The world of marketing changes constantly. New technologies force advertisers to look for different, more effective ways of gaining customers. Content marketing is becoming increasingly important, even necessary in a good marketing strategy. Therefore, it is so important to plan activities in this area and to know what you can expect. In this article we will focus on the forecasted trends in content marketing. What should you pay special attention to?
There is this common belief that content marketing is a relatively new phenomenon that has come to existence only a few years ago. It could not be further from the truth. The beginnings of content marketing can be traced back to 19th century!
This is when „The Furrow” - a magazine for farmers already existed. Apart from advertisements, it also contained content helpful in farming. A company which used this kind of advertising quickly gained imitators which confirms that this kind of activities was successful even back then. It means that Internet did not create content marketing – it only made it more popular and brought new channels of transmission.
Nowadays, content marketing is understood as a kind of marketing strategy, the main tools of which are useful and attractive content addressed to a specific target group or to the general public. Content marketing, unlike traditional advertising, is based on building a relationship with the customers and interacting with them. Both parties should be engaged and enjoy some benefits. For the entrepreneur it is increasing sales and for the client it is obtaining valuable information.
The most popular forms of content marketing are: articles, webinars, e-books, podcasts, guides, infographics, video. Their main task is to provide valuable information on a given industry or subject matter.
It needs to be stressed that content marketing is closely related to increasing brand consciousness among clients and creating its image. It is based on the fundaments of so-called viral marketing, the aim of which is to make customers share information about the brand and to have good connotations with it. For these reasons, content marketing specialists reach to various media (e.g. YouTube, Facebook, specialist blogs).
The choice of the transmission channel is the key here. Even the most valuable content can go unnoticed if it is shared on a not-trusted channel. Nevertheless, it is often forgotten that the addressees of the message pay attention to where they find the information. They will familiarize themselves with the content only when it is adjusted to their preferences, and not all channels are considered good sources.
Last but not least, content marketing heavily influences website optimisation for search engines. Attractive and popular content is fundamental for creating links, increasing credibility of a website and, in effect, for a higher rank in search results. Therefore, you need to make sure that the text contains keywords and is friendly for the algorithms of search engines.
Content marketing is important because it wins customers “unpushily”, at the same time creating their bond with the brand, being exceptionally effective. Nobody likes having advertising being thrown at them. But when you convince them that they need a product because it will solve their problem, the solution for which they were looking for, it is much more effective. Well-designed content marketing increases traffic on the website, contributes to the company’s development and builds brand consciousness.
As we mentioned above, the past few years have been a golden age for content marketing. It has been evolving very dynamically and more and more companies employ interactive agencies which professionally take care of this part of marketing strategy. It is worth planning your activities keeping in mind the forecasted trends in content marketing, because the awareness of certain phenomena will facilitate further work and contribute to success in this area.
A report of IAB leaves no doubt. Many companies (80%) use content marketing but they do not pay much attention to it. One third of them have no strategy at all!
It means that content marketing is treated like something to be done in free time, when the company does not have a lot of other work to do. Such an approach can ruin many companies.
Content marketing is important not just because it is effective – in 2019 it will become simply indispensable. Its role is constantly growing, so we can assume that soon it will be considered a permanent element of marketing, which will not be effective without good content marketing. In the times when companies compete on so many channels, it is easy to pass unnoticed in the crowd. In a few months it will be even easier and only content marketing will make it possible to acquire clients in an unpushy way. Clients who are spoiled for choice will leave their money where they will be attracted by fitting storytelling, good advice or specialist knowledge. Moreover, we should not forget the power of niche content. This is what gives response to very specific needs of customers and generates traffic on the website.
79% of customers prefer to watch a video than read product description. And this is only the beginning of statistics which should convince us to include video content in content marketing. Business2community is recalling research from 2017 which confirm that video has an indisputable advantage over text. 63% of respondents believe that companies which use video material know how to reach their clients. In turn, 84% of buyers confirmed that the decided to buy after having seen a video.
Video materials beat text, and social media are well aware of this. Currently, the largest ranges are being gained by videos, and the algorithms of some media, such as Facebook, explicitly favour specific types of video content. In the case of Facebook, these are live broadcasts, which in 2019 will probably dominate content marketing on this channel.
There are many more channels, but the tendency to favour video is on almost every one of them. You need to remember, however, that the length of the video is of crucial importance and the first 2-3 seconds of the video decide whether the viewer will stop to watch it or keep scrolling down. It is said that the shorter a video is, the better. But you must realise that not every content is suitable for 10 seconds videos typical for Snapchat. The video must be tailored to the audience. If you organise workshops, your audience expects a webinar. But the followers of a fashion company expect a totally different form – for them, a good solution will be even the so-called ephemeral content, one that is available only for a moment (typical for Snapchat and Instagram Stories).
Irrespective of the industry that you work in, you should keep in mind the growing importance of video content. Cisco forecasts that before 2022, videos will make for 82% of content.
Podcasts, which are a form of online audio shows available in parts or in episodes, are becoming an increasingly popular form of transmission. Research confirm that it is a medium we simply like – in 2014, 39 millions of Americans listened to podcasts at least once a month (according to Edison Research), and the tendency is on the rise.
Why should podcasts become a part of content marketing campaign in 2019? If the statistics do not speak to you, let’s focus on the facts:
All these advantages make podcasts a worthy competitor for video material. Obviously, it is not a universal kind of content. It is hard to imagine, for example, a podcast from a fashion company. But it is an excellent method for agencies or experts who are building their position on the market because it is a way to easily convey their knowledge to the groups interested. Perhaps you will be interested in creating podcasts next year?
All content marketing guidebooks will tell you that a good text should be easy, comprehensible and… short. This is, however, subject to change. People pay more attention to the quality and they do not like it when an article with a promising title turns out to be a short, useless advert.
OkDork has analysed over 100 million articles and made some interesting conclusions. One of the most interesting pieces of information is the one about a preferred length of text. Below you can see a chart which visualises the ratio of shares to the number of words, divided into 4 popular media
shares vs length of text
The research shows that longer texts attract more interest, probably because of their value. Short texts, unfortunately, are usually unprofessional and of poor quality. Long texts, on the other hand, are exhaustive, giving the reader full answer to their questions. Therefore, there is a better chance that they will want to share them with other users.
Simultaneously, along with modification of algorithms for E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) the content created by trusted experts respected in their industry gains in value. This sort of content is rewarded in search results. Especially in the YMYL - Your Money Your Life – health, beauty and money industry. Composing texts of 1000 signs including spaces is becoming passé.
SEO activities are now relatively normalised. You know what to do in order to optimise websites, even though it is takes a lot of effort. But voice search, which needs to be taken into account during optimization, is quite a new phenomenon.
NPR and Edison Research report published in 2017, revealed that voice search is becoming increasingly popular. It turns out that over 40% of Americans consider this technology necessary!
What does it mean for content marketing? Probably there will be more content with sound created, which, in turn, may lead to creating totally new advertising platforms. And website optimisation should be adjusted not only to text, but also to voice search. After all, we type and write more carefully than we speak.
Spicework forecasts that in 2019, 40% of big companies will use chatbots. It is a tool based on artificial intelligence and optimisation in order to communicate with users. It usually takes the form of a small window which looks like popular instant messengers a user can ask a question which will be quickly answered. It is important from the point of view of content marketing because it can lead the customer to useful content on the website. Moreover, a chatbot is an element of creating a bond with the brand, which is one of the main tasks of a content marketer.
As we mentioned above, content marketing is still treated as a sort of an addition to marketing activities. Meanwhile, in 2019 you will need to not only include it in your plan for the year, but also realise that content marketing needs to have a strategy.
Marketing strategy is already a cliché, we know that. And it seems obvious that without it, we cannot speak of success, right? So why should content marketing be treated differently? According to the research done by Content Marketing Institute, 65% of the best content marketers have a documented strategy.
From the same research you can find out about numerous advantages of working on a strategy, such as: easier planning, focusing the team on a given target, higher effectiveness. It looks like content marketing is evolving and in 2019 it will be effective only with a strategy planned ahead.
Here we should highlight the meaning of cooperation between various departments. Not only Marketing and SEO should influence content marketing. As Core DNA rightly points out, the success of content marketing is a comprised of actions and experience of the entire structure. Each department has different experiences with the clients, and the sum of them all contributes to creating a good content marketing strategy.
Another good idea is cooperation with other brands, which will become one of trends in 2019, according to Code dna. However, it is hard to resist the impression that this will not be a common practice for a long time.
Many entrepreneurs still see the equation mark between a client and money. The customers are often seen more like objects than people. The marketing path is simple – encourage a client to buy, assist them in the entire process and enjoy the success counting profits, but forgetting that the newly acquired customer can be a customer several times over. Or not.
Fortunately, such an approach slowly ceases to be viable, even though it is still part of the process. In brick and mortar shops they have long been taking care of a comprehensive service, not just of sales (e.g. a nice seller's disposition, encouraging to return), whereas it is a novelty on the web. As if contact with the customer ended up at payment. Everything, however, indicates that in 2019 this will change. And that is where content marketing comes in.
It is content marketing that will make the customer feel a bond with the brand, use its services again and have positive associations with it. It is useful to stay in touch with the clients (e.g. through a newsletter), offering them special offers and highlighting their value for the company. All of that because the chance of the client coming back to the shop if they feel special. For that reason, it is worth referring to the customer in a personalised manner. The traditional “Dear Client” should be abandoned because next year, the client will rather use other shop’s services.
2019 will definitely be a year of taking care of the client. Content marketing will be oriented on creating long-term relationships with the customers and the relationships will tend to be linear, not zigzagging.
However useful the trends in content marketing might be in 2019, they will not work without good distribution. This is why this article ends with reflections on distribution.
First of all, we must say this clearly: even the best content marketing will not defend itself if the distribution is defective. Bill Gates said: "Content is king", but Jonathan Perelman completed the idea by stating "Content is King, distribution is Queen". And that is what you should stick to when planning your content marketing. A good quality article will never be noticed if it gets lost in the thicket of others, not necessarily good ones. That is why it is so important to focus on the strategy of not only content, but also its distribution. Fortunately, various solutions come to be of help.
A very popular solution is the social media, which many entrepreneurs treat like a miracle cure for everything. This approach is wrong, unfortunately, because one needs to be able to use the social media well. There is a reason why there are specialists who professionally run social media (e.g. in interactive agencies such as Cyrek Digital). Choose the right channel and know what to do to make the content visible.
You can also count on the influence of an expert or a famous person. It is not without reason that the influencers are so common. To be recommended or referred to by someone recognizable is nearly always a good advertisement. Of course, it is best when it is done by someone who will inspire our target group, but it is not a prerequisite.
If you already have a regular customer base, it is worth remembering about the native ad. Promoting your own content on your website is simple and does not resemble traditional advertising (so no one is discouraged), and at the same time is also SEO-friendly, because it makes readers stay longer on our site.
And the easiest solution, which should become commonplace, is simply e-mail. In this way, we promote content to people who are interested in our services and at the same time we build relationships with them. At this point, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of personalization (directly related to obtaining user's data, so, among others, their e-mail address). According to Insighter, a user-customized website generates four times more traffic!
Year 2019 is already at hand, so it is worth keeping in mind the forecasted trends in content marketing. However, we must remember that any content should be tailored to the goals of the campaign. Longer texts or live broadcasts will not work for everyone. You also need to be aware of the importance of distribution. Content marketing is not just content – it is a series of different activities. Only their application in practice guarantees success. And it is worth it. According to Technavio, content marketing in 2021 will be worth as much as 412 million dollars.