Content marketing is essential to building your brand online. Want to learn more about it? Keep on reading!
Content marketing is no new thing, it’s been an essential part of digital marketing for the past decade or so. If you’re not utilising this style of marketing in your digital strategy by now, then why not? Yes, it is a commitment. However, the pay off can be huge – if done right. It’s not necessarily a direct marketing strategy like email marketing, but it’s a way to build your brand online.
Content marketing is about creating an enriching experience for your customers, packed full of information and something meaningful and relevant to your customer base. There have been many advancements in this type of marketing, with helpful tools to now streamline the content marketing process.
In this post, we’ll be diving into the basics of content marketing. What it is, how it can help your business and trends you should be looking out for in 2018, to include in your content. If you’re ready to learn all about content marketing, then read on below.
For those that aren’t too sure, content marketing is the creation of blogs, images, videos etc. to build a brand online. It’s content that’s made for a business’ consumer base, which means it has to be relevant and in turn, provide value too. Content marketing has many forms, but some of the most popular platforms of content to create are:
All of these forms of content are not necessarily to promote or advertise your business. Content marketing’s focus is on the consumer and developing a business’ brand too. However, content marketing has two main purposes in mind. The first is, as we’ve mentioned, for the customer and your brand. But the second is sometimes for search engine optimisation (SEO). Some SEO strategies use content marketing as a way of optimising a site for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Both are important forms of content marketing and can benefit your online business in their own way.
Your content needs to be well researched and thought out before you start creating anything. Remember, you’re creating content for your customers, so it needs to be things they want to hear, read and see. So, do your homework! Make sure you answer your customers’ needs. Create essential content that is on brand but necessary to your consumers.
In 2018, marketing professionals have predicted a shift towards video content being the most popular platform. As we’ve stated in our Live Streaming blog, around 80% of users would prefer to watch a video than reading a blog post. This means that creating video is essential. However, for content marketing, regarding SEO, search engine crawlers will collate data via your content and keywords. This is in order to determine if this is relevant to a user’s search query. So, both written content and other content forms are essential for both content marketing and SEO.
Leading digital marketing professional, Neil Patel, has predicted 9 new trends in content marketing we’ll be seeing in 2018. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling our own version of these new trends, which you can find out below.
As we’ve mentioned before, and we keep mentioning (apologies), live video streaming is going to become an essential part of content marketing. The reason we keep banging on about it is because it’s so important. More and more users are wanting to see video content on their feeds and from their favourite brands. Why? Because video is much easier to digest. It a much faster way of providing entertainment and information through a visual platform. But live video feels more exclusive, it allows users to interact with the video whilst it’s happening. Statistics show that Facebook users are 10x more likely to comment on a live video.
So, in 2018 you should be thinking about creating live video content for your social channels. It’s a great way of boosting engagement with customers, as well as spreading information via video. We’ve put together a guide for Live Streaming so you know exactly what to do.
Whilst we’re on the topic of video content, we’re going to talk about what was previously thought to be the sole form of content marketing – written content. Yes, in the early days of content marketing it was thought that written blogs, news and articles were the only form that content would take. This is no longer the case. As we’ve mentioned, content comes in many different forms from video to audio, so it’s essential to branch out with your content. Writing content isn’t enough anymore. We should emphasise that it is important to do (especially for SEO), however, you need to expand on written content. Branch into video, podcasts and infographics too to extend your strategy beyond just an occasional blog post.
When outsourcing content for promotional purposes, e.g. newspapers or sponsored content on social, it’s important to target the right platform for your brand. But now more than ever in 2018, content distributed through various media outlets needs to be controlled and developed in a way where all aspects of paid, owned and earned media operate as one. Because of the affect content marketing has on the customers journey to buying products and/or services, influence across these various platforms of media is essential.
But for promotional content marketing to work via media, you need to be using the right platform. So, that means influencers or affiliates, sometimes news outlets or other alternate news sites (e.g. BuzzFeed). However, the content needs to be in sync with every outlet, so your own promotion on your blog needs to have the same clear message and goal as content on another outlet. It all needs to work in tangent with each other.
Content is now one of the defining factors, in 2018, for the customers journey towards purchasing a product or service. So, content needs take into account that it will be influencing customers in 2018. BUT, it must be done in the right way. Don’t over promote or advertise your content, because it’s not authentic or real (we’ll get to brand authenticity further along). Peer reviews, product demonstration on video, infographics on how services work, all of these make up content that will ultimately lead a customer to purchase. Your content builds a relationship with your customers and potential audience, so it needs to be true to your brand and products/services. This is where our next point comes in…
The days of ‘LOOK AT HOW GREAT OUR PRODUCT IS AND HOW GREAT WE ARE’ are over. Over promotional advertising or content can alienate your customer base. Sure, confidence is fine. But your brand and business need to convey relatability and authenticity through your content. Like we’ve said, your content can influence a customer’s purchase, but it has to be the right content. There’s an emphasis on brands and businesses to be real in 2018. (No b*ll sh*t basically…) If you’re doing sponsored posts or collaboration, make sure this is known. Companies have gotten into big trouble by not disclosing that their promotions with influencers were paid. So, be transparent with your customers – after all, they’re the ones who will make or break your business.
If you want to truly understand the success of content marketing, you’ll need to collect the right data and create reports to monitor and track progress. In 2018, it’s going to become essential that content marketers document everything. Their strategy, their results and their progress. This means that those who outsource their content marketing can see a clear ROI. Those content marketers that create these reports are the ones who are more likely to succeed. Those who planned out and documented their strategy through reports, were 33% more successful. So, plan and document your strategy. It will do wonders for your success and you’ll be able to show a clear ROI.
Creating content is hard enough, but getting it seen is a whole challenge in itself. In a sea of blogs, videos, and other content you need to make sure you give your content the best advantage possible. That means emphasising a focus on content engagement as well as distributing content in the right way. That means, accessing every available avenue possible. We’ve listed some examples below:
If you can think of a way to get your content seen, then do it! The only difference between your content and someone else’s is promotion. It all links back into creating the right content for your audience in order to have your content read and shared, boosting traffic and showing a clear return from your content marketing efforts.
With the introduction of automated assistants, such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, companies and brands are finding new ways to get their content across to users. In 2018, there’s a predicted shift towards this kind of content. It’s a different kind of content delivery system, which pulls the user away from their screen – Alexa can be hooked up to your car and other devices at ease. These automated delivery systems can deliver content, such as podcasts, on the go. Alexa can even read out recipes! So, with this in mind, content delivery is set to change in 2018 and move away from content delivered on screen.
AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) is going to explode in 2018, more and more brands are going to take strides towards creating interactive video content. Whilst it’s a fairly new marketing concept, there are ways to try before you invest in the whole shebang. Many companies start simple, with 360o images and videos – the gateway to VR. Customers have better engagement with interactive photos and videos, so 360o content is a great way to begin. With 360o video, some companies are marketing themselves with branded VR (cardboard) devices and providing video content that relates to your business. These types of interactive content are going to continue to grow and grow in 2018.
And that’s our list of predicted content marketing trends for 2018! If you think your business can benefit from any of these content marketing trends, you know where to find us. Our expert digital marketing team can help implement these aforementioned trends into your digital marketing strategy.
Go on, visit our digital marketing services page to find out more.