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Most brands are now increasingly looking at content marketing to reach out to their consumers and win their trust. While there are a few that have got the game right, many are still experimenting. As consumers become more intelligent and attention time span decreases, reaching out to them through traditional modes of advertising has become tougher.

People switch channels when ads come glaring at them; it irritates them when not-so-creative ads are streamed on radio and readers flip through newspaper pages in micro seconds when they see ads on them. With this changing trend in consumption of content, it has become really important for the marketers to build brand affinity through newer ways and not directly sell themselves.

Realising the importance of content marketing, brands have embarked on using content in its best forms to reach out to the consumers. When implemented with the best strategies, content marketing can benefit brands in the long run.

BuzzInContent caught up with Karan Kumar, Head, Brand and Marketing, Fabindia, Aashish Chopra, Head of Content, ixigo, Pradyut V Hande, Marketing Manager, CleverTap and Aanchal Chauhan, Head, Digital Marketing, Bira 91, to bring forth the essential tips to keep in mind while executing a content marketing plan.

Content needs to be aligned at the company level

The single most important thing to keep in mind for a brand’s content marketing strategy is that it needs to be aligned at a company level. All functions within the organisation – from your brand, PR, social media to trade and events team – need to be working towards the same goal. It is also very important to grow your own content distribution in this digital age, instead of relying on ad placement. Content is the biggest form of earned media for a brand.

Performance metric needs to be clear

The performance metric for that piece of content needs to be clearly defined and against that, its performance must be monitored on an on-going basis for 36-48 hours. That is a critical time period when you can gauge how well is your content piece performing and if it needs to be altered and modified in any which way. If you miss that window, then you can write-off a non-performing piece of content as it is as good as dead if the initial momentum is missing.

Clear publishing plan

There needs to be a clear publishing plan, which includes own platforms plus a considered choice of external publisher platforms. The choice of external platforms must be made on the basis of overall content and the proposition and philosophy of the platforms should be relevant to the brand story that you want to seed.

Content tailored to low attention span

Our generation is trained to ignore anything that looks like an ad. We must create content that impacts the consumers’ lives and not just bombard their eyeballs. The content must be made for low attention spans, native to tiny mobile screens, drive conversations and prioritise storytelling over production value. When your content is share-worthy, you beat the platforms at their own game, saving on distribution, making the message so powerful that everyone becomes a messenger, spreading your content like wildfire.

Never stop producing original content

Reinventing the wheel is not easy, but as a brand one needs to continue to break barriers and push limits. With so much content all around, the greatest brand differentiator is the ability to create something for your consumer that is unique to your brand – something that doesn’t disrupt the consumer experience, rather enhances it. This is what we at Bira 91 have set out to do; by identifying certain brand pillars and creating content for this as part of our communication strategy.

Identify the right target audience

Creating content for a general audience is the biggest mistake marketers commit while creating content for their brands. Audiences of a product can be categorised into segments as per profile, purchase history, or demographics. Ensure that your content is designed and aimed at a particular segment of your audience, instead of bombarding your entire audience with mass mailers that only cause greater brand dissonance in the long-run.

Always listen to your target audience

Content marketing is not just a one-sided interaction. Take time to find out what interests your users or what problems they face, and create content that addresses those problems. Actively track and answer questions that customers post on your blog or social media channels to engage with them.

Chart out and follow an editorial calendar

Once you’ve clearly defined your messaging goals, create a comprehensive content plan. An editorial calendar will ensure that you have time to plan, prepare and post content at regular pre-decided intervals. You could also pick up specific themes each week or month and plan your content creation and distribution accordingly.

Don’t sound too promotional

Social media channels are the most convenient platforms to share and promote your content and reach a wider audience. However, sounding brazenly promotional will not fetch you too many readers. To enhance viewership, provide interesting and relevant information that can be shared without sounding overly promotional.

Don’t stop learning and experimenting

There is much more to content marketing that can add to the brand value of your product. Plenty of marketing tools, tactics and tips are available that can help scale your product and drive engagement. Keep track of what is trending in the game of content marketing and design your content on those lines to gain further traction.