Will the future of content marketing will be in the hands of machines?
Are those involved in content marketing bound to change jobs? Don’t worry because the answer is, no.
Humans are capable of doing something no machine can do: tell stories and put different parts together to create a new one.
The important thing to do is to refresh the way you deliver it. Think about your readers and the medium on which your content will be published.
If your latest post has only had a few shares and a short life on the web, the ideas below could help.
Related Article: Create Better Content With These Content Marketing Rules to Live By
How Is Content Marketing Evolving?
Industry experts defined content as the most important tool for digital marketing in 2015.
It is no coincidence that Google’s algorithm is giving more value to content quality and rewarding those that are most useful and relevant to the user.
What works best today?
Up until a few years ago, the key word was “brevity” but readers today are starting to appreciate long, rich and in-depth content.
According to a study, the articles with higher performance in organic search are those with a word count of more than 2,250 words.
Publishing on the web is like operating the flippers of a pinball machine. You aim at a strategic target but you can’t accurately predict which paths your content will take before reaching its goal.
A blog article can be shared on social media, summarized in an email, become a video or a source of inspiration for a webinar.
For this reason, the content that works best are those adaptable to different channels and can be disassembled and reassembled with ease.
Let Your Content Find Its Audience, Not Vice Versa
Despite the trend toward multi-channel content sharing, many small businesses continue to publish most of their content on their website.
This is a page that is less likely to be visited spontaneously by users. 71 percent of companies use their own web page as their main marketing channel, while less than half of them use digital advertising and social media.
However, their potential customers are elsewhere: while the brand is publishing articles on their website, 22 percent of consumers are on social networks, 36 percent are looking at their emails or are looking for something on Google.
Of course, there’s still a good 42 percent who are reading an article, a blog post or watching a video. But to ensure that they’re looking precisely at your own content, you have to spread it over many channels as possible.
Your content has to find its audience. It doesn’t work the other way round, unless you are Coca-Cola or Nike.
Text Is Just a Type of Content
For many marketers content is still synonymous with text, a story, facts or opinions that once published, will remain displayed forever.
According to Alexis Loyd of the New York Times, this is due to the historical inheritance of print media: for centuries, articles were the most common way to report an event and once they were published, they could no longer be changed.
Then came the Internet, which multiplied the possibilities of content fusion and reading modes, not only in a linear way but also transversely and fragmentally.
Text is still an important mode of expression, but it is no longer the only one. Content has become interactive, multimedia and changeable over time.
Thinking of Rich Content Is Always Easier
Posting comments, watching videos, browsing photo galleries, and listening to speeches are activities people like to do on the web.
Moreover, technology has made its implementation quite easy: think of Instant Articles, which has been recently introduced by Facebook.
This system allows authors to enrich their text by inserting links, likes and comments to the videos and images.
Each part can be taken and shared by readers, resulting in the creation of new stories, independently from the article.
Multi-format content marketing has become a trend and creating it is now less complex. Don’t you have all the ideal conditions to create a richer format for your own content?
A Handy 5-Point Guide to Multi-Format Content
Rich and multi-format content works because it has the power to engage: they win people over, entice them to read, watch, listen, interact, and get excited.
Here is a small guide that explains in five points how to use the freshest ingredients on the market to create content that meets the taste of your readers.
1. Video: Move and Share
Relevance: Video is the type of content with the best ROI for 51.9 percent of marketers and in 2017 it will generate 74 percent of Internet traffic.
Related Article: Increasing Content Marketing ROI: 14 Innovative Strategies
When to use it: The best opportunity is when you have to explain complex topics. According to a recent research, a one-minute video is worth 1.8 million words.
In fact, how-to videos are among the most successful ones. It’s also the ideal format for content that are more effective with audiovisual component, such as interviews: hearing the voice of a celebrity is much more exciting than reading their account in an article.
Live streaming with Periscope can be an excellent idea for brands involved in live events, but only if used professionally.
Tools: Use Videohance to add text and effects and make your video more engaging.
2. Visual: Images and Infographics
Relevance: Images in your content increase reader's interest by 80 percent. For 46 percent of marketers, photos are fundamental in their storytelling strategies.
Plus: Images are critical to increase content sharing. A tweet with images gets 150 percent increase in retweets, and 50 percent of web users have shared at least one image found online on social networks.
When to use them: Every time you create content for your company. However, images are also important in blogs to better explain some concepts and focus attention on the most relevant ones.
As for infographics, it’s preferable to create them yourself and with your brand’s logo. By sharing them, you also get to promote your brand for free.
3. Webinar: Awareness & Engagement
Relevance: Webinars are the third most important type of communication in content marketing. 62 percent of marketers use them.
Plus: They allow engagement and direct interaction with the target, more than any other channel of communication.
When to use it: To build an audience for your brand, build relationships and highlight services or particular aspects of a product, which can’t be explained through images, audio and text.
4. Long Forms
Relevance: In the top 10 results of search queries, the top-rated posts are the lengthy ones with more than 2,300 words. Their ranking on Google also improves year after year.
Plus: It is now the most successful type of article by number of reads and shares.
When to use it: To write extensively about a topic that may be of interest to your target audience and can be easily shared, wholly or partly.
It can be a downloadable ebook or an article on your blog. The key is to enrich it with different types of content, supporting the written part with images, graphics, videos, or podcasts and inviting users to interact and share.
Relevance: When people have only a little time and are on their mobile devices, 63 percent of them prefer short news articles while 57 percent prefer watching a short video rather than reading an article.
Plus: Because of its brevity (only one picture, 30-second video, five to six words), micro-content is usable time-wise and therefore perfect for capturing the attention of users on mobile devices (as with Tasty).
When to use them: Long forms are essential for in-depth articles, but brief content is perfect for mobile use.
It is suitable to provide short news or it could be a preview for a long form, which users will be able to check out at a later time.
An interesting experiment is that of The New York Time’s one-sentence stories, designed to be viewed comfortably in one glance on an Apple Watch.
Readers can then continue reading the story on their iPhone or save it and create a personal reading list.
Tools: Use CoSchedule header analyzer to check if your micro-content, whether it is a title or a teaser, has the correct length and a good emotional impact.
Try Freesummarizer to get a summary of your long content.
Related Article: Outside the Box: Unique Ways to Get Noticed With Content Marketing
Our Final Content
As shown above, long and short content can both be successful but you have to bear this in mind: whenever you come up with a good content, never think in black and white.
Think about the channels where you could spread it and create ad hoc versions. Mix different formats, languages and expressive possibilities.
Be creative in designing and be scientific in measuring the results. Identify the KPIs that are useful in evaluating which content have better performance.
Seventy-three percent of content marketers plan to prioritize creating more engaging content this year. Will you be among them?