Know your audience first. Market to them second.
In an age where instant gratification is at the tip of your finger (literally) via your smartphone, we want to know how content marketing may be used in an effective manner to captivate audiences and attract sales quickly.
Contributing Editor, Saja Elmishri, spoke with Monica Malhotra, the Founder and CEO of The Gaggler, an online publishing platform that aims to enrich women’s thoughts, offer diverse perspectives and ideas and create awareness about insightful topics specific to women. Monica is a passionate entrepreneur always looking for ways to create something with a positive impact. In this special feature Malhotra talks about her journey of starting The Gaggler and what content marketing is really all about.
1. Tell us about the journey establishing The Gaggler aimed at women; did you come across a missing gap in the market that wasn’t available for people in the MENA region?
My journey in establishing The Gaggler stemmed out of my own life experiences. I am a naturally curious person, always reading up on, or now, ‘googling’ topics that I don’t fully understand or that intrigue me. I am also passionate about helping others, particularly helping other women make more conscious and empowered decisions, something I believe is driven by my role as a mother, wife, daughter and working professional. As women, we are pulled in lots of different directions every day and need a safe space where we can inform, educate and inspire each other. So, The Gaggler is an amalgamation of bringing together these elements that define my life – curiosity for knowledge, passion for helping and a drive to build a regional community of women to be the best version of themselves.
2. In your experience, which types of content drive the most conversion on your website?
It really depends on the content itself. Successful content that converts is no longer just about publishing huge quantities or content that is heavily optimized for SEO. The key we have found at The Gaggler is that it’s all about delivering content that is useful, engaging and expert driven. This is what The Gaggler’s 40,000-strong female audience appreciates and seeks out.
Having a point of view with each content piece is also important because our readers want to know what we, The Gaggler or our contributing experts, think about a particular topic. It’s not about publishing content for the sake of publishing. There has to be a clear intention behind the content curation and storytelling to ensure our material is meaningful and resonates with our readers.
We publish content on a wide variety of topics including beauty and wellness which are very popular right now. More and more women are seeking out resources to help alleviate stress and find ways to feel good – both inside and out. We also place a conscious spotlight on sustainability, giving readers tips and advice on how to be kinder to the planet . Our personal stories profiling inspirational women in the region are a particular favourite among our readers, and most recently, we’ve launched our Gaggler Real Girl Reviews to offer authentic and balanced points of view.
3. What is content marketing versus what is not?
Content marketing is a strategic approach to marketing that is focused on conceptualizing, creating and distributing relevant, valuable and consistent content to engage and captivate a specific audience to ultimately influence consumer behaviour. If you remove the words ‘relevant’ and ‘valuable’ you just have content or informational ‘stuff’ that anyone can produce to fill up a web page. With content marketing you are providing truly relevant and useful content to help solve your potential customers with a real need.
Content marketing is NOT simply pitching your brand, products or services and providing cursory information such as price, product details or service timings, etc. There are other mechanisms to deliver this level of messaging to your potential customers.
4. How can brands use strategic content marketing practices to increase bottom line?
A. Work with an online publisher that is credible and in the business of content creation and storytelling. If you choose this route, do ensure that the online publisher has an audience that matches the customers you want to attract for your brand.
B. Hire a team of content marketing specialists to do this in-house. If your brand is well established this may be a good option. You should still consider third party online publishers nonetheless, as they can add to your brand with their particular audience. If you are a start-up or a SME, working with freelancers or an online publisher directly may prove more budget friendly as you can schedule key content pieces at the most optimal times around your planned marketing initiatives.
Whichever route you take – outsource or inhouse – it’s important to ensure you consider ‘content’ in broad terms to get the most out of content marketing. For example, look at the small stories just as much as the big stories related to your brand. Storytelling has changed. Today when you tell your brand story, what your senior management has to say about the brand is just as important as the stories your employees, customers, partners, and community have to share about how they experience your brand. So by thinking about content in both micro and macro units you add greater texture and depth to your brand’s content to tell holistic and authentic stories that have a lasting impact on your business. The largest and most successful brands use content marketing as part of their overall market strategy and there’s good reason for it.
And, then make sure to double-down on the content that works. Leverage your website measurement tools and social media analytics to identify the content that performs the best and do those again, and again. Repurpose your content – you are only limited by your imagination.
5. How can brands advertise in an engaging way via content marketing?
A. Articles or blog posts: When publishing written content (as opposed to say video) the key is to provide information that is valuable and shares expertise. For The Gaggler, we always work towards curating the right experts to share their views on a particular topic to ensure we give our readers a complete and holistic point of view. This helps build your brand’s credibility among your potential customers. Also, consistent publishing and a clear call-to-action is imperative for your potential customer to know what to do after reading your content.
B. Videos: This is an excellent form of content to capture the attention of audiences and engage with them quickly. There are more videos shared on social media than other forms of content. We are seeing more and more brands interested in video content, particularly our Real Girl Reviews – authentic product reviews or how-to tutorial videos are strong drivers.
C. Social Media Posts: There are so many ways to link your other content via social media. You have the option of feed posts, stories and Instagram has just launched reels which is proving to be very popular. Posting on social media – whether on your own account or a third party account – is a popular form of content marketing because you can reach potential customers without them having to look for you. By leveraging communities on social media account pages that your potential customers follow or like, you are able to expand your reach quite easily. It is important to ensure your social media content has a mix of promotional and informational content to engage your potential customers effectively.
6. What can content marketing do for brands that other modes of advertising can’t?
With consumers more savvy and wary of brands than ever before, blatant, in-your-face advertising is a major turn-off for consumers today. Successful brands understand that when consumers make a purchase, they are buying into a company’s values, as much as the product itself. By successfully communicating meaningful brand stories through your content, you take your customers on a journey with you, and they buy into those values as they become part of your tribe. For this to occur, you need to communicate with your target audiences in a meaningful, authentic and engaging way. That’s not something advertising can do very often.
7. Any advice for emerging writers that are wanting to write for your platform?
We have had wonderful contributors who are experts in their fields and share their knowledge with our readers. We are happy to explore new contributors should the opportunity arise on our platform.
About the Editor
UK native Saja is deeply motivated by emerging social and political concerns around sustainability. The young freelance writer enjoys writing about the intersection of sustainability, fashion and social justice.