Content Marketing in Singapore
Why Singapore Leh?
As a regional marketer, you’re probably wondering why one of the smallest countries in Asia deserves your attention and your marketing dollar. The short answer? Singapore is small country with a big population of regional decision makers.
For 10 years, the World Bank ranked Singapore as the easiest place to do business in the world. Our little red dot slipped to second place in 2016 (after being edged out by New Zealand) but continues to rank highly in the minds of corporate heavyweights. In fact, a 2016 research report by Cushman & Wakefield found that Singapore is the top destination for regional headquarters in Asia. And with 4,200 regional headquarters here, Singapore leads by a mile — its closest competitor, Hong Kong, comes in second with just 1,389.
From its early days as a trading post connecting East and West, to its current status as the world’s top regional and global hub for the flow of goods, services and capital, connectivity has always been key to Singapore’s success. Already an established finance, pharmaceutical, biotech and R&D hub, the country’s next big push is a S$2.4-billion investment to become the world’s fist Smart Nation.
What all this means for us living in Singapore is a natural affinity o digital connectivity. Couple that with an appetite for news and knowledge, and you’ve got a professional audience primed to be engaged in the digital space. Whether you’re looking to adapt your existing regional strategy to the Singapore market, or looking to build one from scratch, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you find content marketing success here.
So if you’re ready, follow me into the world of content marketing, Singapore style!
Associate Field Marketing Manager, Asia
LinkedIn Sales & Marketing Solutions
- Lay a Solid Foundation
- Understand the Singapore Context
- Diversity is a Way of Life
- Connectivity is a Necessity of Life
- Business is Vibrant and Global
- Language is a Boon and a Bane
- Journey with Your Audience
- Plan and Produce Content
- Create Your Big Rock
- From Big Rock to Stepping Stones
- Get Visual with Content
- Bring It Together on LinkedIn
- Win with Content Marketing on LinkedIn
- Expand the Reach of Your Content
- Amplify Through Influencers
- Prove the Value of Your Content Marketing
- Checklist for Content
- Marketing Success
Lay a Solid Foundation
Let’s start with a sound content marketing strategy. At LinkedIn, we believe that there are four basic steps to building a robust but nimble strategy — one that you’ll be able to adapt to different markets while constantly improving through testing and experimentation.
Start with the End Results
Document what you hope to achieve through content marketing. Try to capture all of your goals and map them to the best way of measuring the effectiveness of your content.
Understand the Needs of Your Audience
Create a profile or pesona of your ideal buyer — their company types, decision-making process, purchase motivators and where they turn to for reliable information.
Own the Conversation
Content should establish your company as an authority on a topic that matters to your audience. Once you have a buyer persona, look for top-of-mind topics that matter to them and design your content marketing strategy such that you’re sharing the right content, at the right place and at the right time.
Be Helpful & Relevant
Relevant and helpful insights are the heart of any successful content strategy. Instead of focusing on making a sale at every turn, focus on helping your buyers. Sales will follow.
Understand the Singapore Context
As a regional marketer, you know that the diversity of Asia means that there’s no one-size-fit-all approach. Before you start localising your content for Singapore, it helps to have a broad picture of who you’re dealing with and the environment they live in.
Diversity is a Way of Life
The Singapore identity is a cultural blend of its three major ethnic groups (Chinese, Malay and Indian) and the influence of a growing non-resident population of foreigners who are here to work and study.
Singapore is well known as a multi-racial, multi-religious society. The harmonious living that we enjoy today isn’t left o chance — it took, and continues to take, effort by the government and its people. Racial harmony is a big thing here, so marketing content designed for Singapore shouldn’t cross any racial, ethnic or religious lines. Instead, look for ways to embrace Singapore’s diversity! It’ll enrich your content and endear your brand to your target audience.
Singapore’s Resident Population: 3.9M
- Chinese: 74.3%
- Malays 13.4%
- Indians 9.1%
- Others 3.2%
+ Singapore Non-Resident Population: 1.7M
Including 192,000 expatriates earning at least S$3,300 a month
Connectivity is A Necessity of Life
- Internet PENETRATION RATE: 82%
- Mobile PENETRATION RATE: 85%
- ACTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA USERS: 77%
Singaporean consumers are among the most connected consumers in the world.
- Ranking only behind Hong Kong in the 2016 GfK Connected Consumer Index.
- The index ranks 78 countries across 11 different types of devices (smartphone, tablet, mobile personal computer, desktop personal computer, wearables, smart TV, TV set-top box, videogame console, e-reader, connected car and a smart home).
And what do we do with all this connectivity?
On average, we spend 12 hours every day on our gadgets.
Given Singapore’s tiny stature and lack of natural resources, as a country, we have always been very outward-looking. Regional and global developments can have direct and dramatic impact on our economy, so keeping tabs on what’s happening at home and around the world is second nature to many people living here.
- SOCIAL MEDIA AND NETWORKS: 71%
- READING PERSONAL EMAILS: 90%
- ONLINE MESSAGING AND CALLING: 79%
- WORK OR BUSINESS PURPOSES: 57%
- NEWS AND SPORT UPDATES: 53%
A great way to ensure that your content is timely and relevant is to newsjack (or piggyback on) hot issues. Choose issues that are relevant to your expertise and add value by sharing your perspective or offering ideas or solutions.
Business is Vibrant & Global
- 17 SINGAPORE-LISTED Companies made it into Forbes’ 2016 ranking of the World’s Most Valuable Public Companies
- 216,900 ENTERPRISES operating in Singapore
- 16% foreign enterprises
- In 2015, S$1,256 BILLION stock of foreign direct investment in Singapore
- In 2015, S$665 BILLION stock of Singapore’s direct investment abroad
The economic outlook in Singapore remains positive, especially with the country posting an impressive GDP growth rate in the third quarter of 2017 — its highest since 2014.
Much of this is thanks to double-digit growth in the manufacturing sector, but the government’s Smart Nation initiative is also creating plenty of business opportunities. In its 2017 Singapore Salary & Employment Outlook, global recruitment firm Michael age has observed bright spots in the country’s fast-expanding healthcare, fintech and digital sectors. Coupled with Singapore’s vicarious appetite for content, this bodes well for B2B content marketers who are able to hit the right notes with their audiences.
Language is a Boon and a Bane
- 37% of people speak English most often at home
- 97% literacy rate
- 4 Official languages: ENGLISH (PRIMARY), MALAY, MANDARIN & TAMIL
Singapore’s multilingualism offers both risk and opportunity for content marketers. In addition to our four official languages, Singapore is famously known for Singlish, its own brand of English. You may be tempted to ‘speak the language’ of your target audience by using Singlish but that may be a tricky path to navigate. Singlish is a colloquial language that most native Singaporeans use informally. In a professional setting, we’re generally able to code-switch into English, which is the language of business here.
“ We decided to opt for English as a common language and it was the only decision which could have held Singapore together. If we had Chinese as a common language, national language, we would have split this country wide apart, and we would be foolish to have Malay or Tamil.”
The late Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s fist prime minister and widely regarded ‘founding father’ of the country, in his book ‘Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going’.
It’s true that Singlish, when used well and sparingly, could resonate with your target audience and demonstrate that your brand is familiar with the lay of the land. But without mastery, you risk coming across as unprofessional or even condescending. When in doubt, it may be best to avoid.
CASE IN POINT: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
o announce its entry into Singapore, Netflix created promotional videos for its originals by inviting local actors to create parodies. Local funny woman Michelle Chong starred in the video for Orange is The New Black, portraying an ‘ah lian’ (a local stereotype of an unsophisticated female) and incorporating Singlish into her lines along with original cast member, Uzo Aduba. The effort received almost as much praise as it did criticism, with some calling it “trying too hard”. Moral of the story? Deploy Singlish with lots of caution or simply, steer clear.
Singlish is far more nuanced than non-natives realise. It borrows heavily from the many languages and dialects that Singaporeans are familiar with, resulting in mishmash sentences that would befuddle the untrained ear.
Most Singlish sentences also end with words like ‘lah’, ‘lor’ and ‘leh’. While they have no lexical meaning, they make a profound difference to the emotional tenor of any sentence. As a spoken language, Singlish is not taught; it is experienced — and it continues to evolve.
So, in the absence of an authoritative guide, we’ve decided to share local poet and literary critic Dr. Gwee Li Sui’s take on nine common end-of-sentence words:
CAUTION! These end-of-sentence words can have different connotations depending on the intonation and context in which they’re used, so mind your language!
Journey with Your Audience
The goal of content is to reach and then nurture prospects to ultimately drive them to become a customer. With buyers now controlling the research process, it is critical that you market across their entire journey, both in the early and later stages, with content that corresponds.
In the early stages of your relationship with the prospective buyer, you should focus on gaining mindshare. These are people who are unfamiliar with your brand and are not ready to purchase, but whom you’ve identified as a potential customer. Reach them with content topics that would draw their attention or generate buzz.
Thought leadership, influencer endorsements, media relations, display campaigns, face-to-face events.
- Number of inquiries
- Number of Marketing Qualified Leads
When prospective customers express interest in your brand and are ready to buy, your content marketing objectives need to shift. The goal now is to educate them and encourage them to engage with your sales representatives. Use data to understand their online behaviour and guide them along their buyer’s journey.
LinkedIn Website Demographics is a free reporting tool that lets you see what types of professionals are coming to your website, so you can develop better targeting and content for your campaigns. Use it with LinkedIn Lead Generation Forms to seamlessly collect complete and accurate leads.
Keyword marketing, highly personalised email marketing, case studies, product guides, limited-time promotions or incentives.
- Number of Sales Qualified Leads
- Conversion rate from Marketing Qualified
- Opportunities to Sales Qualified Leads
Conversion, through the marketing lens, can be seen as the successful completion of the desired actions by your target audience that makes a positive contribution to your business goals.
- Conversion rate
- Number & dollar value of deals
Keep existing customers close by maintaining high levels of engagement with them to aid retention and create new cross-sell/upsell opportunities. You may also want to remarket to audiences that have earlier expressed interest in your business, whether by reading your content or visiting your website.
Account Based Marketing
- Churn rate
- Engagement rate
ACCELERATING THE BUYER’S JOURNEY
- Drive site traffic using search, social media and advertising
- Attract eyeballs with content that is timely and relevant
- Offer gated Big Rock content in exchange for contact details (read on to learn more about Big Rock content!)
- Continue engaging prospects with compelling content
Plan and Produce Content
Content needs to be produced regularly to drive leads. You also need varied types of content to keep your audience engaged. Here’s how you can keep it all organised.
Stay on track with an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar helps tame the chaos, keeping everyone on track when it comes to what content needs to be produced, by whom, and when.
The Singapore calendar
It’s a good idea to match your editorial calendar with Singapore’s calendar of festivals, occasions and holidays. The Ministry of Manpower releases a list of public holiday dates each year (because some cultural festivals have moving dates).
- New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day
- Chinese New Year
- Good Friday
- Labour Day
- Vesak Day
- Hari Raya Puasa and the preceding fasting month (Ramadan)
- National Day
- Hari Raya Haji
- Christmas Day
School holidays, especially the month-long ones in June and December are peak periods for outbound travel, which means fewer people are at their desks.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
During the Christmas and New Year period, as well as Chinese New Year (which gives Singapore its longest two-day break), closures are common. Singaporeans love to travel during long weekends and businesses as well as marketing agencies may shut their doors for a well-deserved break.
But that doesn’t mean that your content marketing efforts should be put on hold.
We believe that an always-on strategy is the best way to reap rewards; what you should be doing during these lull periods is refocusing your efforts — go for reach and awareness and save lead generation for after the holidays. This is also a great time to be optimising and A/B testing your digital marketing campaigns.
HAVE a healthy mix of content
Think of your editorial calendar as a dinner menu. It needs to include all the food groups. Keep your content fresh and audiences interested with:
- A healthy Serving of meaty posts: Research and analysis
- A side of vegetables: Thought-leadership articles
- A serving of whole grains: How-to and influencer posts
- A condiment or two to spice things up: Bold statements
- A sweet dessert: Light-hearted, viral-worthy content
TAKE INTELLIGENT CONTENT RISKS
Opportunities can be missed if you play it too safe with content. Approach your audience in a way they’re not expecting. Memorable content often involves:
- A bigger story that goes beyond your brand or products to engage your audience
- Braver content that is not constrained by the status quo
- A bold voice that draws your audience in (think: honest and empathetic)
SEO still matters
While Google has updated its algorithms to move away from keywords and towards quality (read: relevant) content, SEO still plays an important role in content discovery, so don’t be too quick to dismiss it.
ARM YOURSELF WITH LINKEDIN’S CONTENT MARKETING TOOLKIT!
We’ve put together a veritable Swiss Army knife of content marketing tools that you can use for every aspect of content marketing, from strategy to SEO to proving ROI. These resources are designed to be easy to use, but customisable enough that you can use them over and over again.
Create Your Big Rock
What we like to call the Big Rock is a single cornerstone piece of content that can power your demand-generation engine for months on end. This is your stake in the ground on a theme that sets you apart from the competition. The Big Rock is a substantial content asset (think 15, 20, 30 or more pages). It’s a move from thinking like a publisher to actually publishing like one by putting out a ‘book’ on your topic — one that matters a lot to your target audience. It may sound intimidating but it’s not! Here’s how you can approach the Big Rock:
Identify Your Theme and Own it
Using customer insights, you can generate a number of potential topics and questions to set the theme of your Big Rock. Find that one topic that allows you to own the conversation; one that will likely drive quality traffic o your site. Then publish an end-all-be-all on it.
Reverse Engineer from Existing Content
If you already own smaller content assets, consider building on them. Identify five or more content assets that follow a theme, arrange them in sequence, write an introduction and a conclusion, throw in a case study or two, add some influencer reviews, design the cover and voila! You just produced a Big Rock.
Start at the End
In this approach, you’re starting with the results. Take five of your best case studies that have relevance and share an overarching theme. Bundled together as a Success Stories publication, this qualifies as a Big Rock too! Just remember to review the case studies fist to make sure that they’re current and relevant. Adding new insights would be a nice touch too.
FROM BIG ROCK TO STEPPING STONES
Now that you have your Big Rock, it’s time to make it go the distance.
Chisel Pebbles from It
Your Big Rock is perfect for chunking into smaller, derivative content assets to fill your content calendar with minimal effort. Chisel it into little pebbles like a quick blog post, a colourful infographic or a how-to webinar. Choose formats that your target audience prefer and distribute them on channels where they spend their time.
Gate Your Big Rock
While your little pebbles are ungated (free to access), they should always lead back to your Big Rock. A gated Big Rock helps you collect customer information in exchange for the download.
Get Visual with Content
As humans, we are all visual thinkers.
In fact, 75% of the neurons in our brains process visual information. The old cliché of a picture being worth a thousand words continues to hold true in the digital world and in the business context.
THE ART OF VISUAL STORYTELLING
Imagery is powerful but slapping a random photo beside your copy won’t give you much results. Instead, consider how your image can evoke curiosity or highlight your key message. These are the best practices that we live by:
- Skip the stock photos whenever possible
- Avoid photos that are random or do not add value to the subject
- Never go image-less
- Be mobile-friendly in your cropping of images
- Use infographics and colourful charts to call-out important statistics
In the Singapore context, when using images of people, opt for a multi-racial approach that reflects the country’s diversity — just be careful to avoid racial or religious stereotyping.
RICH MEDIA, rich results on LinkedIn
- POSTS CONTAINING IMAGES: 94% more views + 98% higher comment rate
- POSTS CONTAINING VIDEOS: 3X more in-bound links
Bring it Together on LinkedIn
With Singapore’s penchant for all things digital, it’s no wonder that its people are taking really well to LinkedIn. A sizeable proportion of Singapore’s well-educated knowledge workforce is already building connections and sharing knowledge on this platform, making it a treasure trove of targets waiting to be engaged!
- 300,000+ LinkedIn Members in Singapore
- 2,200,000+ members with 13+ years experience
- 270,000+ Business Decision Makers
- 100,000+ members with regional responsibilities
- SINGAPORE MEMBERS WITH 1,000+ FOLLOWERS: 1.8X HIGHER THAN GLOBAL AVERAGE
Tap on LinkedIn to generate awareness, establish thought leadership, drive targeted website traffic, generate leads and create advocacy for your brand.
Base your content hub here through a Company Page or dedicated Showcase Pages for specific products or purposes, and distribute compelling content through Sponsored Content and other advertising avenues. The platform’s rich data sources and advanced targeting capabilities allow you to define our audience with precision so that your marketing dollar is only spent on those who matter.
SINGAPORE’S TOP 10 INDUSTRIES as represented on LinkedIn
- INFORMATION & TECHNOLOGY SERVICES
- FINANCIAL SERVICES
- OIL & ENERGY
- HIGHER EDUCATION
- COMPUTER SOFTWARE
- HOSPITAL & HEALTHCARE
- MARKETING & ADVERTISING
Win with Content Marketing on LinkedIn
Expand the Reach of Your Content
If you develop great content, but no one sees it, what’s the point? Or what if tons of people see it, but none of them are the right people for your business? Don’t post your content and hope for the best — promote it to make sure it’s seen by your target audience.
Use: Sponsored Content
LinkedIn Sponsored Content is native to the browsing experience, appearing directly in members’ feed without interrupting the stream of content. It allows you to select specific targeting criteria (such as demographic filers) to reach the right people at the right time, with the right content.
You can also use continuous tracking to monitor impression and engagement metrics, and instantly fin-tune your posts and strategy for optimal results — which brings us to our next point…
Do: Test, Personalise and Control
Using the Direct Sponsored Content feature in Sponsored Content, you can personalise and test content in the newsfeed without posting on your LinkedIn Company Page. This is ideal if you have many different business units — it allows them to distribute specific content without cluttering your Company Page. Another thing you should always do is to test and retest your content in real time until you get the results you want. On LinkedIn, you can A/B test headlines, imagery and call to action with ease.
OVER 50% of the content INTERNET users in Asia Receive FROM Brands IS Irrelevant to them
- For optimal results, sponsor two to four updates at any time to maximise your reach to your target audience, run each campaign for at least three weeks and have clear call-to-actions that state what people will get when they click on your link.
- Turn on Audience Expansion on LinkedIn, a feature that increases the reach of your campaign by showing your ads to audiences with similar attributes to your target audience.
Amplify Through Influencers
Aligning yourself with a recognised name or brand can offer a big credibility boost. It helps build presence on a much larger scale, and more quickly, than you could do on your own. Here are three simple steps for getting influencers to amplify the reach of your content.
IDENTIFY THE RIGHT INFLUENCERS
These are role models and thought leaders in the industry. If you’re not sure where to start, try LinkedIn’s Power Profiles in Singapore. It’s a published list of the most-viewed CEOs and leaders in the country each year. These are people who have established a clear professional identity by sharing their insights and expertise and have been recognised as a source of inspiration to other professionals — a great place to start sourcing for your next influencer. Given Singapore’s petite size, you may also want to consider influencers with wider geographical reach whom you can engage on a regional level.
CULTIVATE A CONNECTION
Start building a relationship by engaging influencers. Tap into the power of reciprocity and share their content, comment on their posts and like their updates. You can also leverage relationships that your senior leadership may have with thought leaders across your industry.
INVITE THEM TO PARTICIPATE
Make it easy for influencers to help you — tell them what post to share and how to share it. You can also invite them to contribute content but keep it short and simple, like limiting yourself to fie interview questions for them to answer.
Prove the Value of Your Content Marketing
Once your content engine is humming nicely, you need to measure impact and identify future actions.
Define success metrics at the star
Here’s where it pays to have carefully defined content marketing goals. Tracking specific metrics such a post engagement and call-to-action click-through rate will make it simple to measure and prove the value of your content marketing. Of course, the metrics you measure depends on how you define success for your campaign. LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content comes built with a couple of ways that you can gain insight into the performance of each post:
- Content Engagement
- Cost Per Lead
Define actions based on results
While all that data is valuable, it’s useless unless you act on the insights it gives you.
You can experiment with ways to increase your follower base among professionals by targeting a specific Job unction with relevant news and information. Employee advocacy is also a powerful tool that continues to be underutilised — invite your employees to share your company’s content with their own professional network, making sure that their posts also include a call-to-action that can bump up your click-through rate.
2x higher CTR when employees share content(rather than companies)
Monitor and Optimise
By using metrics on LinkedIn to help optimise your campaigns, you can gain an advantage by ensuring that your content resonates with your target audience. Keep a close eye on the results each campaign is producing and make small tweaks along the way to optimise, optimise, optimise!
Top three testing tips
Run multiple creatives
At least four for major campaigns to figure out which is the best performer and shift spending onwards it.
Set campaigns to “Rotate Variations Evenly” for testing
While there is an automated optimisation available on LinkedIn, have the platform serve each variation evenly without weighting for performance; this will give you more meaningful data.
Create unique tracking parameters
Make sure there is a way to easily attribute traffic from each of your campaign variations. Using unique trackable URLs to your landing page enables you to determine which variation is more effective at driving conversions.
Checklist for content marketing success
Content is fueling every aspect of your marketing mix today. Succeed with content and you’ll effectively create an integrated, results-producing marketing strategy that achieves your brand’s objectives, in Singapore and elsewhere. Delivering relevant content at every turn can be challenging but remember:
- DOCUMENT your goals
- IDENTIFY your ideal customer and develop buyer personas
- Understand and respect the Singapore context
- Decide what conversations and topics you want to own
- Develop an editorial calendar and map content throughout the buyer’s journey
- Produce a Big Rock, then chisel it into smaller pebbles
- Publish to your LinkedIn Company and Showcase Pages
- Get Visual with your posts
- AMPLIFY your reach with LinkedIn Sponsored Content, an influencers programme and employee advocacy
- Measure your results and optimise your campaigns for maximum impact
Do that and, as we say in Singlish, your Content Marketing Programme would be ‘ho seh liao’ (all good)!