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 can no longer guarantee that customers will flock into 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 favourite 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.
Content marketing is communicating with your customers without necessarily selling to them and driving customer engagement or action. A large part of this type of marketing is establishing trust and creating an emotional connection between customers and your brand.
Payfort, the online payment gateway provider in the Middle East, are a prime example of a business hitting the right note 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 where they feature local entrepreneurs.
Nardeen Abdalla, Payfort’s Marketing Director said “The leads we get from content marketing are 3 times more qualified – serious and a with a higher potential to close – then other channels. 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 realise the power of engagement, Arabic content still has vast potential due to a previous lack of producers. This is, however, is starting to change.
Waseem Afzal, Executive Director of Integrated Solutions at OMD says “Recent research states 60% of the marketers plan to increase investments in content marketing in the Arab region in 2016. 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, Diwanee, which puts Arabic content at 10% of the total content being consumed in the region”.
Whilst content marketing is the new holy grail of marketing it’s not without its challenges. Content needs to be truly 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 on 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 start up or even an established SME having these skills in house on a permanent basis may not be cost effective. A more logical solution is to use a freelancer or a team of freelancers to produce tailor made, quality content and then amplify the message across various platforms.
To get started on your content marketing journey there are several steps you need to take.
- The two most important things you need to do are define your goals and your ‘why?’ as in, why are you in business? The most successful companies don’t just answer ‘what’ they do, they also know ‘why’ they do it.
- Next you need to build your content plan using research and case studies.
- Establish your target audience. The best content marketing speaks to a specific audience rather than targeting 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.
Nabbesh can help with several or all of the above stages by providing a raft of local specialists across the MENA region. 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 and a marketing analyst to interpret your campaign results, we can provide all of these experts and many more. Post your requirements. We’d love to listen to your story.