China has a multifaceted digital economy that everyone seems to want a chunk of. With over 1.4 billion people and China’s surging strength in digital innovation, there’s a good chance that your target market is here. But, entering the market alone doesn’t make it just start showering money for your business. For your business to get a hold of the market share, you need to at least come in prepared with a well thought out, content marketing strategy.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is all about distributing valuable and relevant information. It’s the backbone to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience, and drive profitable sales through consumer action.
Content marketing and strategy is comparatively the same anywhere; it’s all about relevancy. In China, the platforms, behaviors and audience may be different, but the content needs are the same. Consumers in China also like to share and engage with relevant content. The content you offer to your audience will be the core of your marketing strategy.
Why is Content Marketing Vital in China?
As obvious it may seem, you need to define who your target market is and the necessary steps it takes to reach that particular market. Many businesses ignore this fact and neglect this step. In recent years, China has been a global leader in terms of technological innovation and online infrastructure. It’s a fast pace environment where innovative, creative and sometimes unusual digital marketing strategies are required to tap into China’s digital savvy consumers and ever-changing landscape.
Companies and their brands have to keep pace to remain relevant and on top of their digital goals. The craving for mass appeal and adaptability pressures have led brands to compromise on quality and durability of their content to try and appeal to the massive Chinese consumer market. Communicating the right values and creating unique experiences are the best tactics to retain your followers and keep them engaged. The content you offer to your audience will be the core of your marketing strategy and should offer solutions to the needs of your audience. In the long term, having a more sustainable content marketing strategy is more fruitful, adds more value, and strengthens customer loyalty with your brand.
Popular Forms of Content Marketing
Interactive & User-Generated Content
One of the most cost-effective ways for brands to engage with its audience is to launch campaigns designed to grow user generated content. Allowing your audience to give their perspective in regards to your brand will see positive results for your business. It has the ability to spread authentic viewpoints and allow for a deeper engagement with your audience that can be far more effective than expensive advertisement campaigns. H&M launched a user generated campaign using WeChat Mini Program. Users were encouraged to upload photos of themselves wearing H&M’s Fall & Winter collection to demonstrate their unique fashion sense. The campaign attracted a large audience and was able to create a much closer relationship with customers, thus, boosting brand loyalty.
Social Media Advertising
The social media market will continue to play a vital role in digital campaigning and should be a fundamental aspect of any content marketing strategy. Mass marketing just doesn’t work in China. Users overwhelming support small-scale interactions with content that is tailored. Businesses generate a high volume of traffic on these platforms and a large number of sales are closed by using social media. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Big MAC, McDonald’s promoted three new Big MAC’s using the mobile game, Glory of the King, which allowed their campaign to go viral due to the popularity of the game in China.
The rise of voice-activated technology is being driven by a longing for faster and more efficient ways of accessing information – and consumers in China’s fast-paced economy are helping lead the way. Siri, Alexa, and other voice assistant systems are becoming the favorite way to search the web for a countless amount of users. This trend in 2018 cannot be overlooked in your digital marketing campaign. Your SEO strategy should include implementing the needs of voice search systems to allow your content to be more discoverable through this popular tool. Siri now allows users to make payments via Alipay and book taxis via Didi, and Apple is currently working to increase the amount of apps that function with Siri.
The 2018 Content Marketing Trends you should know
China is really sensitive to the internet industry especially with social media and promoting your content marketing is essential if you want to succeed in China. It’s a very efficient way to attract leads at a very low cost and it should be your business to be up-to-date with new trends.
The Age of Video Content
With 579 million active users, it is now apparent that video is an increasingly important form of content marketing in China. The rise of short videos is on par with the content consumption behavior of China’s mobile-driven internet consumers. They crave for something that is short, but contains enough entertaining information.
Brands can use short videos as marketing and communication instruments for promotional events, sharing reviews from key opinion leaders, and for sharing brand promotions to their target audience. With meaningful and compelling content, short videos can deliver specific brand messages in a very short span of time. The production cycle of short videos is quick and dynamic, which goes well with brands’ marketing plans and budgets. Through audience interactions with short videos, you can gain a better understanding of users’ needs. Shanghai Disneyland used a short video campaign to invite users to post their own ‘happy moments’ videos at the park in exchange for free tickets and gifts.
The Future with AI
China’s aspiration in artificial intelligence is insatiable and has recently signed on to build a technology park in Beijing dedicated to AI development research. AI has the potential to advance consumer targeting and creative marketing, which would allow customers to effectively complete tasks with the added element of precision.
AI holds a lot of potential in regards to the digital marketing world, allowing for more error-free user targeting and segmentation. Expect brands to take advantage of AI’s capacity to aid market spending in the coming years. AI is becoming crucial to run a successful business and it is one of the most game-changing revolutions that we have seen in digital marketing to date. The data that AI technology can collect will give you invaluable information on your audience’s behavior and needs, which you can use to take your content marketing to a whole new level.
The Breakthrough of New Platforms
Aside from building content marketing on the BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent) platforms, which continue to control the market, brands should be aware of emerging platforms in order to stay connected with fragmented users. New social platforms are continuously merging and are very popular among Generation Z users such as, Kuaishou (a video sharing and livestreaming platform) and Douyin (a short video creation and social networking platform). Douyin showed the importance of mobile campaigning when it launched the “vertical screen” video ad. Brands such as Airbnb, Chevrolet, Harbin Beer have published short video ads on this platform and have experienced major success.
The scope of digital platforms accessible to e-commerce businesses in China for acquiring new customers is limitless. They include social media networks, paid ad marketing, video platform, mobile apps, game channels, and that is only to mention a small number. On the exterior they are diverse, but they all require content in order to truly succeed in China’s digital landscape. Working within these platforms won’t be the easiest task, but with the right resources, gaining access to such a gigantic market will almost certainly allow your business to catch a hefty amount of revenue in the long run.