Overwhelmed by the magical beast that is content marketing? If you’re still trying to conjure the perfect content marketing strategy for your business, but not sure where to begin, then whip out your wand and lean on in.
Content marketing is compulsory if you want your business to survive and thrive.
All the big brands know it and are focusing more time, money, and effort into dominating it. Just look at trail blazers, Apple. Apple plan to invest over $1 billion on original content!
Content Marketing is Evolving – Your Business Must Keep Up
The internet and the fast pace of technology are influencing the way we, as consumers, like to access and receive information. Content marketing has evolved past blogging - that’s no longer enough.
To take you down memory lane, after blogs first came LinkedIn, then Facebook, quickly followed by YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, Pinterest, & then Medium. Words, then professional words, memes, tutorials, short words and hashtags, pictures, disappearing pictures, infographics, and now long-form words / author status.
Is your business keeping up?
So, where is content heading in 2018?
7 Ways to Enchant with Content in 2018
Here’s my list of what I think will be the major content (marketing) trends in 2018.
Video isn’t the new kid on the block. We’ve been loving video since the 80s – there’s even a song about it. Truth is, if you haven’t ALREADY invested in video, you’re behind.
Do you still need it? Yes. Video will get bigger and better.
Facebook video sees an average of 135% more organic reach than images. It’s higher for Live video.
Here’s how you could use video for your business:
Instagram and Facebook stories:
For the fun day to day goings on. Also useful for you to jump in for live Q&As or to share a short, sharp message like 1 x key insight + 1 x top tip.
Live video attracts higher engagement from your audience during the video – but, it works better the larger your audience. I use Facebook live for my business updates and launch announcements while I’m growing my audience and use the regular kind for educational pieces.
Great for Vlogs and tutorials. YouTube’s added benefit is it’s also a search engine. So, use strong keywords for maximum exposure.
Business branded video:
For your website, email campaigns, and social media channels - try incorporating quality business branded videos like; a business explainer, product demos, client testimonials, About You, educational videos from your workshops, or corporate event stories. You don't need to spend a fortune outsourcing, but, make sure it also doesn't look cheap (unless that's your brand)!
Podcasting IS the new kid on the block that is winning life. I think people like it because they can listen in and still multitask and do other stuff. Like, when sitting on the train into work, or, while cleaning the house.
I’m not a huge fan because I can’t multi-task (shame! You fail at female!) and I work from home. So, I find podcasts INCONVENIENT (against social norms, yes) 😉
That being said, I’ll be starting a podcast in the new year to help promote a book I’m writing because while listening is not my thing, talking definitely is!
Use a free app, like Anchor.fm – it will easily and effectively get the job done.
The humble email still packs a powerful punch – but you must make it meaningful for your audience! Whats-in-it-for-me?
Think of your email subscribers as gods and goddesses who are allowing you into their home. Don’t walk your muddy footprints everywhere. Don’t touch the valuable china. Just tell them relevant, interesting, valuable things and build a positive, powerful relationship with your brand.
Email marketing isn’t used to its potential
I can’t tell you how many business owners I talk to that don’t even have a monthly communique, let alone a high value weekly check in! Which means there’s an opportunity there for you to stand out.
Email enables you to provide more purposeful, tailored, connected content for your audience – enhancing brand experience with minimal effort. A June 2016 survey of US marketers found that email had a median ROI of 122%.
See!? It’s worth pointing your wand at.
Did you know? 95% of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt, so you can expect to see more of this in your life.
It’s not something I intend on using for my business. It doesn’t work for my service (presently) – and, personally, my phone is sacred. I choose when notifications are pushed through to me from social channels and email and any other medium that will interrupt my life. But, with SMS you can’t do that. I hate SMS spam. I am not the SMS marketer’s avatar.
I advise you only to use this if it aligns with your business model, purpose, and audience needs (like product deliveries, appointment reminders, promotions). Try experimenting with short videos and images as part of your promos.
Content marketing is more than just blogging.
Successful content marketers have moved away from content churn – blogging for the sake of blogging because you read somewhere once you needed to.
Which is why repurposing content is the new black. We each have different learning preferences. Some prefer video. Some prefer blogs. Some prefer infographics. Some prefer podcasts. Some prefer slideshows.
You don’t need to spend hours locked away in your office dungeon creating eons of content when you can latch on to a handful of high quality, high value topics and conversations and repurpose them for many platforms, formats, and audience types. You’re doing more with less.
Brand Experience Strategies
There’s no denying it’s a flooded market – so, your business must stand out.
A brand experience strategy takes a comprehensive view of your entire business; customer entry points, key touch points, and communication channels so you can build a customer-focused business. This one’s more about those every day conversations and experiences that help you build an army of loyal brand ambassadors.
In alignment with their original content, you’ll see more companies take on technologies like;
Respond to your customers instantly with FAQs, trouble shooting, and virtual stylists. Because consumer behaviour demands a response NOW.
Automate business tasks and processes, predict and forecast for faster decision-making, and resolve customer issues in real-time (and not when your customer service team next log in online). For a smoother and more efficient customer experience.
Segmentation and targeted advertising (re-targeting)
Deliver an exceptional customer experience by only feeding consumers information relevant to their needs.
We’re 24/7. All day every day. So, if you’re not available with the information your clients need, they’ll ditch you and find someone who is.
Influencer Branding – Personality Plus
And, so we end with the need for original, addictive, stand out content. The easiest way for your business to stand out is through personality. Building a brand that is uniquely you; instantly recognisable; authoritative.
From the way you sign off your emails, to your favourite phrases and lingo, to the filter and imagery you use on your Instagram feed.
A personality-infused authority is choosing the salted caramel honeycomb ice cream instead of vanilla.
It’s cutting through the crappy, mismatched, time-wasting clients and sticking like glitter to your perfect match.
To sprinkle in some urgency, your opportunity for building a trusted, loyal audience is right now. Like, right now. Because, most people are either too lazy, too scared, or too unaware to do anything about their brand.
A word from the wise – some content “trends” sound pretty schmick and might be doing great things for other businesses. But, don’t go all out, invest heaps of time and energy into doing everything you can without a strategy and wind up months later exhausted, frustrated, and unavailable to commit consistently.
As with EVERYTHING, start with your audience. Who are they? Where are they? And, what do they need from you?
If your audience don’t podcast – then, there’s no point starting one! Use these ideas as inspiration, but ALWAYS only follow through on the stuff that’s right for you.
Questions about content in 2018? Pop your thoughts into the comments below!