Following the right content marketing trends ensures that your content investments bring adequate returns to your business in the long term. Content marketing has reached a tipping point where so much content is being published each day that no one could possibly consume more than just a tiny fraction of it at the time when marketers would want them to.
This content fatigue phenomenon is creating problems for marketers who understand how important content marketing is but are struggling to slice through the noise and be heard. So, how do you go about creating the right quality content and ensuring that enough of your ideal audience sees it to make a difference to your business?
If you want to stay ahead of the curve and successfully use content marketing to boost your sales, brand awareness, and loyalty then you need to be clear on which content marketing trends are the best to follow.
Here are 17 content marketing trends you should be following right now:
1. Leverage automation
The age of automation that we live in makes it possible for savvy marketers to automate almost every task related to creation, publishing, and promotion of content. This is a trend that isn’t likely to stop so you may as well get on board.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by automation. Start by automating some small aspects of your content marketing workflows right now. For example, you could automate parts of your email marketing, lead generation, and social media marketing processes.
2. Embrace machine learning
This subset of AI (artificial intelligence) involves using computer algorithms to obtain knowledge from inputted information. The machines learn as more and more data is collected and they deliver different outputs that are based on various factors like patterns and trends.
The outputs become more relevant, accurate, and personalized over time as the machine collects even more data. A great example of machine learning in action is Google’s search algorithm. The more people conduct searches on Google, the better the search engine algorithm gets at providing them with the best results.
In relation to content marketing, there are tools that can help publishers to create the most appropriate content for specific groups in their audience.
Being able to publish great content and make it available to the ideal audience at the right time is something that would naturally increase a business’s conversions.
3. Publish co-created content
There’s no need to rely only on your own ability to create and promote content when you can partner up with someone else who can do it just as well. The trend of co-creating content is one that every business can benefit from as it can help to expand your reach.
Find other companies that market to your particular target audience and ask them to partner with you in creating and promoting useful content. By doing so you will not only share the workload, but you will also double the benefits for both of you.
4. Don’t just be calendar-focused, Be adaptive!
Content marketing requires flexibility. The people who win in the marketplace are those who are able to adapt their content quickly in order to meet the ever changing market and consumer demands. These market leaders are the ones who leverage automation and machine learning.
They stay ahead of changes in the market as well as consumer demands. So, create a content calendar, but don’t make it so rigid that you cannot adapt and grab opportunities as they arise.
5. Consider the data, but focus on people and needs
While data is vital, don’t let it distract you from what your target audience wants and needs. The vast majority of buying decisions are affected by emotions (at least partially) and data never can accurately track emotions.
That’s why it’s important to create content that evokes people’s emotions based on their wants and needs if you don’t want to miss out on a huge part of the picture.
6. Focus on the long-term investment
Content marketing is obviously more of a long-term strategy. While you can support it using short-term tactics that can help drive instant results, the power of content marketing to grow a business and brand is based on its ability to create sustainable organic growth for your company.
This requires persistence on your part, and you need to make a determination to publish quality content consistently.
7. Dynamic content is vital
Dynamic content is essential to your content marketing success. This is content that is created once but it includes within it variable elements that can change based on the audience viewing it. For example, you could create an email marketing campaign showing an offer for a 15 percent discount to one audience segment, and a 20 percent discount to another.
The images, text, and offers in dynamic content change depending on the individual consuming the content. This saves you time and money as you get to cater to various audiences but only create the content once.
8. Pay to play
Running a successful content marketing campaign often requires making use of Facebook ads, media, and influencer outreach. This means that you have to be willing to pay for the promotion of some of your best content.
Invest in advertising, tools, and manpower to help you reach key influencers and media members.
9. Align content creation with the buyer journey
You have to consider your audience’s position in the buyer journey before creating content. People who are just starting to entertain the notion of buying something need totally different content than those who are ready to buy.
This particularly applies to high-ticket items and other products or services that have long buying decision processes. Identify where your audience is in the buyer journey so you can create content that is as relevant and targeted as possible.
10. Refresh and update old content
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel in content marketing. A lot of businesses and individuals find great success just refreshing and updating old content. Updating your stale posts has a positive effect on your search engine ranking and it also ensures that more people see the content.
Another major benefit of this is that it takes much less time to update old pieces of content than it does to create new ones. It’s worthwhile to review your old content to see if there are any great pieces that can be spruced up and revived.
11. Go deeper with your content
Everywhere you look these days you are confronted by content that provides basic information. If you want to be successful in your content marketing efforts, then you need to go a little deeper than everyone else does.
Create more in-depth articles by asking yourself what the next step is after someone learns the basic steps. Being more specific gives your audience a lot more than they get elsewhere.
12. Make your content future-proof
While you will obviously need to publish content that is time-sensitive now and again, you should make most of your content evergreen so it stays relevant over time. Make sure that it’s clear, factual, and comprehensive.
While creating it, ask yourself if the content will still make sense a year or five years from now. It’s alright if you can’t make a piece of content evergreen as it could still be ideal for a future refresh (see above).
13. Content is going off the screen
No one is limited to getting their content from the screen any longer.
Content is now available all around us thanks to the Internet of Things. It’s hands-free, eyes-free, and interwoven into our everyday lives in technology such as Siri, Amazon’s voice service, Alexa and other such technologies that we interact with on a daily basis.
A number of businesses and organizations already use Alexa as a digital doorway to content that can be shared with much wider audiences. The American Heart Association uses Alexa to share details on stroke and heart attack warning signs as well as how to perform CPR. Pet owners are benefiting from services such as Ask Purina where they can get information about their dogs.
Everything is becoming digital. There are growing opportunities for businesses to create content interactions that move way past audience engagement thanks to device pairing, sensors, beacon-based proximity marketing and so on.
This helps you create targeted content for your audience in various formats that can be delivered to your audience in the right place and at the right time when they are most in need of it.
14. Make the most of live video
Everyone is embracing live video content. More customers are consuming it, and marketers are creating more of it. Studies show that most consumers would rather tune into a live video from a brand than read a social media post.
Users on Facebook spend three times the amount of time watching live videos than ones that are no longer live, and they comment more than ten times the amount during live videos than they do ones that aren’t.
Most marketers are investing in video right now, but only a small portion use live video. This is a unique opportunity to capture the attention of your audience before your competitors do. Don’t worry too much if you’re not a superstar in front of the camera. It’s actually a good thing because your audience will see you as more authentic.
15. Interactive visual content
Video is extremely engaging and definitely interactive, but virtual reality is another type of interactive visual content which allows you to create unique experiences for your audience. VR offers new content marketing and customer engagement opportunities.
Take the new VR app from Shopify, for example. It helps online shoppers to customize their shirts using virtual reality. While you may think that it’s a little early to jump on to the virtual reality bandwagon, a lot of consumer-facing brands are already experimenting with this kind of marketing.
Breaking into VR may seem costly but there are ways that have been developed to help you test and implement various new marketing tactics using a strategic approach that will not cost you.
16. Transparency rules
Millennials are more innovative and they want companies to show more authenticity and transparency. They are drawn toward businesses that give back to society. But these days consumers are experiencing a growing fatigue and getting burned out when it comes to brand advertising.
Brands are trying to tie together “green” claims, corporate support for causes, and charitable contributions into one big “cause marketing” package, but consumers are wary of this type of promotion and are starting to see it as sort of desperate.
In some cases, customers feel that the company is being dishonest.
This means that going forward, your brand needs to focus on disclosure and transparency in order to build relationships with the cautious consumers. If you want to gain and maintain your audience’s trust, then your branded content and influencer marketing has to be fully transparent.
17. Changing formats and shifting roles
Don’t just flood your audience with content, take the media publishing approach. Turn away from content churning and create a broader strategy that can meet your audience’s demands. This process is just as vital as the actual content creation.
Focus on relentless improvement in your content marketing and move beyond just blog ideas. Constantly improve on ideas, customize content for different audiences, adapt it to the new formats being used by consumers.
If you want true success for your business, then your content team needs to include people who are knowledgeable in:
- Graphic design, illustration, and editing
- Video production and editing
- Content optimization across multiple formats
- Audio editing and production skills
- Strategy development, execution, and campaign management
- Content distribution and promotion
- Communications and branding
- Analytics, metrics, and reporting
- Advertising and media buying
The Final Word
So, after discovering some of the most important trends that you should be following in 2019, what are your next steps? Focus your marketing plan on these content marketing trends and you will see explosive growth in your results.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the extensive list, just tackle the items one at a time and do your best to stay consistent in your efforts and you will be ahead of your competition when it comes to delivering targeted content to your audience.
Promote that content relentlessly and improve constantly by tracking your results and identifying where changes can be made. As we stated above, you have to be adaptive to get the best returns from your business’s content marketing investments.
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Updated: Originally published May 13th 2018