4 Steps to Creating Killer Content

Bill Gates coined the phrase “content is king” way back in 1996 and this still holds true in the digital world today. Without content, companies cannot engage with their customers or even generate new leads and sales. But how does one go about developing impactful content best suited to a younger, more tech-savvy generation while not alienating end-users?

Content development, otherwise known as content marketing, revolves around creating something that is relevant and valuable to engage and retain prospective customers and identified target audiences. Essentially, it means writing something that people will find interesting to read.

Sounds simple, right?

Many people believe they can run a successful content marketing strategy by quickly doing it themselves, or outsourcing it, without it taking much resources. Unfortunately, for content marketing to be effective, it takes more than just stringing a few sentences together for your blog or creating a Twitter posting schedule. It takes time, effort, creativity and, of course, data.

Luckily though, we’ve broken it down for you – so that content marketing can be effective as a brand building and lead generation exercise, without giving you a headache or breaking the bank.

content marketing - meltwater india

Step 1: Know Your Audience

It does not matter If you are Tata or Samsung, Amul or Reliance Communications, if you do not know who you are communicating to then no content generation strategy will be successful. This means to imagine yourself as a customer and what motivates them to buy your product or service as opposed to those of a competitor.

By putting the customer first, it means you will get a unique understanding of what defines them, what their likes and dislikes are, and what their concerns around the customer experience are when engaging with you on the platform of their choice. This also ensures you avoid making assumptions about them or simply repeating what others in your industry are saying.

Step 2: Building a Brand

As tempting as it is to do the hard sell when creating your content, the best advice is to rather focus on your brand. People have become incredibly sceptical about what they read online especially as more companies are waking up to content marketing.

Again, imagine yourself as an end user (which you are in any event). When you are searching for something to read online or want a company to address any questions you might have, do you really want a sales pitch? Instead, focus on being current with all aspects of your industry, identify the trends and highlight them, and raise awareness of any legal, security, or other issues that are challenging those in your sector.

This thought leadership positions you and your spokespeople as knowledgeable about the industry. By not doing the selling in these content pieces, you are also contributing to being viewed as a brand that can be trusted to provide impartial advice.

Step 3: Remember to be Relevant

As much as content is about being creative, it is also about being relevant. Building on the first two steps, you want to create something that reflects your understanding of the audience and is relevant to what your customer wants to know.

Forget about jargon, sales gimmicks, or industry buzz words. Make the content as real as possible for the person reading it. It is as much about telling a story as it is about building the ever elusive engagement with customers. This is also where being honest about your mistakes or problems with a product come in. If you view your products from the customer’s perspective, then you would do well to heed the frustrations they might experience with it.

And by creating relevant and engaging content, you must also be open to customer feedback. After all, this is what you want – to have people commenting, sharing, and giving their views on the information you provide.

Step 4: Make it Real

The final step is to create something that is real and relatable. This means using examples that people can identify with in their own lives. Your competitors might be doing traditional case studies and surveys, but you can do pieces that talk to the challenges people are facing and how your products can address those issues.

In many ways you can closely monitor how your competitors are communicating and learning from their failures (and successes). This is also where a hyper-local approach can be beneficial. Do not just write about what is happening in the country. Take it down to a state or even city level and find the things unique to where your customers live and work.

These tips purposely avoided going into the mechanics of content generation or the delivery methods used. It is all about getting the basics in place first and then building from there. Happy content generation!

What Being Mobile-Only Means for Netflix and Other Brands in India

If you stay up-to-date with emerging trends in social media and big tech you would’ve heard of Netflix India’s plans to test mobile-only weekly and monthly subscription plans; each plan offers reduced fees designed to woo app-only customers in one of their fastest growing territories. It’s a smart move from the streaming giant who has faced pricing woes across several of their operating regions this year. But if you think Netflix is the first online company of consequence to take the mobile-only road in India you’re mistaken.

netflix india on mobile - meltwater india blog - tech trends

In 2015, Flipkart, one of India’s biggest eCommerce stores, astonished all the technophiles from San Francisco to Hyderabad when they announced that they would be wholly ditching their desktop shopping website to concentrate on apps and the mobile experience. The decision came at a time when the conference circuit, Twitter and nearly every other soapbox for digital citizens was abuzz with statements such as “the future is mobile”.

Despite the prophecies, few digital players were truly unlocking the power of smartphones and tablets in the context of online shopping. It’s no wonder the world was caught off-guard when India’s Flipkart made the first real commitment to handheld screens that we’d seen from a big tech outfit.

mobile first - netflix india

Flipkart’s dedication to mobile was motivated by more reasons than reducing virtual infrastructure costs and capitalising on India’s deep penetration of mobile users. The online retailer understood that by migrating customers to a native app they’d be able to collect a lot of user data that would put them steps ahead of aggressive competitors such as Amazon.

Looking back, it’s fair to say that Flipkart was ahead of the times in their bold decision to discontinue the website to focus exclusively on mobile. Amazon, their biggest competitor in India, was quick to take advantage of Flipkart’s absence from desktop browsers by positioning their website as the number one ecommerce shop in India. Even though Flipkart’s app strategy was hailed as a game-changer, after a few months they reversed their mobile-only plans by introducing “Flipkart Lite”, a revamped mobile site which the company referred to as a “progressive web app”. Later, the full desktop experience returned to online shoppers’ browsers.

Even if they were too early, Flipkart’s foresight into how data extracted from handsets could help them make sense of consumer behaviour and buying patterns is why it was lauded as revolutionary. As we all know today, data is the foundation of creating targeted and personalised customer experiences. Four years after Flipkart, Netflix’s decision to take a leap of faith with mobile in India draws similarities although the reasons and intentions behind the latter’s move is somewhat different.

ecommerce flipkart and netflix in going mobile only

As a streaming service, Netflix obviously has a different product. In addition to the reduced subscription fees on mobile, Netflix offers packages that give mobile viewers access over shorter increments of time than the standard monthly subscription. The mobile-only plan is limited to non-HD streaming and a single sign-in so it remains to be seen how this will be received by customers in India where the average household has an average of five family members. In addition to adjusting subscription fees, Netflix will need to commission quality, original and local content as they have done successfully in the West – this will allow them to contend with rivals such as Amazon Prime and Hotstar, both these platforms offer original, local content at cheaper fees.

The competition Netflix faces in one of the world’s fastest-growing Internet markets is not to be underestimated. Hotstar, the ad revenue-supported local streaming service, has been breaking its own records amassing over 300 million monthly active users in its four years of existence. In addition, they have secured broadcast and streaming rights to numerous cricket series; a major lure for customers in India who follow the sport religiously.

While there are similarities in Netflix India’s test in prioritising mobile-only users, in 2019, they also have a much higher base of mobile users than what Flipkart had in 2015; this alone lends the strategy more credibility and the opportunity is highlighted in a recent report by the Boston Consulting Group called, “Entertainment Goes Online: A $5 BILLION OPPORTUNITY”. The report projects India’s connected population to reach 650 million by the end of 2023 with 97% of users linking up on a mobile device. The boom is largely driven by better mobile network infrastructure and a decrease in mobile data tariffs. Unfortunately, this was not the case in 2015 and contributed to Flipkart’s U-turn on being mobile only. Furthermore, only 25% of rural India enjoys internet access but this is expected to grow in double digits over the next few years.

Unlike Flipkart who went all out, Netflix is only testing the feasibility of aligning with mobile users in a more conservative style. Not all subscribers see the new mobile plans and it’s still possible that Netflix won’t make it a permanent feature. One thing is certain, the avalanche of first-generation internet users is going to play a crucial role in determining how digital media is consumed in India. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings gets this stating, “Our next 100 million users are from India.”

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The Science of Using Hashtags to Enhance your Social Media Marketing

If you’re using content marketing and social media marketing in your business, then you can’t ignore the vital role that hashtags play in maximising your strategy and bringing your content to the largest, most appropriate, audience. In simple terms, hashtags vastly improve the chance of your social media posts reaching the right people.

Believe it or not, the hashtag predates social media and was already being used on touch phones in the 1980s. Hashtags first hit the social media scene in 2007 – when Chris Messina, a social technology expert, suggested that Twitter adapt the hashtag practice to gather, categorise and index discussions on the timeline – simply using the # symbol.

Initially, not everyone was a fan of the idea, and Evan Williams, founder of Twitter, told Messina that he didn’t think hashtags would catch on because of their technical approach. He was wrong. In August 2017, the London-based Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that around 125-million hashtags are shared by Twitter’s 328-million users every day.

Hashtag science

Let’s look at some of the science behind creating great hashtags.

Do the research. Many social media marketers are content to fly by the seat of their pants and will choose hashtags based on gut feel, common sense and what interests them. But a bit of basic research enables you to be more scientific than that.

Set the tone and follow the trends. Consider whether you want to use your own branded hashtags or climb on the bandwagon of trending hashtags – or both. Trending hashtags can seem appealing because of the potentially vast reach. But if your product/service is quite niche and pertinent only to a specific geographic area, then what’s the point of reaching millions of irrelevant people?

Stay on-brand. Also be aware that a populist, trending, hashtag may not be ‘on brand’ with what you stand for. Near-hysterical Twitter debates around the pros and cons of Brexit, for example, will do you no good if you’re an apolitical, serious, business-focused brand.

Avoid the fluff. Further advice comes from Elemental Media, a Worcestershire-based agency that works within the educational sector. “Don’t hashtag spam – if your tweet doesn’t add to that hashtag’s topic, discussion, or user base, don’t add the hashtag,” its expert advise.

Where to get #help

Most of the social media platforms have a search bar that enables you to hunt for hashtags compatible with your content. You can also view trending topics within certain interfaces. For us as marketers, this is not sufficient insight to offer real value. We need to take a deeper look in order to create or join hashtag communities that are relevant to our brand or story.

You can use social listening tools to help identify key themes, view top tweets in relation to your brand and gauge sentiment. This helps you join, and stay part of, the conversations that your brand should be involved in.

Hashtag dos and don’ts

“Hashtags are great, but only when used properly. The biggest mistake people make is over-hashtagging. Limit it to two or three hashtags per tweet. Otherwise, your post becomes unreadable and overcrowded. On Instagram, you can add more hashtags without it becoming obnoxious. Instagram allows you to add 30 hashtags per post, but one study found that nine hashtags is the magic number.” – Amanda Asad, Social Media and Content Coordinator

Short, sweet and simple. When it comes to choosing hashtags, the Digital Marketing Institute recommends keeping them short and memorable, rather than trying to use a lot of words in one tag. “Don’t try to be too clever or unusual. If you choose a tag that no one is searching for, it won’t benefit your marketing”. its expert advise.

“Using hashtags that are detailed and specific will lead to better results than broad or general ones. Broad terms are not likely to be searched, and if you use them, your content will probably get lost in a sea of unrelated information.”

Get to the point. There’s an argument for settling on a hashtag that explains exactly what it is aiming to achieve. UKPower, for example, is currently using the hashtag #SummerEnergySavings in a campaign that emphasises ways to save on energy consumption, while children are at home during the school holidays.

In general, opinions differ as to the most appropriate number of hashtags to use. The Digital Marketing Institute recommends only one or two, saying these can have more impact than a high number of hashtags.

Choosing and using #platforms

Some social media platforms are more suitable than others when it comes to hashtags. The following are important points relating to each.

Twitter. As the first platform to use hashtags, Twitter remains the most popular destination for them. Using 1-2 per post is recommended by most social media experts. Using too many, they warn, can actually decrease engagement, validating the information provided by the Digital Marketing Institute.

Instagram. This platform allows you to share up to 30 hashtags. Although it sounds like a lot, there are some experts who recommended that you use as many as you can so as to maximise reach and engagement. Others, as mentioned above, are more comfortable with far fewer posts.

A useful tip approach is to avoid using the same hashtags repeatedly, as Instagram may decrease the number of users who see your updates. So vary your hashtags frequently, while ensuring that they remain relevant to your post.

LinkedIn. The popular business platform isn’t a place you’d typically associate with hashtags. But recent changes mean that including two or three in your content can be beneficial.

Be aware, though, that once your article is published on LinkedIn, you cannot edit or remove hashtags you’ve already included, or add new ones. However, you can make edits to your article.

If you’re looking for hashtag ideas, LinkedIn has been helpful enough to provide suggestions. Look out for them as they appear underneath your update while you type.

Facebook. It may be a social media juggernaut, but Facebook is now one of the few major platforms where hashtags still seem largely irrelevant. There is some debate among experts about this, but many claim that a Facebook post without a hashtag will actually perform better than one with hashtags.

A survey of 13 social media experts by Scott Ayres, author of the book Facebook All-in-One for Dummies, was largely inconclusive on the question. But most respondents did agree that, if you do decide to use hashtags on Facebook, keep them to a minimum for maximum effect.

Hashtags on Facebook can be useful as part of positioning a campaign though. For example, if VisitScotland (the Scottish tourism body) ran a multi-media campaign entitled #loveScotland, you’d include the hashtag as part of the Facebook campaign for the sake of consistency, even if it doesn’t help the post perform better.

Pinterest. Until very recently, hashtags weren’t of much use on Pinterest. But that’s changed and you can use up to 20 hashtags now. WP Tasty, a business that works with food bloggers, advises that Pinterest truncates your description after the first few hashtags, so Pinners will only see those hashtags to start, and must hit ‘More’ to view the rest of your description.

In #summary

Hashtags are incredibly important and will probably become more so as the volume of social media posts increase and it becomes harder for users to find the content they’re looking for. Implement a hashtag strategy, based on sound research, and you can reap the rewards on social media.

Meet the Indian Influencers Making a Name for Themselves, Globally

Influencer culture is a global phenomenon, that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, particularly in India. 

Any success you enjoy from word-of-mouth marketing, or influencer campaigns that help sell your latest product or services, are based on the concept that people are persuaded by others. 

In some instances, these influencers take on the form of more traditional celebrities. But, as we break the boundaries between the rich, famous and fabulous and the general consumer who wants to be entertained, we find a growing relationship that can be used ethically to help us build relationships with our consumer.

You don’t have to look far to see the power of influence

As one of the largest social media bases in the world, many of our local influencers are making a name for themselves on a global scale. Many of them, you would have already seen online but there are some who have “made it” abroad – working from the outside in to get their piece of the media pie. 

Here are a few of our favourites, based on effort, traction and creating relevant and interesting content. This list is in no particular order, but spans Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter – for a well-rounded view into who sets the tone for social media in India.