The growth and reach of digital media over the past decade radically shifted how businesses are promoted and the way they interact with customers.
Chief executives and founders are reachable on social media, and one tweet from a disgruntled client could negatively impact a brand’s image. Marketing evolves every year. But the pandemic changed the way audience members consume information and shop. Digital media, especially social media, became a priority channel to learn more about businesses, read product reviews, and engage employees. Not only did that push companies to up their marketing game, but it magnified the importance of content marketing.
Content marketing involves creating and distributing content for a company's target audience. It takes many forms such as video, infographics, written content, videos, social media posts, e-books, webinars, and podcasts. About 86 per cent of business owners use video content as a marketing tool, compared to 63 per cent in 2017, according to a 2021 Wyzowl's State of Video Marketing survey.
The main reason to produce marketing content in the first place is to connect with your audience and help answer any questions they may have about your brand. By creating content, you slowly build trust, familiarise your audience with your core values and retain customers.
For example, a video series with a founder of a business shared on social media, on the story behind a business, can humanise a brand and help build rapport.
Some 51 per cent of those polled by a Think with Google survey, research a purchase they plan to make online. That means that the more content there is about your company online, whether it's reviews, explainer videos, or research papers, it can influence your customers' decisions.
Content marketing is also a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. If you are a scientist, then publishing articles in science journals could help establish you as an expert and boost your visibility. Depending on your line of business, this could take the form of research papers, writing guest columns, speaking on business panels, or it could be in the form of video.
Dubai based Huda Beauty founder, Huda Kattan, rose to fame and became a beauty expert because of her beauty blog. She leveraged the platform to share product reviews, provided make-up application tutorials and beauty routines. When she launched her cosmetics line a few years later, she had gained enough traction that guaranteed her success. Becoming a thought leader, positions you as an industry expert, promotes your business, and builds trust with your audience.
It is not only about creating marketing content, but to ensure it is engaging enough to be shared. Having your content shared is free advertising and marketing that could lead to sales. Take note of what kind of content is trendy in your field and package it in a way that appeals to your audience.
There are many options when it comes to producing and sharing content, and the decision boils down to understanding your audience and speaking in a language they understand.
For instance, if you are targeting Gen Zers (those born 1996–2012), then leveraging a social media platform like TikTok may be more relevant. US teen users accounted for 32.5 per cent of TikTok's active users, according to figured published by Statista last year.
A good tip to keep in mind is to produce evergreen content, even though it may be hard to maintain all the time, but you want to ensure that as much as you can, your content is always relevant. An interior design agency could share short styling videos, and a marketing expert could share a free e-book on the best way to market a start-up.
As marketing trends evolve, what’s certain is that content marketing is more important this year and businesses should invest in.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi