Year over year, content marketing receives more favorable attention from marketers all over the globe – in fact, almost 90% of companies use this strategy these days according to Smart Insights. In 2017, 60% of marketers felt that their content marketing was more effective compared in 2016.
However, just like any other digital marketing initiatives, content marketing requires constant analysis over time, looking for new trends and insights that can streamline your strategy and ensure the success of your campaign.
Here are seven content marketing trends to watch out for in 2018.
1. Transparency in using Influencer Marketing
A call for greater transparency, especially in using influencers will extend beyond the B2B landscape to affect consumers in 2018. Modern consumers are getting tired of brand advertising and want companies to become more authentic and driven to give back to the society.
According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey, the majority of consumers rank recommendations from people they know as the most trustworthy advertising format. This is why many companies have leveraged the power of influencer marketing in the past few years to gain the trust of their audience as much as possible.
However, brands should be careful when using influencer marketing. In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission gave Machinima, a YouTube gaming network, a warning for not disclosing paid endorsements to YouTube influencers who produced content for the channel.
Therefore, brands working with influencers must ensure that every piece of content they create and promote should be disclosed to avoid losing the trust of their audience.
2. Changing Content Formats Equals Changing Marketing Duties
The online metropolis is diverse and evolving, meaning no single content format can meet all needs. Therefore, brands must ensure that their content marketing strategy is continuously improving, customized for different audiences and personas, and adapted to new formats to keep customers interested.
To alleviate this burden of diversification, an ideal content team must not only consist of writers but also of people with talents in the following areas:
- Editing, illustration, and graphic design
- Video editing and production
- Content promotion and distribution
- Content optimization across multiple formats
- Audio production and editing skills
- Branding and communications
- Metrics, analytics, and reporting
- Media purchasing and advertising
- Strategy development, execution, and campaign management
3. The Rise of Live Video
More brands are expected to join the live video bandwagon in 2018, but why? According to Facebook, users spent 3x more time watching live videos than a video that is no longer live. They also comment more than 10x during live videos. Other impressive statistics regarding live video includes:
- 80% of respondents said they would instead tune into a live video than read a blog post.
- 82% of respondents were more interested in watching live video from a brand than reading social media posts.
Many experts have already supported the effectiveness of live video. In fact, after integrating their own Facebook Live strategy, Search Engine Journal found that their average Facebook Live engagement was 178% higher than their average post engagement.
Through live video, brands can appear more authentic and reliable, which most people are looking for these days. It helps humanize brands and can give substantial benefits such as higher engagement rate and improved brand image.
4. Addressing Content Saturation Through Strategic Distribution
From live videos to ephemeral content, brands have many options on how they want to deliver their content to their prospective customers. However, with tons content being published online each day, it has become more challenging for brands to get in front of their audience at the right time.
We all know that creating highly engaging content is still one of the surest ways to avoid being buried in the competition for reach. However, this approach alone may not be enough in 2018 and must be partnered with strategic distribution to be effective.
As time progresses, more and more content is going to be published online. Brands that want to cut through the noise in 2018 must adopt strategic distribution that involves using different digital channels – from email to mobile apps – as well as leveraging the power of paid search and social distribution plans.
5. Fresh, Original Content Is In
Recently, several tech giants have announced their plan to take original content into their platform. Apple announced that they are planning to invest over $1 billion on original content. Google also said that they are purchasing original content from media companies to fill the content gaps that their search engine algorithm has discovered. On another report from The Verge, it has also been reported that Facebook is willing to pay up to $3 million per episode for centerpiece shows.
While the motive behind these actions is still unclear, we do know that it only means one thing for content marketers: valuable and original content will become more crucial to stay relevant and to satisfy the diverse and changing demand of today’s consumers.
6. IoT Enabling Off-Screen Content
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a dominant force for business innovation, and its disruptive impact will be felt across all industries in 2018, including content marketing. In fact, several consumer IoT technologies nowadays are already changing the way people interact with content.
For instance, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, Alexa, is fast becoming a digital content gateway that enables organizations to share content with their audiences even without a laptop, tablet, or phone screen.
In fact, the American Heart Association is already using Alexa to provide step-by-step information on how to perform CPR during emergency situations. Most of the standard IoT devices are voice activated, and its continued proliferation will undoubtedly change the way people access and interact with digital content.
7. More-Mobile Friendly Content
The year 2017 has proven one essential thing time and again: social media, mobile, and marketing fit perfectly with each other. According to comScore’s 2017 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus, mobile now represents 57% of all digital media usage, with smartphone applications alone accounting for more than 50% of all time spent engaging with digital media.
In a separate report from comScore, it is reported that Facebook is the top mobile app of the year, with Instagram and Snapchat in the top 10 as well. This only shows that people are spending more time on social media than ever. As such, we can expect that more brands will create mobile-friendly content that is simple and can be consumed on the go.
As the year 2018 unfolds, there are a lot of highly anticipated shifts and developments that will take place in the content marketing sphere. Keep an open eye on these trends and incorporate some of them in your strategy before your competitors do if you want to stay relevant and competitive today.
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