content

Is your company still at its beginning? Nobody really knows who you are? A content marketing campaign is the way forward. The question, however, is where and what kind of content you should create. Your options include thought leadership articles, industry reports, creative infographics, white papers, press releases, consumer guides and a growing stream of publishing platforms. With an increasing amount of content choices, it’s hard to pick the right one.

If no one has ever heard of you, it’s important to make a good first impression. Creating content for your brand is the best way to trigger and control the impact you want to make. Here are a few questions you need to consider when creating content for your still young and unknown brand:

1. What platform to use?

Social media has seemingly made it easy for brands to reach far and wide, but the truth is that it’s increasingly hard to break through the noise, especially if you don’t have a sufficient following yet. As there are a large variety of platforms to explore, you can’t be everywhere simultaneously. Not even the most established companies are present on all social platforms. The trick is to concentrate your efforts. But where?

If you know your business and customers, you probably have a good idea where you might find the right audience. If you are an e-commerce business trying to reach consumers, you want to be on Facebook and Instagram. But if you are a B2B company, you will have better chances of promoting yourself on LinkedIn and Twitter. When you have decided on a platform, you should explore its various features. Don’t get distracted by toying around on other platforms. Although it’s recommended to have profiles on multiple platforms and repost content there, your primary content creation efforts need to be concentrated on one platform only – at least in the beginning. After conquering one platform, you can attempt to dip your feet elsewhere.

2. What kind of content to create?

Choosing the right platform for your business is just the first step.  Next, you need to think about the type of content you want to produce. No matter the industry, it is ideal to use a variety of content types. That said, content works differently across industries. While no one will pay attention to your white paper if you are in the e-commerce space, everybody will take notice if you are a data analytics company.

Here are a few questions to get you started on finding a content match for your company:

  • What are other companies in your industry doing?
  • What can you do better?
  • What is your expertise that differentiates you?
  • What value is your content adding to users and consumers?
  • What highlights your business best?
3. Where to begin?

Content marketing has become hugely popular, but often brands don’t think through their strategies enough. Before blogging and posting like there is no tomorrow, you need to define what you want to achieve. Most companies want to increase awareness, generate leads, drive conversions, collect emails or achieve similar goals. All of which are reasonable goals, but you need to define a goal that is aligned with your business objectives.

Before creating your very first post, you need to ensure that your website is up-to-date, mobile-optimised, offers a simple way to contact you and depicts your company in the best way possible. Why is this important? Imagine your content goes viral and plenty of traffic and leads come to your website, but your contact form doesn’t work or your website appears clunky on mobile – all of your content efforts go straight out of the window. Therefore, before creating any content, make sure you are ready to receive the traffic and leads it will generate.

4. Can you do it yourself?

One blog post per month is not an effective content marketing strategy. If this is all you have time for, you might as well not do it. You must remember that you are not the only one fighting for consumers’ attention. Once you have assessed your content needs, you need to be dedicated to executing it.  

While some brands begin their content journey with freelancers or in-house, others work with content agencies right from the get-go. It’s not a one size fits all approach. Think about what is most effective for your company. If you are a B2B company, you might want to ask an agency to create content, but handle the direct engagement on Twitter yourself. Take on what you are confident with. If your company and an e-commerce and consumer-facing, content is even more crucial for your traffic, brand awareness, and campaigns. Depending on the size of your business, you might want to consider an in-house content team. If that isn’t possible for you yet, you can hire a content strategist, who can orchestrate the creation of content with agencies or freelancers.

Need help with content creation for your brand? Drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg

PR or Branded Content – Which Is Your Best Bet?

While native advertising still retains its appeal under the marketing umbrella today, the journalistic form of branded content has grown to become marketers’ new weapon of choice, as they have greater control over the content published. But is branded content really easier, faster and cheaper than PR?

Given the overlap between both strategies, some may even argue that branded content will eventually come to replace the jobs of public relations pros. When slapped with a budget limit, marketers are often forced to weigh one option over the other. Others are spoilt for choice on the channels to employ for their messages to be heard loud and clear. As a marketer, how do you decide which strategy works best for a business? Here are a few questions you need to consider.

Who are you targeting?

Defining your target audience from the beginning is key to shaping the outcome of your storytelling efforts. This includes having a strong understanding of the media consumption habits of your target audience – where do they “lurk” on- and offline, what type of content do they consume, and how do they react to various types of content?
It is also imperative to be on top of existing regulations and policies pertaining to branded content, especially on social media platforms. Facebook requires the brand to clearly indicate that the content published is branded, while Influencers collaborating with brands are required to explicitly highlight the commercial nature of their content with hashtags such as #sponsored or #SP.

How will your content benefit your audience?

While branded content allows companies to leverage on the reach and engagement of media publications, consumers have become more discerning than ever. This means they can easily tell branded content and advertorials apart from journalistic articles. It also means they will make a conscious effort to avoid such articles.

At the end of the day, if you’re putting your money on branded content, consider how you can craft content that is compelling enough to stir the interest of your audience or share new knowledge with them. A job board’s main purpose, for example, is to have jobseekers come on board, create their profiles and land a career with them. But with so many job boards readily available out there today, job boards have expanded into offering free, targeted career advice for jobseekersWhile career advice does not appear to have an immediate connection with a job board business’ main function, it serves as another avenue to drive brand recall while adding value to a jobseeker’s job search. The next time a jobseeker thinks about job searching, the particular brand whom they’ve interacted with would remain at the top of their minds.

How much time do you have?

Behind every successful PR campaign, is a great number of hours put into preparation. This includes crafting the right brand key messages, identifying the relevant media outlets, drafting press releases and building the company’s press kit. Having ample time to pull the materials together can aid to the overall success of the PR efforts.

But if you really can’t wait at least a month to start seeing some media traction from your PR team, branded content can be a quicker alternative to achieve a similar end goal. Whether it’s partnering up with a media house or collaborating with influencers on a post, a video or a blog post, these factors can all be controlled to suit your needs.

What are your budgets?

Just like advertising, branded content is a reliable way of securing desired placements within your choice of media publications, allowing your messages to get heard. However, it is the quality of that branded content that will make the difference – and producing quality takes time. But while engaging a PR agency for their expertise and contacts across multiple media outlets can cost a lump sum, engaging a well-known influencer for a one-off branded Instagram shoutout, or engaging a publication for a content partnership can likely cost just as much. You also need to consider that one post alone won’t do much, as consistency and continuous engagement will keep a brand in the consciousness of consumers.

Consider your end goal

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing the marketing channels for your brand. Every channel plays its part in supporting the bigger picture of marketing. At the end of the day, it’s your understanding of your business’s needs, and knowing how to effectively blend various marketing strategies to put forth a cohesive message. That’s what will ultimately drive the best results for your business.

Want to talk more about getting your story out there? Drop us a message to hello@mutant.com.sg 

 

6 common content marketing mistakes

It’s true, content marketing is one of the more effective strategies used today by modern marketers. A clear strategy helps brands to not only reach their intended audience, but the results also provide helpful consumer insights to improve future campaigns.

The process requires commitment, planning and patience and there are a lot of mistakes that many of us are guilty of making. Here are some of the more common ones:

Failing to plan

Content marketing strategies executed without proper planning and research are bound to fail. Firstly, figure out what your end goal is and then what you need to produce to attain it. Find the right people who can help you create great content and study your market to determine the perfect way to capture attention. 

Not understanding your audience

Understanding the needs and wants of your target market is essential to help you create the best strategy and connect your audience with your brand. Defining this factor will help you come up with more targeted material, which become more effective in attracting potential customers and increasing conversions.  

Producing mediocre content

Creating any old content is relatively easy. But coming up with something which is relevant, informative and worth-sharing is more difficult. Poor content will rarely succeed so it’s important to take the time to carefully plan your strategy – otherwise its unlikely anyone will engage with your work.

A lack of consistency

This goes back to having a clear goal and strategy in place. It’s important to publish content which is consistent with your brand – have you aligned your messaging?, are you using common fonts, colours and imagery? Maintaining consistency helps build your brand and ensure there are no mixed messages.

Overlooking calls-to-action

While the purpose of content is to inform and not directly promote, there still needs to be a clear call-to-action linked to each piece – whether its on your company blog, social media platforms, or whichever distribution channel you choose. This can be as discreet as a link to a landing page or a newsletter sign-up box but is important as it helps directs your readers to your offering.

Forgetting social media

In today’s digital age, social media is such a powerful marketing platform. It’s a great channel for content distribution, is very cost effective, and helps drive more attention to your brand. Start creating shareable content and always incorporate social media into your content marketing strategy.

 

Always take time to review your content. Whether you are writing an article or creating a video, everything you put out into the public forum can affect your brand’s success and reputation, so make sure you take the time to get it right.

Need help with your content marketing strategy? Get in touch with us hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

3 tips to creating smart content

It’s no question that content is an integral part of any marketing strategy and has consistently proven to be effective for lead generation.

While creating content is relatively easy, the challenge most marketers face is whizzing up relevant content that truly appeals to their target audience.

Your content means very little if you can’t fuel your viewers with enough information that excites and invites them to patronise your business. So ensuring you write interesting pieces and develop engaging visuals that are consistent with your marketing objectives is a top priority.

Here are three tips to help achieve smart content for your audience:

Think of your topic and stick to it

Before penning your content, carefully map out all your ideas. Then figure out exactly what story you want to share and how you wish to narrate it.

Determining your subject will help you create better content and you’ll be able to deliver more meaningful information. Your readers will also find it easier to follow your story when you haven’t been specific and provided a clear trail of thought.

Aim to inform, not to promote

Very few people, if anyone, wants to read something that’s basically screaming ‘Buy me now!’ It’s purpose should instead be to is to share information about your brand, and educate your reader. Excessive promotion can make you appear weak and desperate. Instead aim to build trust and show the value of your brand through engaging content.

Keep it short and don’t ramble

We all have have short-attention spans. Use simple words when expressing your thoughts and eliminate qualifying words to effectively get your message across.

Think less is more and your audience will appreciate it. Avoid rambling and always stick to your main subject.

Creating content should be fun and is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

If you need help putting some life into your content, get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

Have you been using Facebook the right way?

With 1.65 billion monthly active users, it won’t come as a surprise that Facebook is the most-used social media site across all age groups. I also bet this won’t be the first time you’re reading an article on utilising Facebook to increase brand awareness through social advertising.

First of all, ask yourself why you even set up your Facebook page in the first place and why it is helping you achieve. Your followers are fed with a continuous stream of content as they scroll through their News Feed so how can you make sure that they stop to look at yours?

1. Share timely content

Pokémon Go is the hot topic of the town this week. And it’s likely to stay this way if it continues to cause more trouble than it already has. Multinational fashion retailer Topshop was one of the many brands to jump on the bandwagon. You should always be on the lookout for opportunities to drive traffic to your site by creating and sharing trending content.

timely-content-Facebook

 

2. Join conversations

Engagement, engagement, engagement. Facebook is one of the best platforms for you to hold two-way conversations with your audience. Stay in the loop and know listen to what your followers are saying. Make your brand more ‘human’ by replying to comments when you see them. There’s nothing fans like more than a personal message directed solely to them. Skyscanner is a great example as they are always very consistent with their replies to followers on Facebook and use a very personable tone that in-turn helps create loyal fans.

 

join conversations

 

3. Point to your own content

To help spark curiosity try referencing a point of interest from your article or blog. You have a very short three-second window before users decide whether your content is worth reading so opt for something catchy. Take a look at this example from Buro 24/7 when they gave their followers a sneak-peek into an interesting statistic about Singaporean women.

 

4. Use emojis

Be creative! Text alone may be boring and limits expressions. Of course, you shouldn’t fill your entire sentence with emojis because a) we get your point, and b) it’s annoying.  Instead mix it up a little.  Make sure that your emojis are relevant, don’t put them there just for the sake of adding cute little images to your captions as it doesn’t work. Take this example from Hostelworld’s Facebook page where they have a healthy balance of text and emojis that are both fun and relevant.

use emojis

5. Mix it up

Imagine following a fashion brand on Facebook and finding out that every single one of their posts features its own fashion products in the same manner – photos. Isn’t that boring? If every piece of content you put up follows the same format, chances are your audience will probably scroll past most of it because they’ve seen it before. Add variety to your page by posting your content in different formats be it videos, articles or questions. Make it even more engaging by holding contests or dishing out tips to your followers.

6. Get creative and mobile-friendly

Paint your brand story on a mobile-friendly platform. When Facebook promised that advertising would be immersive, they weren’t kidding! Canvas ads fill the entire screen of your smartphone and exists within Facebook (instead of annoying pop-ups that take you to another app). Skincare brand L’occitane used texts, videos and images to capture its audience by sharing its brand story and used call-to actions (CTA’s) to promote their gift sets.

loccitane

Brands should be making use of these great features to help share content that really stands out and drives action.

7. Go live

You’re a business operated by humans so show that to your consumers. Facebook Live allows brands to share a more personable side with fans, and Dunkin’ Donuts was one of the first brands to utilise this platform to engage with their audience. They provided a tour of their test kitchen and streamed the construction of a donut wedding cake live. Who doesn’t like an exclusive behind-the-scenes look?

Make sure the content you put up live is relevant and appropriate to your audience. You can hold live Q&A sessions and get fans to tune in, and you’ll also be able to see who’s watching your video. Promote your live sessions in advance to ensure that people are aware it will be happening.

 

Remember that visibility of your brand on Facebook depends on the content you post and therefore the engagement on your Page. Make the most out of Facebook and what it offers, and capture your fans by tweaking your content strategy to suit their interests.

Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg to find out how we can craft targeted and effective social media content.