From the future of content to the BBC’s latest challenge – content marketing trends

The future of content – what lies in store?

We’ve reached that time of the year when marketers start exploring the future of content and trends for next year. Future of content

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI), has just released the 5 trends it thinks we should focus on for next year, so we thought we’d have a look!

  1. The future of content is intrinsically linked with SEO. Bring the two together to inform your strategy and reach new audiences via organic search.
  2. To make your content more successful, you need to boost engagement rates. Understand what your audience wants, hook users in with headlines and deliver the top-quality content they’re itching to see.
  3. Mobile and local search will determine the future of content. You need to optimise for these areas to succeed in 2018.
  4. Voice search is proving significant, but you need to step it up a notch if your content is to prosper. Answer questions around conversational (but high-value) keywords to nab the top spot.
  5. Unsurprisingly, the future of content will include new tech, like AI and machine learning. Start implementing it today to collect customer insights. However, be careful how you do it – more on that next!

To sumup, the future of content is based on customer experience, according to CMI. Understand your audience and meet its expectations, and you’ll do well in 2018.

Should AI be regulated in marketing?

Syzygy has just released a study called Sex, Lies and AI: How People Feel About Artificial Intelligence in the UK. Not only is it a catchy title, it’s a great read for content marketers and Blade Runner fans alike.

It definitely wasn’t a coincidence that this study was came out at the same time as Blade Runner 2049. Without spoiling it for those who haven’t yet seen the original, director’s cut, final cut (or another version), we can let you in on the one rule that governs the Blade Runner universe:

It is illegal for AI applications (or ‘replicants’ as they’re known in the film) to conceal their identity and pose as humans.

When the first film came out back in 1982, AI was a far-off concept just for science-fiction nerds. Now, it’s more real.

It’s kind of freaky if you think about it, but some of the tech we interact with is rapidly becoming more human (chatbots, social media bots and virtual assistants). It wouldn’t be a huge leap for them to start pretending to be us…

But enough film-geekery, what did the study find?

Well, apart from the test which revealed I have a 46% chance of being a replicant, the study showed that:

  • 79% of the British public wouldn’t object to AI being used to profile and target them in marketing.
  • Despite this, many respondents reported having negative feelings about this new tech; suspicious (31.8%), concerned (35.5%) and fearful (15.3%).
  • 92% of Brits believe that AI for use in marketing should be regulated, with a legally-binding code of conduct.
  • 85% would support a new “Blade Runner rule” that would prohibit AI systems from hiding their identity and posing as humans.

So, although most of us see the use of AI as perfectly acceptable in content marketing, we have an entirely different opinion when it comes to bots pretending to be human. Keep this in mind when you begin implementing AI techniques as part of your content strategy.

Spotted in the news…

This week, the BBC got a good telling-off from Ofcom for not producing enough original content.

It has now been issued with one of the most demanding and challenging set of requirements to date:

  • 90% of peak-time programming on BBC One and BBC Two must consist of original productions, commissioned for UK audiences. This means no more US imports or repeats in the evenings.
  • 75% of all programming must consist of original British content – meaning more Doctor Foster, the Night Manager, Doctor Who and Louis Theroux documentaries (hoorah)!
  • BBC must spend the same per head on content in each of the UK’s countries. This follows complaints from Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish audiences. This means that at least half of the BBC’s programme hours must include content made outside of London.

So, what’s the lesson here for content marketers? Original content is king! Don’t slack off on this, or you may well get a reprimand from your regulator (Google or your audience).