In the digital age, the content marketing landscape is constantly changing, and keeping up with the latest strategies can help brands acquire new customers and increase awareness. Success in this arena will rely heavily on your company’s ability to recognize trends and implement them quickly. To springboard your content marketing efforts, here are 6 content marketing trends to look forward to in 2018.
1. Video Will Continue to Grow
Video already plays a big role in today's content marketing landscape, and its importance will continue to grow in the coming years. According to Cisco, more than 80% of all consumer web traffic will be video by 2020. It’s no surprise then that YouTube has 1.5 billion monthly active users watching a ton content every day.
On-demand videos give your customers the opportunity learn about your products and services when they want it. It’s convenient and always available, and people prefer it more than reading about a product.
On-demand isn't the only trend videos have going, the largest social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are making it possible for small businesses and big brands to broadcast live videos and customers and consumers are responding positively.
People want a genuine connection with brands, and live videos can help make your company appear more authentic and natural. As you craft your marketing strategy for 2018, make sure to add a few live videos early and see how your customers respond.
2. More Personalized Content
Advanced analytics from digital platforms have made it easier than ever for brands to create personalized content and its working for them. According to Gartner, companies that personalize their content will be 20% more successful than brands that don’t in terms of sales.
Content personalization isn't as simple as targeting an audience based on location or demographics. It involves analyzing metrics and aligning them with your goals and strategy. Your content team must be willing to commit and run campaigns to achieve an accurate snapshot of your customer base. One way to personalize content and apply your research is to use different retargeting banners for customers in different stages of your sales funnel.
3. Customers as Brand Advocates
Social media platforms have increased a person's circle of friends. This bodes well for content marketers since people are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know. Because of this, companies have invested in campaigns that turn customers into brand advocates.
User-generated content (UGC) on social platforms trumps branded content in terms of building trust and creating a positive impression on potential customers. Instagram sets the tone for this type of content. According to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, UGCs on the social network tend to get more engagement, which leads to better prioritization on Instagram’s algorithm.
For 2018, turn your customers into brand advocates by using branded hashtags or featuring user-generated videos on your social accounts.
4. Authenticity and Transparency
Consumers want to have a genuine relationship with a brand, and they crave for authenticity and transparency. Organizations used cause marketing, where they partner up with a charity or foundation as part of their marketing efforts, to speak to their customer’s beliefs. However, people are getting weary of this strategy.
As mentioned above, people trust their peers more than a brand. This is why user-generated content and influencer marketing is growing. Live videos also give audiences a more authentic look at a company, which also generates a sense of trust.
Using live videos, influencers, and UGCs aren’t enough since people wan full transparency. If you’re working with a social media influencer, make sure your audience know that their posts are a part of a paid partnership. Neglecting this information can have serious negative effects on your brand.
5. In-House Content Production
Content marketing is a strategy that works for small business and big brands alike, and more companies are investing to create unique, engaging, and original branded content in 2018. To stay in-step with the competition, your company must consistently produce high-quality content. One way to do this is to build a content marketing team.
Your content team doesn't have to be large, but they need to be multi-faceted. Your team must be able to take advantage of a number of content tactics like videos, e-mail marketing, SEO, branding, media buying, and more.
Make sure you have a well-defined content strategy and a streamlined process, so everyone on the team is on the same page. Create a content calendar and create a schedule to promote it. This allows you to take a handle of your strategy and refine it as you move along. If you're running multiple social accounts, an all-in-one social media management tool such as Social Report can help you schedule posts and review important metrics across different platforms, which can help consolidate your efforts.
6. Off-Screen Content and Interaction
Sure, most of your marketing content will be delivered through a screen, but technology has made it possible to deliver content without a mobile device or desktop computer. Siri and Alexa are prime examples of this trend.
Different companies have already taken advantage of this new possibility. Through Alexa, the American Heart Association can provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform CPR in an emergency situation. They also share valuable details about the warning signs of a cardiac arrest or stroke.
People are adopting a connected lifestyle, and smart home technology and device pairing are making it possible for brands to interact with their customers hands and eyes-free.
The content marketing landscape is ever-changing, and you need to stay updated with current trends to stay competitive. Implement these six points in your strategy to jumpstart your content marketing efforts and keep finding new ways to create and present your content throughout 2018.