The Ultimate Guide to Creating Awesome Content - Ayal Steiner from Outbrain

Ayal is the Managing Director of Outbrain APAC. He first established Outbrain in Australia and New Zealand and launched Outbrain in partnership with key publishers and brands back in 2012. Since joining Outbrain, Steiner has been leading Outbrain’s vision to get great content discovered by a highly engaged audience.

And here are his 5 questions with CAS16.

1. Share your favorite content marketing brand and why?

Great content marketing is not about the products and brands that we are trying to sell – it’s about engaging with target audiences in a relevant and valuable way.

One of my favourite campaigns is a series of short films created by ANZ Bank to support its equality initiatives. Titled #equalfuture, the campaign highlighted the need for better systems in place to support women, for organizations to explore what can be done to build an equal future. Their consistency in using content to convey strong messages has positioned them well so far in the gender equality space.

Earlier this year for instance, the brand also got behind International Women’s Day and launched a social case study emphasising the gender pay gap in Australia. It is very clear that as a brand, ANZ is committed to this gender equality agenda – whether it be related to pay, leadership roles – in very emotive and thought-provoking ways.

2. What are the three pillars of awesome content?

Sticking to a brand identity

Ensuring a consistent voice across owned assets to convey a brand story using elements that are related to the brand, i.e. colours, language, tonality and visual elements such as typography. However, remember to strike the balance and not go too far – stay away from ‘branding’ content as far as possible as an over-sell won’t work in your favour.

Capturing the interest moment

With the way media has evolved over the years, it has become harder than ever to win the attention of consumers. Just think about the digital space – consumers are avoiding and rejecting advertising messages like never before; blocking ads, skipping ads and in many cases ignoring ads, especially when they are interruptive and do not provide value.

Speaking from a consumer perspective, brands need to move beyond interruption in order to win my attention. They need to reach me at the right moment with the right delivery and ultimately provide value beyond an ad message. In other words, attention is the new currency.

In today’s digital world, there really are only three opportunities or three moments where you can truly capture your audience’s attention. The first is the moment of Intent. In this moment, users are after specific nuggets of information and will search to find useful information that addresses their query.

Then there is the Influence moment. This is where audiences go online to interact with family, friends or follow their favourite brands and celebrities. This of course happens on social platforms.

The third moment, where huge amounts of time and attention are allocated to, is the Interest moment. This is when we’re online browsing the web, viewing videos, reading the news and trying to discover content that interests us.

This is Discovery and as you’ll see at Click Asia Summit, Outbrain owns this moment.

Together these three moments are your “prime time” and unless you have an effective strategy across all three you will struggle to gain your audience’s attention.

Having a robust content distribution strategy

Creating good content, and publishing it online is not enough for it to get noticed at its full potential. One of the golden rules of content marketing is to strategically get content in front of the right consumer, or run the risk of it falling on deaf ears. In order to get specific content noticed, the final step in the content creation process – promotion – must be managed well.

The challenge however, is selecting which distribution channels to use based on your content marketing goals. Outbrain Amplify, for instance, extends the reach of your content to audiences on premium publishers that might not have been searching for your content in the first place – essentially creating opportunities for nurturing new users.

3. An insight in content marketing that you find priceless?

The real magic in content marketing lies in its distribution. After all, as we mention in what we like to call the ‘Outbrain Haiku” – “If you wrote a blog and no one came to read it, did you write a blog?” With so much content out there these days, creating great content is really only half the battle. Getting your content amplified and discovered by the right people at the right time is critical. So if there’s one investment you want to make in your content marketing strategy – make it on the discovery platforms.

4. One thing that you absolutely love about your job?

I’ll give you two – the people, and the speed at which things change.

I love meeting new people every day, discussing new ways to solve marketing challenges, and discovering the many opportunities that digital media presents for brands to better-engage with their audience like never before. I learn something new every day.

Each day is like a part of a puzzle – and I can’t wait to piece it together!

5. 1 reason attendees must not miss your session

Typically brands have used content marketing an effective tool to drive their target audience towards content. But as content marketing evolves, we’re now seeing more brands using it throughout the full-funnel – from awareness, to consideration and finally, conversion.

How are they doing that? From long-form video engagement, right through to performance buys that deliver leads, sales and ROI. So far, Search and Social are both considered as effective, established channels for marketers because they are in-feed and cultivate an opt-in environment where audiences are invited to commit their attention. On the other hand, marketers have struggled to drive the same efficacy with ad formats, as they are interruptive and offer little value – think pop-ups, takeovers, and banners.

With the emergence of content discovery, marketers now have the opportunity to genuinely capture audiences’ attention by being in-the-feed and delivering value in an opt-in manner, where audiences make the pro-active choice to engage with content. And I’m going to show marketers how at #CAS16.

Ayal Steiner is a speaker at Click Asia Summit 2016, the Largest Digital Transformation and Marketing Event in Asia (April 21-22, Taj lands End, Mumbai)

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