It’s a new year and content marketing continues to grow as the cornerstone of all marketing. According to a benchmarks and trends report from the Content Marketing Institute, 62% of B2B marketers in 2017 reported that their content marketing strategies are more effective now than they were in the previous year.
So, what content marketing trends should smart content marketers and business leaders be paying attention to in 2018? To springboard your B2B and B2C content marketing efforts, here are six significant trends to inspire your strategy for the year ahead.
1. Boosting content quality
Create a powerhouse of content. Many brands and agencies are pumping out branded content, but the quality should be questioned and continually reviewed. Producing a higher level of polished, professional-looking content will provide a better customer experience and stronger incentive to opt in. This effort can include localization, storytelling, filtering capabilities, and diversification of content. Your high-quality content should inform, entertain, connect emotionally, and strengthen customer relationships. By increasing the quality and relevance of content, you can build a group of potential buyers who trust your brand and will soon convert into customers.
Ultimately, marketers shouldn’t have to choose between the quality of their content and the quantity. It is possible to get both when you approach your content creation with the right strategy in place. Plan well and you’ll see the results and quality rise to the top.
2. Transforming the journey from selling to customer experience
Customer expectations have elevated to demand superior experience from any business they engage with. Unfamiliar demands are being placed on brands and they need to know how to weather this change. Incorporating the voice of the customer into resonant content to generate emotional moments is vital to a delivering a frictionless journey.
There are a considerable number of opportunities for brands to interact with customers, and new technologies are helping to put marketers at the helm. For example, using visual language (pictures and videos) is one technique that is helping brands create, interpret, and analyze data through the customer’s eyes. By collecting and analyzing user-generated visual data, brands can reveal the impact at every customer experience touchpoint to help generate emotional moments that transform the traditional journey.
3. Operating as a profit center
Traditionally, marketing can be viewed as a cost center. But we know from experience that marketing is quickly becoming a source of growth and productivity. Gone are the days of marketing acting merely as a creative arts and crafts department. It is quickly becoming a significant, influential, and multifaceted profit center.
By having skin in the game, marketing can embrace its role in driving measurable and scalable revenue-centric objectives. It is a fundamental shift in business culture—and it won’t be an easy transition. Having the right set of skills and technology to generate measurable returns will be essential.
4. “Alexa, what is content off the screen?”
Content is no longer confined to being on-screen. Voice-controlled devices are today’s hottest technology. Siri, Alexa, and Google Home are impressive examples of this trend. These voice assistants help us write, shop, find answers, provide suggestions, and can even (quite literally) save our lives—as seen in how the American Heart Association is taking advantage of voice-activated services to help reduce delays in medical care for heart attack and stroke patients.
This new adoption of a connected lifestyle with smart home technology and device pairing is making it possible for B2B and B2C brands to interact with their customers both hands-free and eyes-free. However, you should also explore voice-enabled video content to complement the voice experience. The release of Amazon Echo Show demonstrates how quickly this platform is evolving the customer experience.
5. Building trust through behavior
Consumer trust in brands is shifting. Brands are operating in an environment where trust in corporations, advertising, and political leaders is diminishing rapidly. Getting to the truth and being truthful has never mattered more to marketers. By cultivating trust, a brand can build a foundation for its reputation and for meaningful engagement over time.
Building trust requires a deep understanding of consumers through an open dialogue with them that uses data, experiences, interactions, and listening.
6. Video is still a big deal—plus all things visual
There are so many ways to create content but visual content is rising to the top quickly. Not just video—interactive, virtual reality, live-streaming, and 360-degree videos. If you’ve been holding off on video and visual content, now is the time to shift your thinking. The continued growth in popularity of visual platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube is evidence of that trend. With so much content flowing from so many brands, marketers need to up their game to get attention. Whether it’s a closer look at your products or a behind-the-scenes review of your company culture, you can take advantage of visual content in 2018 to help you create value for viewers and increase customer engagement quickly.
In conclusion, as the industry pivots and expands, content marketers need to keep up on trends, technologies, and innovative ways to market and grab the attention of their consumers. Any major trends missed? Let us know in the comments below.