From disruptive content to Facebook Instant Articles – content marketing trends

Gain corporate cohesion with disruptive content

‘Disruptive’; it’s one of those buzz-phrases that can used as a by-word for almost anything the author Disruption banner on screen representing disruptive contentdeems unsavoury. But, in true millennial style, this word has been turned on its head and has become one of this year’s must-have content accessories – the ‘disruptive content opportunity’. In essence, it’s a kind of corporate Darwinism which states that a company, product or service will always be disrupted and then superseded by a competitor with a new voice or business model. Today, the school of thought (officially certified in Facebook’s ‘Little Red Book’) is that brands should be looking to create and then take advantage of their own inevitable disruption.

What disruptive content means, in essence, is that a content strategy of five years ago is worth about as much as the data it costs to store. Brands today must take advantage of their own disruptive content opportunity by digging deeper into the motivations of their key audience demographics, and cover topics so unnervingly niche that – while it might not happen immediately – at some point you will be the most authoritative source that’s talking about it.

Not only does this mean that we’ll all have to become braver at trying out different forms of tone, language and format in order to differentiate our voice, it also means that a ‘magic recipe’ for content strategy is an even more distant dream than it was. Taking the plunge and creating your own ‘disruptive content opportunity’ is something of a leap of faith, but in addition to offering readers something genuinely new and exciting, it fits seamlessly with Google’s stated content aims. As found out with Panda and Penguin, sometimes with Google you need to play to the future rather than the present.

Facebook’s Instant Articles set to open to all

There’s been much chatter among content marketers about how Facebook’s Instant Articles might shake up web publishing. Until now, the answer has been known only to Facebook employees and a few hundred lucky publishers. However, with confirmation that the platform is set to be opened to all comers from the middle of April, it’s now open season on theories for how content marketers might adapt.

Facebook Instant Articles was developed primarily as a means to provide users on mobile devices with a faster way of accessing news stories. The logic is sound; Facebook get to keep eyes on their platform and ad-revenue coming in, while users get quick access to a bespoke newsfeed based on their stated ‘likes’ and engagement with other news pieces. But, mobile devices are often synonymous with bite-sized content that has a transient interest at best. So, copywriters will need to think carefully about structuring content specifically for this type of platform, while also balancing Google’s preference for long-term content. Being a social rather than a traditional media platform, it will also inevitably hasten the shift towards individual thought-leaders for niche topics over publishers with a broad scope. No matter how you choose to approach it, Instant Articles is likely to play at least some part in your future content strategy.

The renaissance of the email newsletter

The email newsletter is effectively the Black Knight of digital content marketing. A stalwart if not slightly dim denizen of the field, no matter how many limbs have been lopped off by smart alec bloggers (yours truly included), they just keep coming back for more. First of all, they weren’t personalised enough. That got sorted, but then everyone stopped using their personal emails as anything more than a glorified receipt spike (or, so we thought). So, how surprised were we to find that, not only is the email newsletter set to rise like a phoenix once again, it’s largely thanks to a 21-year-old University of North Carolina graduate called Kelsey Weekman, who is the brains behind a tool that is superseding social media and generating hundreds of extra clicks each day.

“What is this mysterious alchemy?”; I hear you ask. Simple. It’s a daily news round-up sent as a newsletter to the accounts of followers. TheSkimm is Kelsey’s innovative news platform, from which she sends out a newsletter every day in her own voice, with topics that have only been included because of their interest to her specifically. This is direct evidence of the rise of thought-leader marketing over the traditional publishing model, as well as an early use of disruptive content. It also shows the benefit of re-evaluating old technology and using it to augment new communication platforms (the idea was conceived as a tonic to Twitter’s 140-character limit). All things considered, it’s an email-based answer to a question posed by social media.