An AMEinfo inteview with Monica Malhotra, Founder and CEO of The GAGGLER
Monica is a passionate entrepreneur that led her to launch businesses in education and more recently in online publishing.
Before launching The Gaggler, Monica was a generalist with industries ranging from management consulting and pharmaceuticals to real estate and investment banking.
Because of Monica’s expertise in content marketing, AMEinfo sought the following interview to discover the intricate world of creating brand awareness in today’s online marketplace.
1- Should content marketing start with an online presence (website, social media, blogs..)?
Traditional marketing’s effectiveness has waned over the years and forward-thinking brand owners across industries know there has to be a better way to get their message out and increase brand awareness. This is where content marketing comes into play. It is a strategic approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and, most importantly, consistent content to gain interest from a defined audience to drive profitable customer engagement with the brand or its products.
So instead of straight-up ‘selling’ your products (or services) with a big ‘BUY’ sticker all over it, you are FIRST delivering useful content to your prospective or existing customers to help them solve their pain points.
From large multinational brands to SMEs and start-ups, more and more brand owners are looking to invest in content marketing, because it works.
2- How do companies incorporate content marketing into their current frameworks?
In the Middle East, internet penetration is exceptionally high, having grown considerably between 2016 and 2021. The UAE leads the way in terms of internet penetration at 92%, followed by Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain.
Mobile broadband subscriptions are projected to double between 2018- 2024, with mobiles being the favored devices for accessing the internet.
All of this is simply to say that the content landscape will only continue to grow and grow online. Starting out by investing in your online presence, such as creating a website for your brand, is a step in the right direction. Which of the many online and social platforms you start with will depend on who your customers are and what platforms they use.
You want to be where your customers are whether being on Instagram, Facebook, or Tik Tok. Customer insights and competitor analysis will help drive decisions on where to focus your content marketing efforts.
For B2B and B2C content marketing globally, the top 3 content distribution channels are company website, social media platforms, and email. Across social media platforms, Linked In, Twitter, and Facebook lead the way for B2B content marketing, whereas Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube were the frontrunners for B2C content marketing.
3- What are some of the stats driving content marketing?
One of the driving reasons for using content marketing is that the audience you are seeking to target is online. According to Statista, the global digital population stands at just over 4 billion, of which 3.7 billion are mobile internet users and 3 billion are social media users. Content marketing is a great way to reach your audience where they already are.
To attract audiences online, brands typically invest in paid advertising – this can be via social media advertising (such as Facebook or Instagram ads) or using Google ads. Here’s an interesting statistic to consider: 80% of online users ignore paid search results and move straight to organically ranked results.
Other interesting statistics on content used to research and inform purchase behavior (and these statistics are on track to grow):
- 61% of B2C customers made their purchase after reading a blog post. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
- 71% of B2B customers made their purchase after reading a blog post. (Source: Hubspot)
Last but not least, an important consideration for any brand owner: Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing. (Source: Wordstream)
4- Why do SMEs need content marketing the most?
For SMEs and start-ups, content marketing is a real game-changer. The goal of every small business is to build a customer base and create brand loyalty, ultimately driving sales. Without large marketing budgets to draw from, SMEs and startups use content marketing to deliver some of the highest overall ROI. That’s because, unlike paid ads, content marketing provides the audience with something of real value that ‘pulls’ them into the brand, creates brand awareness, and goes a long way towards building trust.
5- How has content marketing changed over the past 5 years?
Overall, we saw the following trends develop:
- Content formats have become shorter (Instagram Reels vs. YouTube videos), but also the type of content format has changed and new formats have come about to cater to busy lifestyles. For example, podcasts are conducive to life-on-the-go. Longer content formats have a different place now…. special features that are more educational or require a deep dive, for example, may warrant an e-book format or a 2,500+ word blog post on your website.
- With mobile device usage increasing astronomically over the last few years, content needs to be mobile-first. If a website is part of your brand’s content marketing strategy, it has to be optimized for mobile devices and the content on your website needs to fit that bill as well. Blog posts should be easily navigable on smartphones. Video content should be readily accessible so that your audience can watch and engage on their mobile devices.
- There is a lot more content produced daily across the globe now than 5 years ago! In a single day, over 4 billion internet users conduct more than 3.8 million google searches per minute and produce over 4PB (that’s a million gigabytes) of Facebook data, and watch over 5 billion YouTube videos. High-quality, valuable and relevant content that resonates with your audience is a must to stand out and make its mark.