Content marketing is something that is continually evolving. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you will need to keep up with the trending methods and tactics. However, you will also need to recognize those that aren't working as they used to and those methods and tactics that are working but have evolved in how they should be executed. Knowing and understanding content marketing trends could mean the difference between a successful content marketing strategy or an approach destined to fail.
Here are some current content marketing trends and what you need to know about them.
At the top of the list is storytelling.
Real storytelling never goes out of style. Even though we included it in this list of content marketing trends, it is timeless, and where everyone begins in the creation process. To tell a great story, you need to have something to say.
People are now rejecting content that seems as if it was developed just to have content marketing materials on their blogs, websites, and social media pages. They won't waste their time reading something that doesn't capture and keep their attention.
That's why storytelling is becoming so “popular” (actually, it has always been popular). If you want to engage with your audience, you need to tell them a story. Create something that scoops your audience up and takes them where they want to go. Your message needs to be both captivating and entertaining.
Interestingly, some of the older long-form storytelling methods (books, plays, scripted television dramas) are being replaced by short-form content produced by influencers. Many of this new form of entertainment is unscripted and follows these social media personalities through their daily lives. Commercials have now been replaced by influencer marketing (see above) or ads placed on their profiles (YouTube ads).
Live streaming is growing in popularity.
The proof of this is reflected in the introduction of so many live streaming outlets such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and the growing popularity of Snapchat. There's no better way to engage with your customers than by doing it live effectively.
It's the next best thing to being there! For example, you could use any one of those platforms to introduce and showcase your products and or services, to give people a live sampling of what it would be like to own, and use whatever it is you have to offer. You could also use them as educational tutorials, customer appreciation events, issue flash deals, or just about anything else.
Virtual reality is also growing in popularity. This method's proof is reflected in how popular virtual reality gaming such as Pokemon GO has become. And the fact that big brands such as Marriott Hotels are currently using this marketing method to promote their rooms.
You could easily implement virtual reality marketing through 360 videos, using Google Cardboard, or using your own packaging that can be turned into a virtual reality cardboard viewer. There are many other delivery methods for virtual reality marketing; unfortunately, that information is comprehensive and outside the scope of this article. We will cover this in-depth in a future article.
Native Advertising Replaces Push Advertising
Most people dislike “pop-ups” and “pop-unders” and click right out of them once they appear, making this form of marketing very ineffective. However, native advertising gives the customer complete control over what they do and don't want to click on; therefore, making this form of marketing extremely targeted and very effective (but only if it's done correctly).
There are several ways you can make your native advertising effective.
You should make sure your ad is clearly labeled, so your customers know exactly what it is they're clicking on. You don't want to trick them with deceptive labeling. This will only make them angry and feel as if you've wasted their time, and that's not the way to build a good rapport. You should also make sure the ad experience fits within the environment you are trying to promote.
Content Marketing Trends – Influencer Marketing
One of the biggest content marketing trends is the use of influencers to sell to their audiences. Influencer marketing is huge.
Here are some great statistics from Big Commerce:
- In 2020, nearly 2/3 of marketers will increase their influencer marketing budgets.
- There is a huge gap between the most common influencer marketing budget ($1,000 to $10,000 per year) and the second most common influencer marketing budget ($100,000 to $500,000 per year.
- 17% of companies spend over 50% of their marketing budget on influencer marketing.
- Almost 90% of companies using influencer marketing say it is comparable or better than other marketing channels.
- Instagram ranks first (89%) for the marketing channel with the most impact for influencer marketing.
- The least preferred influencer marketing channel is Snapchat (62%), followed by LinkedIn (55%).
- Over 69% of influencer marketers spend the most on Instagram influencer marketing.
- Most used format by influencers? Instagram posts (78%).
- Second most used? Instagram stories (73%), followed by YouTube Video (56%), and Instagram Videos (54%).
- Least used? Twitch Livestream (5%)
Influencer marketing shows how popular and influential customer reviews are when someone is in the decision-making process of a purchase. Influencer marketing is simply word of mouth advertising—people who hold in high regard the recommendations and opinions of others in the know. Influencers are generally people who are active on social media, blogs, and review sites, etc. They are your brand advocates and recommend your products and services while encouraging their readers and followers to take action. They are essentially creating content about your brand for you.
So how do you go about marketing using influencers? There is quite a science into how to effectively market your brand using influencers which unfortunately is outside the scope of this article. However, it all begins with marketing your message directly to key leaders versus marketing to a large group.
You will start by seeking out and developing relationships with major influencers in your industry so they will subscribe to your blog and social media pages and actively participate. You can do this by browsing forums, blogs, and other websites that have topics related to your industry and finding those participating most often.
The key to content marketing is developing relationships. That doesn't mean spam and beg every blog owner, etc., to join your social media pages. It means to develop a friendship and actively participate with them on their pages. The natural evolution of this thing we call social media will be that those people and their followers will generally follow you. That's just the way social media works and what makes it so effective.
Interactive Content Marketing
Interactive content has been gaining traction and increasing in demand.
And while you can still use your traditional content, you will need to pepper it with interactive quizzes and presentations that were designed using high-interest topics if you want to hold your audience's attention. Just remember to keep your interactive content short and sweet because people have minimal attention spans. Anything longer than 6- to 10- questions will have them clicking away from your content because they will feel like it's a waste of time versus being something fun and entertaining.
You should also make sure you're creating something so interesting that people will feel it's share-worthy. Don't forget to include a call-to-action as well to improve conversion rates.
Multiple Types of Content
Developing content that people actually want to engage with is challenging (ask any scriptwriter).
To do this properly, you need to outline your customer's journey and then develop multiple types of content that will help move them through your sales funnel. However, before you can do that, you will need to define your customer personas. That will help you determine what topics to address.
After you've performed your due diligence and know exactly who your audience is, what they like, and the topics they are most interested in; then you will need to develop multiple types of content such as:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Instructional videos, etc.
You'll need to do this for several reasons.
Multiple Distribution Outlets
A variety of content will provide you with multiple distribution outlets and opportunities, giving your message a broader reach.
If you create a video, for example, it should be included on your website, your YouTube Channel, Vimeo, on all of your business listings, in all of your social media profiles, and anywhere else online that it makes sense to place your video.
Go Where the Customer Is
Everyone is different and prefers to consume their content in different ways, different places, and formats (video, audio, images, or text, for example).
Did you create a website that isn't mobile-friendly? You are missing out on mobile users. (Plus, Google is dropping desktop-only websites from the index). Design a website that isn't social media-friendly? Visitors won't share your content on their social media channels. Didn't fill out complete business listing profiles for your business? Then your customers will go somewhere else.
If you don't place your content where your customers are and don't make it easy to consume, your efforts will not be effective.
Getting Started with Content Marketing
Following along with, and executing on the latest content marketing trends is critical for online success. However, creating great quality, entertaining content is difficult and can be very expensive. Fortunately, technology has made building compelling videos, infographics, and other media more accessible and affordable.
LOCALSYNC has made it easy to get started marketing your business using the latest content marketing techniques. We have extensive marketing courses with video teasers, marketing your YouTube videos and YouTube channel, and course bundles covering how to do business online.
Need more help? Contact us to get started.