Though content marketing is certainly here to stay, all digital marketers are aware that content marketing trends change over time – and they change fast! What worked a few years ago might not work today, and what you plan today might not generate results tomorrow.
Companies that adopt content marketing for their brand achieve 6X greater conversion rates than those who have yet to begin leveraging it in their digital marketing strategy, and with good reason. Content marketing is all about creating valuable resources that target your dream clients, helping them and building a relationship with them. And once you’ve established that relationship, it’s easier to convert your leads into paying clients.
Content marketing is cost-effective, too: it costs 62% less than outbound marketing, all while generating 300X more leads. But with so many forms of content out there, from videos to blog posts to ebooks, it’s hard to know where you should start. To compete today, digital marketers must keep up with changing trends and integrate them into their content marketing plan.
2018 Content Marketing Trends
Here are some of the top content marketing trends to watch out for in 2018:
1. Live Video Will Dominate Social Feeds
2017 saw the rise of video marketing, touted as the ‘next megatrend’ (after mobile) by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The largest of the social networks pulled out all the stops: investing in video content, adding ephemeral content via Facebook Stories, developing an immersive experience with 360 video, and allowing viewers to watch videos real-time with Facebook Live (which originally debuted in 2015).
While many people played around with Facebook Live in 2016 and 2017, it is expected to become more mainstream in 2018. Facebook found that users comment 10x more during live videos than recorded videos, and that high engagement rate is extremely attractive to brands.
2. Companies Will Dedicate More of Their Marketing Budget to Original Content
Speaking of videos and original content:
- Facebook is taking out huge sums of money to create original TV shows
- Google is buying original content from both brands and media companies
- Amazon and Netflix spent over $10 billion in original content combined in 2017
As a digital marketing entrepreneur, how does this affect you? Realize that what these massive companies are doing sets the trend for smaller businesses, and potential clients now need your help more than ever to keep up with these growing content marketing trends and produce their own original videos.
Furthermore, to do content marketing right, you and your clients can’t settle for the bare minimum, writing a blog post every 6 months or tweeting “when you feel like it.” Instead, to find success with content marketing, you need to invest in consistent, SEO-friendly content creation, with images, videos, and other content assets that can be used across multiple channels.
3. Interactive Content Will Be a Key Driver of Engagement
Most associate interactive content with the technological innovations of virtual reality or augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively). While content marketers are finding innovative ways to use these technologies, interactive content doesn’t necessarily have to be a big production requiring expensive equipment.
Instead, think about using interactive content in terms of online quizzes or the “Live Photos” on Facebook that you can click and hold for exciting special effects. You likely already have the capabilities to create this type of content in-house and inexpensively, allowing you to test out different types of interactive content without investing a lot of time or money right away.
4. Marketing Teams Will Change Shape with New Roles
Due to the increase in content creation and the fact that content is now taking on so many different forms, digital agencies should also expect changes in content teams as one of the biggest digital marketing trends for 2018.
In order to stay competitive in 2018, you will need to create multi-channel strategies and content marketing plans to get the most out of the content assets you create. It’s not enough to have a company Facebook account — you have to consider content in terms of your social media channels, email marketing, website, guest posting, and more! With this in mind, the brands that are most successful in their content marketing endeavors will begin to look more like publishing companies as they add new roles to keep up with changing demands.
Content marketing teams will need members with the following skills, as they will become even more relevant in 2018:
- Branding and communications
- Audio and video production
- Content distribution
- Graphics designing and editing
- Analytics and reporting
- Content marketing strategy development and execution
If you lack any of these skills at your digital agency, you don’t have to hire a dozen new full-time employees. Instead, turn to outsourcing to white label partners and freelancers to fill in any gaps.
Related: 5 Easy Black Friday Marketing Ideas
5. Customers Will Expect Even Greater Transparency
Instagram, the social media platform of choice for many influencers, has taken measures to ensure transparency by introducing a sponsored content tool, which helps influencers clearly disclose posts that are sponsored in partnership with a brand. Though Instagram didn’t create this tool to appease any government agencies, it falls in line with FTC guidelines for disclosing paid relationships. In fact, in early 2017 the FTC sent out letters to 90 bloggers and marketers, reminding them to disclose sponsorships on Instagram.
In 2018, we’ll see the rise of niche influencers taking on bigger roles and partnerships. Though agencies traditionally partnered with influencers who boasted big numbers (in terms of followers), it’s their smaller counterparts that are ultimately more connected with their followers (as evidenced by greater engagement rates).
Finally, customer reviews are a vital part of your content marketing strategy, as they can improve local SEO and build trust with customers during the buyer’s journey. You can use your top testimonials to supplement the copy on your website, acting as social proof to help convert your leads into clients.
These Content Marketing Trends Are Only the Beginning
While each of these content marketing trends are backed up by data, they only serve as a guide. Do your own research and testing to determine how you can improve your company’s unique content marketing strategy, as every brand and target market is different.
And though a strong content marketing plan is important, there’s much more to growing a successful digital agency than simply producing high-quality content.
That’s why I’ve created the Mod Agency Bundles, jam-packed with everything you need to start or grow a digital agency today. I share my best templates, checklists, sales decks, and more so you have the exact tools necessary to achieve your goals.
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