The author of 'Fast, Cheap & Viral' and the man leading content marketing at ixigo, Aashish Chopra shares how in this clutter one should NOT create content.
Brands, agencies, and creators already have a lot of 'do's' available on the internet for how to create content, but not enough 'dont's' that can make a piece of content spiral downwards into a place it is neither viewed nor shared or engaged with. Aashish Chopra, VP – Content Marketing, ixigo, shares these dont's.
He starts with an anecdote outlining the need for and the seed of this process, sharing how happy and scared he was when one of his videos went viral in the early days.
Happy because a tiny door had opened, and sad because if other videos don't hit, then he is a one-hit-wonder.
Hope is not a strategy in marketing. In India the opportunity for content is amazing. The stock market, economy, everything, and all the numbers can go down, one thing that keeps increasing continually is the internet userbase.
The challenge for marketers and creators is that there is too much chaos in the news feed and the user attention is super low. So the content has to be authentic and on point, it has to hold their hand and take them on a journey.
The platforms keep playing with algorithms all the time and users' 'bullshit radar; has evolved a lot.
Back in the 80s, the remote control was the bullshit detector, if you're watching TV and an ad shows up, you change the channel. In 2021, the bullshit radar has evolved further, and now we skip the first five pages of a newspaper, and promotional social media posts are not looked at, and there's a lot of distrust surrounding ads.
He mentions that obsessing about the process and not the results, helps us create content that has a higher shareability and consequently more engagement. Here are the fundamentals of how not to create content.
Don't Make Your Boss Happy
Chopra says, as creators and marketers you are on the side of your audience, you create for the audience, and not for your boss, and not to please the boss.
Your work should be on the side of the users first. If the user does not engage with your content, it's of no use. You can buy the views and reach by spending on social media platforms, but you can't buy engagement. Content has to earn that engagement.
When you're obsessed with the users, and care about their pain points, micro-moments, and walk in their shoes, that's when you'll connect the dots and that's when you'll have ideas.
Listen to your boss but focus on the users.
Stop Brainstorming Ideas
He believes ideas come up when you start connecting the dots, when you deep dive into the audience's pain points, and micro-moments.
Chopra gives us an example about a video he made about trains, that involved listing down the pain points of the audiences revolving around trains. An exhaustive list of pain points and micro-moments such as the concern of not getting their slippers stolen, chai, card games, etc were jotted down and two people went and traveled in trains to validate that list.
He states we can't know what's happening in a station in Kanpur while sitting in a boardroom. You can't brainstorm and come up with ideas. what can be followed for every video or project is…
Put so much research on the table that you start connecting the dots, and when you start connecting the dots, that's when great ideas are born.
Don't Take Too Long
The user attention span is super low, if you don't make an impact in the first 3-6 seconds then the user is gone. A video featuring celebrities with a high production value and made on a minimal budget, both compete for the same attention.
The whole game is to stop the thumb from swiping up. Long-form content is great for destination channels such as YouTube and Netflix, but social channels such as Twitter, and Instagram are social channels and act as hangout platforms.
Stop Obsessing About Budgets
If your idea needs a lot of money, it's probably not the best idea. When you execute ideas on low budgets, you can validate them.
He adds we should start focussing on execution, and if you execute in low budgets and validate the ideas, then you can splurge cores and turn it into a big campaign. So crack your storytelling first, production value can come later.
The operational word for 'viral' is 'shareworthy', and the direction of shareworthy content is super important, you need eyeballs and engagement. Whatever you make should be the best work of your life.
"If your interest lies with the audience and you want to apply creativity to that, then there couldn't be a better time to do that", Chopra adds.
Branding Is NOT About Recall
The time of recall has gone, it's the time of relevance and not recall. He explains last year flights were down, trains were shut, and there was zero revenue and zero marketing budget, the only thing ixigo wanted to do was to stay relevant in the lives of the users.
Chopra shares, "We only had storytelling, we had multiple videos which went viral back to back, so focus on the storytelling first. You need to drive conversations from your content, then it'll say in the News Feed longer".
The process to pick up share-worthy topics and stay relevant is this abbreviation:
- I - Inspirational
- U - Useful
- C - Celebrates (their life)
- T - Topical
- C - Changes (the world)
When you make an obsessive list of user pain points, and you creatively solve them, the users will share the piece of content.
Influencers are NOT for Distribution
Chopra reckons, influencers are being treated as another distribution channel for a long time, but they are not for distribution. Influencer marketing is rising because more and more people are becoming creators, but there is a need to collaborate with them and not just treat them as distribution channels.
The brand perspective and the influencers' viewpoints should come together to aim for an objective.
Don't Create For The Brand
In Aashish's words, nobody cares about your brand, your products, "your services, and how shiny your logo is because it's not about you, its about the consumers, their pain points, and their tiniest of frustrations".
He shares, the storytelling comes first and then the branding. The customers don't see a video and go, "Wow! what a logo!", they will connect with the story and narrative first.
Shareworthy content is not about the brand it is about the people who consume the brand.
Don't Make an Ad
Ad blockers are everywhere, people don't look at ads. When you're creating an ad to drive conversions, they should be created like the content. Ads are surrounded with a lot of distrust, so we need to use storytelling of content and apply that in ads.
When you're creating content don't think of it as an ad, but when you're creating an ad think of it as content.
Don't Create Just For Others
When you become a creator yourself, it helps you in the game of understanding how the creation process works, you have to have dependencies, you can have multiple skills, and you start building your own personal brand.
When you've done that you will kill job insecurity that messes with your head. and, personal branding is not about, "I'm so awesome, look at how many awards I've won", it is about truly creating content from your perspective.
He adds, "Everybody in life has stuff which they've learned, but can you help the younger version of you who's still climbing the ladder?", is the question we need to ask.
AliveNow SAMMIE Best Social Media Brands 2020-21 was brought to you by Society Tea, Storia, HQ, Godrej Aer.