Q&A With Kunur Patel, Twitter’s Manager of Content Planning
Industry Leaders

Q&A With Kunur Patel, Twitter’s Manager of Content Planning

by Dawn Papandrea

6 minute read

How does Kunur Patel describe her job in tweet form (in 140 characters or less)?

I advise the world’s biggest brands and agencies on how to improve content strategy and creative for Twitter.

kunur patel twitter

In anticipation for Kunur Patel’s panel at NewsCred’s #ThinkContent Tour stop in Chicago on November 12, we caught up with her Q&A style to chat a bit more in-depth about content, Twitter moments, and more.

Tell us about your content marketing background.

As a former reporter for Ad Age, I learned the ropes of always-on content creation and newsroom dynamics. After that, I became the first brand strategist at Percolate, where I helped our clients implement software to power their social content strategies. I also have media buying and planning experience from Starcom. That experience was invaluable in highlighting the importance of distribution and paid media – is great content still great if no one sees it?

What sorts of challenges and goals do brands approach you with, and how do you help them strategize and develop Twitter-friendly content?

Clients come to us when they need to refine their Twitter strategy for a particular goal. For example, some clients want to learn how to connect with people during everyday moments, or create content plans around large events or longer-term campaigns. Others are looking for tips and techniques to up-level the content they already publish on Twitter. We facilitate these discussions and generate ideas through workshops and structured brainstorming. I like to think that we have a lot of fun with it – I bring tons of art supplies and Crayola markers.

What makes Twitter such a great brand platform?

Twitter is an incredible platform because it presents an opportunity for brands to connect with customers during everyday conversations and live events with engaging content.

Let’s start with content. We recently launched Twitter Moments, a new hub in the app that that showcases the best, curated content on Twitter instantaneously. Moments tell stories from a range of perspectives using rich media: photos, videos, Tweets, and Vines. We’ve seen poignant news moments like the South Carolina floods to high-energy sports moments like the MLB Playoffs to moments of wonderment like the Northern Lights. Whatever you’re interested in, Twitter has the most compelling content from around the world: people like you and me, news outlets, celebrities, politicians, and more. And soon, brands will have an opportunity to create their own Moments on Twitter, too.

So it’s about starting or joining in on conversations?

Right. There’s simply no other platform that allows brands to connect with people during live events as effectively as Twitter. From global events like the Olympics or World Cup, or cultural holidays like National Coffee Day, Twitter is where people go to join the conversation and keep a pulse on these events, big or small. And, brands now can reach people Tweeting about (or engaging with Tweets about) an event with just one click through new our event targeting feature.

Brands can connect with people during everyday moments, too. Every single Tweet is a powerful signal of intent or interest that marketers can tap into. For example: everyday, millions of people Tweet about being “hungry.” If you are a food or restaurant brand, there’s no better opportunity for a connection. These moments happen every single day in every vertical or category.

Should brand content be created specifically for Twitter, as opposed to just pushing people out to other existing content?

When creating content specifically for Twitter, mobile is the most important mindset to consider – 80% of our active users are mobile users. That’s why hypnotic looping Vines or live-stream videos on Periscope are critical components of the creative toolbox for marketers. They allow for storytelling crafted with mobile devices for mobile devices.

That said, we understand brands don’t have unlimited creative resources, so we’re all for maximizing the use of existing assets on Twitter. Thanks to tools like video editing, text overlays, image filters, and multi-image cards, brands have a number of creative tools and techniques at their disposal to make content sing in the Twitter timeline. For example, @SamsungMobile recently cut snippets from a longform commercial to create gifs to highlight features of the Galaxy S6.

At the same time, what should brands know in order to avoid a disastrous tweet? Any best practices to share?

It all comes back to the fundamentals: brand voice and brand permission. Your brand’s content should further the brand in some way to communicating a positive attribute or key benefit. Especially when it comes to real-time content, always ask yourself: Where does my brand have permission to play? Does this moment matter to my key audience or demographic? Do we have a sponsorship of this live event? Is this an opportunity to steal share of voice from a competitor? If yes, these are all good indicators to move forward. Then, when it comes to evaluating your content, make sure the brand shines through in a way that’s meaningful, adds value, or a moment of delight.

What are your thoughts on branded content in general, and how Twitter has really helped power and distribute that content?

On Twitter, brands can partner with the world’s best publishers to sponsor content or, in some cases, co-create assets through our Amplify program. Brands can also co-develop content with social creators using Niche, a software platform that connects brands with influencers that have massive followings across channels like Vine. Robby Ayala, a hugely popular Vine creator with 3.4M followers, recently created a highly engaging series of Vines for DiGiorno around football season.

Any interesting examples of brands that really stand out on Twitter on a consistent basis (and why)?

One of my personal favorite brands on Twitter is @Tide. They are masterful at staying true to their brand, and activate against a range of everyday and live moments. Whether they’re tweeting about Game of Thrones, the Super Bowl, or National Bacon Day, Tide always brings their message back to their core benefit:“Tide gets the stain out.” Even though they’re a decades old brand, they stay relevant with influencer programs and fun GIFs for #LaundryDay. They’ve also delivered content as a service with #TideKeepsies, showing people how to turn empty bottles into artful projects.

If you’re hoping to take your Twitter game to the next level, Kunur Patel has many more insights and strategies to share. Follow the #ThinkContent hashtag, and don’t miss her talk in Chicago on November 12.