Content marketing has evolved over the past several years and will continue to go through some transformations in the coming year. Are you ready?
The purpose of content marketing is to give your audience something that is relevant and timely, and provides what they want. As market archetypes shift, technologies evolve, and consumer preferences change. “What do they want?” becomes a more difficult question to answer. Savvy content marketers need to evaluate the subjective situations and adapt at a faster rate than ever before. They need to keep refreshed with all the latest trends.
You may be wondering what to expect in 2017 and beyond. It’s going to be even more challenging than today. To stay ahead of the competition, you’ll have to prepare. These trends present opportunities for both B2B and B2C marketing:
1. Content Marketing Strategy Evolution
Content continues to be a foundation for business to drive growth, deliver value and revenue, and increase engagement. It has evolved from being simply a marketing tactic to being part of the business model. Organizations need to produce a documented strategic marketing approach that incorporates their objectives and goals, and incorporate the latest techniques and trends in the market that makes sense for the user experience and integrates a purpose-driven marketing mix. To execute on the strategy, organizations should also be armed with an arsenal of content creators, including professional writers, editors, and designers whose main task is producing powerful content that generates leads and converts customers.
2. Data-driven Insights
Delivering compelling, consistent customer experiences is the main goal of many marketing executives. Yet many marketers admit it can be overwhelming to deliver the right content at the right time to the right buyer. As consumers spend more time with their mobile devices and online, there are vast amounts of data to influence strategies for companies in every industry. To have the greatest impact, smart businesses should be gathering, interpreting, and acting on data to turn it into valuable insights and actionable data-driven marketing campaigns. Knowing how to create these types of campaign strategies is a key competitive advantage. New techniques and tools are helping brands to make sure their content resonates with what matters to their customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
3. Re-emergence of Email Marketing
Even though many believe newsletters are among a dying breed of communications, email continues to be an essential approach to cultivate and grow audiences. According to Campaign Monitor, BuzzFeed has added over 1 million email subscribers in the past 12 months. Plus, open rates are actually going up in many cases, demonstrating that email is on the rise as a source of information for customers.
Email is especially useful in the B2B market—to reach prospects, share information, and, because the nature of the industry has longer buying cycles, to nurture business relationships. Additionally, businesses tend to use email communications more often than social media channels. While social media helps businesses establish initial awareness, email marketing allows them to build on that awareness. In 2017, brands need to look at elevating their newsletters from merely educational to relevant, interesting, and entertaining content—perhaps even interactive experiences. This may include video, quizzes, puzzles, and other ways to get users directly involved with the content you publish.
As social networks have focused their business models on advertising, it’s become clear that the social media audiences grown by brands aren’t owned—they’re rented. Access to these audiences isn’t free. Even if you’ve grown them organically, you have to pay to play. As a marketer, it’s important to remember that content marketing is only as strong as its weakest link. You may be creating great content, but if you’re not investing in its promotion, then its impact will be limited. It’ll cost you both time and money, not to mention skills and experience, to run a successful social media program and ensure a positive outcome. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself falling quickly behind your competition on social channels.
5. Video and Interactive Experiences
It’s a fact: studies have confirmed that visual language is powerful and humans process visual content faster. Thanks to mobile technology, the demand for interactive video content is making a huge impact. Audiences want something that stands out, pulls them in, and connects them—video and interactive content will help your marketing efforts stand above the rest. Social video platforms like Facebook are riding the tide and optimizing their feeds to make it easier than ever for users to consume videos and immerse themselves in the content. Technology has really only scratched the surface of what’s possible. Keep in mind, when designing video and interactive experiences, it’s imperative to understand their audience and consider the story your trying to tell to provide more value.
6. Personalization and Segmentation
Personalization boosts relevancy and is fast becoming a prerequisite for catching customers' attention to show them that you understand and care about their needs. Social listening can provide real-time access to what your audience is talking about, sharing, and consuming. This allows marketers and content strategists to better craft high-quality, customer-centric content more effectively. When thinking about content development, marketers need to focus on publishing content that speaks directly to their consumers’ pain points.
7. Face-to-face Opportunities
Trust and authenticity are two qualities that consumers and brands are looking for when building relationships. Companies should participate in trade shows, conferences, and event exhibitions to promote products and network with other like-minded digital marketers. Furthermore, the digital impact of those live events can increase visibility, raise awareness, and generate traffic, engagement, and leads. Attending these face-to-face marketing events can be crucial to the success of a company's growth strategy. Just make sure you choose events that best align with your brand goals and target market. Make an effort to deliver content before, during, and after the event to share the experience and insights with your followers. Involve conference speakers, create guest blogs, interview attendees and thought leaders, and offer videos of activities as they happen. This is an enormous opportunity to leverage and actively participate in conversations both on the conference floor and on your social platforms.
New trends and technology innovations will continue to emerge throughout 2017. Visit metia.com to keep informed. Any major trends missed? Let us know in the comments below.