More than 60% of marketers reported that their strategies were more effective in increasing sales this year as compared to the year before. This only reflects how important it is to keep growing and adapting to the evolving digital landscape.
Ultimately, a number of factors contribute to any content marketing strategy’s success. This includes producing better quality content, strategy development, focusing more on content marketing, and better targeting in content distribution.
However, to maintain that growth, content marketers cannot stay stagnant in their strategies. After all, what worked this year may not be enough to sustain your growth or stay ahead of competitors in 2018. In order to be well ahead of the industry, it’s crucial to anticipate trends, as well as understand the change in audience behaviour and adjust your strategy accordingly.
To get that head-start, here are some trends to keep an eye on as we dive into 2018.
1. Brands Need To Spend More On Social Media
No doubt sharing on social media platforms is one of the most common and easy ways to distribute content but the growing content clutter is a very real issue to tackle. After all, people share 1.3 million pieces of content on Facebook every minute of every day in 2016 and they were all vying for the same attention. With that much being published, it’s becoming a huge challenge to stand out and extend the reach of your content.
One way to overcome that is through ad spend. Placing some ad spend behind your content piece could provide it with the necessary lift to take off and reach a wider audience. Additionally, the giant social media platform is also experimenting with altering main feeds to only display sponsored content and posts from family and friends. All other organic or non-boosted posts will be relegated to the ‘Explore’ tab. So if you want your content to potentially be seen, a little ad spend is now a necessity.
2. Content Roles Will No Longer Be Reserved For Writers
Do you take a lot of pride in your team of writers? Well, they’re not going to be enough. It’s time to go for a broader strategy and invest in a more diverse group of talent and skills, in order to meet the growing demands of your audience.
Content marketing is swiftly moving beyond just blog ideas and definitely beyond just using the power of words. There is a more intricate process you’ll have to work toward in which ideas are customised for different audiences, and adapted according to new formats that are always being introduced. Ultimately, the content team will need to grow and adapt for the next year and should include people who have talent in video production, graphic design, branding, advertising, analytics and media buying among others.
3. The Rise Of Virtual And Augmented Reality
With VR and AR on a meteoric rise, there are a plethora of opportunities available for marketers to play with, and either create or optimise content. Experts even predict that VR and AR will generate $150 billion in revenue by 2020. Nonetheless, for a lot of brands, it may seem like too much of a risk to venture into the uncharted marketing territories of AR and VR.
For Southeast Asia’s largest private healthcare provider, Parkway Pantai, the risk was worth it. In 2017, they launched an extensive VR campaign, aimed at highlighting the importance of regular heart screenings and how early detection could increase the chances of survival. The campaign brought the audience through a story of a family and what happens when a loved one suffers a heart attack. Viewing the story unfolds in the first-person view via a pair of VR goggles makes it more relatable and heightens the experience.
If this format is still not suitable for your brand, then simply look at this trend as a reminder to start focusing on improving your visual content strategy. By creating more interactive graphics or videos, it doesn’t only serve to improve engagement with your content but it’ll also lay the groundwork for any potential future experiments in VR or AR.
4. Video Content Will Become the Standard
Let’s admit it. Our social media channels are increasingly being filled with fun, interactive and engaging video content. However, a lot of opportunities are still being under-utilised. Take for instance live videos. These videos which are filmed live may, at first glance, be perfectly suited for broadcasting festivals, concerts and news events as they happen but they could also be used in other interesting ways. From live auctions for a retail brand to chat shows with a doctor for a clinic or hospital, the key lies in creating an authentic voice and making a connection with your audience. Of course, a large part of it also depends on the hosts you pick to front the videos.
To help video content creators, Facebook has even launched an easy-to-use platform, Facebook Creator that includes a Live Creative Kit filled with a bunch of tools aimed to beautify live broadcasts.
5. A.I in Content Marketing
As we’ve seen this year and will continue to see, there’s no escaping technology and its rapid advances. AI tools like predictive analytics, natural language processing, and generation algorithms are all set to affect and drive smarter, more effective content creation in 2018. Some experts also predict that within the next five years, 50% of content will be developed by machines. Humans will only serve to oversee and edit whenever necessary.
Granted machines taking over content still is a relatively distant future in marketing terms, other ‘automation’ features are making themselves known. Chatbots, data analysis algorithms, and personalised recommendation systems are already automatically directing audiences to content that’s relevant to their interests and circumstances, thereby creating a more dynamic and personalised user experience.
Hashmeta hosts a global network of professional content creators to produce high-quality content for brands, publishers and e-commerce companies. See more details on how custom content can help your marketing efforts.