The content space is a busy place. India has approximately 80 million content creators, including video streamers, influencers, bloggers, creators on OTT platforms, physical product creators and essentially anyone building a community around their niche. Brands are being built in a world where content is everywhere and everyone is aware. To top it all off, the future of content is in flux, moving from physical to digital to phygital to meta as content gets reinvented across platforms.
Within this context, leveraging content as a tool for advertising requires a dynamic approach to its creation. Anati Zubia, Head of Marketing- Quora, offered invaluable insights on ‘Leveraging the Power of Intent and Curiosity’ at Content Jam 2022, exchange4media’s 6th edition of its conference on Content Marketing.
She began by pointing out that humans are hardwired for curiosity and have a thirst for new information. While this was driven by a need for survival when human civilization was in its infancy, today, it’s led to innovation, ingenuity, and progress.
Explaining how curiosity drives us today, she said, “Believe it or not, your brain is actually rewarding you for being curious. When you’re exploring and satisfying your curiosity, your brain is flooded with dopamine, which makes you happier.”
Having established how curiosity among humans triggers them to explore further, she highlighted five best practices for content writing that could enable creators to tap into their audiences’ curiosity to spark intent.
The first best practice–the starting point–is ‘Knowing your target audience’. To crack this, she recommended creating personas based on what’s driving their decisions. This entails knowing whether they tend to be rational or emotional; whether they get information by researching online or asking peers or some other way; whether they belong to certain groups, etc. Knowing your audience may mean creating not just one, but multiple personas since audiences are rarely homogeneous.
Next, she suggested ‘Creating a solar system’, which simply meant taking a large piece of content and breaking it down into different elements that are linked to each other. Essentially, the central piece of content – the crux of it – is represented by the sun, in the content solar system, and everything else revolves around it. In her experience, plying prospects with these separate yet contextually connected content pieces will drive curiosity, and lead them to look for more content in the solar system. This will eventually move them down the intent funnel.
Her third best practice while content writing was ‘Answering high demand questions’. She explained that content writers who apply the solar system approach to spark intent, should use their pieces to find out what people are actually asking. “People are the most receptive on Quora and it is one of my favorite places to find out what they’re asking,” she added. “Even before I worked for Quora, as a content strategy, I’ve gone digging there to find out what questions my target audience is asking.”
As an illustration to demonstrate how users go from curiosity to intentful decision-making, Anati shared, “There are over a hundred million users every month from India visiting Quora and their intent is actually very high; 57% of them use the internet to research products and brands and then, 48% of core users dig into customer review.”
The fourth best practice she highlighted was “Write high quality content”. She elaborated that beyond being grammatically and structurally correct, the content should appeal to and engage the personas that its creator is targeting. It must be content that ‘they’ are interested in. It must spark their curiosity and be valuable to them while also conveying what your brand wants to.
The last best practice pertained to content distribution strategies. It must be targeted at the right audiences through the right medium. Here, she emphasised the importance of using an editorial calendar to ensure a comprehensive and systematic execution approach, as well as measurement, analysis and review of content that needs to be updated.
Before closing, Anati left her audience with some words of wisdom from one of her favorite storytellers and content marketer, Walt Disney – We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. Appending her own insights, she concluded, “So, don’t be afraid to be curious with your marketing. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo.”