For the past several years, we have been told that ‘Content is King’ and today in 2018, companies are more focused than ever on their content marketing efforts. How we execute content marketing, however, is constantly changing with ever-evolving technology as well as consumer preferences. Content marketing is becoming more sophisticated and it is important for businesses to keep pace. According to a 2017 report by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, over 60% of B2B companies stated that their content marketing strategies were proving more effective than they were just a year prior.[i]
So what is going to constitute effective content marketing in 2018? The answering is as multi-faceted as marketing itself.
Use multiple formats
Creating great written content is still important, but blogging alone is no longer enough to keep your audience engaged. It takes a diverse team with a variety of skills. You will need a content team that is versed in video production and editing, graphic design, branding, media and advertising buying and analytics to name a few.
Think of each format you use as essential to your sales or conversion funnel. Whether your content is organic or paid, the ultimate goal is conversion. You must create an audience experience through tools such as social media, video, podcasts, etc. that gently nudge them through the funnel.
But conversion isn’t the only goal with content marketing. You must also develop relationships. And as you use your content marketing to foster those relationships, your audience will begin to share your content more widely and become your brand ambassadors.
Taking advantage of the various types of content
Having a team with a diversity of skills will allow you to take advantage of technology and platforms that will be most engaging to your target audience. Of all the digital media that is available to you, take some time to determine what best fits in with the goals and image of your company. Examples include video, audio, blogs and articles, infographics, slideshows, whitepapers, podcasts and live video.
Take live video for example. This area has tremendous potential for growth over the next few years. In 2016, Buffer conducted a poll and discovered that 83% of marketers were interested in creating more video. Of that number, 42% wanted to create more live video.[ii]
And there is good reason for this. Audiences engage with live video. According to Facebook, users spend more than triple the amount of time watching live videos than they do watching videos that are not live anymore. They also comment more on live videos – 10 times more in fact![iii]
2018 is a great time to get started using live video because at this time, only about 14% of marketers are committed to using it.[iv]
Another type of digital media that is destined to become increasingly popular in the years ahead is interactive virtual reality. To understand how you might be able to use this in your own business, consider the VR app from Shopify which allows users to customize shirts, or how several major auto manufacturers have websites that allow you to customize your car in virtual reality.
According to a report by International Data Corporation, revenue from Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is expected to grow from just over $5 billion to over $160 between 2016 and 2020.[v]
Creating engaging content
Creating content that is engaging to your audience is important for driving your SEO. The more engagement, the better your SEO will be and the better your SEO, the higher engagement you will see. Marketers need to be especially mindful of this because the same principle is true in reverse.
There are many ways to make content more engaging and you must choose the methods that make sense for your brand. A few techniques for engaging content include:
- Providing your audience with a challenge or contest.
- Including strong visuals such as infographics or video.
- Offering takeaways such as whitepapers or ebooks.
- Attracting influencers who will share your content.
- Providing information about current trends.
The importance of distribution
Of course taking advantage of the latest and greatest technology still doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t get your message out in front of an audience. As Jonathan Perelman of Buzzfeed once said, “Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants!
In order to be effective, your brand has to be able to stand out from all the other companies who are marketing in the digital space and vying for attention. In order to do that, your distribution has to be targeted and strategic.
Don’t forget the numbers – keeping up with analytics and metrics is key!
Finally, while understanding and following the latest content marketing trends of 2018 is useful, it is still important to do your own analytics to determine how your content marketing is tracking. There is no one size fits all solution, and even if there were that solution might be different next month – or even next week for that matter.
By regularly tracking your metrics, you’ll gain deep insight into the kind of content your audience responds to and you’ll be able to note changes in audience behaviour and adjust your digital marketing strategy accordingly.