Throughout the larger part of 2017, content marketing had been the buzzword with the digital marketers across the world. However, this year content marketing would evolve a lot more than what meets the eye.
Influencer engagement, content creation, social media campaigns and digital pr – these have been the foundations of content marketing ever since the buzzword came to light in the early 2010s. However, content marketing has ever since evolved faster than anticipated – only because of sheer likeability, affinity and popularity various content formats enjoy in today’s digitally connected landscape. That said, as the urban and rural populace get exposed to multiple forms and sizes of content, the possibilities of engaging them and educating them (for product or service) will pave for newer formats and mediums shining through in full swing.
Further, the advent of artificial intelligence, big data and the concoction of augmented and virtual reality as mixed reality will shape the structures of content pieces drastically. Companies jumping on the bandwagon of artificial intelligence or AI-enabled services will be able to create more personalised content and enjoy greater affinity amongst their target audience. Big data will help mitigate the issue of finding the right audiences. Brands that will be able to churn comprehendible data sets out of the mammoth-ic stacks of data will be able to reach out to highly targeted customers and improve their chances of converting tremendously. And lastly those digital marketers adapting to strategies that will make use of mixed reality as a branding and marketing tactic will see their customers making informed decisions – most likely that favours them.
While the tactics above can be easily counted as the strategies that will definitely go mainstream, the following list includes other trends that will shape the future of content marketing in the coming year:
- Podcasts: Surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be. While podcasts have been around for quite some time, they will enjoy a higher adaptability with users next year. Now you may ask why? That’s because traditional content mediums are saturating or stand saturated already. According to research, more than a third of Americans (113 million) have already listened to a podcast, and around 15% Americans listen to podcasts every week. These figures are soon going to change as more people adapt to voice-controlled devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Also in the current times, digital audience have been consuming and adopting to crisper, shorter versions of visual content (written or imagery). Podcasts can be an excellent alternative to the content that is consumed visually.
- Voice-enabled searches: Internet of Things is taking content off-screen and making it ubiquitous. This revolution will give a big boost to voice-enabled searches. Some reports suggest that voice-enables speakers will reach 55% of US households by 2022. This brings upon a huge opportunity for marketers to put out content that can be embedded via these services. The report further mentions that total number of voice assistant devices will reach 870 million in the U.S. by 2022. Makes sense to start a podcast now, isn’t it?
- Native advertising becomes content marketing’s baby: The crux of content marketing depends on its distribution. Brands are creating heaps of content, but the bigger problem with it remains the audiences aren’t growing. Moreover, the platforms to distribute the content are also limited – constituting majorly of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin and Pinterest. So how does content cut through the clutter and reach bigger audiences. The answer lies in native advertising. Through native advertising brands can extend its reach by leveraging the reach and exposure of other players. Now, the key is to play your cards right. So how does one do that? By simply creating content matching the publisher’s content authority, audience attributes and reading their engagement scores.
- B2B content marketing becomes the ‘go-to’ thing: As opposed to the current perception of B2B marketing being a highly targeted tactic, B2B marketing in 2018 will break that notion – aptly through content marketing. For many years LinkedIn has dominated the B2B content marketing space. However, with LinkedIn offering videos alongside services like Pulse article and Sales Navigator – the space is becoming more expressive and engaging. We’re moving to the times where we’ll see a shift from ‘boring’ B2B content to ‘appealing’ content. We’ll also see more personalised B2B content being produced from the erstwhile static content. By using tools like Evergage, real-time personalization of emails becomes more affordable for brands.
- Do video right: Videos were the thing of 2017. Come 2018, we’ll see a seismic shift in video content capabilities. Some of the biggest trends that will catch the marketers fancy will be crisper square-shaped videos, videos with no audio will dominate on most social networks and paid, sponsored videos will go mainstream. Further, mobile journalism or MoJo will further rely heavily on videos as a medium of disseminating information – expect more on-ground action. Though these things have been a major part for the most of 2017, this year publishers and content creators will try to monetize these video outlets. For example, video-only services or apps will incorporate pay per view arrangements for showcasing live-events. 360-degree videos will result in a huge surge in shoppable video content. Some brands are already testing provisions where customers can swipe-to-buy after viewing an advertisement on social mediums. And lastly, we will see content that will be streamed across platforms – bringing in more collective engagement and views.
- Exposure to shoppable content: Shoppable content will strike the right chord in this new year. Content that will allow consumers to buy the products at the same medium will help drive sales a lot more than other traditional digital ad marketing tactics. Shoppable content removes the obstacles of a buyer journey by simplifying the product. Plus, taking the route of shoppable content will help brands to save money, resources and bandwidth, that they would otherwise allocate separately. Moreover, a brand can incorporate independent products in a single content piece. For example: a content piece – 5 homecare essentials for every new home buyer – can incorporate everything from white goods to food essentials in the same piece.
- Rise of content brands: By now we all have been exposed to branded or sponsored content. Branded content does a great job at incorporating products, creating better affinity for the brand, and saving creating more fans for the brand. Come 2018, this tactic will take a backseat. Brands will have to upgrade and incorporate in-house content creation capabilities to make sure their audience is always glued to their content and invariably does not flock to other content portals. Consider the case of Nykaa, a premium grooming etailer in India, which brings forth the highest collection of makeup products, now runs its own content unit that drives its sales, digital engagements and digital conversations.