The battle for the consumer’s attention has never been harder fought than it currently is. The days of buying a print ad, an outdoor billboard placement or even a 30 second TV spot are long gone, and those strategies can no longer guarantee that customers will flock to your store, visit your site or buy your product.
The increasing fragmentation of the media scene coupled with a growing resistance to even notice ads means that reaching your potential customers is now tougher than it’s ever been. People download their favorite shows and watch them concurrently with no breaks. They install ad blocking software in order to browse uninterrupted online and print circulations are falling fast. With thousands of companies using the same channels to reach the same consumers, there’s an increasing need to cut through the noise and stand out. Enter content marketing.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a method of communicating with your customers without necessarily selling to them or driving customer engagement or action. A large part of this type of marketing is establishing trust and creating an emotional connection between your brand and its customers.
Payfort, the online payment gateway provider in the Middle East, is a prime example of a business hitting the right notes when it comes to content marketing. They regularly issue the State of Payments Report which positions them as a market leader in online payments and educates the market about the size and potential of the industry. They also have a very active blog on which they regularly feature local entrepreneurs.
“The leads we get from content marketing are 3 times more qualified – serious and with a higher potential to close – than other channels,” said Nardeen Abdalla, Payfort’s marketing director. “Offering our target audience relevant, consistent content is the key to always be top of mind.”
Although content marketing is now becoming commonplace as more and more brands realize the power of engagement, Arabic content still has vast potential due to a previous lack of producers. This, however, is starting to change.
“Recent research states [that] 60% of marketers plan to increase investments in content marketing in the Arab region in 2016,” says OMD Executive Director of Integrated Solutions Waseem Afzal. Furthermore, the region has witnessed strong growth (roughly around 300%) in original Arabic content thanks to the efforts of regional powerhouses like UTURN, Kharabeesh, DMS, and Diwanee, which puts Arabic content at 10% of the total content being consumed in the region.”
While content marketing is the new holy grail of marketing, it’s not without its challenges. Content needs to be engaging, authentic and culturally relevant, produced on a regular basis, and the quality needs to be consistently high. It’s not something that can be dashed off at the end of a long day when you’ve just remembered that the blog hasn’t been updated for a few weeks.
There are two approaches to tackling your content marketing strategy. You can hire a full-time copywriter, a seasoned marketer or perhaps a creative director that can conceptualize and execute elaborate content marketing campaigns. However, for a new startup or even an established SME, having these skills in-house may not be cost effective. A smarter solution is to hire a freelancer or a team of freelancers to produce tailor-made, quality content.
To get started on your content marketing journey, there are several steps you need to take:
- Define your goals and ask ‘why?’ as in, why are you in business? The most successful companies don’t just tell their customers ‘what’ they do, but also ‘why’ they do it.
- Build your content plan using research and case studies.
- Establish your target audience. The best content marketing speaks to a specific audience and doesn’t try to target everyone at once.
- Tell your story in the most compelling way possible.
- Build your content marketing team and process.
- Once you’ve put your great content out there, listen and respond to your consumers.
- Evaluate, measure and tweak continuously until you get it right.
Ureed.com can help with several or all of the above stages by providing a raft of local specialists from across the GCC and beyond. Whether you need a writer to craft a compelling story for your blog, a creative director for your next YouTube video, a social media guru to create the distribution strategy for all the great content you’ve now got or a marketing analyst to interpret your campaign results, we can provide the right freelancers for you. Reach out to us now!