With 2018 slowly but surely overshadowing the previous year, we have a lot to talk about when it comes to content marketing. As we all know, content marketing is a process of creating and publishing content that serves to promote and sell our products or services – nothing has changed in that regard.
However, with the increase in mobile users and a growing desire for engaging content (mainly via augmented and virtual reality), content creators have hit a bump on the road. What are the major trends that consumers are looking for in the content that convinces them to spend hard-earned money on one brand over another?
Let’s take a look at some of the driving gears of content marketing for 2018 and how you can implement them in your own business.
Shifting tides in content formatting
Promotional content was easy to create only a few years ago. You would use a copywriter to come up with an interesting tagline or description and a designer to create the accompanying graphics. However, with the increased volume of users migrating from Facebook to Instagram and Twitter, more compact and fast-moving platforms, opinions have changed on the matter.
Content creators should absolutely look towards expanding their skillsets and offering more dynamic and multimedia content than ever before. Imagine the surprise on your followers’ news feeds if they were to see a video or an interactive animation with your brand on it – surely the experience would be a memorable one.
Content creation in 2018 is a team effort – no one person can take on all the work and come up with a brilliant solution. There is always some space for an “eureka” moment to happen, but that’s not how you should run a business. Let’s take a look at some of the skills that are worth investing into when content marketing is concerned:
- Graphic design – It’s a no-brainer that graphic designers will remain relevant whenever content creation is concerned. Having a specialist who is apt in using Photoshop and Illustrator is always a good thing.
- Video editing – Having someone who can create amazing videos from seemingly random pieces of footage is what will save you most of the time. Try looking for someone who can create short clips that can serve as your content.
- Advertisement specialist – Content creation by itself lends no credence if the created pieces are worth nothing to the target audience. Having a marketing expert on board and always engaged with the users across all platforms is a great way to stay ahead of the curve.
- Data analyst – Learning from the mistakes and successes we make will determine whether or not we are successful. Content marketing in 2018 won’t let you make the same mistake twice because consumers expect better of you. Look for a data analyst that can tell you what ideas are worth pursuing and which ones should be dropped for good.
- Social media management – Social media will continue to play a crucial part in content marketing for years to come due to its “pick up and play” nature. People across the globe are wired to look for content on their news feeds, which means that social media managers will also find their place on content marketing teams everywhere.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
If you have been close to a smartphone device in the past several years you should know by now that voice commands are a thing. Integrated assistants such as Siri, Cortana, and even Amazon’s own Alexa are taking the world by storm.
These IoT pieces of software are designed to help users and customers browse through their favorite content and find what they are looking for. Using this technology when designing your own content should be a no-brainer in 2018. IoT technology optimization with content marketing will soon become the new SEO of the internet.
Imagine publishing your content across the globe on Apple’s watch devices or Tesla’s own car systems. People who actively commute, jog, walk around the house or simply relax during the day will be able to experience your content without having to actively look for it.
Honesty over promises
Unfortunately for advertisement agencies and companies who focus on content creation, people have become increasingly skeptical over the years. It’s often not enough to blatantly publish a stock photo with happy faces and promise your customers they could become a part of that image if they buy your product.
Customer testimonials, free samples and even test periods have become the norm across all services and products. Even professional writing services of today let you directly communicate with the person in charge of your writing and editing needs.
The focus is slowly shifting from simply asking someone to buy your product to become a part of your live and ongoing service that can benefit both sides. Try implementing user testimonials and customer interviews into your content marketing to see if the customer base takes these pieces with more open arms.
Influencers and ambassadors
Influencers are individuals with large follower bases that are willing to help brands promote their services and products for a certain fee. Engaging with these individuals is sometimes more beneficial than researching a certain demographic and trying to determine what type of content would work best for them.
Influencers have dedicated their careers towards catering to certain types of people, and they are the perfect entry ticket to specialized content marketing in 2018. You can find influencers all over the internet, but a good place to start is YouTube with its content creators and their follower bases that span millions.
The same type of specialized content marketing can be found with brand ambassadors who can promote your content in their local vicinities for a small percentage of earnings. These two types of influencers can “influence” the thinking of their loyal fans and increase your revenue by simply knowing what to tell them.
Finding the perfect type of content to promote will also be much easier if you have an influencer on your side who knows what makes a certain audience “tick”. Merging forces and working towards a common goal with independent influential people is the way to go this year.
Disappearing rules of content types
We have mentioned AR and VR technologies making their entry into content marketing and smart devices in general – but what does that mean in practice? Customers have always been spoon-fed information about certain benefits they can achieve by using one brand over another, but the marketing strategies going forward will have to do much more than that.
Interactivity, engagement and continuous servicing are beginning to play a crucial part in retaining customers. People want to use and promote brands that treat them like individuals, not as a decentralized brick in the wall that is customer base. Showing each customer that you care about their personal experience and satisfaction is what will separate noticeable brands from those that fade away in 2018.
Investing into AR technologies such as chatbots and VR marketing in the form of interactive videos and content pieces will ensure that you are remembered by your clientele. These platforms can easily be adapted to serve your niche services and secure a safe haven for your brand on the global market. Keep in mind that the subject matter of your content will keep playing a crucial part in whether or not the marketing efforts are noticed – the technologies that you use as intermediaries are just that and nothing more.
You may think that localizing content means that much of the initial pitch may get lost in translation – that is not always the case. Having a dedicated team of translators and writers on standby is always a good idea if you are planning on pushing your brand into international waters.
Not everyone speaks English as fluently as is required by your content and this is especially true in areas such as Asia and Central and South-Easter Europe. This is a large sum of customers that you are effectively barring off from your brand by refusing to localize your content to a language more suitable for their skillset.
Going the extra mile to offer localized content can mean the difference between being embraced as a foreign brand or forced out by local competition – both of which are viable scenarios and depend only on your willingness to adapt. Offer international customers the ability to absorb your content in their native language and you will see your content marketing strategy transform for the better in a very short time span.
Speaking to them live
You might have noticed the increase in the use of live functionality when social media platforms are concerned. This feature was seemingly unimportant when it first emerged under the label of being able to share personal moments with close friends.
However, the live functionality that social media platforms offer today is only bound to evolve in 2018, making it a sure sell for many brands who offer niche products to their customers. You are now able to perform live demonstrations, host Q&A sessions with your customers or even give out prizes and host contests all through live streaming.
Content marketing takes a whole different dimension when there is zero room for failure or improvisation because it’s far easier to slip up and make a mistake while broadcasting live. That is why preparation and written scenarios are a good content strategy to pursue.
You can even hire celebrities or above-mentioned influencers to join your live streams and thus increase the viewership by a large margin. Don’t be shy of speaking up to your customers and engaging them on a personal level – this is the most direct and true-to-form content strategy that you can apply in 2018 and come out on top as a winner.
Like any other trend that comes and goes, these things are bound to change as we move forward towards the end of the year and beyond. Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for things that your audience can latch onto easily and create content strategies that follow the same logic.
It may not be easy to get into the minds of your customers, but the ability to do so determine which content becomes trending in it and which one gets left on the curbs of the internet. Don’t just blindly follow any marketing trend that comes along but put proper research into it before committing long-term – this is how you will prevail as a content creator in the following year.
About the Author:
Alaine Gordon is young and talented content manager. She has been writing professionally since 2010 about almost everything, starting from psychology and to the finance. Alaine Gordon graduated from the University of Colorado with B.A. in Journalism, 2011. She is open-minded, creative person who loves to make the people smile. Her credo is ‘Life is a fun enterprise’. In her free time, she loves traveling, reading science fiction and knitting. Her huge dream is to visit every single country in the world.