As an industry, it’s starting to climb out of the trough of disillusionment and onto the path of enlightenment. However, there’s a long way to go, so you better pack your hiking boots!
Here, we’ll take a look at what the top bods in the industry predict will happen to content marketing in 2018. We’ll even offer some tips on how to make the most of different marketing methods, so keep reading!
What is happening to content marketing?
Content marketing is evolving rapidly into a new and interesting creature. Soon, it will cease to be an individual discipline, but will instead become a business-wide approach for sales and marketing.
It’s starting to incorporate the ‘research-online-purchase-offline’ buying patterns of consumers, and has grown much more efficient by introducing new technologies and methodologies.
We predict that over the coming years, content marketing will become much more significant to businesses of all sizes, in all sectors.
Brush up on your content marketing knowledge now and you’ll be ahead of the curve when it hits the mainstream!
What does this mean for content marketing in 2018?
We’re still at the early stages of the content marketing evolution. However, 2018 is the year when things are really going to change – and we can’t wait!
Content marketers enter 2018 with previously unseen confidence and enthusiasm. A whopping 60% say that their 2017 strategies were more successful than the year before, and the majority expect this figure to increase during 2018.
While success grows, so too does confidence and the number of people who truly understand content marketing and the technologies used to implement it.
This greater understanding will help us push the boundaries of content marketing as we know it, and develop new methodologies for growth marketing. Sounds promising, doesn’t it?
We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves … so, let’s get back to content marketing in 2018 for now.
6 key trends for content marketing in 2018
1. Your team needs more than just writers
Writing a good blog or white paper is great, but content marketing in 2018 will have a huge focus on publication and promotion.
Therefore, you’ll need someone on your team who really understands the strategies involved in these two areas, and who can use analytics to measure their effectiveness.
It would be a bonus if that person could also create new types of content (videos, infographics etc.) as blogs alone might not be enough in this new landscape.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to fire anyone, or bring in someone new. Help your existing contributors develop their skills in these new areas and let them become even more awesome than they are currently! That way, you’ll be prepared for the future and you won’t have to rock the boat.
2. Write content for voice search
You can’t have missed the big tech news of the year! The voice assistants have arrived (for real this time).
There have been a couple of soft launches, but now Siri, Alexa and Google are here to stay – and you can bet a lot of people will get them for Christmas!
This development in technology will push marketers into a new age where content is no longer confined to a screen. In fact, these devices offer hundreds of opportunities to connect with prospective customers using highly-targeted, relevant content.
For example, through Alexa, the American Heart Association provides details on performing CPR and can even help you identify symptoms of a cardiac arrest or stroke.
It talks you through this step-by-step, and can even call an ambulance on your behalf. While this is an extreme scenario, it’s a great demonstration of how this technology is starting to infiltrate everyday life.
By providing valuable and actionable content that’s easy to access through query-based keywords, you can prepare your business for the influx of voice-search in the coming months.
3. Be transparent
Anyone who’s been on this planet for the last year has heard the term ‘fake news’ at least a thousand times … and to be honest, we’re getting a little sick of it.
So, content marketing in 2018 must be transparent and honest – because if it’s not, people will find out.
However, don’t go over-the-top about your ‘green’ claims, your charitable contributions or the causes you support. Your followers will tire of this pretty quickly and might even see it as an act of desperation. Mention these if and when they’re appropriate, and you’ll be good to go!
4. Types of media are blurring (just a little)
This is one of the main reasons we think content marketing in 2018 is the start of a big change for our industry.
You can’t separate different types of media (paid, owned and earned) anymore – there’s too much overlap!
This is the first step in bringing all types of media and different marketing disciplines together. The challenge is, they have to work alongside each other seamlessly for them to be effective.
You must have a consistent brand and message across all your digital channels, otherwise this new strategy won’t work. Assess your conversion funnel using CRO testing and identify key drop-off points. You’ll then be able to figure out which areas to improve, based on data rather than guesswork – result!
5. Original content is king
In 2018, Apple is planning to invest over $1 billion on original content. This might be about it wanting to take on Netflix, but we think it’s really about making the company relevant and providing a consistent end-to-end experience for its audience.
Other big players (Google, Facebook, Amazon and Pepsi) are investing millions in original content too, so perhaps it should be part of your content marketing strategy in 2018?
Obviously, we don’t expect you to compete with those guys – that would be insane – but your competitors will probably take advantage of this trend too.
Get ahead by creating valuable, relevant original content now. This will help you build a trusting and loyal audience before they’re bombarded with other new sources to choose from. Leave it a few months and you might be too late!
6. More money for content marketing (but in the wrong places)
One trend we can’t seem to kick is the ‘campaign nature’ of content marketing. People still invest in projects rather than the approach itself, so content marketing can seem more like advertising than anything else.
However, for content marketing in 2018 to truly work, content must be differentiated and produced consistently over a long period of time to see the results.
Also, if the higher-ups don’t see a positive change after investing in these projects, they’ll start to think that the discipline is ineffective, when actually it’s the practitioners who are the problem.
That’s not good for business or the content marketing industry. And, it’ll become much harder to climb that slope to enlightenment! Get to work on changing your approach today to prevent this from happening.
So, there you have it, a quick overview of what content marketing in 2018 might look like. We’ll revisit this in twelve months to see if we were right – watch this space!