Content marketing and the need for strategy
With emerging digital publishing technologies focused on getting content faster and more effectively to end users across different platforms and devices, the long-held belief that content is king is gaining more traction in a world where behaviours of digital natives are defining how publishers and brands deploy their strategies.
But the proliferation of social media platforms and sporadic behaviour of digital natives brought with them the challenge of sifting through an avalanche of information that is available at any given time. How is a content publisher then able to gain and sustain attention? It comes down to just one thing: a content marketing strategy tailor-made for a specific audience.
“Great [content] marketing [strategy] entails first determining what your objectives are and what you would like to achieve,” says Jade Osiberu in a tweetchat with The Guardian. Jade is creator of hit Youtube series such as ‘Gidi Up’ and ‘Rumour Has It’; and will be speaking today alongside other panellists on ‘the future of digital publishing’ at a The Guardian-hosted event at the Social Media Week Lagos 2017. Osiberu believes that defining the objectives for publishing content from the outset is crucial in avoiding the application of the “wrong strategy”.
For instance, New York Times announced in November 2016 that it had reached 1.3 million digital subscriptions base and its digital advertising revenue represented 36 per cent of the company’s advertising revenue. While its competitors publish contents with eyes on increasing the number of unique visitors, the Times’ strategy focused on increasing its earnings from subscription.
“Many of our competitors focus primarily on attracting as many ‘uniques’ as they can with a view to building an advertising-only business … We see our business as a subscription service first, which requires us to offer journalism and products worth paying for,” the company said in an internal memo posted online. The 12-page memo outlines a strategy to double digital revenue by 2020 to the tune of $800 million.
But a clear-cut definition of publisher’s objectives for wanting to put out particular content without consideration for the interests and behaviour of the consumers online would be a waste of time and resources. There is therefore a need to craft a strategy that serves as the nexus between the objectives of the content publisher and the need of the audience the content is produced for.
You have to focus on “your target consumers. What are their needs/interests? How do they spend time and what devices,” says Osiberu, citing the example of GTBank’s innovative Ndani TV, a YouTube content that connects the bank to its large youthful customer base.
Such strategy would not only serve as a guide for determining what type of content to create – podcasts, videos, infographics – it would also help in generating content ideas, creating and preserving a niche, and determining the platforms that would be most effective for the target audience – a mobile app, YouTube, or a blog.
In 2011 GTBank decided to focus on and grow its retail banking segment. Research showed that the youth demographic (age 16-35) was a significant portion of the bank’s retail-banking segment. It decided to target people within that age bracket on YouTube, a platform that was already huge internationally and gaining traction in Nigeria. That marked the birth of Ndani TV.
It would have been easy for the bank to roll out videos about why the Nigerian youths should patronise it; instead, it chose to connect to them using their common denominator – entertainment. “I had this quote in my idea pitch – ‘Banking is boring’ – so we couldn’t upload 10 minutes videos about savings accounts,” Osiberu notes. “We decided to focus on great African lifestyle and entertainment content and we’ve learnt and built on that for five years.”
The success of Ndani TV and similar contents have been greatly aided by the launch of the Nigeria domain for YouTube in 2011 and cheaper internet access.
Since the launch of the Nigeria domain www.youtube.com.ng in December 2011, YouTube has grown to become one of the top online destinations for Nigerians looking for inspiration and creative expression,” says Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Google’s West Africa Communication and Public Affairs Manager.
“Nigerian creators have also taken advantage of the power of a large number of local and global viewers getting on the platform on a daily basis.”