You’re probably familiar with the true (yet awfully overused) adage that Content is King!
And 2018 only saw content’s reach and influence grow. No Game of Thrones is going to take down this monarch any time soon.
So as we move into 2019 (hands up if you’ve only just got used to writing “2018”) and you’re starting to brainstorm marketing ideas for the year ahead – let’s look at 6 content marketing factors that companies just can’t put off any longer.
1. Companies Must Embrace Some Kind of Content Marketing
Whether you prefer blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, or social media – content marketing is well and truly here to stay. Content marketing is now an absolutely inseparable part of the entire marketing mix. Producing regular content is a great way of engaging with prospects, raising your profile, increasing your findability, and generally giving something back to your audience.
As long as your audience have questions, there are answers you can provide through content. It’s a tangible way to reach interested human prospects who are looking for information in your field, whilst also starting genuine conversations with them.
2. Having a Content Strategy is Essential
Countless new articles of content get published to the web every single day. In order to compete in your field online, you need to put together a content marketing strategy that informs what you’re going to post and when. Content is not just a case of posting whatever you feel like and hoping like-minded people turn up – you need to take your audience’s position into consideration. To draft a great content marketing strategy, you need to look at the kinds of content they consume, assess the topics where they require most guidance, and how your company can help folks in their situation.
In short, you need to look strategically at where your customers’ needs and your company’s goals overlap.
When planning your content for 2019, also think about the new developments and product releases you have planned throughout the year. Content should never be a salesy pitch-fest but the topics you discuss at certain times can be angled towards an action you want your reader to take.
3. Optimise Content for Questions and Answers
Google is getting better at deciphering full questions. In part, this is likely due to voice search, but there is a rising trend in searching for full questions in typed queries too – Google’s 2018 Year in Search even features the top 5 “What is…” and “How to…” questions asked. Sentences just come most naturally to us.
You may also be aware of “featured snippets”, rich snippets, and other types of “content resource blocks” that Google provides in response to questions when typed into a device. So if you ask “what is the diameter of Earth?”, Google will generally try to tell you without you having to click through to a search result. When you ask a voice-operated assistant, this is most likely the answer it’ll relay to you.
Placing within one of these content blocks is obviously a desirable place to appear in response to relevant industry questions. Give yourself the best possible chance of appearing by optimising content towards full, simple questions that your audience may realistically ask. Scatter simple yet full-sentence questions in prominent places such as your content titles and HTML header tags, and provide short, succinct answers directly afterwards in your body text to stand a chance of being picked out by the likes of Google Assistant or Siri.
Take note that these answers can be formatted as a short paragraph, a numbered or bulleted list, or a simple table in order to appear as featured snippets. Obviously, you can’t guarantee you’ll appear in everyone’s content block for a given question but proper optimisation certainly helps your chances.
Further Reading: How Voice-Operated Assistants Are Changing Search
5. Keep Things Interesting with More Content Formats
Some of us prefer to watch video content; some of us prefer blogs and ebooks; some of us prefer audio guides and podcasts. So it stands to reason that if you only publish one type of content you may be overlooking those in your audience who prefer other formats.
Our advice? Try incorporating different types of content media to keep all kinds of followers engaged. Giving your content formats a shake-up can provide a breath of fresh air for your audience and perhaps entice older followers to re-engage. When you’re trying any kind of new marketing tactic, always keep an eye on usage data and user feedback. And hey, if it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to your old ways.
So if you think your content needs a shot in the arm for 2019, experimenting with new formats may provide just the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. Especially if you’re considering…
5. Video: The King of Content
If you haven’t jumped on the video bandwagon yet, 2019 is the time to do it! Whether you choose pre-recorded video or live interaction over social media, 2019 is going to see video content continue its rise to online domination! Tech boffins Cisco state that 75% of all web traffic was attributed to video in 2017 and predict that this will rise to 82% by 2022 (Source: Cisco, 2018).
There’s a lot of advice we can give for dipping your toes into both live and pre-recorded video, so either check out our article The Benefits of Social Live Streaming for Small Business or take a look at How to Create Professional Video on a Budget for prerecorded options.
7. Chatbots: The Rise of the Machines
I admit we’ve saved potentially the biggest topic until last here. The buzz around chatbots is huge at the moment and we doubt it’s going anywhere soon. Chatbots are AI-based software programs that can conduct conversations with human users verbally or through chat/messaging formats. Many organisations use chatbots to great effect – they can help with customer service, answer commonly asked questions, or advise about stock or service availability – even find new music and order food!
However, that’s not where the chatbot fun ends. Bots can also be used to disseminate content, pointing website users to helpful articles or videos on your website, or even sending out content at a frequency directed by the user. Chatbots can be installed as a chat-function on your website, but they really come into their own when they’re hooked up to messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Discord. When a company uses a chatbot that works with a commonly used mobile messaging app, you aren’t tying the customer to your website in order to interact – they can talk to your chatbot at their own convenience.Wondering which 7 #contentmarketing trends to keep an eye on in #2019? Click To Tweet
Which of these methods are you already using? Are there any already on your list for 2019? Are there any you’re putting off? What’s your opinion of the chatbot buzz – fad or fab?! Let us know in the comments below.