When you think of content marketing, what comes to mind first? If you said “blog writing” or “article writing”, you wouldn’t be alone. Most people think of content in terms of words. However, there’s so much more to content marketing – especially in 2018. These days, it’s evolving to include videos, podcasts, social media posts, webinars, vlogs and more. Each medium provides a different experience and a unique way for people to consume information.
This year, you can expect new trends to emerge that will further transform the content marketing landscape. To succeed with your campaigns, you’ll need to adapt. If you’re not sure where to start, fear not! We’ve put together a great list of tips below.
Recognize that content marketing isn’t just about writing
When it comes to your content marketing strategy in 2018, hiring a good writer is simply not enough. If you’re serious about driving traffic to your website and making sales, you’ll need to put together a team of content creators who specialize in different skills – like video and audio production, graphic design, branding and communications, and content distribution strategy.
Working together, your team will be able to churn out content that does the talking for your business. Having people with different skill sets will enable you optimize content by tapping into various forms of media aside from website content and blogs.
Keep it transparent
Despite the advancement of content marketing strategies and the analytics tools that are used to evaluate success, transparency is still the single most important factor you shouldn’t overlook. According to experts, it will become even more relevant in 2018.
As you may have heard, brand advertising fatigue is becoming more common. Consumers have developed an aversion towards brands that are desperately trying to promote through content. In fact, customers may even feel a sense of dishonesty on your end if you try to sell too hard. Avoid this path. Focus on content that highlights real customer experiences. Market research studies show that a huge percentage of consumers are influenced to buy when they get recommendations from someone they know or trust.
So how do you become that voice that they trust? Well, we recommend building a relationship with your audience first. Always strive for authenticity and transparency. One way you can achieve this is with the help of another top content marketing trend in 2018: micro-influencers.
Get to know micro-influencers
In 2017, digital influencers really became a trend. You can find these influencers mostly on social media and blogs. The concept of influencers is to use the ‘voice’ and brand of certain individuals (most of whom tend to be bloggers), to create content on behalf of your business. Influencer marketing is thought to be the response to big brands using celebrities to endorse products – which many consumers view as inauthentic.
While influencers have dominated the content marketing industry in 2017, expect the rise of ‘micro-influencers’ in 2018. These are people with a small, but highly engaged audience on social media. They use their influence to connect their audience to brands that they support or love. If they’ve used your product or service and had a great experience, they’ll post positive feedback about it on social media. This post will then be shared throughout their network. The authenticity in the nature of the feedback will inspire trust in other consumers as well. Businesses can then tap into this user-generated content to help with their overall content marketing strategies.
Consider using interactive visual content
How amazing would it be to give your audience a totally unique experience that enabled them to be more responsive to your content? Now you can do this with interactive visual content like live video and virtual reality (VR). While virtual reality marketing is still fairly new and very expensive, live video is a great option to start with. Video marketing, like our example below, has been a part of content marketing for years and is a great way to attract an audience. However, live video is different as it evokes response from people in real time. We recommend trying that out too!
Understand the buyer’s journey
If you look at the different aspects of marketing, almost every one of them will require content in some form. Content is really the cornerstone of marketing. It’s also critical in each step of the buyer’s journey. Just look at this breakdown of where content fits into someone’s decision to make a purchase:
Step 1: Buyer Awareness
Your potential customers are most likely searching online for a solution to a problem. You can attract them with educational or editorial content, research reports, or e-books. These forms of content will enable you to present how your business can help.
Step 2: Buyer Consideration
Once your potential customer becomes engaged, they’ll be looking for more in-depth content that will help them identify the solution to their problem. In this stage in the buyer’s journey, the most powerful types of content come in the form of comparison papers, expert guides, webcasts or podcasts, and how-to guides.
Step 3: Buyer Decision
The final step in the buyer’s journey occurs when they make their decision to purchase. To turn a potential customer into an actual customer, it’s a good idea to provide them with access to a comprehensive product or vendor comparison. You can also produce live demo videos or case studies to showcase how your product or service is the best solution for them.
Adapt to succeed
In the end, great content doesn’t happen by chance. It’s a result of strategic planning, research, and editorial processes. In 2018, you need to look at content marketing as part of a broad business strategy. Adapting to some of these trends will help guarantee that your content will be one of your best marketing tools.
Want to chat more with us about content marketing? We’re a team of content marketing gurus that can help businesses in any industry succeed. Contact us today for a free quote!
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