It wasn’t long ago when critics left and right said that content marketing is dead. Under the shadow of that statement, businesses still plowed through, churning out posts with greater risks—and returns.
Soon enough, the notion was overturned, and content marketing became one of the most effective ways of generating traffic and leads. According to a survey done by the Content Marketing Institute in 2015, 86 percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers and 77 percent of business-to-customer (B2C) marketers interviewed utilize content marketing.
Using this style of marketing is basically a must for you to have another foothold into the ever-competitive world of business. Which is why you need to stay on top of trends that can and will affect your business, especially your marketing strategies. Here are five that will get you thinking.
Like the popular meme of letters vs. e-mails, the barrage of digital content has made rare the feeling of paper, and this is the way to reinvigorate that quasi-nostalgia. It’s also a clever tactic to cut through the noise of everyone posting here and there.
Print has been steady for a couple of years, but 2017 is likely to be the time of its resurgence. Try having a booklet or a mini-mag for your content. Perhaps a paid subscription (or at least a free trial) or giving people free copies just might be the push potential leads need to become customers.
Niche MessagesThere are two definitions for this one.
In any group, there are subgroups, smaller units of people closer with each other due to individual similarities that the whole lacks. This fact isn’t shown any clearer than in your already-established customer base, a collection of persons of different ages, locations, personalities, walks of life, etc. The only ostensible similarity is their connection to your business.
But dig deep enough and you may find out that certain persons have similar likes and interests that others dislike or may not particularly care about—say, half of them use Windows and the other, Mac. By then, you already have two subgroups. Niche audiences, if you will.
Content primarily focused on the interest of one subgroup and, of course, another centering on the other group provides possible avenues for expansion (and eliminates any opinion of favoritism). The point is catering to both niches—two branches of possible growth.
Another is by making your content unique and making it stand out. It’s the same logic as print: there are hundreds—if not thousands—of content producers and publishers. And if you’re critical about it, you’ll find that most of them say the same thing. No additional knowledge. No new angle, save for a few good ones. Pieces tackling distinctive topics will flourish.
Making content about specific subjects fixes that. Instead of writing about a broad topic, a niche message will set you apart from the others, like something about using carousel ads on Instagram instead of just different ad tactics. Having a pinpoint focus on your posts will ensure that when the need comes for that knowledge, you’re one of the first to offer insight.
MobileSmartphones are one of the main driving forces of content marketing. Not the devices, per se (although their functionalities do help), but the implication and consequence of their “anytime, anywhere” feature. And that’s going stronger by the day, so much so that the number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to reach 4.77 billion this year.
This is an astounding number, sure, and you would do well to adapt to the changing connectivity landscape. Making your site mobile-friendly, if you haven’t yet, may very well be a must now, especially since mobile traffic has surpassed desktop Internet usage.
Google is also taking notice, and it has released an announcement regarding planned changes in its indexing, making the main functionality of searches mobile-first, meaning its “algorithm will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages …, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”
VideosLet’s say it again: humans are visual creatures, so all forms of images are powerful. This holds true for videos since the statistics back them up:
• In this year, it is estimated that 74 percent of all Internet traffic will be video
• In 2016, Facebook had an average of eight billion video views a day
• Every day, YouTube users watch hundreds of millions of hours of videos
An evolution of this medium that has gained traction the past few years is live video. It has become immensely popular, despite what used to be the difficulty in setting everything up, that Facebook now has one button to livestream and increase engagement rates and awareness.
There is such a big niche for videos that it almost becomes a necessity for any self-respecting marketer. Sure, it’s harder to produce videos—requiring more time and resources to begin with—but the returns are well worth it.
Infographic source: Oneproductions.
Customer EngagementLastly, you should break down the divide between you and your customers. Engaging with them means two things: digital and face-to-face.
As much as different social media platforms have Like, Comment, Subscribe, Follow, etc., making your content interactive gives the best assurance that prospects will keep coming back, mainly because people won’t feel they wasted time and effort. They want extra experience from your content, not just reading, watching, or listening to your post.
When you’re not online, or you’re on a break, take the time to meet and greet your audience. Brand recognition can only go so far, so adding a face will give your business entity a human side—a relatable part that will also be a foundation of more meaningful relationships.
Those are five of the projected content marketing trends that will be strong this year. Of course, not following them will not mean the end of your business. You can still come out on top with different strategies.
However you do it, and however you fare, one thing is for sure: content marketing will be more challenging. But as long as your strategy is solid, then you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Rick Enrico is the CEO and Founder of SlideGenius. He regularly publishes expert presentation tips on the SlideGenius Blog. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Top image: shutterstock