12:00 AM, August 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:51 PM, September 05, 2018

Is it content you're looking for..

Or pushy advertisements in disguise?

ILLUSTRATION: EHSANUR RAZA RONNY

Since the number of digital marketers grew more than their market growth, it is already being rejected as a thing of the past by many. Some even go as far as to call it a passing “vogue” in the industry. The shiny new concept to beat to death in the marketing industry is now content. Digital marketers with profile pictures holding microphones of last year are now peddling content this year. So what's wrong, since I am quite possibly one of the biggest advocates of content marketing?

Digital Advertising!= Content Marketing

There's a very simple litmus test for content vs ads in Bangladesh. Like everything else, there will be exceptions [e.g. Red Bull Media], but what you should look out for is how much focus is given to the content relative to the logos on it. A popular Facebook page that does illustrations on teabags had seven different instances of the brand logo on the content. Moving on, a cooking show sponsored by a leading beverage company known for the care they give to their brand also had three instances of the logo in the intro sequence. The same logo was in there twice as was a bottle in every scene whether it fit or not. Content marketing exists because people are losing their faith in ads. When you plaster your logos and products everywhere to get noticed, it rapidly takes away any semblance of credibility. In essence, your content must always be sensitive to how the consumer perceives it.

Putting the content before the platform

As is with everything in our industry, the million monkeys have sat down with their typewriters and are now sweating over how to create content for such a large audience, thus creating content for everyone. See the problem here? Recently, quite a few marketers have come to me with problems related to content creation. They read about all these examples of small teams creating stellar content and producing crazy metrics and when they set out to recreate these case studies, things fall apart and they denounce it as the system's fault. Unfortunately, most marketers forget that content is what the audience consumes and it's the strategy that facilitates its creation. Without a solid plan and editorial strategy, you're gonna be lost.

A strategy that scales

Most content marketers begin right away by biting more than they can chew. Since the industry runs on a cycle of making managers happy, quick results are often prioritised over steady but secure growth. This leads to content that is produced on a tight budget within a small timeframe and then it fails. More often than not, once the content tanks, the boosting budgets ends up being higher than the production budget. If your content has no data or psychology-centric strategy to back it up, it has literally no difference between teenagers with smartphones trying to record interesting stuff. The core idea should be to begin with a focused vision on content that you can later scale up to reach a bigger audience. Not the other way around.

Where are the editors?

So far, I've had four cases of content marketing enthusiasts reaching out to me and telling me they “managed” to get a few writers and how they plan on using the team. Every time I hear that, I hear record scratches in my head because how does a content distribution platform function without an editor? You look at feature media, news media; nearly every content platform requires someone with an editorial role. In most cases, it is the editor. Surprise. Having an editor offers your writing team leadership, focus, experience and most importantly, media organisation. Entire books have been written about media literacy but hey, marketing never needed editors, so why does content, right? Right…

Look at the right metrics

Most social-media based platforms in Bangladesh depend on one key metric to judge their credibility and that's likes. It's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the more likes you have, the more credible you are to your audience. Focusing on increasing likes will get you just that: likes. What are you now going to do with your precious likes? Some even go as far as to buy likes. Unfortunately, the key metrics you are looking for is audience engagement and discussion. If you have people talking in your comments section, sending your platform emails or taking active part in your discussion groups, that's when you know you have credibility. Wel'll give the example of Rantages Goatposting. Due to our strong brand identity as a humour platform that caters to a certain kind of audience, From March 6 to June 30, RGP has approximately 13,900 members which isn't much until you take into the declined 57,000 member requests. That sounds like suicide to many marketers, leaving out such a large chunk of the audience but it has been the key to success behind the group's content flow. Convert credibility, don't convert silly arbitrary numbers. Effective engagement is where it's at. Measure those clicks, measure those comments.

 

Rumman R Kalam is the In-charge of SHOUT, and the founder of Rantages. Reach out to him at rumman@rantages.com.