Content marketing is one of the most diverse and involved sectors of the digital marketing industry. In this issue of the Marketing Expert Series Sendhelper’s Dheepu George takes us on a deep-dive into the world of content marketing and writing. A dedicated and award-winning journalism graduate, Dheepu has been working in the digital content sector for many years. His passion for journalism – especially for writing – has allowed him to work at the heart of digital marketing. So join us for this issue of the Series as Dheepu takes us on a journey, sharing his knowledge and experience.
Welcome, Dheepu! Excited for you to join us on this issue of the Marketing Expert Series. Let’s start with something easy. Tell us a bit about yourself! How did you get to where you are today?
Hello, I am Dheepu George. I am an award-winning journalism graduate from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Prior to pursuing journalism studies, I was at the helm of launching Sendhelper, the best home services brand in Singapore now, in 2015. Since then I had been leading its business operations and partner management before I went on to explore my passion for journalism, and writing in particular, in 2018. Post my graduation, as chance would have it, I returned to Sendhelper but this time as the Head of Content Marketing. I am proud to say that this homegrown startup is one of the top 50 rising tech startups in Southeast Asia.
I am also a creative writer who happens to be a confessional poet although I pretend not to be one.
Currently, you’re the Head of Content Marketing at SendHelper. Tell us about SendHelper and your role there.
Sendhelper is one of the top 50 rising tech-enabled startups in Southeast Asia. We are a managed online marketplace that connects verified and trusted home service providers with households in Singapore. We offer a range of services like cleaning, cooking, laundry, aircon, handyman, home improvement and renovation, pest control, disinfection, elderly care, and tasks and errands.
I am the head of content marketing at Sendhelper. My role is to devise strategies to create and market value-driven content that connects with our potential and existing customers and service partners across all brand platforms and social media channels. We create digital content – images, videos, articles – that answers questions and provides solutions to problems around household chores. Ultimately, our objective is to build a brand name that households can count on through delivering connected content experiences and thus helping them make informed decisions through their buying journey.
As a content marketer myself, I often get asked this question: what is content marketing exactly? What role does it play in brand development and digital marketing in general?
Content marketing in simple terms is creating and distributing relevant content to reach and nurture new customers with an objective to convert them as well as to retain and delight existing customers. Good content should address a customer’s pain points by providing them with appropriate solutions and helping them in each step of the buyer journey.
Content has always been at the core of every consumer-centric organisation and their marketing strategy. Only the methods of creation and channels of distribution have evolved or changed. Content marketing allows organisations to tell their brand stories to potential customers. In the long run, it helps you build brand awareness and authority. To grow as a voice of authority in a given domain and construct a positive brand image in the minds of customers, a focused and connected content experience across channels is necessary. Innovative content ideas will help you stand out from the rest.
You have a clear affinity for content development for customer acquisition – in your opinion, what is it about content marketing that you find best helps drive customer acquisition?
Content marketing is about telling stories, stories that will resonate with your target audience. At Sendhelper, we create content that provides easy and convenient solutions for tackling household chores. We create content that provides customers solutions to enjoy an improved and stress-free lifestyle.
Content marketing helps you to build relationships with customers and enhance brand trust. Once you earn the trust of potential customers, they will eventually stay invested in your brand. What I like about content marketing is that we provide customers valuable information in a way it is easy to consume without demanding them to buy from us. There is less noise of hard-selling.
Say, for example, an expat living in Singapore might not be well educated about local rental agreement and different clauses in it. These clauses suggest mandatory home maintenance, regular aircon servicing etc. To help them understand these requirements, we write articles, create visually appealing and shareable infographics about it. Someone who moved in recently will definitely find this content informative and helpful. Content marketing attracts or pulls customers to like and trust brands.
Being said that, content development for customer retention is as important. It wouldn’t be right to say I have a clear affinity for customer acquisition. As much as we focus on the top, middle and bottom of the funnel, we must keep creating interesting content to nurture and engage with existing customers. Newsletters and social media engagement are great examples of this. It will bring you opportunities to upsell as well as more referrals. Any content marketing strategy should equally focus on both customer acquisition and delight after purchase; tell stories to delight them so they never will have to regret choosing you.
Social media requires a different approach than say, writing copy for websites, or developing articles; how would you suggest that a newcomer to the content marketing field learns how to navigate these different channels?
Whichever channel you choose to write for or create content, the key is knowing your audience. On social media, a more conversational tone is preferred over something formal. You can incorporate humour and friendly banter to draw the attention of your target audience and thus improve their engagement with your content. Finding your voice is necessary here because that is going to be the brand voice people will recognise eventually. Although Facebook allows for long-form writing, I would advise you to keep written content short and simple on social media otherwise.
Writing articles is a different ball game. It is more like writing a journalistic piece, a feature story, I would say. Here research is important. Decide on what to write about based on search queries your target audience performs on search engines, feedback from regular customers or any topic you think is relevant to your business. You have the luxury to adopt flowery prose instead of simple sentences. However, make sure you present content in a digestible form with proper headlines and signposts. Using an appropriate and focused keyword based on your initial research will optimise your article for search engines.
Website copywriting must be to the point that will convert customers. There is no room for long-winded sentences and flowery words. Remember how your target audience will land on your website page. They would search for a solution to their problem on a search engine using a keyword and end up on your website. Once they are on your website, you should provide them with the exact information they are looking for. Otherwise, they will quit the page immediately (bounce off) and go in search of other websites. Consequently, a higher bounce rate will adversely affect your SEO rankings.
Ask yourself, have you got all the necessary information on your landing page that a potential customer wants to know about you, your product or service offerings? Eventually, you need your website visitors to take a desired action like navigating to another page or proceeding to make a purchase. Lack of enough and easily consumable information shouldn’t break the deal.
Who are you writing for? What is the objective of the content? Why are you writing it? How and when do you want your audience to take action? – These are the basic questions you need to keep in mind when writing for different channels.
Can you share some tips on how one can develop compelling content on social media or other platforms?
The first and foremost thing required to develop compelling content is to know your audience or who your customer is. Have a persona in mind. If you are creating content for everyone, you are creating for no one. The way you communicate to a stay-at-home mum is different from talking to a professional who is a bachelor. The language, choice of words and topics will be different while crafting content for different customer personas. Also, you must have a thorough understanding of social media platforms on which your target audience is more active and engaging; know where they are! You need not necessarily be on every social media platform. Choose the ones relevant to your audience, understand the nature of the platform, its algorithm and create customized content for each of them. You should also understand that what works on one platform may not be as effective on another. For example, articles and infographics work well on LinkedIn and Facebook whereas videos are effective on Instagram Reels, Tiktok and YouTube, and images on Pinterest.
Once you understand your audience and learn the nuances of each platform, look out for real-life experiences your customers have shared with you on social media or the customer service team regarding your products or services. Solutions to their pain points can be turned into a blog topic or infographic, videos of happy customers are great additions to your social media, important days, festivities and observances every month are topics for content creation- these are some of the tips I can tell you from the top of my head.
2020 and 2021 have been interesting years, to say the least; as marketers, I think we’ve all seen a shift in how our audiences approach to content. What sort of new opportunities and/or developments do you believe will continue to grow, or indeed, develop based on the world’s experiences with COVID-19?
From my personal experience, I realise that customers value ‘trust’ more than ever. They wish to engage with reliable brands that assure quality and safety. From this standpoint, I would say creating high-quality content is the way forward. Content that evokes a feeling of belongingness, a sentiment of camaraderie and consideration, a sense of safety and care, a desire for endurance, and a need for empathy will play a vital role in every step of a customer journey moving forward. Consumers will only engage with brands they trust in a post-Covid world. I don’t think they will take chances with businesses considering the physiological and psychological challenges they endured in the past year or two. Brands that promise peace of mind will succeed.
Any advice you’d give to young and aspiring marketers, particularly those with a knack for storytelling or content development?
If you wish to grow as a storyteller or a content developer, keep your eyes and ears open. Consume any content that comes your way and try to make sense of it. Read as much as you can – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, articles, journals etc. Pay attention to content created by global as well as local brands so that you can adopt some of their best practices when you create your own content. This is how you learn until you find your own style. Improve your writing skills – learn to write without spelling or grammatical errors, learn to write in simple sentences and paragraphs. Pick up some basic image design skills (Photoshop or Canva), video making and editing skills (Adobe Premiere, Canva or VN Editor) and an understanding of content management systems like WordPress.
Thanks for taking part in this Series, Dheepu, and for sharing your experiences with us! How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more about you?
You can contact me on LinkedIn. Feel free to send me a connection request. If you are interested in poetry, send me a follow request on my Instagram handle, @dheepugeorge.