The content marketing landscape is evolving, and it is important to change with it. Businesses have been focusing more on creating high quality and targeted content which pays off.
Factors that have contributed to their success includes usage of better strategies and increased targets when it comes to content distribution. If you’re looking for future success, it is vital to anticipate trends and to change the behavior of the audience, so you can adjust your strategies accordingly.
Highly targeted content
With an increasing proliferation of content, marketers and content writers are producing highly targeted unique content, customized to different audiences that adapt to different formats. With viewers looking for ways to filter content, they expect more customization and will unsubscribe from any ‘salesy content.
Visual assets are used by 80% marketers in the social media marketing. The abundance of content means a continued trend toward more relevant, media-rich content types where video, photos, GIFs, and infographics are all integrated.
Stories have become one of the most popular forms of content after being introduced on several social media platforms. Due to their popularity, businesses now regularly post stories too.
In this world of multiple audiences and the ability to target and retarget them, automation services from companies, such as Hubspot, allow marketers to create individual content programs for smaller audience segments. Content marketers can meet consumers where they are, rather than firing off generalized content to their entire email list.
Mobile still rules
The amount of time spent on mobiles continues to rise. If you want to reach your audience where they are, your content must be mobile-friendly. Mobile-only networks, like Snapchat, are increasing in popularity. According to Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report 2018, average mobile usage (including both smartphones and tablets) has increased from 0.3 hours per day in 2008 to 3.3 hours a day in 2017.
Content marketers are devoting more time to developing mobile content strategies because people are relying less on their home or work computers. They check emails while traveling in public transport, glance at social media on a tablet during a break, and even schedule meetings directly from smartwatches.
Email campaigns and landing pages must be designed with mobile in mind. Easily digestible, readily available, short-form content is an integral part of a mobile strategy. Images that display at the recommended size that creates square or vertical videos are also part of a mobile-first strategy.
Live streaming is everywhere
A video, especially live video, is being watched everywhere. Many marketers want to create more live video content because it’s less expensive to develop and often more appealing to viewers than other forms of video.
Engagement on Facebook with live video is three times higher than the other video. When Livestream surveyed customers, they found that 80% of respondents would rather watch a live video than reading a blog post. Audiences are looking for a real human connection, and live videos are rich in it.
Live streaming was novel when Facebook Live came into being in 2016. Today, you must do more than just point and broadcast to capture attention. Brands that are successfully using live streaming are managing to tap into feelings of exclusivity and giving viewers access to behind-the-scenes content.
They are leveraging live video to give them an increased sense of engagement that is authentic and unedited – an experience traditional blog posts and static content can’t create.
Artificial intelligence and voice-driven content
Content is all around us, forming an integral part of our daily lives. Where content overload exists, AI makes content production more personalized and predictive.
By 2020, 50% of all searches are expected to be voice searches. Voice search is a growing trend that has various implications towards content. AI-powered voice recognition services, like Siri and Alexa, respond when we talk to them. They provide us with call-and-response content, delivering answers speedily.
For example, Alexa offers content that walks you through an emergency using steps. Content is highly targeted and available to your audience in more formats, right when they need it.
Educational and user-generated content builds trust
Trust takes many different forms. Companies can build confidence by using a material to teach their customers rather than trying to sell their products. User-generated content helps to build trust too, whether it’s in the form of a shared photo or video, an online review or a word of mouth recommendation.
Consumers need to feel that they get the same transparency and authenticity from brands that they get from their peers. It matters less to them what a brand says about itself than that these claims are mirrored by what other people are saying online. As per a survey by TintUp, 75% of respondents claimed that user-generated content makes content more human.
Influential voices in relevant communities often write the content with a significant impact. They tend to offer the type of recommendations customers are looking for.
By providing interactive training, educational videos and podcasts, trust in your brand that grows because you’re helping cut through the bombardment of information to deliver real value to people, even before they’ve made a purchase.
The top three types of content internet users want to see, according to a HubSpot behavior survey, are social posts, news articles, and video. This isn’t surprising, but the ever-changing habits of users are. Blogs have dominated the content world for years, but now consumers want more online courses, research content, and interactive tools.
A custom-content journey through the sales funnel
Content marketing will continue to be the cornerstone of all marketing. Smart marketers are learning how to create content journeys that guide prospects from the top of the sales funnel all the way through to a purchase.
It captures their interest at the start of the journey and propels them forward in a purposeful, nurturing direction. It doesn’t stop with conversion either but becomes an essential tool for retaining customers and continues to nurture them, so they will become ambassadors for a brand.
With new tools and technology, it will become easier to segment an audience. Data will be a driving force in creating content proven to interest an audience. Activity and demographic data will be used to expose people to the right content at precisely the right time in their journey. Tools will help to tie the customer journey together, across various touchpoints and on different platforms.
Strategic distribution of content
If you want to cut through the noise and grab attention, your content must be distributed strategically. To distribute content effectively, brands need to develop multi-channel distribution plans. Many of the social platforms are evolving, and the way they are being used will affect the way brands share content.
New distribution channels are likely to emerge, some of them out of existing ones. Facebook’s recent focus on the Messenger app is one example of a new distribution channel growing out of an existing channel. Social media platforms are maturing, and they are likely to keep introducing new features.
Experimenting with different channels will be critical to see what works best for your content. Perhaps your mailing list is still your best option, but you won’t know unless you keep trying new opportunities. Mediums have changed, and you should never be afraid to try new channels and new methods of distribution.
Augmented reality and virtual reality
By 2022, total augmented reality ad revenue is estimated to top $2 billion. Live video can be immensely engaging, but virtual reality is another type of visual content that allows you to create a very different immersive experience for your audience. Virtual reality offers new opportunities for content marketing and customer engagement.
For example, a new virtual reality app from Shopify allows customers to customize a shirt in virtual reality. Companies such as Facebook, Sony and Apple have invested in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Revenue from VR and AR is expected to grow as brands start to experiment with this type of marketing.
For younger consumers, immersive media, such as VR and AR, is the transformational technology of their generation, much as the mobile phone was for Millennials and the home computer was for Baby Boomers and Generation X.
With the increase in VR and AR technology, a fundamental shift is likely to occur in the way we interact with digital content. Rather than consuming text and video content through a screen, different formats are possible to emerge.
Content needs to sound more natural and more like the way people usually speak if it’s going to come up in search results. There’s increased growth in questions in search, especially questions about the best restaurant in a locality or the best doctor in the area. SEO practices will, therefore, have more local emphasis.
Search length will also require adjustments to keywords. As search engines display content based on the intent of the searcher rather than a string of keywords, creating content centered on providing answers will be the easiest way for people to find you. If your content answers a question best, Google will rank your content higher, and you’ll have a steady flow of traffic.
In an endless sea of content, finding ways to attract attention is not easy. It’s essential to understand new trends and to focus on quality over quantity. Content marketing must be worked on over time, developing sound strategies, finding ways to distribute content, always testing and making adjustments strategically.
The importance of quality content remains, and when combined with innovative technology it can take content marketing to a new level.