Marketing in China: Tips for content that your Chinese audience will love

Savvy Western brands will invariably know that content lies at the heart of every successful marketing campaign. But crafting content for a Western audience can be challenging enough – especially in a highly fragmented, diverse, competitive marketplace. How can Western brands successfully deliver engaging content to a new audience in China; one with distinct needs, wants, preferences and interests?

To be successful at marketing in China, it is essential to really get under the skin of what makes your target Chinese customer tick. This means investing heavily in research and insight that will allow you to be intelligent and focused in your content – achieving desired objectives and returns, rather than wasting time and effort on a digital marketing campaign that disappears into the ether!

Firstly though, why is content marketing so important?

5 reasons to invest in Chinese content marketing

1. Effective Chinese content marketing drives relevant traffic to your Chinese website
2. It creates leads to follow up on
3. It positions you as a trusted expert and lead brand in your market
4. It provides opportunities for social media engagement
5. It gives your brand a compelling, authentic voice that your customers want to engage with.

This topic is a broad one, and it certainly helps to have the expertise of a Chinese digital marketing agency when navigating Chinese content marketing. But in this blog, we will share some useful tips for content to get you started in the right direction!

1. Start with your target user persona

Who is your Chinese customer? One of the most useful tips for content is to really understand the needs, wants and desires of this customer. Build a persona which answers the key questions. For example, where does your Chinese customer spend time online? What does she want from your product? What is his awareness of your brand? What things entertain and engage her? How can you solve his needs in a fresh, unique and compelling way… and stand out from the competition? This stage will require deep-dive research and analysis, using relevant and fresh data.

2. Think, context and value

Content marketing requires your brand to provide valuable, insightful and educational content that positions your brand as the natural go-to for your product or service offer. It needs to elevate you from the competition. Here, context is key. That sense of value will depend by audience, circumstance and market so you’ll need to define this carefully. Tell your customer something that they want to know – rather than something your brand wants to say. Look to educate, inform and delight your customer – and pique their interest to the point where they visit your website!

3. Think, channel and campaign

China’s social media platforms are vast and booming, so your content will need to be crafted with the end platform in mind. For example, you might need a mix of written content, image content and video content. Some may need to be long-form and some may need to be short and sharp. Your brand may need content that sits on social sites such as WeChat, Weibo and Douyin AKA TikTok, as well as content for its website, for its blog, and for partner sites and platforms. Press content may also be needed, as well as advertorials and thought leadership pieces, amongst others.

Look at the objectives and scope of your Chinese digital marketing campaign to inform your content marketing requirements. By looking at your campaign holistically, and with all of its distribution channels in mind, it becomes far easier to assess what is needed.

4. Use localisation services

The Chinese market is vast and hugely disparate. It is also changing at a rapid pace, and younger generations often have very different influences, experiences and ambitions to older generations. The middle classes are booming and the market as a whole is informed and sophisticated, heavily online and ready to research product buying decisions and to seek out reviews and recommendations. Western content needs to be localised for Chinese customs, socio-economic factors, cultural factors and other key variables. It needs to be optimised for each digital channel and for the mobile experience. Whether you are repurposing Western content through translation or creating fresh and targeted Chinese content, a Chinese marketing agency can ensure that you get it right, first time.

5. Be creative!

Chinese audiences love quirky, engaging, fun and interesting digital marketing campaigns. Look at luxury brands which are creating complex and immersive online experiences for their Chinese customers, who enjoy quizzes, games, competitions, shareable content, and the cachet of high-end and aspirational Western brands. For example, Yves Saint Laurent used WeChat to create a ‘Kissing Habits’ survey which captured users’ star sign and gender. Users then received their tailored results and a personalised lipstick recommendation from the latest collection. The campaign was extended with ‘A Time To Kiss’ mini-films featuring different couples sharing their love stories; each tied to a colour from the lipstick brand. A competition encouraged fans to tag friends for a chance to win a lip gloss, to extend campaign content reach.

6. Measure and repeat

Always use analytics to see how effective your content is, and don’t be afraid to repurpose it and share it again if you haven’t seen the expected result from a certain post or share. For example, your release timing may need adjustment to when more of your target audience are online. Market Me China can assist you with these parameters as part of your Chinese digital marketing campaign strategy, creation and delivery.

8. Use an expert agency

There is no doubt that Chinese content marketing can be challenging. Cultural references that work in the West may fall flat in China or even offend. Jokes, symbols, colours and numbers are all elements which must be used sensitively and with insight and understanding. The elusive Chinese customer must be truly understood and appreciated in order to engage with them and secure their custom and loyalty. At the same time, engagement through content must be managed and Chinese speaking brand representatives must be on hand to answer queries, funnel leads and manage the resulting engagement activity with interested potential customers. To do this quickly and effectively, Market Me China provides a team of Chinese digital marketing experts who can support Western brands in their content marketing efforts.

Whatever your desired outcome and objectives, our team of native and UK Chinese marketing professionals have the necessary expertise, skillsets and content needed to get your content in front of the right Chinese customers – and in a way that will engage them and secure that conversion. Please contact us to find out how we might help you, and we will be delighted to assist.