Digital Jungle CEO on the China Syndrome: The shift in content marketing approaches

dj.jpgBy Dr Mathew McDougall, founder and CEO, Digital Jungle

The digital marketing environment in China, much like the rest of the World is in constant flux. Not only do we have new platforms entering the social media landscape, we see the demise of others. Additionally, even the ways brands use social media has changed in the past few years. Back in 2010 or thereabouts, Digital Jungle was being asked by clients to develop and create content for use on Weibo/Renren (in China) and Twitter/Facebook in Western markets. Such a simple time, where now our options and strategies are far more complex and ambitious.
We are now developing paid social media programs, providing KOL (influencer) programs and curating and leveraging content from a wide array of sources. In this new age of digital, content isn't just reserved for publishers and news-sites. With global brands like Coca-Cola, investing heavily in content writing and brand journalism as a format to express brand identity, content marketing is fast becoming a staple within the digital marketing toolkit.

Unfortunately however when it comes to content - there is no easy answers and it takes considerable investment in time/effort.  The days of adding a blog or FAQ to your corporate site as the solution to your content strategy have passed. The rise and domination of key social platforms like Weibo, WeChat and Renren (and like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) as well as the emergence of tablets and smart phones has changed the way brands are developing, packaging and distributing content.


The Notion of Spreadable and Drillable
Not only has the nature of content evolved from an Agency/Brand perspective but the way people find, digest and use the information has changed.

In many cases the content being created/curated by Agencies is still being done with search engines in mind.  In most part the move towards content heavy SEO strategies is driven by the engine algorithms themselves (Penguin for Google and Dill Pepper for Baidu). But it should be noted that search engines are not the only way content is found online - content is now also finding people.

Social however has not only changed the flow of information on the web, it has changed the way in which people are now consuming content. Over the past year or so, a number of seminal thinkers in the area of marketing are describing content as spreadable and drillable media. Spreadable content finds you; it tends to be shared socially whilst drillable media (longer format and usually found through "searching") is news that consumers actively seek out and allows them to go deeper into their interests.

Considering spreadable media - Weibo, WeChat, Twitter and Facebook are the lead platforms for promoting content in the form of spreadable media. Predominately text focused but increasing more visual; infographics, videos and more, being readily shared. Whilst Baidu, Google, Wikipedia, About.com and even Amazon, are the core platforms where drillable media is discovered. The challenge therefore is for marketers to determine how to steer their content strategy to successfully leverage both spreadable and drillable media.


From Create to Curate, from Earned to Owned
Content curation is fast becoming a buzz word in the Agency world and in turn many Agencies have started providing these services to reduce costly and time consuming effort in creating all content. The purpose of content curation is to find, contextualise, and organise information. Curators (much like you would find in a museum) provide a consistent update regarding what's interesting, happening, and relevant in their area of focus.

However, in this era of content saturation, consumers are looking to those they trust to filter through the noise and identify the most relevant content for their needs. And this is where there is something interesting going on. In the past, spreadable and drillable content has been conducted within different types of platforms and people may have got information about a topic of interest from a number of different sources but with the rise of authoritative curators -people can now go to 'destinations' that house holistic content they trust. In a growing trend, these destination sites are now being managed by the brands themselves.

There are many standout examples of content marketing. These include, Durex (in China) who is doing a great job in creating/curating information relating to sexual health and sexual well being. L'Oreal which has Makeup.com - a site that talks about style and beauty issues without overtly pushing L'Oreal's own product line; General Mills offers dieting advice and tips at Tablespoon.com; Red Bull has created Red Bulletin - a high-octane magazine for thrill-seekers and sports fanatics; American Express have created Open Forum - a portal of helpful articles which cover issues faced by small business owners. In none of these examples are the brands explicitly saying buy this, buy that, buy now. Rather, they are publishing and distributing content that engages and attracts customers and prospects and enables their lifestyles. It is lifestyle-centric rather than product-centric.

In closing, it is those companies that therefore consider context, consumer content expectations, content consumption habits (on the different device types) the nature of trust and authority that will cut through the increasingly cluttered content.

2cd1977.jpgDr. Mathew McDougall boasts over 10 years working experience in China and time spent working in Australia, UK, US and Japan. 
He is a renowned expert on digital marketing, especially in the area of Chinese digital marketing. Recognized for his published articles, his frequent speaking engagements, as well as his prestigious consulting and teaching programs. Dr. McDougall founded the digital marketing Agency, Digital Jungle in early 2011. This content focused digital agency has grown significantly to now have offices in China (Beijing & Shanghai), Australia and New Zealand. Dr. McDougall is also the editor of the Digital Marketing Inner Circle blog on digital marketing, author of The Chinese Social Media Universe, a frequent spokesperson on Internet issues and guest speaker at Internet industry forums worldwide.

1 Comments

E said:

Zzzzzzz......fluff...zzzz......fluffy fluff fluff......zzzzz

Leave a comment