Content Marketing in 2016 - A discussion

Last week, we had a chance to discuss with our webinar audience, their challenges in content marketing, and the changing trends in 2016. Many great questions came in, and an insightful discussion followed. So, here’s the recording of the session, and the breakdown of the discussion.

View the Webinar Recording

Storytelling in Content Marketing

1. How would the story telling format be applied to a B2C company (in Banking, Financial Services and Insurance domain specifically)? Finance is traditionally ‘boring’ to the average person?

I think storytelling is important in each domain, B2C even more so. And, that’s the challenge right – making a traditionally boring industry, interesting.

In financial services, there are many opportunities as well. Let me point out a few:

a) Break it down

Finance is a complex thing for an average person to understand, so if you break the complex concepts down in a way that an average person is able to understand it, you are doing a great job at it.

Sometimes, it would be in the form of a story; sometimes, it would be in the form of how-to’s – as long as you are providing value, it will work.

b) Get stories from your prospects

Young professionals these days want to invest but aren’t sure of what their best bets are. In this case, when you create a character (an average IT professional, with “x” salary and with certain saving goals), every person in that age / salary group is able to relate to that character. Then, you tell them about a particular dilemma, in terms of savings, or a certain financial difficulty, and how she overcame it, and people would want to listen.

Now, this is a very basic example; if you talk to your prospects and customers – they’ll hand you the stories by telling you their motivations for saving (travel?), or their challenges. Now, your job is to weave a story around it.

There are many BFSI companies doing a great job at content creation – ScripBox is a good example.

There are several other companies, if you look westward. Check out this blog by NerdWallet for instance.

What’s so great about it? It is topical (Valentine’s Day is just around the corner), it has personality (quoting ‘Beatles’ right in the beginning), and talks about a set of audience they are targeting (millennials). They aren’t really telling a story, but they are making a boring industry interesting!

2. In today’s time of overload of content and communication, how does one create  content which appeals or rather stays 

I think the fundamental thing is to listen to the customer/prospect – their motivations, their challenges, and then weave stories around that. If you understand your target audience perfectly, you’ll be able to create content that sticks. It doesn’t necessarily has to go viral. If it has value for your target audience, it will work.

Newsjacking & Topic Selection

3. What is the most time effective way to research for content with respect to what’s trending, so i can write very good content that’s time bound as well?

There are several tools that allow you to look for trending topics. The easiest ones would be:

a) Google Alerts – You can setup alerts for the keywords/topics of your choice and get news articles/blog posts etc. emailed directly to you. You can choose the frequency of these alerts. There are several other tools for setting these alerts or monitoring mentions (Mention) etc. But, start with this. It’s free, and it’s great!

b) Twitter Trends – Look at Twitter trends to see what people in your industry are talking about

c) Buzzsumo – It’ll help you analyze what kind of content/headlines around your topic has done well in the past

d) Google Alerts – Tells you the rising or falling trends for a particular keyword/topic across years and months

e) Hackernews: If you are in the technology or startup domain, then you’d find great insights about what’s trending here.

Content Marketing 2016 & SEO

4. What are the new methods in Content Marketing for SEO?

There is only one thing you have to remember now from an SEO perspective – context. Don’t write to rank for a keyword, write to provide an answer to a specific question. Other than that, of course you would pay attention to your basic SEO rules – proper URL structures, focus keyword, meta-titles/descriptions, but everything has to stay true to the context of search.

5. Does Google penalize barter transactions among two blogs? 

Not if the content is high-quality, and you do canonicalization well. Google has ways to find out if content is actually stolen, or written by the same author, so as long as you are doing it well (legally virtually) you won’t be penalized. Frequency also you have to monitor. If syndication is what you are looking at, publish the post on your blog first. And then send it to the 3rd party publisher. And always always ask them to use canonical urls.

6. If two blogs enter into a partnership, where bloggers from both the parties write guest blogs on each other’s websites. Now this content is not plagiarized and unique. Does google penalize this sort of link building. 

As long as your content is truly unique, it won’t be penalized. But it wouldn’t really help in link building either. It would instead help in getting through to other people. Because there are only so many links that you can get from the same domain again and again. But, if you look at other high quality blogs, and get into a sort of partnership with them, it would definitely help your readership.

7. When somebody copies your entire content without permission, how do you stop it?

This is a very common problem, and we have seen it happen too. In most cases, the copycats are too dumb to remove the referencing links to your blog, and you benefit. :) However, this problem is big, and you need to take action sometimes, especially if you are suffering as a result.

This KissMetrics article explains all the steps of what you need to do.

Interactive Content

8. I often see there are many articles that claims that their are some of the tools available to create interactive content. Your thoughts?

Yes, there in fact are a lot of tools available to create interactive content. There are tools to create videos, tools to create Quizzes (Typeform, Qzzr, Articulate), Surveys (SurveyMonkey) and whatnot. But, again, before you invest, take a step back, and try to understand what type of content your audience would like, and would also communicate what you want to convey about how you can help them.

9. With video expected to become 69% of all content by 2017,what role would the content writers and content managers play? 

Video is one form of content – even if videos become the bulk of all the content created, other type of content would still exist. And, the process of creating a video also requires writing a script, writing dialogues if needed, among other things, so storytellers and good content writers and managers would always be relevant.

10. Any YouTube hacks for video marketing?

You can listen to this guest session by award winning viral video marketer Aashish Chopra from ixigo.

Content Strategy

11. Are there any learnings on whats more effective – content for strategic communication or for consumer engagement? (by strategic content I mean, PR story, corporate news, etc.)

You should do both simultaneously, as both have different aims. Of course, if you need to score more deals, you need to have the consumer at the forefront (so, content that answers customer queries is very important), but PR has its own benefits – people get to read about you on other more trusted sources (so, your visibility increases).

However, whether you need content as a part of your strategy or not, is the first thing you need to answer, and then based on that go about it.

12. What type of content methods should a consulting company use?

You can create all types of content, if you have the resources to do it.

a) For searchability – Blog posts, YouTube videos

b) For lead capture – E-Books, Whitepapers, research reports, webinars (which can later be uploaded to YouTube for searchability again)

c) For nurturing – Blog posts, webinars, e-books etc.

Again, the question remains, are you answering your prospects’ queries, or are you talking just about yourself. Understand your prospect before you try to create content.

13. How does Content Marketing help in sales or lead generation for IT Market/Product? (B2B)

It depends on how much time and resources are you willing to spend, and are you looking for a long-term strategy, because content marketing as a strategy is a long-term process. The chances are, you won’t get the best results in one day. So, it’s an investment. If you want quick results, invest on PPC first. Of course, we like to use both as parallel strategies, instead of choosing one over the other.

And, to answer the question, yes, it does help, if you are willing to work on it as a long term strategy. We are B2B and we run webinar sessions, write blog posts, create e-books – content of all kind, and it definitely helps.

Content Marketing & Social Media

14. Do we need to target content separately with different social media platforms in Travel industry?

You can promote the same content, if it is high quality, however the way you would promote it would be different. Take for instance a simple image post, you would need to share it in different dimensions on different platforms, and with different usages of hashtags etc. You can get travel & hospitality content ideas in this post, and this webinar.

15. How to counter Facebook reducing organic reach favoring paid reach instead?

This is an old and ongoing debate, and I had discussed it in an old post. You can read it here.

16. In the present time, the LinkedIn pulse is a great way to publish content and google giving a special attention to pulse but my concern is URL structure of pulse posts. I always find pulse posts in google search results in the top without author name but now we cannot publish without author name in URL.

I think this might be the reason. Some time ago LinkedIn Pulse used to be invite-only (meant only for influencers), however, now that LinkedIn has opened the platform to everyone, their URL structures have changed. The posts without the author name you would have found on Google search would be older ones.

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