1. Be An Interviewer: It is Vital to Ask the Right Questions
As customers change the way they consume content, agencies are under a lot of pressure to lead the conversation. Even seasoned content marketing professionals will tell you that getting a proper brief is one of the biggest challenges when embarking on a project. Frankly, it can feel a bit like being a detective investigating a murky plot from multiple witnesses. But fear not, Sherlock. This challenge can be minimised. You just need to know the right questions to ask during a briefing session with a client.
Let’s say a client asks you to come up with a proposal to create new content, plus adapt existing content for their new microsite. Firstly, we need to find a new way of asking these typical client briefing questions: content marketing objectives, target audience, competitors, and distribution channels. In short, we should flip the script.
Instead of asking “What is your content marketing objective?” get specific:
- Are your content clearly categorised in your website (i.e. inspirational versus educational; hero versus hygiene)
- What do you want your audience to feel and do after they read your content?
- Are you able to achieve this?
- What do you think is working and what’s not?
Instead of asking “Who’s your target audience?” dig further:
- Please describe the typical content consumer of your inspirational/educational stories.
- Where do you place them in your sales cycle? Are they existing customers; consumers but not necessarily your customers yet; would-be consumers?
Because some clients identify only product competitors as their content competitors, we need to forget about simply asking, “Who are your competitors?” Instead, find out what other sources offer the same type of content the client has.
When it comes to distribution channels, instead of just focusing on the client’s website, social media and paid media channels, try also asking, “How do you communicate to your existing customers and would-be customers?”
2. Be a Perfectionist: Deliverables are Measured by Quantity and Quality, Not Just Quantity Versus Quality
Your web and social analytics matter as much as a good storytelling. Gone are the days when we start popping the champagne as soon as we have created an awesome article and a jaw-dropping design. No matter how much you would love to live your professional life like the characters in Mad Men, alas, this is not the 1960s anymore.
Having said that, there are two ways of looking at this: one, we freak out and change careers (I have always daydreamed of working in a bakery. Waking up each day to the smell of fresh bread? Yes please!).
Or two, knuckle down and elevate our great content by adding strong content discovery and distribution strategies. Having more content on your site with relevant search words and meta data could increase your search ranking. And pushing your content to more channels (owned, earned, paid or converged) will help increase impressions.
At the end of the day, as clichéd as it may sound: Content is King and Distribution is Queen.
3. Be a Leader: Project Teams Armed with Agility and Tenacity will Lead You to Success
Agility in the media industry means having the ability to adapt to the ever-changing digital environment. Tenacity is all about having the determination to push through any obstacles.
Since Asia, particularly Singapore, is a little bit behind compared to the USA and EMEA markets when it comes to content and digital marketing, local and regional brands often struggle to cope with being relevant without losing brand identity.
Great content marketing comes from a strong editorial and creative team who are able to take advantage of a dynamic digital environment, and a client who is willing to push the boundaries.
4. Be a Fighter: You Need a Headstrong Project Manager to Lead the Digital Change Management
Truth be told, brands are not the only ones struggling to keep up with the demands of this digital era. Most agencies that started as traditional advertising and publishing companies are now being asked for POV (point of view) after POV in a space that’s equally relatively new to them.
In a recent study conducted by PwC (Digital advertising in Singapore: mind the gap), Singaporeans spend an average of 40 percent of their time in online media, and yet most brands still want to stay in their comfort zones.
The top two reasons identified as barrier for improving online advertising spend are:
- Inability to interpret key metrics that are relevant to the bottom line (68 percent); and
- Skills gap; specifically having both the creative and analytical skills to handle such projects (64 percent)
Because managing digital change management is required on both the client’s side and on the agency’s side, we need a headstrong project manager to get things done.
Not everyone likes change. That is why having someone to remind the team about the reason why we are doing what we are doing is very important. Don’t just be a negotiator; be a motivator.