Content is the foundation of all forms of marketing and can make or break a marketing campaign.
Content marketing is essentially the creation and distribution of content to achieve various marketing goals. If done right, it can be the most potent weapon in your marketing arsenal. It can help you build your brand, spread brand awareness, get website traffic and even drive sales.
This means it's pertinent to keep yourself up to date on content marketing trends and design your content strategy with these trends in mind. Here are five key content marketing trends that can help you shape your content strategy.
1. Content marketing will become more mainstream.
Content marketing will be the single most prominent form of online marketing going forward. This is primarily because content is the key component for all forms of digital marketing techniques, be it SEO, social media marketing or influencer marketing.
Content marketing can be used to accomplish almost all digital marketing goals. According to a Content Marketing Institute (CMI) study, some of the key goals that marketers accomplish with content marketing are spreading awareness for their brand, engaging their audience, generating leads, building customer loyalty and increasing sales.
2. Visual content will be the most popular format.
Which is more likely to grab your attention as a reader – a long, text-heavy post or a video?
If you picked the latter, you are not alone. Most people prefer visual content to text because it is easier to consume and understand, so you should include more visual content in your content strategy. Be it infographics, photos, videos, memes or gifographics, take your pick and start creating visual content.
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Among visual content, video content will continue to dominate. According to a Cisco study, videos will constitute 82% of all online traffic by 2021. This clearly indicates the growing importance of videos for content marketing.
While planning your content strategy, prioritize visual content, especially videos. After all, why wouldn't you want to reach your customers using the most viewed content format?
3. Influencer content will continue to grow.
More brands and marketers will partner with influencers to create and distribute content. In fact, influencer content will be a key part of many marketers' strategies.
Influencers already have a certain level of expertise and good reputations in their industries or niches. They are considered authentic, and their opinions have the power to influence their followers' purchase decisions. Smart marketers realize this and use it to their advantage. Brands will continue to leverage influencers to write blog posts, social media posts, product reviews and more.
Brands are not just asking influencers to promote or mention their products, but also to create branded content to posted on the brands' websites. This essentially means that brands are using influencers as their ad hoc content teams.
Stanley PMI, a retailer of bottles and flasks designed especially for the outdoors and adventure trips, brilliantly uses this strategy. It invites adventure enthusiasts and other industry influencers to write posts for its blog. It also asks them to mention its products and include links to its product pages to drive conversions.
4. Authenticity and relevance will be paramount.
Authenticity and relevance are the key content characteristics that brands will need to focus on. This does not apply just to influencer content anymore: Authenticity and relevance are important to gain consumer trust and build a positive brand image. In fact, according to the previously cited CMI study, 95% of the most successful marketers believe that gaining audience trust is an important success factor.
Relevance is equally important for the success of content marketing. Marketers are realizing the importance of prioritizing their audiences' needs over forcing their promotional messaging. The CMI study also found out that 90% of the most successful content marketers prioritize the informational needs of their audiences while creating content, and 81% ensure that the right content reaches the right audience so that the content is relevant to them.
This trend will continue, with marketers giving priority to relevance over promotional messaging. You should also start focusing on authenticity and relevance if you are not already doing so.
5. Niche content will gain traction.
Brands will create more niche content to target specific, relevant audiences and avoid competition from bigger brands. By writing about niche topics that are not well covered by other industry players, you can build a reputation as an authority in your niche. A lot of brands are trying this tactic to avoid competing on more popular and mainstream industry topics.
Take the example of this digital magazine by Toggl, which covers the very specific topic of time management for digital creatives. The blog focuses on an industry niche that is relevant to the Toggl brand and its time-tracking tool.
You can use tools like BuzzSumo and Google Trends to find topics and keywords to create niche content. It's time to find your niche and start creating relevant and specific content for your target audience.
Do you know any more trends that can help marketers ace their content strategies? Let us know in the comments below.