Content marketing is a highly effective way for brands to engage with their target audience, build credibility, and drive conversions. By creating and sharing valuable content that provides value to the audience, brands can establish themselves as experts in their industry, build relationships with their audience, and foster brand loyalty.
With its ability to educate, entertain, and inform, it’s no wonder that content marketing has become a staple in the marketing mix of many successful organizations. In fact over 90% of organizations have adopted content marketing and 91% of B2B marketers have incorporated it as a crucial aspect of their overall marketing strategy.
But creating impactful content marketing in emerging markets can be a challenging task. With a diverse range of cultures, languages, and consumer preferences, it’s important to have a strategy in place to ensure your content resonates with your target audience.
The five step guide
In this piece, I outline five steps to help you create effective content marketing in emerging markets. By following these steps, you’ll be able to reach your target audience effectively and create a memorable brand experience. From understanding your target audience to measuring and refining your strategy, these five steps will provide a roadmap to help you achieve success with content marketing in emerging markets.
1. Know your target audience
The first step in creating impactful content marketing is to know your target audience. This means understanding their needs, preferences, and behavior. Marketing 101 rightly depicts that you should always be market oriented – meaning you orient yourself towards the consumer. By ensuring a detailed understanding of consumer interests and behaviors, marketers are able to apply this knowledge to deliver effective marketing.
This same notion applies to content marketing. Before creating blog posts, articles etc. you must thoroughly research your target audience. Take the time to learn about your audience’s challenges and needs through market research, such as surveys and focus groups. That will help you figure out whether your brand’s product or service can fulfill these, and then design the most appropriate angle for your content.
The overall aim of your content should be to draw in the reader – and the best way to accomplish this is to inspire emotions and align your content with the hobbies and interests of your chosen audience. This tactic often results in the content being helpful and the buyers feeling understood, thus in turn, increasing the possibility of brand consideration.
For example, a company producing supplements and gym gear can add ancillary value to its blog posts by illustrating how to also exercise and eat correctly. With this approach, the brand can seamlessly link the information with a product and establish a connection to the customers’ interests.
This can be seen in the marketing efforts of many successful fashion bloggers, in which they integrate persuasive articles surrounding the latest seasonal trends, which brands can then utilize and link to their online shop. This approach focuses on building positive and natural connections with the target audience, correlating the message to their needs, and delivering more engagement thanks to the increased relevance.
Entering emerging markets and introducing your brand, products, or services also requires thorough research and a strong familiarity with your addressed audience. Those looking to expand into Malaysia, for example, should be aware that Malaysian consumers are typically considered sports fanatics, especially football fanatics, thus tapping into these insights can help you gain an advantage.
True insights, however, often lies beneath the surface, it is important to dig deeper especially when entering new markets. You might then discover, of these many sports fans in Malaysia, 79% also show a high interest in food & beverages, providing your brand with yet another angle to leverage across your content marketing efforts.
In summary: It is all about understanding consumers in order to captivate them. The content you create should be engaging and relevant to your target audience. The key is to create content that is valuable to your target audience and that they will want to share with their own!
2. The power of storytelling
A visually inviting copy, article, or white paper may grab the reader’s attention initially, but how do you keep them immersed in the content throughout?
The answer is storytelling!
Storytelling is a very powerful tool that has been used for thousands of years to captivate audiences and convey messages. It is a fundamental aspect of human communication and has the ability to inspire, educate, and entertain.
Compelling stories thrive on three fundamentals: characters, journeys, and conflicts. You may connect this tenant to literature or poetry, where heroic protagonists take a quest to save people from an evil threat. But this also applies to content marketing – storytelling is a crucial component of any content marketing strategy and can help brands connect with their target audience on a deeper level.
The power of storytelling lies in its ability to evoke emotions and create a connection between the storyteller and the audience. This emotional connection is what makes storytelling so impactful and engaging.
When it comes to content marketing, storytelling can be used in a variety of ways to achieve different goals. For example, a brand may use storytelling to educate their target audience about a particular product or service. By telling a story that highlights the benefits of the product, the brand can make the product more relatable and appealing to the audience. Storytelling can also be used to build brand awareness and reputation. By telling inspiring stories that align with the brand’s values, the brand can create a positive image in the minds of the target audience.
Moreover, storytelling can be used to create a sense of community and belonging. By sharing stories about the experiences of customers or employees, brands can create a sense of connection between the audience and the brand. This sense of belonging can be especially powerful in emerging markets, where people are looking for brands that align with their values and beliefs.
Another reason why storytelling is so powerful is that it allows brands to differentiate themselves from their competitors. In today’s crowded marketplace, it’s more important than ever for brands to stand out and find a way to connect with their target audience.
Storytelling allows brands to showcase their personality, values, and mission in a way that is memorable and meaningful – i.e. the story of how a business came about. Telling the origin story can be very powerful because it gives the company/brand a human touch. During the climb to become a thriving business, most brands will have experienced some hardships and struggles along the way, and this is an excellent story to tell the consumer.
The tales of solving issues and settling conflicts echo well with audiences. The brand’s past experiences can make a perfect foundation for storytelling and future promotional materials. It can also enable the audiences to relate better to your brand, if you tell them what it takes to create the products they consume or use daily.
The power of storytelling is undeniable, that is why it is step number two. Whether storytelling is used to educate, build brand awareness, or create a sense of community, storytelling has the ability to connect brands with their target audience on a deeper level. As such, it is a crucial component of any content marketing strategy, and one that brands should leverage to their fullest advantage.
3. Organize your content effectively
Contrary to what you may believe, simply writing and publishing content are not the only considerations at play in the bid to develop a successful content marketing strategy. In fact, organizing content effectively is a vital aspect of a successful content marketing strategy.
With so much content available online, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your content is easily discoverable and accessible to your target audience. One effective way of organizing your content is by using a pillar cluster strategy. The approach is incredibly beneficial for brands and marketers, essentially taking advantage of readers’ natural curiosity and habitual human nature, to achieve prolonged engagement.
A pillar cluster strategy involves creating a series of pillar pieces, or cornerstone articles, that cover broad topics related to your brand or industry. These pillar pieces are then used to support a series of cluster pieces, or supporting articles, that are more specific and delve deeper into specific aspects of the topic covered by the pillar piece.
One of the main benefits of using a pillar cluster strategy is that it allows for a more comprehensive approach to content creation. The approach ensures that your target audience has access to a wealth of information about the topic, and it also helps you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Another benefit of using a pillar cluster strategy is that it makes it easier for your target audience to find the information they’re looking for. By organizing your content into broad topics, you make it easier for your target audience to quickly find the information they need.
This also helps you maximize the impact of your content, as it’s more likely to be shared and seen by a larger audience. Lastly by applying this approach you can increase the time spent by consumers with your brand as they engage with multiple linked pieces of content.
The pillar cluster strategy is particularly relevant for content marketing in emerging markets, where the initial website click or conversion is ever more critical. Consumers in emerging markets may not yet be familiar with your brand, message, products, or services, and most importantly how they may benefit from it. Therefore, finding a way to place your brand at the forefront of the audience, across multiple touch points, and ensure a plethora of information is available to them, is key.
By creating a series of pillar pieces that provide a broad overview of the topic, you can ensure that your target audience has access to valuable information that is easy to understand and engage with. This approach helps you establish yourself as a thought leader in emerging markets and provides a foundation for deeper, more specific conversations with your target audience.
In emerging markets, where there may be limited access to information, the pillar cluster strategy can therefore help fill this gap and ensure that your target audience has access to the information they need to make informed decisions.
When implementing a pillar cluster strategy, it’s important to ensure that your pillar pieces are well-researched and provide valuable information to your target audience (see step one). They should be comprehensive and cover all the key aspects of the topic, and they should also be easy to understand and engaging. Your supporting pieces, on the other hand, should be more specific and provide deeper insights into specific aspects of the topic.
It’s also important to ensure that your pillar pieces are optimized for search engines. This means using keywords related to the topic, and ensuring that the content is well-structured and easy to navigate. This will help improve the visibility of your content and it will make it easier for your target audience to find your content.
Using a pillar cluster strategy is an effective way of organizing your content and maximizing its impact, therefore I included it as step number three. By creating broad, comprehensive pillar pieces, and supporting them with more specific, in-depth cluster pieces, you can ensure that your target audience has access to valuable information about your brand or industry. This approach also makes it easier for your content to be found and shared, which will help you establish yourself as a thought leader.
4. The importance of a strong visual identity
Having tackled the first steps, researching your audience, telling a story and organizing your content, the next and equally important step is securing and maintaining your brand’s position in the market. The aim of any brand, especially when entering emerging markets, is to work their way into the customers initial consideration set and stay there. This refers to a crucial and often exclusive ‘go-to’ group of brands/companies that a consumer recognizes.
Here visual identity plays a critical role. A strong visual identity can help set your brand apart from the competition and create a consistent and memorable experience for your target audience.
Your visual identity helps to establish your brand’s personality and creates a sense of familiarity and recognition with your target audience. It provides a visual cue that helps your target audience quickly and easily identify your brand, and it helps to create an emotional connection with your target audience by reinforcing the values and messaging of your brand.
In the context of content marketing, a strong visual identity can help to create a consistent and cohesive experience for your target audience. It ensures that all of your content, whether it’s a blog post, an infographic, or a video, is easily recognizable as being part of your brand. This helps to build trust and credibility with your target audience and reinforces your brand’s messaging and values.
It’s also important to consider the role that visuals play in attracting and engaging your target audience. The use of eye-catching graphics, illustrations, and photographs can help to make your content more engaging and memorable. This is particularly important in emerging markets where there is often a need to educate and inform the target audience about your brand.
In addition to attracting and engaging your target audience, a strong visual identity can also help to build your brand’s reputation. A well-designed visual identity that accurately reflects your brand’s values and messaging can help to position your brand as a thought leader in your industry and increase your brand’s visibility and credibility.
In conclusion, visual identity plays a critical role in content marketing, particularly in emerging markets. A strong visual identity helps to establish your brand’s personality, create a consistent and cohesive experience for your target audience, attract and engage your target audience, and build your brand’s reputation.
By investing in a well-designed visual identity, you can ensure that your brand stands out from the competition and creates a memorable and positive experience for your target audience and that is why it is step number four.
5. Measure and refine
Measuring and refining your content marketing is a critical aspect of ensuring its success. In order to effectively measure the impact of your content, it’s important to set clear goals and objectives for your content marketing strategy. This will help you determine what metrics you need to track and what changes you need to make to improve the performance of your content.
By using analytics tools to track metrics like engagement, traffic, and conversions you can use this data to make informed decisions about what is working and what isn’t. By continually measuring and refining your content marketing strategy, you can ensure that your efforts are having the maximum impact.
One of the key metrics to track is audience engagement, which includes metrics such as pageviews, time on page, and the number of comments and shares. These metrics can give you an indication of how well your content is resonating with your target audience and whether it’s meeting their needs.
Another important metric to track is lead generation. This includes metrics such as the number of leads generated, conversion rates, and the number of subscribers to your email list. These metrics can help you determine the effectiveness of your content in attracting and converting new customers.
In addition to tracking metrics, as mentioned, it’s also important to regularly refine your content marketing strategy based on the results. This may involve making changes to the type of content you’re creating, the channels you’re using to distribute your content, or the way you’re promoting your content.
One way to refine your content marketing is to conduct regular audits of your content. This can help you identify any gaps in your content, determine which pieces of content are performing well, and make changes to improve the performance of your content. It’s also important to stay up-to-date with industry trends and changes in technology. This can help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your content marketing strategy remains relevant and effective.
So measuring and refining your content marketing is a critical aspect of ensuring its success and therefore step number five. By setting clear goals and objectives, tracking key metrics, and regularly refining your content marketing strategy, you can ensure that your content is resonating with your target audience and achieving the desired results.
In conclusion, creating impactful content marketing in emerging markets requires a deep understanding of your target audience, applying the power of storytelling, thinking about how to organize your content, a strong visual identity and continuous measurement and refinement. By following these five steps you should be off to a good start and they should help ensure that your content marketing efforts are making a real impact and helping your business grow.
About the author
Lars Anthonisen is the Global Vice President of Marketing at Httpool by Aleph.
With nearly two decades of international experience in the Internet and media industry, his passion lies at the intersection of technology and marketing. His career spans across the globe – from Europe to the emerging markets in Asia – from early stage start-ups to large organizations, providing him with an in-depth understanding of marketing, sales and business development across cultures and industries.
As Httpool’s Global Vice President of Marketing he leads the team responsible for all marketing and advertising initiatives across including digital, content, PR, comms, product marketing and more.