In China, good relationships and authenticity are vital in business. Content marketing provides a great opportunity to connect with customers, and to communicate your business’s integrity and value. Here’s how.
What exactly is content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute describes it as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.”
The ultimate aim of any marketing is to produce a result such as a positive ROI, but the approach of content marketing is far more in-depth and relationship-focused than direct selling. It can also be considerably less costly.
Types of content marketing include blogs, news releases, videos, infographics, images, social media posts, broadcasts, interviews with celebrities, testimonials, stories, opinions, reviews, and the use of hashtags and QR codes.
Content marketing channels in China
In China, content marketing occurs through a number of distribution channels and methods. These include:
Websites can feature blog articles and visual content designed to provide useful information, and to educate and connect with customers. The high use of mobile devices in China means that a mobile-optimised site is vital.
- Social media
WeChat – this can be used for the creation of apps and mini-websites with tracking, and for creating a connection between a brand and its followers. Methods include articles, images, videos, text, KOLs (key opinion leaders), and store promotions. QR codes are important in WeChat to make it easier for customers to find brands.
Weibo – allows for 140 Chinese-character posts and is useful for short content as well as photo-publishing and link-embedding.
A 2014 study by PR Newswire found that approximately 86% of companies surveyed had two or more social media accounts, with Sina Weibo being the most popular.
Tips for content marketing in China
- Start by defining your purpose for content creation – your objective might be to drive traffic to your website, or to increase sales by a certain percentage for the month.
- Know who you want to target – including which channels they use and when, as well as their age group, interests, likes, purchasing behaviour and so on.
- Focus on quality and relevance – this involves producing content that will connect with your audience and facilitate authentic engagement and interest.
- Develop a strategy – when to post, how often, and the type of content.
- Consider how content will be created – you may want to use freelancers, or employ a dedicated worker.
- Make use of social media tools and methods – this includes hashtags and QR codes combined with incentives such as discounts, and KOLs for influence. It’s also important to connect your social media accounts to your website.
- Take care with design – in China, some colours are considered unlucky.
- Use a human translator rather than auto-translate tools – this helps ensure greater accuracy.
- Make it fun – by using humour and emojis where appropriate.
- Track and adjust – use analytics to track how well your strategies are working, and to refine your methods.
The main things are to understand your audience well, as this will provide the direction you need for content marketing, and to gear your content strongly towards genuine engagement.