The era of the digital age is heralded by the rise of digital marketing agencies, technology start-ups and traditional companies embracing the digital space for marketing. While the internet has opened up to a new channel of marketing, it has also created a competition never seen before as brands from all places converge on an open highway.
While it is apropos for companies to beef up their digital armoury with the best digital talents, I always know that digital specialists are there to support, but not to replace any marketing specialists.
In my experience, anyone can come up with a hashtag for their next social media post in a jiffy, but very few people are capable of hatching a catchy slogan for their next brand campaign. Simply put, “Let’s Do It” did not just happen overnight because Nike suddenly decides it is indeed time to do it.
Truth be told, digital marketing and brand building are two different subsets of marketing. One comes after the other. Guess which one comes first? That’s right; a marketer has to plan the right message for the brand first before the digital specialist can execute. The narration is an invaluable ability of a marketer. The skill of a wordsmith is evergreen, no doubt, and the golden age of storytelling is never-ending.
So how do you identify a good marketer who can help build your brand in the digital world?
The ability to write well.
Writing is the most essential skill of marketing, period. Without it, the potentials of your brand remain untold.
And it’s not just about forming sentences with the verbs, the nouns or the adjectives. While a good command of English forms the basis of a marketer (if you are not, it’s time to rethink your career path), a good marketer goes deep into understanding the background of the brand and its heritage; knows its current brand positioning and has the ability to draw out its unique value proposition.
While most digital specialists practise brevity in their social media posts, good marketers know how to make their audience GLAD: The ability to GRAB the audience attention with a strong headline; LEAD them in with engaging opening phrases; ADDRESS their needs in simple words; and eventually, DIRECT them into action.
The ability to establish a communication strategy.
Good writing alone doesn’t make you a good marketer. There is a fine line between writing your personal content and the ones that you are creating for your company. I often encountered people writing whatever that came to their mind, but this is a grave mistake because most of the time they ended up missing pockets of information.
What you really need is a communication strategy. It’s a systematic way of content creation. Have the habit of finding out WHAT you need to say, WHO you want to say it to, WHY it is important for you to tell them and HOW do you want to say it. Along the way, you may even add the WHERE and the WHEN into your message.
It’s that simple, 5W (s) and 1H – they are the six best friends of communication. Keep them close to your heart; they can make you very happy at work.
The ability to generate content for social media.
Storytelling – the strength to relate to the audience – is not an easy task. It’s about engaging your audience. It’s about leading them and helping them connect the dots.
Storytelling goes beyond mere words. It’s about bringing out the essence of the message through sheer motivation and inspiration. It’s also about having the eye to find an image that can tell a thousand words, producing a video that can evoke, or breaking down a myriad of information to create a simple infographic that can paint a simple picture.
Without the skill to generate content, a marketer simply can’t produce anything that can engage the audience. So how do you create good content? And even better, how can you do it better than your competitors?
Good marketers always stay a step ahead in the RACE: Research your audience; Analyse what interests them; Communicate with them in the most compelling way; And finally, Evaluate the effectiveness of your communication.
This is a never-ending cyclical process of testing your message. The day you fail to do this, is the day you lose your audience.
The ability to develop an effective Social Media Content Calendar
Content saturation is the biggest challenge for all marketers. Everyone is posting something every single day, and we are all facing content overdrive. So how do you stand out from the clutter?
Plan ahead. A good marketer always has a well-developed social media plan. While everyone has their own way of plotting their social media calendar, the following is a basic list to help you Kickstart your journey as a better digital marketer:
- Get to know all the important dates such as social media holidays and company events so that your content always stays relevant. Keep an eye on the latest trending topics too; they help make your content more interesting.
- Keep your content interesting with a blend of curated content such as graphics, photos, articles, videos and news stories from your industry.
- Have a robust Content Planning Schedule. Ensure fresh and engaging content is scheduled with at least three months in advance and a detailed two weeks execution plan in place.
- Keep to a consistent schedule so that your audience can come to expect and engage with you on a regular basis.
- Start practising the rule of thirds: 1/3 of your content promotes your business; 1/3 of your content comes from external sources; 1/3 of your content engages with your audience.