As marketers look to the future and begin planning strategy and content for 2018, it can be helpful to determine which methods and practices are trending in the new year.
Keep Content as King
It may come as no surprise, but content is still the number one way marketers are looking to influence their audiences — and more and more content is being produced than ever before. With all that content flooding your audience’s inboxes, social media feeds, and audio channels, how could you possibly make your offerings stand out?
Larry Myler, a contributor to the Oracle Modern Marketing blog and author of “How Content Marketing is Evolving Heading into 2018,” says it’s not about the volume of content your organization produces any longer. Creating content that gets noticed is about promoting high-quality pieces, even if they appear less frequently. “Rather than publishing new blog posts daily, and hoping they gain traction,” he writes, “expect to see more brands focus on publishing high-quality pieces of content designed to help them reach specific campaign goals.” Think about producing more in-depth pieces, including white papers, case studies, and long-form videos, as well as more elaborate content, like interactive sites or motion graphics.
If you do put your time and effort behind this type of content, Myler writes that there are a few requirements to make sure they excel: The need to educate your audience and they need a very clear call to action. If your readers don’t learn anything, or can’t figure out what their next steps are, they won’t share your content or come back for more.
Try New Mediums
Technology is always evolving, and the past year has brought breakthroughs in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Plus, the Internet of Things (IoT) is growing at a rapid pace. According to New York Times best-selling author and Forbes Top 10 marketer Neil Patel, “International Data Corporation shows that, based on sales and forecast models, revenue from AR (augmented reality) and VR will grow from just over $5 billion in 2016 to more than $160 billion by 2020. Revenue forecasts from Digi-Capital are equally optimistic, reporting an estimated growth to $108 billion for AR and VR by 2021.”
Creating content specifically for these channels will allow your organization to reap the benefits of the growing industry. With AR or VR, you’re no longer just telling your audience a story with words, you can put them inside an environment of your own design and truly help them feel the excitement you and your team feel for your product or service — or you can show them an ideal future you hope to help them reach with your products. The possibilities are endless.
As for utilizing the IoT, never before have audiences had easier access to media through smart devices. Patel mentions Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Google Home as just three of the devices that offer a new format for consuming media. Your organization can now create short, news-like audio snippets that will allow you to utilize a call-and-response format to distribute content faster and more directly than ever before.
Transparency through Live Video
Trust in branded content and paid ads is at an all-time low, and with more and more paid content and paid influencer campaigns flooding the market, it’s not likely that trust will grow any time soon.
One way your organization can help build a transparent and honest relationship with your audience is to use live video platforms, such as Facebook Live. While it may seem awkward at first, speaking directly to your audience with no written script will show them the personalities behind the product or service, and that you’re not trying to dupe them with carefully thought out selling stories.
And don’t worry about not reaching a large enough audience with video. According to a Livestream poll, 80% of respondents said they would rather tune into a live video than read a blog post and 82% of respondents were more interested in watching live video from a brand than reading social media posts — plus, Facebook estimates that live videos gain 135% more reach than images or text posts.
Try out these trends in the new year and see what kind of results your organization sees.
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