How to make the content marketing ride to small towns and rural areas smooth

While content creators and platforms offering localised, regional and dialect-based content are on the rise and brands are equally open to collaborating with them, they come with a baggage of challenges associated with them. Content marketing practitioners discuss what brands must adhere to in order to overcome these challenges while interacting with the audience beyond metros through content

Akansha Srivastava
New Update
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Branded content in the cultural context of the audience has been the talk of the town for quite some time now. Among many other reasons, this is one big factor that acts as a buoyant force behind the increasing number of brands collaborating with regional, local and vernacular content platforms and creators.

Content marketers are not just partnering with Class A influencers and well-established content platforms and creators but are also going niche, targeted, and cultural by associating with platforms, channels, and creators such as Slow Content, Super Sindhi, Make Joke Of, Jo Baka, local meme pages, Nukkad by Stage and many others. They have realised that the next big wave of content marketing lies in tier 2 and 3 cities, and rural areas.

Sonal Mishra

Sonal Mishra, Associate Vice-President, Marketing, Unacademy said collaborating with niche content platforms and creators amplifies the reach of the brand, garners top-of-the-mind recall, increases consideration, builds trust and helps the brand to further penetrate in tier 2 and 3 cities.

BuzzInContent had discussed the scope and growth of content marketing in tier 2 and 3 cities and rural areas last week.

Amarpreet Singh

But marketing to regions beyond metros comes with its own challenges. Brands have to walk a tight rope between maintaining the universality of their relevance and at the same time imbibing localised connect for their deeper penetration, said ​​Amarpreet Singh Saini, Senior Vice-President, Bhojpuri Cluster, ZEEL.

He said, “The brand should be extra careful in deciphering and projecting the local, regional codes around cultural, social backdrops. The tier 2, tier 3 audience is sensitive to the apt representation of their ethos. Any mockery, belittling, insensitive representation of the same can instantly put off and disconnect the viewer and earning their trust back can be an uphill task.”

Prashant Sinha

Prashant Sinha, Co-Founder, Momspresso, seconded Saini’s thought. He said, “Most content platforms must be facing the lack of local connect. So they have to go the extra mile to tap the local nuances and insights to connect with the audience better.”

While well-established, large-scale content platforms and creators have already proven their mettle with successful case studies, brands still hold a few apprehensions about partnering platforms and creators creating content for audiences beyond metros. There are still a lot of perception issues that these niche regional and localised content platforms and creators have to overcome.

Runa Sinha

Runa Sinha, Vice-President, Nukkad by STAGE, said, “Brands hold apprehensions such as whether the channel would be able to deliver in terms of business objective and create an impact, or if the content would be relatable enough in a tone that impresses the audience, and if the host and the platform hold credibility?"

Brands are still comprehending the ROI that they may get by collaborating with these new and niche platforms and creators. They are still deciphering how collaborating with smaller, niche and local content platforms will impact their brand image.

Mitchelle Rozario Jansen

Mitchelle Rozario Jansen, AVP Operations (West), WatConsult, said, “To be honest, brands are still dabbling with content-led marketing for tier 2 and 3 cities and rural areas. What started as a mere SMS/IVR activation has now turned into new and better avenues online. Hence, it will be a lot of experimentation and learning for different brands.”

Manan Shah

Other than the apprehensions mentioned above, Manan Shah, Director of Marketing, Truecaller India, thinks consistency is a challenge when it comes to tier 2 and 3 content creators. He said, “There are a lot of creators who have relevant and relatable content but from a long-term perspective, most of them aren't able to keep up the momentum while maintaining a balance between profit and vision.”

He said in an attempt to make a quick buck, many have fallen victim to diluting their identity or sometimes even overdoing branded/paid content. “In some cases even resorting to sensational content and language, many end up flouting guidelines for branded content. This makes it difficult for brands to have a long-term association with such creators,” added Shah.

Therefore, getting the cultural context right is very important. “India is a diverse country with many languages and we should be able to communicate a message in the most efficient way possible,” said WatConsult’s Jansen.

Sinha of Nukkad said a right distribution strategy plays an important role in the process of creating content specifically for the audience beyond metros. She said, “We have to distribute content wherever the audiences are. The distribution should be done through a reliable and trustworthy channel, which people feel proud of associating with. If it is a neutral media company, then it's even better. The content integration should not be loud, but native, hyper-integrated and subtle.”

Content marketing