Is content marketing part of your business strategy? It should be! Consumers are actively seeking out information to learn about brands, products and services. Investing in quality content places information where your target market is looking, making it easy for them to find without being pushy.
Now that 2018 is well on its way, we have a strong picture of which predictions from the end of 2017 are turning into the hot trends for the year; continue reading to discover which ones you should invest in and which ones to avoid.
But first, we begin our discussion with challenges facing content marketers today and how to conquer them.
4 Content Marketing Challenges
With content marketing comes its own set of unique difficulties to be aware of and overcome. By being aware of them and how to take each one on, you set yourself up for success. Here are four common trials and tribulations brands investing in content marketing often face.
- Keeping up with new technology: Technology and the way people connect is constantly updating; businesses need to evolve their marketing plans with these changes in order to stay engaged with their audiences. With how fast the marketing landscape changes, it is easy to get overwhelmed and lost under a heap of tactics and strategies.
To combat this challenge, focus your efforts to keep up on the areas that make the most sense for your business and audience. Once you know where you’re going to focus your energy, break down each individual element into its smaller parts and tackle them one at a time.
- Know which platforms your audience uses: Not every social media platform is going to be a good fit for your business, and what may be a good fit now may not be in the future and vice versa. It is a challenge to determine where your target audience hangs out and then to follow them as the social media atmosphere playing field changes.
Pick one or two social sites that are logical for your business. Posting consistently and frequently on these platforms, as well as monitoring activity, will alert you to changes in your audience. With this information, you can evaluate your strategy and research options.
Measuring ROI: In today’s marketing landscape, it is no longer acceptable to measure the success of a campaign in dollar signs. Victory is now also determined by the impact a strategy has on the reaching business goals.
Overcome this challenge by having a clear understanding of what your objectives are by setting S.M.A.R.T goals:
- Oversaturation: In just a few short years, content marketing has grown exponentially and continues to grow as more businesses realize the power quality content has. This results in consumers being flooded with marketing messages and an oversaturated market where messages get lost in a sea of noise.
How can you combat oversaturation? Cater to your niche and use your unique voice to your advantage. Beyond your niche and voice, take into consideration the following advice on hot trends for the year.
What’s Hot for Content Marketing?
Staying diligent about keeping up to date on marketing practices is an important part of content marketing. Practices change too fast to get complacent in one set way of doing things.
Putting into practice the latest trends for content marketing will also set your business up for success by avoiding some of the common road blocks discussed above, like oversaturation and keeping up with new technology.
Take note of these hot trends for 2018.
- Partnering with Influencers. Influencers are a great way for brands to break above the noise and build trust with an audience. It’s the modern form of public relations – a review from a respected source (in this case an influencer) is more trusted than a paid advertisement with the same statement. With tools like Facebook Groups for Pages, live videos and social media in general, connecting and leveraging relationships with influencers will be on the rise.
Creative Mindscape recently published an article about content marketing predictions from industry experts including Three Girls’ Senior Director of Publicity, Emily Sidley, who noted these current trends:
- A multi-pronged approach. It’s not enough to publish blog posts or update your business’ Facebook page. By using multiple tactics concurrently, and in a complementary way, you’ll be much more successful with your content marketing. Specifically, I’d recommend blogging, organic social media, social media advertising and email marketing.
Video. Last year, more than 500 million people were watching videos daily on Facebook. That trend is growing, too. It’s estimated that within the next four years, video traffic will account for 80 percent of all internet traffic. Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear that video is a priority for the social media giant too, weighting videos (especially live videos) in its algorithm. This means brands need to continue investing in video, specifically live video.
- Longer, quality blog posts.Google is prioritizing websites with longer, higher quality content over those with a higher quantity of shorter articles in an attempt to provide better results for users. Because of this, it’s important brands invest in longer, well-written, helpful blog posts as regularly as possible – ideally at least once a week.
- Social media advertising.It’s becoming harder and harder for brands to see social media results from organic social media alone; it’s important they invest in at least some advertising to remain visible in users’ feeds as algorithms continually change.
- Establishing consumer relationships. Rather than focusing on traditional marketing tactics, it’s important brands take the time to focus on helping their customers, building a rapport that goes beyond “buy my product or service.” By establishing a relationship, you foster brand loyalty and awareness, so they come to your company first when they need what you’re offering. Show off your business’ human side to establish a connection, and be helpful, pleasant and responsive to their engagement.
In the same article, Alycia Yerves, the Creative Director at Alycia Yerves Creative, states:
- “Facebook Groups for Pages will rapidly pick up steam this year and will become an absolutely critical method for brands to connect with fans in a highly-engaged, and more controlled, setting. It’s the perfect way to identify superfans/brand ambassadors, and a way for brands to show transparency and communicate directly with fans…There are infinite ways in which brands can utilize this tool to their benefit.”
What’s Out in 2018 for Content Marketing?
Just as important as understanding which trends you need to put into practice is knowing which ones to avoid. Participating in outdated marketing techniques stifles your potential for success, leaving you disappointed and frustrated. We don’t want that.
The following strategies are ones that have a less than stellar impact on content marketing results and need to be left behind.
Spamming Audiences. Just because you can post on all social media channels, multiple times a day, doesn’t mean you should. If you want to be heard, be selective about what you share, when you share it and where you share it. Don’t post updates just to add to the noise; rise above it with a clear, well-placed message where it counts.
- Sales Pitching. Sales pitches have a time and place, and it isn’t through your content marketing efforts. The purpose of this type of marketing is to share information that builds trust and loyalty with your audience, it’s not to force them to buy your products with pushy tactics. Don’t let your content turn into the pushy car salesman everyone avoids.
Three Girls’ Emily Sidley also stated a few trends businesses should avoid in their content marketing efforts in the Creative Mindscape article cited above:
- Relying solely on one tactic.You can be the most amazing company ever when it comes to creating videos or blog posts, but if you don’t have a social media or email marketing strategy to support that content creation, it will be hard for your target consumers to find, rendering your efforts unsuccessful.
- Traditional advertising.Rather than ads that tout a business’ products or services, consumers are responding better to those that play on their emotions. Think about ways to make a connection between your brand and your target customers through ads that are humorous, nostalgic, heartwarming, etc.
- Asking for likes, follows and shares.Facebook has specifically said its new algorithm will demote posts with ‘engagement bait.’ Avoid blatantly asking for shares, likes and follows via social media.
Content marketing when done well is a powerful weapon. With tools like video, email, social media and blogging, the possibilities of what you can achieve are almost endless. If you want your business to shine above your competition, put into practice these hot trends and take note of the techniques to avoid.
Have you noticed any trends in content marketing not featured in this article? Share them with us below, and check out these other Three Girls’ articles for more helpful content marketing insight!
- 15 Content Marketing Lessons from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
- Content Marketing: How to Use It for Success
- 11 of the Best Public Relations & Content Marketing Tools
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