In China, as it does elsewhere, story is what sells a product and in this case it's seafood.

Seafood brands that want to succeed in China need to develop unique content strategies that are specific to the Chinese market and fully consider both the opportunities and restrictions that exist. We’ve seen a lot of brands develop incredibly strong seafood content strategies that have been effective in the Western world. But what happens when those same stories, strategies or articles are taken over the Great Wall? More often than not, the results yielded aren’t the same and in fact it can be a huge waste of time and resources.

Here’s 3 insights from China’s digital content marketing landscape that should help your seafood business develop and execute a stronger cross-border content strategy:

1. Telling stories is on the rise - content marketing, and digital marketing in general, in China are generally being led by the influence social media has on the Chinese population. But there is a massive lack in well developed content strategies. In the West, Google’s search algorithm is far more advanced than that of China’s Baidu - the latter of which serves those with the deepest pockets rather than those with better content. What this means is there are a lot of companies with well executed social strategies, who have found success simply by ‘paying more’ for their social web presence.
The same idea of ‘paying more’ for web presence can be seen in the area of key opinion leaders (KOLs). Due to KOLs being such powerful drivers for brand growth in China, a lot of companies have found success by paying for these KOLs’ followers, without actually implementing a high quality content strategy. However, sooner or later, as Baidu’s algorithm becomes more advanced and buyers start to see through relatively shallow KOL and social media marketing, content and storytelling will become the forerunning marketing tactic - a similar pattern to what has already occurred previously in the Western world.

2. There is a need for customised strategies - something that’s been said a lot in the seafood marketing world is that content strategies in the West simply won’t cut it in China. But it’s more than just how the content is written or the subjects written about. A lot of seafood brands have tried and failed, whether it be because of low budget to make customised strategies are a lack in channel know-how. Essentially what it boils down to though is that the West’s Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are an entirely different thing to China’s platforms like Baidu and WeChat. Not only do they behave differently, but the technology applied to, and within, them is completely different. WeChat for instance has become such an integral part of everyday Chinese life that things like payment and banking are handled through the social platform - giving rise to a substantial new area of marketing possibilities. What this highlights though is that no longer can avenues of content marketing be so broad and unfocused - Chinese buyers interact as individuals through the Internet, and so they expect to be treated as such.

3. Paid media isn't going anywhere soon - no other market in the world is more heavily influenced by the role of paid media in content marketing efforts than China. Whether it be to support your seafood’s social media presence or simply to improve your Baidu search ranking, having a portion of your marketing budget allocated to paid media is essential.

There’s an imminent tipping point in China’s e-commerce landscape that’s going to end up with content marketing being the supreme form of cross-border promotion. Regardless of it’s immediate results, using content to promote your seafood in the Chinese market is without doubt the future of your company’s export success.