Content marketing is always changing. It’s not something you set and forget. With more access to data and a better understanding of your buyers’ preferences, you may always be fine-tuning your approach to content marketing.
For those looking for what’s now and what’s next, we’re sharing emerging trends that have increased in popularity throughout the year. Learn why they matter and how you can apply them to your content marketing plan.
With a savvier customer, you need a more sophisticated way to communicate, one that speaks to that person on an individual level. It matters because expectations have changed and being relevant to what a buyer wants to know is key.
Personalization offers you an edge against the competition, too. The data supports this, finding a 20% increase in sales opportunities when brands use personalized lead nurturing.
It’s being identified as a trend because of how prolific it has become. A report from Forrester indicates that 92% of marketers have seen an increase in personalized marketing.
Personalization depends almost completely on data. So, the more data you have about your customers, the better the chance to create more meaningful messaging. You’ll need to decide what type of information you need, including demographics, priorities, preferences, objections, and how they use what you offer.
You won’t start with much data. If you get a lead to give you a name and email address for one piece of content, that’s a start. Additional data can be found through third party sources, plus you’ll know which topic interested the prospect.
With a name, email address and content topic, create a campaign that offers those that fit this parameter additional relevant content via email. Then you’ll be able to track if they open the email and what links they click on. The more they interact with your brand, the more personalization you can include.
Brands Go Niche with Content
No matter what vertical you are in, there is probably content saturation. This means that most of the companies in that industry are publishing similar content. It will only get harder to increase your organic ranking for certain keywords.
To address this and stand out, some brands are going very niche with their content to draw in a more specific buyer. Finding this niche usually involves combining a service you do well or a well-performing product and a specific industry. Instead of just writing about reasons for outsourcing app development, write about why healthcare should outsource app development.
Voice Search Will Evolve How Content Marketing Sounds
Screenless search is something that millions do every day. They simply ask their digital assistant a question without needing to look at a smartphone or PC. Voice search accounts for at least 20% of all searching and is growing.
This will cause a shift in content because how we speak is not always in alignment with how we write. You’ll want to take time to adapt content to natural language search, which means including questions and answers.
To write in this style, include complete, full-sentence questions. Use longtail keywords in titles and headers. To take advantage of “near me” searches, optimize the natural language of the pages or posts you rank for with these search terms.
Content Needs to Be Concise, Not TL; DR
The average number of words in blog posts has been going up while the world’s attention keeps going down. Longer content does perform well in organic, but even if the page ranks on the first page of a search engine, will users stick around to read it? While this content is important, you can’t expect long content to be the right size for every buyer, especially those connecting with your brand on social media.
Short content works better for millennials, the generation with the most buyers. A study found that millennials prefer videos and infographics for making decisions over other types of content. These formats are colorful, tell a story, and include movement.
The best way to leverage this trend is to use more video and infographics on social media and in channels where targeting the millennial demographic. Repurpose some of your blogs, eBooks or whitepapers as inspiration for new content.
Influencer Marketing Is Evolving
Influencer marketing has been a source of great results for brands. That social proof is so critical for buyers. They rely on it much more than any other influencing factors. In fact, Nielsen found that 92% of buyers trust an individual recommendation over the brand.
The crux of influencer marketing will remain the same. The difference will be in how brands use it. Brands now seem to be shifting from quantity to quality. Whereas, it may have been the general thinking to get as many endorsements as possible in the past. Now it should be about the quality and the trustworthiness of the influencer.
To change up your influencer marketing, you’ll need to determine the criteria for an influencer to work with your brand. Then create a campaign targeting these influencers to get their attention. Continue to do this and grow the relationship with those that respond. Track your data once you have influencers involved in campaigns to ensure the investment is worthwhile.
Embracing Live Video
It’s clear that brands are using video in content marketing. Millions of videos are made every day about just about any topic imaginable. Videos aren’t new, but live video is a sub-category that’s working for some brands.
With live video, there’s still the chance that what happens next could be unscripted. Live video makes a lot of sense when your brand is out and about in the world. Live stream from your booth at a trade show. Or, show something from the field if that’s applicable to your brand. Live video offers you unique possibilities that are very engaging.
These are only a few of the content marketing trends that will continue to build throughout the rest of the year into next year. These trends don’t represent huge changes. They do represent clear ways to improve your content marketing so you can attract the leads and new business you’re working to secure.
AI Powered Content Marketing Strategy
AI-driven content marketing strategy trend maybe be the biggest and most game-changing yet. In fact, it is so hot that I joined the best technology I’ve seen come along in years with Concured, as their part-time CMO. I will continue to help my clients document and deliver their content marketing strategy while keeping my finger on the pulse of this latest trend.
What will we do when the AI tells us what to create and where to distribute it? That future may be closer than you think!
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