Content marketing is growing by leaps and bounds each year, and with good reason. The internet surfing public is tired of companies forcing products in their faces when all they’re looking for is some help solving a problem.
And that’s exactly where content marketing enters the picture. When you want to give your readers the information they need without pushy marketing speak or 15 pop-up ads getting in the way. Combine that sense that you’re there to help with a robust social media presence helping direct even more readers to your site, and you start to understand the power of a strong content marketing strategy.
Along with all this growth come some growing pains. Content marketing has to pivot on occasion, just like any new business area, and that can lead to some confusion when you’re just looking to get started. Whether you’re in that “new on the scene” category, or a seasoned pro, we’ve got you covered with 10 content marketing trends to watch for:
#1: Content strategy
At first glance this may seem self-evident; however, the numbers would suggest otherwise. A recent survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute concluded that a staggering 63% of businesses who use content marketing don’t have an actual strategy. That means that over half of the content being put out there has no order, or purpose really, other than bulking up the company’s page count.
That’s bad news for those companies, but great news for you. Do your research, look at your competitors' sites and see if you can find the strategy behind their content. Chances are there isn’t one, so take some of the topics they’re covering and cover them better.
#2: The impending death of click bait
OK, so the rumors may have been exaggerated, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to use click bait-y headlines. Don’t misunderstand, we highly encourage you to use flashy, well written headlines—just be sure your content backs it up. Today’s web searchers will be quick to ditch you if your headlines draw them in, only to find the article either doesn’t match the content they expected, or it’s just full of ads or other paid links.
#3: The rise of the micro-influencer
We’re not saying the days of the influencer are over, just that it’s time to scale down. Instead of trying to get yourself mentioned by one of the few big league influencers (think of the Kardashian of your industry), focus your attention on someone a little more right-sized.
Every industry has a selection of heavy hitters, and every heavy hitter started at scale. Find the people in your sector who are just starting to make waves, keeping it appropriate for your company’s current size and scale, and go after them. Not only will they be easier to get a hold of, they’ll likely be more open to discussion given the exposure you can offer.
#4: It’s time to think about video
With the increasing availability of high-bandwidth connections, especially from mobile devices, has come a correlated uptick in video content. People like being entertained, and when they’re sitting on the bus, or at lunch, looking at their phones, this increasingly means they like videos.
Just remember to keep it short and to the point. People are watching videos to stave off boredom, so don’t turn around and bore them with overly lengthy video content.
#5: It’s also time to think about voice search
Media analytics leader Comscore estimates that by 2020 nearly 50% of Google searches will be by voice. This means more than simply paying attention to your long-tail keywords, since they’re built around historical text search data and not how people speak in the real world. It means optimizing your SEO for the grammatically incorrect spoken sentences people will be using when they ask Siri to find them info.
#6: Mobile-friendly sites will continue to dominate
Closely related to the last item, more and more people are using mobile devices as their primary internet device (at least for non-work related use). So while you’re optimizing your content for easy voice search, put some time into ensuring everything renders correctly on smaller screens. Bonus points for this one, since Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher.
#7: It’s time to go omni
Omnichannel refers to the integration of your presences on social media, your own site, and anywhere else you exist in the virtual world. Make sure your brand voice is consistent on all channels, that your logo is the same and easily identifiable no matter the screen size, and that you link to all the right places at all the right times. Thought about experimenting with a podcast or live-streaming? This is the time to do it!
#8: You better be able to prove your worth
Metrics are on the rise, and with more and more companies wanting to tie revenue results to their content marketing efforts directly, they’ve never been more important to the content marketer. Brand awareness is still a thing to consider; however, it is no longer the be-all-and-end-all that it once was. Now you’ve got to have the hard data to back up your assertions as to the worth of your team’s efforts. Engagements and interactions are set to be the metrics of choice for the future.
#9: AI is coming for you
Just kidding. Well, mostly. Chatbots, automated posting tools and the like are set to revolutionize the content marketing world as they have done in customer service and other areas. These tools won’t be replacing you or your team any time soon. What they will be doing is making your jobs a whole lot easier by taking the rote, mundane, repetitive tasks off your plate so you can focus on the creating side.
The technologies that underpin AI, specifically one called “natural language processing,” has advanced to the point that transactional and FAQ-type interactions can be fully automated. Often without the customer even realizing that they’re talking to a bot.
#10: Remarketing will come into its own
Remarketing is the name given to what used to be called banner ads. Today, when someone visits your site the cookie includes information on which specific article they read and what terms they searched on to get there. Then, if you’re participating in a remarketing program, they will be shown ads for other content related to that initial piece.
It’s important to remember that it takes on average 6-8 touches before an ordinary site visitor converts to a viable lead. Remarketing is a fantastic way to up that touch count without a lot of extra work on your end, since you already have the user data you need to set up a remarketing campaign.
Taking into account these trends, what is often missing is a reference to the old standbys that aren’t going anywhere. Things like refreshing and publishing new evergreen content and optimizing for SEO are stalwart habits that will continue to serve you and your content marketing efforts well going into the future.
Balance is key to all things, and that’s just as true for content marketing as every other aspect of life. For all the “tips and tricks” articles out there, you can find at least 2 others that contradict whatever they say. The real trick is finding a balance between trying the latest and greatest, and sticking with what you know works.
Want to know more about what we know? Get in touch with us!