What Content Marketers Can Learn from China's WeChat

What Content Marketers Can Learn from China’s WeChat

by Spencer Smith

4 minute read

If you haven’t already heard, the unthinkably popular app WeChat dominates life in China.

Here in the States, we mostly depend on apps with singular purposes. There’s Lyft to get us around, Instagram to curate our lives, Seamless to order food. We’re trained to toggle between applications.

It’s not like that in China. There’s just WeChat, an app that encompasses virtually every task one would want to perform. From sharing photos to booking dog groomers and everything in between, the app monopolizes daily life in the country.

To get a better sense of what that looks like, check out this video from the New York Times:

As a content marketer, why should you care about this?

Because keeping your visitors within your owned spaces at all times will lead to higher conversions. The more time people spend on your owned spaces, the less likely they are to consider competitors – and the more likely they are to make a purchase from you.

That may sound obvious. And it’s true that content marketers try to create content for every stage of the marketing funnel: top, middle, and bottom. But in reality, most of us are not specifically striving to keep people within our domains at all times. Beyond guiding people towards your offering, you should teach, train, and engage with them throughout their whole learning processes on each of your owned channels: email, website, blog, in-person events.

On WeChat, this actually happens. The app owns every stage of the customer journey for companies across most industries. 

Say I’m a student approaching my college graduation. I don’t have a job lined up, but want to start preparing to pay off my student loans. I run a quick search to learn about my options and land on your page offering to have me “speak to a representative.”

Great. I’m on your site and in front of bottom-of-funnel content. But this is the first time I’ve ever thought of paying off my loans. There’s no chance I’m going to talk to that representative. However, I’m in your target audience and seeking to learn more.

This is where the WeChat model can influence how we build our content marketing destinations. We can ensure that if someone is not ready to talk to a representative (or commit to whatever final action we’re driving people towards) there are obvious opportunities for people to start or continue their journeys – no matter where they are in the process.

Let’s stick with the student loan example. Maybe you’re offering solutions to my problem, but I need answers to some questions first: “How do I start talking with my guardians about my student loans?” “What if I don’t get a job after I graduate?” “What are the top five things I should start doing to prepare for my payments?” Don’t let other people pull me into their domains by not answering these questions within yours. By catering to these peripheral ideas, you’re gaining my trust and loyalty.

Start by diversifying your content formats. Articles are important, so don’t walk away from this post thinking I’ve advised you to cut down on the number of articles you’re posting. However, consider creating pieces like infographics, quizzes, videos, photo essays, to name a few. You don’t even necessarily have to create new content. You can repurpose existing articles, whitepapers, or whatever else you already have.

Say you’re in the energy space and trying to drive people to adopt more energy-conscious behaviors. Think about creating a quiz along the lines of “Answer These 10 Questions and We’ll Tell You What Kind of Energy Consumer You Are.” By providing somewhat custom answers, you’re approaching visitors as humans and not just numbers in your data pool with a one-size-fits-all background.

Let’s be real. WeChat’s capabilities are insane. It’s unlikely that any one content marketing program is going to envelop the culture of a region let alone country.

However, I have no doubt one could reign over a specific field. Diversify your content, answer the questions you might not be answering, and keep people in your owned channels.

As author Nelson Boswell once said, “Here is a simple but powerful rule: Always give people more than they expect to get.”

Teach your audience more than they knew they had to learn. And don’t let them run into a dead end when they think they’ve learned everything you have to teach.


Spencer Smith is an Enterprise Account Manager at NewsCred.