Between my last post and this, nothing much has changed in my LinkedIn feed, as far as stories are concerned. I see a few folks using it, but I am yet to experience something unique or share-worthy. I plan to try it soon and will hopefully get some data in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, here’s the second part of the post on “Ephemeral Content” and how to use it in our marketing plan.
Before we proceed further, what exactly is Ephemeral Content Marketing?
LinkedIn launched stories a few weeks back. I can already see it picking up in my own network, and on the platform in general.
Ephemeral content is on the rise like never before. Started by Snapchat but made mass by Instagram stories, there is something very captivating about the short-lived form of content these days. I am yet to try LinkedIn stories. But if I observe my own behavior on other channels, especially on Instagram, I am more active with stories than posts.
While I knew the answer for the same, but before jotting down this post, I carefully evaluated my own behavior on why I like stories more? The answer is clear and it’s the same for me, as it is for many of you – it’s quick and not “permanent”. I don’t have to worry about the long-lasting impression of my posts and the imprint that I am leaving on the web. I like that it’s in the moment and not long-lasting.
And that’s the beauty of ephemeral content – quick, in-the-moment, and transient.
This is beyond the 600+ posts that I have on my personal blog since 2003. My first post on Medium was 5 years back in 2015, and that means I have averaged around 1.6 posts per month there.
Is this sufficient to get noticed on Medium considering the volume of content that gets published on Medium now? I know it’s NOT. But it’s still a win for me, my own small personal win. To be able to dedicate some time to write despite all other madness in life.
Writing consistently requires effort, and that too a lot of it.
To add to that, just writing is not enough these days. A whole lot of work needs to be done for content distribution and reach too.
In case you’re expecting this post to be about tools, well, there will be some mentions below. But before we move to tools, let’s discuss the power of “I” in generating content ideas.
It’s wonderful to know that the last post resonated with many of you. The most common response that I received was – realization is there but how to restart? Sometimes the mind is too blank or blocked to think about a topic or, where to start from?
I don’t have any formula for this but I am happy to share what works for me when I get stuck with ideas and thoughts. I simply start with “I” on my notepad.
While I am using the word “simply” but trust me this “I” is very powerful when it comes to my writing process.
This “I” leads to myriads of thoughts and opens up the opportunity to multiple trails.
I think I read I watched I traveled I observed I felt I …
In writing, habit seems to be the much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration.
– John Steinbeck
Last month I didn’t write anything, not even a single blog post here or on my personal site. Partly because I was very busy on the work front and partly because I slipped off my daily writing routine. I write first thing in the morning before my family wakes up. Of late, lots of late-night work calls and general randomness in life during this whole work-from-home and school-from-home phase have been making it difficult to wake up early.
But if I look closely, the key reason to not write would be – not sticking to my schedule.
Following a writing-schedule requires self-discipline and that too a lot of it.
Spotted these Amazon Storyboxes at a mall recently and they instantly made me curious to browse more. Beautiful stories presented in a beautiful way, loved this new initiative by Amazon India. Good storytelling works always, isn’t it?
And not just storytelling, the Amazon Storybox is yet another brilliant example of the importance of packaging in marketing. Packaging changes perception, packaging reinforces the brand value and packaging sells.
This one is one of my favorite marketing quotes these days 🙂
Content and context matter the most today, isn’t it?
Before you proceed, can I request you to pause for few seconds and think about the last advertisement you clicked on any digital channel —just anywhere, any ad?
Before writing this post, I carried out this check multiple times and more often than not, I observed myself clicking on sponsored posts only if they were very appealing visually or the initial blurb looked emotional or entertaining or had the specific information I’d tried to find recently. In a nutshell, it’s the content and context that made me click. I am sure, it’s the similar trigger for many of you. There’s nothing new in this;since ages it’s the content and context that have been working for marketing but in this current era of digital excess and content overload, these are the only two things that matter the most – great content and right context!
You might be having great content but if you haven’t figured out the right channel and the right time to deliver your content, it’s gone. And same would be true vice versa, a perfectly planned campaign with the right audience segmentation is of no use unless you have content that can attract and connect with your audience.
While almost everyone is aware of the value of good content and context but the truth is, very few focus on the these holistically. Content is a lot more than beautiful visuals or infographics and context is much more than just geo-targeting or re-marketing. One of the most fundamental definitions of context marketing is, “delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time.” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, the more data we have about our user, the complex it gets to do contextual marketing. There are many framework and tools available that you can use to plan your content marketing but for context marketing, it’s evolving every day, simply because the algorithms and engagement level at each channel are changing at a very dynamic pace.
Personally, for me, the framework that always works for context is the traditional 5Ws & 1H model. As long as a marketer you spend sufficient time on your Ws and H, more than half of your task of segmentation and user understanding is done. Although it looks simple, I think very few follow it diligently. Next time you think of promoting your content, spend some time to address the following:
Who?: Like any other kind of marketing, setting up a context starts with “WHO”. Who is your audience? What’s his/her personality? How would you describe him/her? Sketch out the “who” part using any good persona template. The clearer you are about the “who” part of your target, the easier it would be to plan out your marketing campaigns.
Why?: Once you’ve defined your audience, it’s extremely important to address the “WHY”. “Why” should your audience notice you or click through you? If you don’t have a “why”, it’s highly unlikely that your audience will have a “why” to click through your content. Have a purpose and address your user’s needs. As long as you provide answers to their needs, they will always have a reason to be attracted and engaged with you.
What?: Delve deep into your audience’s behavior and you will get the answers to your “WHAT”s. What has been the purchase behavior of your audience? What kind of campaign interested them? What kind of campaigns escaped their notice? What are his interests, what stage of buying cycle is she at? The more you are aware of what interests him/her, the more contextual you can be.
When?: Earlier, the “WHEN” part was the simplest of all to define. Not anymore. In this multi-screen, hyper-connected age, this is the trickiest to define. Your audience could actually be looking out for you almost anytime, anywhere. Do some data digging and figure out if there is any “when” trend that exists, like, what time of the day, which day of the week, any seasonality during holidays or festivals etc.
Where?: “WHERE” forms a very important part of contextual targeting, from location to devices, from channels to platforms, know your user’spreferences and target them accordingly.
How?: And the last bit, “HOW” to do contextual marketing? Well, as long as we have the answer of all Ws and, then if we merge the demographics with behavior and needs, we can target the right audience, with the right messages, at the right time. A detailed post on “how” to do contextual marketing is coming up soon as the second part of this post.
Till then, I’d love to know more about your favorite tools and framework for context marketing.
If you found this post interesting, it would mean a lot to me if you could click on the “like” button below to let me know. Thank you!
Yesterday I received some 60+ messages on Independence Day promotion! And I am not even counting the emailers and notifications. These were just SMSes that I received despite my number being registered under DND! Yet the only campaign that I remember or that enticed me to browse more was of Amazon India.
A global brand implementing such a fantastic local campaign, isn’t it amazing? No “Patriotic Discount” or “Up to 71% Off”, no “Freedom From Shipping” or “Freedom Of Shopping”, yet a campaign that grabbed many eyeballs and love from all.
So what worked for this campaign? The answer is very simple and something that we all know of but do not necessarily implement:
The campaign was quite contextual, delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time and had a very local touch to it.Read More
Of late I have been interviewing people for content writer positions in my current organization. I had some content strategy in my mind and the goal as product owner was clear to me — create content for user engagement and offer content that the user is looking for. Yes, the operative word was “user”, loud and clear. But as baffling as it may sound, not even a single candidate whom I interviewed in last few weeks mentioned to me the word “user” in his/her opening pitch. It all started with writing content for search engines and ended with content quality being SEO friendly. To add to that, the kind of content that I am looking to create is sort of new initiative for my target audience, so it’s important for the candidate to have basic understanding of the category. When asked about industry experience, understanding of target audience, pat came the reply — you can let us know which words work for you and we will figure out the content that’s doing well for those words in search engines and create content for you accordingly, the written piece will have all those words with right density and frequency.
Density? Frequency? Engines? What happened to writing content for humans? Last I knew was search engines were meant for discoverability but consumption of content was still done by humans. Isn’t it? And search gods like Google have anyways changed their algorithm to focus on quality of content rather than quantity of keywords inserted in it.
Then, why this focus on promotion so much more than production?
I understand the importance of marketing the content esp. in this age of too-many-of-any type of content but being a hard core marketer I can only say one thing — you try to market whatever, be it product or service or content, if the foundation of it is not in place, then your marketing can only help you just as much and not that much.
I know there are many golden rules that exist for creating engaging content, marketing the content etc but based on all my practical experiences in product & marketing, especially in digital, here is my quick list for new age content creation process:
User first — As basic as it may sound, but this is really important — put your users first above everything. Write for target audience and not for target channels. Content to me especially when I am looking for user engagement is exactly like a product. If you put your users in the heart of your content creation process, half of your battle is won. Speaking of user first, I actually love this quote by Jamie Turner:
As a simple practice when I write or approve any piece of content for my products, I generally check it on 3 quick parameters — is it offering value to my readers, is the language easy to understand for my readers and is it engaging, inspiring or thought-provoking for my readers? Yes, “readers” it is, in all three parameters.
Quality can never be outdated — Whatever changes may happen in our content search or content consumption behavior but one thing that can never be changed is the importance of “quality” of content especially in today’s age where there is a content jungle out there. You may adapt many tricks to get discovered but once the user has landed on your page and if sufficient substance is not there in your content then she will lose interest and is bound to navigate away immediately. To add to that, average attention span of readers has further reduced by more than 30% in last 3 years. While there are many methods to get your content promoted, and content marketing seems to be one of the most fashionable jargons these days but there is no substitute to the quality of content that you produce if you want your marketing to really work for your content.
Engage with readers — Again a term that we have heard quite often but it’s one of the most ignored parameters when it comes to content. Like any product or service, user engagement in your content is a must. Connect, interact, converse and accept the feedback or criticism graciously. The more the user is engaged, the easier it is for them to act or decide.
To sum it up, if the content is unique, offers value to its readers and is interesting enough to hold reader’s attention, then there is no reason why the reader won’t share and spread the word around it. “Share”, isn’t it the reason why content has suddenly become one of the most important marketing channels in the digital world?
Blogging Journey Since Last 17 Years
Dreamer, Doer, Mother, Marketer - that’s how Kanupriya likes to describe herself and the order of these roles keeps on changing for her every hour of the day :-). Entrepreneurial in nature with strong product leadership skills, she has established brands and built products that have been industry differentiators in the Indian market. Digital media is her great passion and she is an active contributor to some of the country’s leading technology and marketing publications.
Kanupriya currently lives in Bangalore with her husband and son. When not working, she loves to spend her time with books, oven or paint-brush.