Get a jump on 2018 and beyond with these observed content marketing trends that are proven and measurable. An ideal companion to your inbound strategy in 2018, content marketing is more than just SEO. Content has potential to elevate your online presence beyond search engines.
Content marketing is a brand building strategy that’s used for inbound traffic generation. It’s a powerful way to produce organic results and it’s the successor of an evolving SEO industry.
How does it work? You focus on producing great content that creates natural interest in your products or services. Your content doesn’t promote your brand directly, but it builds it by encouraging shares, attracting an audience, and becoming an authority on a variety of topics.
By studying today’s content marketing trends, you can predict the trends of 2018 and beyond. Better marketing starts with trend analysis. Content will always be the best way to build an online presence and use inbound marketing principles to their fullest potential.
1. Video Content
Mark Zuckerburg himself called video content a “mega-trend.” In fact, the Facebook CEO went on to say that video content is trending on a scale that’s equal to the growth seen in the mobile market.
Given that YouTube is currently ranked as the second most popular search engine behind Google, video marketing should be at the top of your priority list. This can include traditional video advertising such as explainer style and animated videos, how-to videos, reviews, tutorials, testimonials, industry news, and more. There are lots of ways to create engagement through video content.
Start a podcast
One of the more powerful forms of video content is running a podcast. Your own podcast allows you to build an audience of listeners that trust and respect your opinion. It gives you an avenue for sharing ideas and insight in a way that’s not just written words on a page – something your viewers have seen time and time again.
2. Email Marketing
Not surprisingly, email marketing has once again made its way to the top of content marketing trends.
Email is the best way to convert traffic into leads. For visitors that like your content but aren’t ready to purchase your products or services, subscribing through email provides a way for them to stay connected.
You can pitch your products or services through an autoresponder series and automatically convert these leads to sales. As you share valuable content and explain the benefits of your business, subscribers are more likely to take action due to increased trust and reassurance.
Use your blog for subscribers
Your blog content is an opportunity to build a connection with your audience. Your email series allows you to nurture those leads and encourage action. Use your blog to gain email subscriptions by using lead magnets and special offers that encourage signups.
Online outreach is becoming an increasingly personalized experience. The better you personalize your emails, the more connected your audience will feel. There is simply no better medium for delivering the content that people expect than email. Targeted email marketing campaigns are becoming easier to write and send with tools like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact.
3. User-Generated content
User generated content is also ranked highly among content marketing trends. Consumers are more likely to pay attention to what their peers are saying about businesses than what companies are saying about themselves. User generated content can include customer reviews, comments posted via social networking sites, blogs and video testimonials.
Many businesses are using guest posting to get high quality, user generated content on their own website without having to write it. You can reach out to individuals and personal brands to find writers that may be interested in blogging for you. Guest contributed posts are non-promotional and if you make an effort to only accept guest posts from individuals, you won’t have any competing brands sponsoring content on your website.
4. Facebook Live
Facebook Live is making it possible for companies to engage with their online audiences in real-time. Not only is this live content fresh and captivating in a way that dated videos often aren’t, but it also fosters far higher levels of user engagement.
Companies can use Facebook live to talk about new product development, introduce services, announce sales, or simply keep their clients updated on important industry developments.
5. Evergreen Content
Evergeen content is sustainable and long-lasting. It maintains relevance months to years after its publication.
When you produce evergreen content, you might not jump to the first page of Google like you could with a news article that hasn’t been covered, but there’s far better long-term potential.
Evergreen content doesn’t cover statistics that will one day be outdated, trends that eventually fade away, or topics that are only relevant to today. Instead, it focuses on providing tips, lists, guides, reviews, and other types of valuable content that have lasting value.
Keep in mind, evergreen content has more competition. Everyone’s writing about these subjects because there’s already countless articles and plenty of information to build off. If you want to stand out and create better engagement with your audience, you need better value than your competitors.
Do everything you can to make your content an authority piece that covers the subject more extensively than anyone else.
6. Long-form Content
In 2017 and prior, one of the most surprising content marketing strategies was the use of long-form content to elaborately explain an idea. It’s surprising because you’d think in a digital age where users want answers quickly, long content wouldn’t attract many viewers. However, it has had just the opposite effect.
Content marketing trends continuously show that top-ranking businesses in the world have content that’s 1,000 words or more on their web pages. Although the common perception is that web users want short, concise pieces, Google seems to think otherwise.
If you think about it, most of us, when searching online, are looking for more in-depth coverage with statistics, facts, and other data that allows for an informed buying decision.
Long-form content also builds trust with your audience and demonstrates authority.
7. Visual Content
Visual content includes pictures with descriptive captions, infographics that break complex subjects into shorter and easier to read sections, and engaging posts on platforms like Instagram.
This is content that appeals to users on-the-go and it’s also highly sharable. It gets right to the point and solves problems quickly, which longer and more elaborate content doesn’t necessarily do. This is why it’s a common strategy to combine longer content with an infographic, video or series of images to help the reader quickly understand the topic and get to the information they need.
8. Content For Existing Customers
A lot of companies have been placing an inordinate amount of focus on finding new prospects and converting them. The major emphasis going forward, however, will be fighting to maintain large customer bases by keeping existing customers actively engaged. This will lead to new content marketing strategies overall, by promoting the development of articles, blogs, videos and social networking posts that are less conversion-driven and more geared for customer relationship management. Maintaining a strong connection with existing customers means better customer retention and more revenue.
9. A Move Away From Automation
While certain aspects of content marketing can continue to be automated, many businesses and the SEO firms that work for them will be taking a far more hands on approach.
In terms of choosing content topics, identifying and pursuing niche markets, and managing social media accounts, automated tool certainly have a role. However, businesses are beginning to recognize the importance of human involvement during these processes. While keyword research and tools like Buzz Sumo can make choosing a content topic easier, it’s not something that can be completely automated. Recent algorithm changes and the addition of Google’s Rank Brain and other AI technologies demands this shift.
10. Content Promotion
How effective your content is at driving traffic and producing leads is measurable.
When content is promoted, it gets viewed (impressions) which can result in traffic (click-through’s) and conversions. The click-through and conversion rate is determined by dozens of factors including its niche market, ad copy, placement, etc. Some content will perform better than others and through content promotion, businesses can analyze their results and determine which content performs the best.
Content promotion is the tip of the spear to content marketing. Many experts say that you should be spending three to four times as long promoting your content as you do writing it.
Storytelling is one of the biggest content marketing strategies because it creates engagement and captivates the reader’s attention. Just as we love to share stories in conversion, people like to read stories too. You’ll find storytelling used in text and video content marketing strategies.
Brands are telling their own stories and using the stories of successful customer experiences to create engagement and convince readers to buy.
12. Proactive Reputation Management
Blogging, review sharing and posting on social networks as a means of proactive reputation management is a smart content marketing strategy. You can think of it like preventative maintenance for you car. One day, it’s going to hit a bump in the road and face some challenges. Your business will too. When this day comes, proactive reputation management can be exponentially valuable to your brand.
This builds your brand and makes your public image less susceptible to damage. Negative customer reviews, unfortunate PR events, disgruntled employees, unethical competitors, and customers that are simply impossible to satisfy inevitably strike every business. With the right content, you can position yourself as a knowledgeable and caring industry expert before any criticism comes your way. When it does, your reputation will sustain itself and hold steady.
13. Greater Levels Of Transparency
We all love to see transparency. When you’re transparent, it takes away any sense of arrogance that your audience may have had about you. Being vulnerable makes you relatable.
For instance, if you were to lose a lot of weight and only showcase your results, it could appear like showboating. Although you may feel as if you worked hard for those results and deserve the limelight, not everyone will agree. To reduce negative feedback, you could be transparent about your weight loss and show transformation photos along the way and talk about some of the challenges you faced. Everyone knows the process wasn’t easy for you, so why only highlight the good stuff?
This same logic applies to business.
Expect to see more companies increasing their levels of transparency through blogs, social networking, posts and other forms of online content. Businesses can use transparency to expose parts of their business that are usually kept guarded. Lots of entrepreneurs in the coaching and self development niche do this with their own income. By being transparent about how much money they’re making and where it’s coming from, it builds trust with their audience. This is a strategy used to make existing customers feel like they’re part of the team and it provides attention from prospects who are yet to convert.
There haven’t been any major revelations in content marketing within the last year. Stick to what’s known and continue producing great content that your audience will love. These content marketing trends for 2018 and beyond carry the same major principle, provide what your audience expects to find, and then some. Over-deliver and “wow” your readers. Content marketing in 2018 will be about engaging your audience in a way that carries meaning and impact.