How did we get to December already? I know we say that every year, but honestly, it’s crazy how fast a year goes by, and then we are once again facing a new year of marketing challenges.
If you’ve already started planning your content marketing strategy for 2018, good for you! For the rest of us who may have been procrastinating just a bit, here is an overview of what you should be aware of for 2018.
A New King is Crowned: Video
Where once simple written content was the only king in the marketing land, now there’s video content. Since last year, we’ve tried and learned more, and consumers are becoming smarter at avoiding dull and boring content. That’s why it’s essential to find new and exciting ways to interact with your target audience.
Obviously, videos are nothing new. In fact, Facebook users watch an average of 100 million hours of video on mobile every day. But are you even using video? If you aren’t using them at all right now, consider adding them into your content marketing mix. If you are using them but aren’t seeing the type of return you’d hoped for, it’s time to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.
With Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and YouTube at the forefront of video distribution channels, your business won’t lack ways to reach your customers; it will be a matter of creating platform-specific videos that speak directly to your audience. So, what should you look to do in 2018 when it comes to video content? EVERYTHING.
Making videos about anything and everything will not only build your portfolio and give you more experience, but consumers will also be drawn to your open and honest way of communicating. If you aren’t sure if your target audience would be interested in a specific video idea, do research. Then make the video. We aren’t saying waste your time by producing video content that’s pointless or irrelevant to your target audience, but we are saying to take a chance on new ideas. You never know what might resonate with consumers who are in the market for your product.
Knowing Your Limits
If you’re not a very good writer or ad designer, fess up and move on. Spending your valuable time doing something you’re not good at is as wasteful as setting your money on fire. Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses should absolutely be part of your content marketing strategy for 2018. If you can’t write a sentence without someone asking you what you mean, it’s time to hire someone who is good with words. If you find yourself beating your head against a wall because you can’t figure out SEO, hire someone who does it for a living.
Whatever parts of your job are contributing to poor performance or becoming a time suck, outsource them. Your valuable time is better used on the parts of your job at which you excel.
Plus, if you spend a little money to get great output, you’re likely to see better results and a higher ROI at the end of next year. Example: If you hire someone to make a strong video that showcases a new product, you’ll see the value of that money you spent far sooner than the time you wasted creating a mediocre or crummy video.
Moral? Don’t be afraid to admit your weaknesses and find others who can do the job well. Your marketing brain will thank you for it.
Optimizing Content for Voice
Voice-activated search is one thing you’ll see a lot more of in 2018. In turn, voice-optimized content should be close to the top of your content marketing list.
With Siri, Alexa, and the like finding their way into more and more homes (and on mobile devices), voice-activated content searches are on the rise. If a consumer is looking for the “best” of something (mobile search for “best” have grown 80% in the past two years), having content that gives them what they are looking for will ensure they find you.
One thing to keep in mind: because speaking to Alexa or Siri can be easier for some than typing, long-tail keywords are being used more often with voice-activated searches than typed searches. If you aren’t already familiar or using long-tail keywords, make them sometime to focus on next year. Instead of using keywords like “best ski boots” in your content, try “best boots for skiing in slushy conditions.”
Personalization and Expectation
In 2018, mobile consumers are demanding more — more personalization and more “right now” information. Think with Google’s latest data shows how today’s shoppers are using their mobile devices as “anywhere” assistants, and expecting on-demand results when searching for information on products or services. Using the buyer’s journey and sales cycle as your guide, aim to anticipate what your target customer will be searching for at every stage.
Consumers want brands to be one step ahead of their needs. That means, if you can be where your potential customer is during their journey, with answers to the questions they have, chances are you’ll be the brand on top.
Find Budget for Influencer Marketing
If you’re really interested in increasing your presence on social media (or if that’s where your target audience lives), put finding an online influencer that matches your brand at the top of your list.
According to a study by LINQIA, 92% of marketers found influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing. And it’s not going away anytime soon. Consumers want to see less staged marketing content and more natural, unbiased occurrences on their social media feeds. It’s like having a best friend online who’s tested the product or service and wants to share it with his/her closest friends. You always listen to that best friend, right?
If you really want to reach your target customer in 2018, consider influencer marketing to deliver honest feedback to your consumers, not feedback that’s bought.
In the end, content marketing in the year 2018 will be like many years before in that innovation will win the content marketing rat race. The difference for this year is having unique and compelling video content that is created by experts in their field, and is personalized and available when consumers want it. If you can show the consumer that you put their needs first and want to truly help them in their time of need, you’ll no doubt see positive returns.