Content marketing is constantly evolving.
We’ve already seen the impact that new technology has had on the digital space, and the way that brands connect with customers is changing every day.
The only thing that’s certain to remain is that content marketing is still king.
There’s a reason why Seth Godin, one of the thought leaders in the content marketing industry, says that it’s the “only marketing left.” Today’s consumers are no longer converted by the same-old boring strategies of days gone by.
People want real, authentic connections with their brands.
That’s where content marketing comes in.
However, no-one can doubt the effectiveness of content marketing. The tools and tactics we use in this industry are constantly changing.
Here’s what you can expect going forward.
1. Discovering the Value in Visuals
Visual content is set to continue its growth.
Today’s consumers need something beautiful to attract their attention in an age of information overload. Visual social media platforms reign supreme among younger users, with tools like Instagram and YouTube leading the way into the future.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that the possibilities of visual content are likely to evolve from now on. For example, companies can create their own distinct snapchat lenses for AR, or get involved with the Facebook Spark AR studio.
At the same time, we’ve still got all the impact of video to think about. 80% of consumers say that they typically switch between Google and video when looking for products to buy. What’s more, over 50% of consumers believe that online video has helped them to decide which brand or product they should buy too.
To improve your content marketing:
- Spend more time playing with graphics: Share infographics on social media or upgrade your Instagram strategy to give your brand a visual impact.
- Explore new technology: Don’t be afraid to branch out into the new lanes of content available, including AR/VR and 3D video. They’ll have a huge impact on tomorrow’s digital marketing trends.
- Invest in video: Get involved with video wherever you can. You can explore everything from live content to video clips and behind-the-scenes social media snippets.
2. Building Focused Content Strategies
The random acts of content need to stop.
Companies have to quit wasting time and effort on producing blogs, videos, and podcasts that just aren’t working for their brand. Instead, you need to focus on finding out what’s really going to deliver results for you.
So, how do you do that?
Google published a blog in the Webmaster Central hub in August 2019 about the concept of “EAT” for search engine growth. In other words, if you want to make an impact, you need content that delivers “Expertise, Authority, and Trust”.
Focusing on delivering EAT to your target audience will help to drive better results through higher search rankings, more traffic, and even greater conversions.
For example, you can show your “Expertise” by producing an in-depth study about a popular topic in your niche. In fact, I used this content strategy to build up my “Expertise” in the digital marketing niche with this study about a popular Google marketing topic.
On the other hand, you don’t have to limit yourself to blogging or an in-depth research topic. You could produce podcast content to demonstrate your authority, by showing that you have connections with other influencers and market leaders. If you can host Q&A sessions with leaders in your space, then you’ll instantly build your own credibility.
Finally, with video, you can help audiences to trust you by showing them the human beings behind your brand. Insights into behind-the-scenes operations. Even a quick image of your team posted on Instagram can make a huge impact.
3. Mapping Your Customer Journey
In a similar vein to content strategizing, today and tomorrow’s content marketers need to think more carefully about the journeys their customers go through.
By understanding who your target audience is, you can improve your chances of speaking to them on their level. That’s far more impactful than producing and publishing random content.
90% of the most successful content marketers achieve their success because they put their audience’s need for specific information above their promotional message.
The good news is that it’s becoming increasingly easy to collect information about your audience. You can start by asking your sales teams to collect some of the questions and experiences that are shared with them by customers. There’s also plenty of opportunities to gain feedback from polls, online forums and testimonials too.
The more you can learn about your customers and what they need from your business, the more you can deliver content that speaks to them and delivers true value. Additionally, the content that really hits the bullseye with what customers need is also the stuff that ranks first with Google.
Update your research by:
- Using digital tools to collect data: Use things like Google analytics and social media tools to track how your customers are engaging with you, and what captures their attention.
- Asking questions: Actually speak to your target audience. Host polls and competitions give people discounts in exchange for feedback or ask them directly.
- Conduct case studies: Ask some of your biggest clients to work with you on a case study so you can get a real insight into how your solutions have benefited them. This will also give you an opportunity to create some great content as Fabrik brands did here:
4. Combining New and Existing Content Strategies
We’re likely to see a number of exciting new content opportunities on the horizon. We’ve already mentioned the increasing value of video and AR technology, for instance. Another major emerging trend is voice search.
Podcasts are growing increasingly relevant, and smart speaker adoption means that people are spending more time searching for “conversational” content online.
In the age of Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, if you can present voice-activated content to your audience, then you can access a brand-new avenue for engagement. In 2019, most of the high-ranking voice activated content created for clients was rooted in helpfulness and information. As consumers get more comfortable in this landscape, we’ll be able to dive a lot deeper into voice trends. For the meantime, concentrate on:
- Answering questions quickly and concisely: This will help you to appear in the top spots of the search results when people ask their speakers questions. It can also ramp up your chances of appearing in “position zero” with the search engines.
- Write conversationally: Unless you’re publishing a whitepaper, there’s no need to be overly scholarly with your content. Try being a bit more human with the way you write.
- Get to know your audience’s language: Figure out what kind of questions your customers are asking, and how they’re asking them.
While you’re investing in new forms of content development, however, don’t forget to concentrate on the stuff that still works. Written content hasn’t lost its sparkle yet – particularly when it comes to list-focused posts and easy-to-read content.
Additionally, long-form pieces and guides are particularly valuable to people in search of authoritative topics. Many of the leading pieces of content on search engines are several thousands of words long:
5. Updating Your Distribution Strategy
Last but not least, if you haven’t updated the way you promote and distribute your content for a while, now could be the time to change all that.
It’s more important than ever to make sure that you’re reaching your customers through the right avenues. For instance, 85% of marketers use social media tools to promote their content. Not only is social media incredibly popular, but it comes with a host of useful data too.
Social media analytics allows users to collect data from multiple networks and platforms and identify how audiences share and engage with content from your brand.
Social media is also an incredibly valuable way to take advantage of the benefits of user-generated content. 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than branded content. If you can find out what inspires your audience to share information, then you can help your customers to do some of your promotion for you.
Just look at how Lush supports its own community on Instagram:
At the same time, remember to experiment with things like email marketing for promotion too. Consumers are 75% more likely to open content from segmented campaigns than non-segmented campaigns. Your chances of results accelerate drastically when you get specific and target your audience across all platforms from email to Facebook targeting.
While the content marketing industry is always changing, one thing that companies can be rest assured of is the fact that content will always be valuable to their brands. According to the Content Marketing Institute report, 95% of companies are committed to content marketing on some level, and the passion for the industry remains strong.
Are you ready to stay ahead of the competition?
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