From Superbowl ad content to super searchable keywords – content marketing trends

Superbowl proves content marketing mantra is pervading conventional ads

While it can be tough to understand the bombastic pageantry of the Superbowl this side of the Pond, it is American football on grass representing searchable keywordsundeniably one of the biggest events in the international marketing calendar. Advertisers are keenly aware of the hundreds of millions of analytical eyes that will be cast across their efforts during the half-time break, so it’s no surprise to see how many step their game up with fresh concepts. There’s no searchable keywords to keep things relevant, so ad execs have to make their offerings appeal to as broad a range of people as possible.

What’s different about this year’s stand-out ad – created for bank holding company SunTrust – is that it broke the mould for TV advertising, but is practically old hat for content marketers. While their competitors were fixated on advertising a specific service or product, SunTrust instead focused on an abstract yet valuable concept – financial health. And, while a catwalk of botoxed celebrities and hernia-grade humour was trotted out by businesses who should really know better, SunTrust chose to base their ad on a compelling, inspirational and ultimately genuine message. So, at next year’s Superbowl, and perhaps across advertising generally, we might begin to see a prevalence of the same trustworthy, authority-building technique that we copywriters know and love, rather than just a cacophony of high-contrast commercials.

Voice activation is set to lead to more searchable keywords

Over half of all teens and 41% of adults now use voice activated search to find content on their devices each day. Systems like Siri and Google Voice Search have also more than doubled in accuracy, with Google reporting a drop in misinterpretation from 25% to just 8% over the last couple of years. And, the benefits are clear. Whether sat behind the wheel or elbow-deep in cake batter, there’s just some situations where typing is not a possibility. However, this has potentially massive implications for content marketers and their aversion to highly searchable keywords and phrases.

No-one’s going to ask Siri “Recipe. Chicken. 35 minutes.”, but they might just use searchable keywords to ask “Can you find me a recipe for chicken that can be cooked in under 35 minutes?”. And, because you’re already drowning in gizzards, you’ll want the answer displayed neatly within the search engine without needing to click through. All this means that the type of language that Google values is changing into something based on super-searchable keywords. We copywriters will have to stop structuring content around keywords, and instead focus on natural language questions beginning with the five W’s (or, four and a ‘H’ if we’re being pedantic).

The end of print is nigh (again)

When digital content came on the scene, there was a lot of unnecessary debate about whether it would sound the death knell for print journalism. Unnecessary in that it was obvious. Why wouldn’t people want to digest their content in a format that’s cheaper, more environmentally friendly, more versatile and more readily available?

Anyhow, I digress. The Independent tried to combat this decline with their innovative newspaper ‘i’, which took many cues from the visuals-based format and lighter tone of digital publishing. However, The Independent has now announced the cessation of all print titles, and even the titles that made the effort to adapt are struggling (‘i’ is being sold as I type). Their online platform has been ring-fenced from this decision, and from the figures you can see why, with the print version selling just 40,718 copies compared to daily unique views on 2.8m online. The silver lining? Long-form journalism – where the true value of the art lies – could just be saved by factors well known to digital marketing. Google’s recently stated preference for longer, more informative content plays well, as does the lack of restrictions on physical page space online. The search engine wants all content to provide a service (just like journalism), and searchable keywords make it infinitely easier to find the exact information required. However, if they are to succeed, they’ll need to brush up on their blogger etiquette and style guide first.

When optimising content for mobile devices, don’t forget about emails

Gone are the days of being shackled to your desktop, ploughing through low-value emails at some ungodly hour. Now, 67% of all emails are picked up on mobile devices, with 75% of that figure based on smartphones. Mobiles, tablets and wearables are being called the ‘new inbox’, but many content marketers (who have managed to modernise elsewhere) are still stuck in the old ways of optimising for desktop-based email marketing campaigns. This means that they’re missing out across the board: from the length of their subject line, through the shape of text within the body and on to the formatting of features such as bullet points, the content is just not properly sculpted. And that will ultimately cost them in conversions – this is a trend to get on board with.