As technology and search engines change, so do the strategies marketers use to engage their customers online. If you aren’t staying on top of the newest trends in content marketing, your brand will be left behind, plain and simple.
But the average business owner or marketer can get overwhelmed trying to stay on top of all the newest, shiniest strategies. That is why I did the research for you, so you can quickly get up to date on the latest content marketing trends for 2018 and find out what tools you should be using to get the most for your efforts.
Before we dig in, let’s look at what content marketing is in 2018.
According to Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
And it isn’t just a fad — 89% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers report they are using content marketing to increase leads and drive their brand forward. But the content marketing landscape is changing to focus more on video and less on branded content. Staying ahead of those changes can give your company a competitive edge in a crowded market.
So, what content trends should you be paying attention to in 2018?
Video Is Still A Big Deal
If you have been holding off on doing video, now is the time. Video was expected to be huge in 2017, and that trend is not slowing down. HubSpot reports that video is a growing priority, with 48% of marketers planning to add YouTube to their marketing plan in the next year, and 46% plan to add Facebook video.
You no longer need an expensive camera or high-tech editing software to make a professional-looking video. All you need is a smartphone, a phone tripod and a social media account to leverage live video on Facebook. Or, use a tool like Magisto, which uses AI to help you edit and market videos in just a few minutes.
After integrating their own Facebook Live strategy, team members at Search Engine Journal compiled analytics and found thattheir average Facebook Live engagement was 178% higher than their average post engagement. Additionally, the average reach of posts more than doubled for live videos. If you’re interested in starting your own Facebook Live strategy, make sure to read through these tips first.
For all video content, whether on Facebook or another platform, influencer Sunny Lenarduzzi suggests in this beginner’s guide starting with educational video content (versus inspirational or entertaining content) in order to create value for viewers and to gain momentum quickly.
Social Media Isn’t Dead, But You Do Need To Diversify
You have likely heard how Facebook’s recent decline in organic reach means that social media is dead, at least as a method to distribute content.
The truth is, any time you use a third-party platform to distribute your content, you will be at the mercy of that third-party changing their rules. You should never rely too heavily on any third-party to distribute your content. Instead, work to build direct connections with your audience through email, membership sites or in-person events. In-person events and membership sites will only be successful for specific niches, but email campaigns can work for nearly every brand.
One of the best tools to help you automate your email marketing campaign is Drip, which allows you to create visual workflows that make it easy to create remarketing campaigns and keep customers engaged. But no matter what tools you choose to use, building upon and growing your email list is key. Figure out who your audience is, know where to target these potential consumers and get them to act — in this case, giving you their email contact information — by providing them value. If you find your subscriber numbers are dropping, it may be time to reassess and retarget your campaign.
Original Content That Doesn’t Sell Is In
When you think of content marketing, what comes to mind? Creating a white paper? Writing a blog post about your latest acquisition? A viral video about a topic close to your brand?
In 2018, content marketing is about creating interesting content people actually want to engage with. Stop talking about your brand, and start creating content people want to read, watch or listen to. Look at what the big brands are doing. Apple recently committed to spending $1 billion on original content for its streaming platform. PepsiCo opened a brand new content creation studio in downtown NYC with the aim of generating revenue and creating a vehicle for advertising their products.
Sponsored posts, branded emails and traditional ads are no longer as effective as they once were. If you aren’t looking to create useful, interesting content in 2018, your efforts are going to fall flat. Sure, that works for Pepsi, right? They have millions to spend. But what is a smaller brand without the budget to create a full-scale music studio to do in this new content world?
You can start by leveraging tools that help you create polished, professional-looking content. Here are a few of my favorites:
• Skitch: This app from Evernote makes it easy to take and mark up screenshots so you can create polished how-to articles and ebooks.
• Snappa: This tool is similar to sites like Canva and PicMonkey but, in my opinion, much more intuitive to use. It also makes it easy to save templates so you can create images quickly. The “team save” function makes collaborating easy.
• Promo by Slidely: This video creation tool makes it simple for small brands to create seriously professional-looking videos. Includes stock music and video clips and access to music and footage editors.
Content marketing isn’t going away. You can no longer afford to put off content marketing until next year. In fact, 2018 is the best time to invest in content marketing. As the industry pivots away from branded content aimed at selling (even gently), to content as a vehicle, there are wide open opportunities for new brands to enter the market and grab the attention of consumers.
If creating a plan and getting buy-in from stakeholders seems overwhelming, start small with a one-page content marketing planand build as you learn.
It is time to stop asking how your content marketing can drive sales and start asking what your content can do for your audience.