In the next decade, seeing companies based in coworking spaces will no longer be surprising. In January, South China Morning Post reported that Asia Pacific is now the fastest growing flexible office space market in the world with an estimated 8,600 locations across the region. By 2030, as much as 30 percent of office spaces in Southeast Asia alone may be flexible ones, according to real estate services firm JLL.
One of the major drivers of the industry’s growth are corporate firms, which are now seeing the value in spaces once considered as exclusively made for startups and freelancers. Not only are they cheaper than most traditional office spaces, but coworking spaces also provide flexibility and signal a more innovative company for traditional firms.
Suddenly, the industry has a vast market to cater to. This may be a boon or a bane for coworking space operators, depending on how they play their cards. With a larger market comes the imminent stiffer competition.
One strategy that may help operators stand out is by strengthening its content marketing efforts, a form of inbound marketing. More than half of marketers around the world have seen a greater return on investment (ROI) in this strategy than in outbound marketing, according to Hubspot’s latest Inbound Marketing Report.
In general, outbound marketing aims to attract the general public as a whole, while inbound marketing targets specific markets through valuable content.
Office marketplace Flyspaces, one of the early champions of coworking spaces in Southeast Asia, has uniquely positioned itself not just as a one-stop-shop for workspaces, but also for industry market insights, too. It has a regularly updated blog and an e-magazine, both of which largely cover topics that will pique the interest of startups and small businesses, from how-to guides to thorough discussions. Occasionally, the startup releases industry studies based on its available data in the platform.
Showcasing its expertise in real estate has helped Flyspaces become a reputable brand in both the flexible and traditional office space. These efforts are simultaneous to the business’ growth, factors that may have helped the company gain a following online and offline. The startup’s Facebook page now has over 26,000 likes, while its CEO, Mario Berta, has become a common fixture in business summits and forums across the region.
It’s a prime example of how a startup can build credibility with specialized and valuable content that is relevant to the market it hopes to attract. And it’s a strategy that can benefit coworking spaces, too.
Below we list some of the ways coworking spaces may apply an effective content marketing strategy, and why it could be beneficial for them in the long run.
Perhaps the most commonly used form of content marketing is the publication of blog stories on company websites. It’s the perfect platform for coworking spaces to showcase their expertise. Coworking spaces may publish a list of must-see events for budding entrepreneurs for example, or it can be even as complex as a market study. The keywords here are “potential clients” so best to invest in producing content that may be of value to them in contrast to churning blog posts every day that will not get the leads your space would want to gain.
By writing about the topics its potential clients or tenants may be interested in, the coworking space operator builds the reputation of a trusted and reliable service. According to Hubspot, clients usually engage with three to five pieces of content before it talks to a sales representative.
The Hive, one of the largest coworking chains in the Asia Pacific with 21 locations, went on and produced a business lifestyle e-magazine altogether, releasing two issues a month online. The magazine, titled “The Hive Lifestyle” has somehow made a life of its own, completely establishing itself as a separate entity as the magazine has created a following in the entrepreneurial scene in Hong Kong. Still, it also features stories from the other countries the brand is based in, as it has also locations in Australia, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan.
It’s no secret that coworking spaces love holding events and talks inside its premises. It can further take advantage of these efforts by creating visual content out of them—be in the form of videos, posters, or photos—materials that may eventually be published on social media pages. This not only helps the coworking space build a reputable brand online but also provides members with an additional platform to market their brand.
One of the most prominent coworking spaces in Southeast Asia, Hubba, does this with a profile series posted on its official Facebook page. Entitled “Humans of Hubba”, the series features different tenants, at times, even employees of the coworking space chain.
By helping its members gain influence, the coworking space is investing in their potential to be success stories themselves, which could create a lasting impact on the brand. Imagine being the first home of the region’s next unicorn. It’s a minimal investment that can turn priceless in the long run. Besides, which startup doesn’t like free publicity?
To Follow the Market
One of the best ways to reward clients for their support is by producing content that is relevant to their business or career. Just make sure that the content is published and marketed properly. Take advantage of the available platforms like Medium for blog posts, and LinkedIn and Facebook to engage with the community. Instagram and YouTube may be more apt for visuals. Still, it doesn’t mean a brand has to be in all social media spaces all at once. It’s best to experiment until something sticks and works.
The leading coworking space operator in Singapore, JustCo, for example, made sure it has established a presence in three major social platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook and even Instagram. But it publishes most of its content on LinkedIn where it enjoys the biggest audience with more than 15,000 followers. The brand isn’t letting go of its other accounts entirely, but it focuses much of its effort in the space it knows is being watched.
No matter how great a coworking space may be, it wouldn’t sell itself on its own. A well-executed content marketing strategy can do wonders for a brand that wants to stand out in a saturating industry.