Radhika Shukla heads the Content Business Development for Cheetah Mobile in the APAC region. Cheetah Mobile is a leading internet company headquartered in Beijing with 3.81 billion global installs and 634 million Monthly Active Users across all its products combined. Some of the most important products from Cheetah mobile are Clean Master, News Republic, Battery Doctor, CM Locker, Live.me, Musical.ly. Her main focus is on the News Republic product at the moment, which includes sourcing and curating the best content from best sources and ensuring that the content it is personalized and relevant for the end user.
The most exciting part of this role is that it gives me a detailed view of both sides:
- Interaction with a variety of content partners from different genres and different styles of presentation
- Content consumption tells a lot about user behavior. It helps us draw better monetization strategy for all the Cheetah Products.
Importance of Digital Marketing
We utilize digital marketing in a very interesting way. We are an app only company but due to multiple applications and a huge user base, we cover 24 hours of the user’s time. We help brands market their content, when the phone is locked (while being unlocked) so that it does not involve additional user time and catch their attention right away. This is based on their interest either based on the news content they read or the apps they use.
Through digital marketing we help the brands reach the right audience as well as help our content providers monetize their content in the most effective manner.
How did you get into Content Marketing? What interested you in learning Content Marketing?
Radhika Shukla: Prior to Cheetah Mobile, my first role in Digital marketing at The Hindu, one of the largest English dailies in India which was looking to strengthen its presence in digital and mobile in the beginning of 2013 due to changing news consumption habits of its readers. The emergence of digital modes have made marketing easy for everyone. it its not limited to brand professionals. There are different ways to share your /your brand’ s story, even extremely limited range of characters on twitter can prove to be an effective tool. So, Digital marketing is everyone’s cup of tea! You just need to keep experimenting.
The reason why I started learning Content Marketing are:
- It’s inevitable. Whether you are a large brand or a neighbourhood party planner, you can not push people to use your product as there are many choices available today.
- It is easy. Given the availability of so many tools, it is easy to learn and put to use.
- It is not very expensive. Again, given the various forms, you don’t need to spend a bomb on it.
According to you, what are the advantages of conventional marketing over Digital Marketing? Do you think that Digital Marketing is a threat to the future of conventional marketing?
Radhika Shukla: I think in India, though Digital Marketing is growing fast, the reach of conventional marketing is still bigger . This will change in future as more people get on the fast internet with better devices.
Although it is true that digital marketing is not a threat to conventional marketing but a support to conventional marketing. This is true in the long term, the implication of the same varies depending which industry you are in. I would like to bring a perspective from Newspaper industry since I got to spend some time there. In 2012, as per a research done by Pew Research Center study, for every 7 dollar lost in print ad revenue declines, the companies only generated about $1 in new digital advertising sales. This research was done by studying 38 large and small newspapers globally. This clearly means that digital marketing has given a bigger ROI for the same money. The newspaper companies are not able to make up for the decline in growth/decline in print ad revenues from the growth in digital ad revenues yet.
How do you think Content Marketing for B2B is different from Content Marketing for B2C?
Radhika Shukla: The platforms may vary for B2B and B2C but the basic principles remain the same.
- Understand and segment the audience
- Content should be crisp and targeted as attention spans are getting smaller
Would you like to throw some light on the “a-ha” moments in your Content Marketing journey up till now?
Radhika Shukla: Many times on news sites, content marketing is done in the form of sponsored content. The whole idea is that the sponsored content should gel well with the rest of the content pieces, show up to the relevant audience and at the same time generate max clicks.
At Hindu, we always had a debate between the sales team and the editorial teams before any “sponsored content “ used to go online. There were editorial guidelines and loyal audience of The Hindu and our sales target that needed to be kept in mind. At the same time our “branded content” team was very small and we had to struggle with one engineer who doubled up as a designer too. I would not name the client but the the a-h-a moment was when we delivered our first successful campaign after crossing all the above hurdles.
What do you think is your greatest Content Marketing achievement till date?
Radhika Shukla: I would say the most successful achievement would be our happy content partners and readers, for whom we are able to get the most relevant and personalized content using AI ( Artificial Intelligence) and EI ( the intelligence of our Editorial Team)
Share about your 2-3 favourite Content Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?
- My favorite content marketing brand is “Amul”. The way they create satirical cartoons on the latest situation in the country is commendable. The best thing is that the utterly butterly girl delivers the most complex statements in a witty format.
- Ariel Share the load campaign – As a working woman, I really got glued to the viral series and the message delivered through the same.
- The Quint – I love the short video content created by The Quint on political and contemporary societal issues.
- #paytmkaro- Making Paytm synonymous with ATM.
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Content Marketing?
- Not drawing the correct inference from the data– There are many tools to measure the success of a campaign depending upon what an organization is doing. Ample data is available but being able to understand the customer’s journey by stitching all the data points is critical. If this is in complete,the results drawn are misleading.
- Content should not look like advertisement – Three things are important for creating a great content
- Understanding the customer
- Understanding the brand
- Being able to create an interesting narrative
While i. and ii can be tried through, iii requires creativity. Many times organizations create a content that has got everything right with it but it is not creative enough to catch eyeballs.
Which are your 2-3 favorite Content Marketing Tools?
Radhika Shukla: My favorite content marketing tools are only two, I must say:
- Facebook – The size of the audience is immense. It is one of the best way to reach the right audience. The variety of media forms that can be used here is great. Facebook helps build a community very quickly around a product
- Good old newsletters- though pretty old school, but it works for business audience. Three reasons I believe in it – simple to create, unless the content is irrelevant and goes to the user’s spam folder many people use this to keep themselves updated.
- LinkedIn- for B2B connections
How do you see Digital Media, specifically Content Marketing evolve in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2017?
Few important trends as I see will be visible both on the brands, platform as well as the consumer’s side
- Content Marketing which is a part of Digital marketing will form a more important part of marketing strategy
- Video will play an important role, short video content created specifically for mobile
- Consumers have already begun to accept and consume sponsored content on their social media feeds, news content feeds, this will become more prevalent as more targeted campaigns will be created
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Content Marketing industry?
Radhika Shukla: People who are in the early 20s and starting their career have a big advantage which is that they think like their audience as India is a young country.
I would consider the following as three most important things if I have to I am in their shoes:
- Focus on getting relevant information from the huge pool of data that we have access to these days
- Be creative. A lot of inspiration can be drawn from old school and traditional marketing
- Try your hands at a lot of formats/tools/platforms that are available these days –Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook etc. Important formats to explore are – Video, Slideshows, Infographics. While in isolation it is easy to learn any of these formats, being adept at using these for creating content is key challenge
How do you stay updated on the latest trends in Content Marketing? Which are the Content Marketing resources (i.e. blogs/websites/apps) you visit regularly?
Radhika Shukla: I use the following sites regularly. Besides these, I keep an eye on digital marketing campaigns on facebook. I also visit various conferences on content marketing and follow the discussions there to keep abreast of latest trends in this space.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
I think Digital Vidya is a phenomenal initiative. This will definitely help readers get oriented towards content marketing. The certification initiative can give them credibility in the industry and interview series can help them draw inspiration from people in the industry.
Are you inspired by the opportunity of Digital Marketing? Start your journey by attending our upcoming orientation session on Digital Marketing for Career & Business Growth. It’s online and Free :).