By Monisha Jain, Digital Marketing Intern
NTU, Mathematical Sciences and Statistics
As a content marketer in Singapore, you can’t settle for formulaic, instinct-driven writing. Your writing chops need to be supported by web analytics, technical, and networking skills to stand out from other marketers.
According to the Straits Times, people in Singapore spend an average of 12 hours and 42 minutes a day on average on their electronic gadgets.
It starts before breakfast—78% of surveyed people in Singapore agreed that they check their smartphone or tablet when they wake up in the morning.
You may also be one of these people, scrolling past sponsored ads on your Facebook feed with stilted writing and forgettable images.
Consumers aren’t looking for more content. They’re looking for better content.
Good writing builds trust in a consumer, and provides them with logical and emotional confidence before they open their wallets.
In this fast-changing industry, you will have to pick these skills up on the job.
Here’s how to start!
1. Learn SEO Basics
Everyone wants to be on the first page of Google.
This is sad but true: lazy potential customers won’t look elsewhere when Googling information.
This is where Search Engine Optimisation comes in. Learning about SEO concepts and skills helps you optimise your website by tweaking topical pillars, code, links, and other aspects of writing to make your page rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs).
With this knowledge, optimise your website for your target keywords that you want to rank for. Use them in your meta tags, meta descriptions, image alt text, and URLs.
Then start gathering inbound links from other authoritative websites by reaching out to writers who have written about topics related to your site, and sharing your article with them. Reciprocal linking can help boost your ranking.
But remember: gone are the days of keyword stuffing and stilted writing laced with black hat SEO practices.
Google will find you out and make your site drop down the rankings like a hot potato!
2. Polish Up Your Writing Skills
SEO is not the be-all and end-all of web marketing.
As a content marketer, you’re responsible for writing concise and flawless web copy that meets your reader’s real needs, and to create an emotional connection with a reader.
That’s difficult to do even with people in real life!
Investing some time in a writing course will also be worth your while.
You can start small, such as Writing for the Web (SGD 55 before discount) on Udemy with marketing professional Dana Sheehan, or the Business English Communication Skills Specialization (USD 49 per month) from University of Washington on Coursera.
If you are a Singapore citizen, Skillsfuture offers up to SGD 500 subsidies on Skillsfuture courses, including web writing courses.
3. Pick Up Web And Social Media Analytics Skills
To measure the effectiveness of your writing, you need analytics tools.
Most importantly, you’ll have to control these tools so they can help you achieve your qualitative or quantitative marketing strategy goals.
The obvious places to start are Google and Facebook.
Google Analytics provides you with a wealth of data about who is visiting your site, what they are looking for, and how they are reaching your site. This is your way to monitor and analyze the inflow and outflow of site traffic, so you can create content tailored to them in future. If you are with a Google Partners organisation, you can certify yourself with the free Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) exam.
When you move to paid Google advertising, Google offers free Google Adwords certification exams for Google Partners members as well. Study materials are available for free online.
How many people are actively using your Facebook page at any one time? Which day of the week are your fans most often online? Facebook Page Insights will give you this valuable information.
Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll know the best time of day and day of the week to post, and what type of content is most popular among your readers.
When you’re ready to move from organic content to paid Facebook advertising, certify yourself with the Facebook Blueprint exams that will teach you the ins and outs of Facebook ads.
You’ll learn about what pages don’t jive with your audiences, and which pages generates the most traffic and which you can repurpose in future.
4. Build A Professional Personal Online Brand
Having a LinkedIn profile is not enough. Make sure the keywords “marketing”, “content marketing”, “copywriting”, and other words that describe your skills are present in your online social media or networking accounts, to position yourself as a marketing professional.
Better still, start writing a personal blog or blog posts for an organisation you volunteer or work with to share your knowledge.
Examples of Singapore-based marketers who do this are Walter Lim and Bryan Choo. Globally, some international digital marketing experts who blog include Neil Patel, an entrepreneur at QuickSprout and Dennis Yu, an expert in Facebook and digital marketing.
Drop in a written or video self-introduction (perhaps a 360-degree video?) into your blog to demonstrate your mastery of web tools and more importantly, to say hi to the person Googling you.
Your online presence will stand out!
5. Build Your Social Network In Singapore
We all need to get off the internet from time to time.
Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation.
Networking close to home is a good old-fashioned way to surround yourself with people more talented than yourself in industry meetups, workshops, and presentations. Meetup.com has a collection of digital marketing meetups in Singapore conducted by various groups.
Lou Adler, CEO and founder of the The Adler Group, says, “Networking is how you turn 4-5 great contacts into 50-60 connections in 2-3 weeks.” In addition to the traditional networking, Jeff Bullas also persuades us marketers to grow our social networks and build relationships instead of focusing on cold, monetary transactions.
Marc Goh, founder of Design Prodigy, says, “I love to meet smart people who are interested in the evolution of marketing by attending local and overseas events, chatting with them, and reading the awesome ideas they share on Facebook and LinkedIn. This is because I believe marketers of today must primarily be knowledge workers. To do so, they should gain insights and perspectives from beyond their company’s inner circle.”
6. Conduct Market Research Ruthlessly
When a customer is at the stage of her purchasing journey when she’s ready to take out her credit card and pay for the perfect product, and heads to Google to find it, she’ll usually type what marketers call a long-tail keyword as her search term.
Find out what keywords your potential customers at the bottom of the funnel are using with research tools such as keyword.io.
Fewer people type in long-tail keywords, so you’ll see that search volume figures for such keywords decrease. However, the likelihood that conversion rates will go up is high, because the long-tail keyword may be linked to a more specific audience. A deep understanding of customer behaviour, trends, and statistics helps you know what your potential customers are thinking about.
When writing advertisements, know what appeals to your local audience. In Singapore, you have to emphasise the key discount or deal your audience may enjoy when buying your product. According to a Nielsen survey, Singaporeans choose local brands mainly when there is a better price or value (54% of Singaporeans surveyed), when there is a sale or promotion (40% of Singaporeans surveyed), and thirdly when they have safer ingredients and processing (29% of Singaporeans surveyed).
7. Tell Inspiring Stories With Abstract Qualities
Nike’s videos often don’t explicitly feature shoes or sportswear.
Instead, they encouraged their fans to tell their personal stories with the “Make It Count” social media campaign in 2011.
Awe-inspiring video footage from fans resulted.
Responding to Nike’s campaign, friends Casey Neistat and Max Joseph travelled to 13 countries in 10 days and filmed their trip. Their video featuring Nike’s brand name now has over 25 million views.
Nike knows what its audience’s intangible needs and wants are. Craft a message that appeals to your customers’ imaginations, so you’ll no longer be just a seller of products, but also an inspiration to people.
The customer comes first
Give your target audience material that helps to solve their problems, establish your brand as an authority in their eyes, and eventually drive profits for you.
For more tips on giving your customers value, check out these tips on starting your content distribution game plan!