Evergreen Content has longer Shelf Life than Viral Content - Alankrita Khera, CRY

by ACN Editor
Asia Content News Editorial team got a chance to catch up with Alankrita Khera, GM - Communications, CRY India to discuss all things Content. Here are some useful excerpts from the conversation. 

Q. What do you envisage the role of Content for CRY? Do you see it going beyond marketing in the coming years?

AK: A core non-profit marketing objective is to generate awareness about the problem that we’re trying to tackle and facilitate donor/volunteer action towards the same. For us to be able to do that, creating content that catches public attention and inspires them to take action has always been a big focus. That doesn’t change. If anything, it becomes a lot more important now. A good content marketing strategy tells a great story – a story that informs you, moves you and drives you to do whatever you can to help.

The idea of charity weighs on everyone’s mind; everyone wants to be a good citizen and do good for those who need it the most. Something that we have all seen in the last couple of months – an urgent and very evident desire to do good that comes straight from the heart. But people want to know that their hard earned money is going to the right place. To that end, content is exceptionally important – it informs citizens about the work that CRY, as a NGO, has done over the past 41 years, everything it is doing now in light of how the pandemic has severely affected underprivileged children. It also highlights the impact it has created so far and is capable of creating in the future with their help.

To me, a robust content strategy is what makes for effective and impactful marketing campaigns; the two are closely symbiotic.

Q. As the marketing leader, how do you see Content Professionals fitting into the overall team? If there are none at the moment, do you see any scope for them in the future?
AK: Content marketing as a skill and a competency is an integral part of any marketing team – but I do not necessarily see this as an independent expertise that needs to be hired for separately. Whether you’re managing social media and digital advertising or direct marketing and creative conceptualization – every marketing and communications professional must have an understanding of how to create and disseminate good content that captures your consumers attention.
Q. How do you ensure stickiness of audience with content in your category, given plenty of content options for today's customers?

AK: As a marketer, I essentially like to follow a three pronged process that starts with evaluating the objective of my Content Marketing strategy and identifying pain points that it aims to address. Then moves into conceptualizing and creating the said content in a way that’s mapped to those pain points and is interesting as well as relevant for my targeted audience. The final step is building outreach and engagement and analysing performance to address issues real time. The one thing that encompasses this entire process is an understanding of your target group itself – demographics and psychographics that influence your strategy right from content creation to platforms for outreach. Content mapping to the customer journey is critical – that’s what ensures stickiness and recall.

Q. What is your ideal allocation of content marketing budget across Creation, Management, Distribution & Measurement?

AK: Creation and distribution should be key areas of focus followed by management and measurement. There isn’t a set formula to this but I’d say 35% : 30% : 20% : 15% on an average - investing in content creation for quality goes a long way in organic traction and setting aside money for distribution and dissemination helps reach the numbers.

Q. What %age of your content is currently created In-house and how much is outsourced? Who do you think brands should outsource?

AK: For us at CRY, 90% of our content in created in-house. I have a fantastic team of designers & brand managers who work together to conceptualize, design/create, disseminate and measure entirely on their own – and we’ve been able to come out with some incredible campaigns. Being a non-profit, we have no marketing budgets to speak of so it’s a combination of talent and resourcefulness that has helped us really put brand CRY out there. Take a look at our Women’s Day campaign and Girl Child Day campaign earlier this year – or just scroll through our Instagram page at cry_india. There are also instances when external agencies and content creators graciously come on board to create stuff for us pro-bono – we look forward to such collaborations because they just bring so much diversity and perspective to our communications efforts.

I think outsourcing is ultimately a matter of choice for the brand and for their marketing team. There is no dearth of talent out there – whether you hire them as employees or as external resources is completely a functional call.

Q. How is role of content changing in these times of COVID-19 for charity organizations?

AK: Given that every brand’s marketing activities are almost solely focused on the digital medium right now, I think it has simply become a lot more important. With everyone’s communications efforts focused on social media, there is a lot of communication clutter and there is a real threat of your SOV being completely drowned out – unless you are creating quality content that appeals to your TG and gives them the information they need or want to consume at a frequency that is palatable to their digital lifestyle. Not to mention that it is important to ensure that such content is relevant; communication cannot afford to be tone deaf to the external situation.

For NGOs specifically, given that both our work and challenges on the field have increased manifold due to these unprecedented circumstances – it’s even more imperative that we keep our donors, volunteers and supporters informed of what’s happening and why/how we need their help. Social change cannot happen without citizen action and content is a way to inspire and mobilize such action.

Q. Do you see brands investing more or less in these times? What is the state of affairs at your organization?

AK: Depends entirely on their marketing budgets – however I’ve observed a predictable downward trend. Being conservative in the current economy is a clear goal for most organizations. As an NGO, we didn’t have any marketing budgets before and we certainly don’t have any now – so our status quo on doing the best we can with negligible resources remains the same.

Q. Any advice for brands planning to start or scale their content journey?

AK: When formulating a content marketing strategy, never go solely by mass trends or ape what the competition is doing. The idea is to stand out in a way that’s specifically targeted to your target consumer. To create a powerful content marketing mix, it’s important to understand your reader personas (those who’ll consumer your content but may not necessarily buy) and then filter that understanding into a grasp of buyer personas (a subset of the reader funnel who’re more likely to make a purchase decision).

Also, focus on quality over quantity. While you don’t want to have long gaps between serving up consumable content to engage your TG with your brand/communication, you also don’t want to put out stuff that isn’t valuable enough to your target consumer. Finally, always analyse how your content is doing regularly against set key metrics – traffic, engagement and conversions. Your strategy should be fluid, not set in stone.  

Remember that evergreen content has a longer shelf life than viral content. It can facilitate prolonged and sustained traffic and can control the context effectively without the brand running the risk of building up negative sentiment – which is often the case with viral content.