|December 11, 2017|
The most exciting thing about reaching the end of a year (aside from the prospect of some well-earned holiday downtime) is casting a predictive eye to the year ahead and considering all the challenges, possibilities and opportunities that await on the other side of December 31st.
In keeping with that spirit, the Wetpaint team have again taken a moment to consider the direction that our industry will be moving in over the next year, and to share our insights with you.
So if you’ve got plans for promoting your business in 2018, but you’re not sure what platforms and channels to use, or how to talk to the audience you’re hoping to attract, you might want to keep some of the following trends in mind.
Evergreen content – content with a long, even permanent lifespan of value – has always been popular in content marketing. And despite what the heading above says, it will probably continue to be widely used by savvy marketers. Its strength, after all, is in its permanence and the great potential for ROI offered by content that will continue to work for you for years after its creation.
However, the success of Snapchat has proven that, despite the initial doubts of many marketers, impermanence has a strength all its own.
This revelation has given rise to a slowly growing trend that sees an element of urgency being leveraged through the application of time-sensitive and temporary content. While 2017 has seen several brands figuring out how to integrate ephemeral content into their marketing strategies, 2018 promises to see an emphasis place on, and an ongoing refinement of strategies that leverage the fear of missing out3.
We haven’t been shy about discussing both the importance of user-generated content, as well as the inevitability of its growth. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that it’s made the list of important trends to follow going into 2018.
At the end of the day, the rapid and far-reaching proliferation of content generation flooding the modern world of digital marketing means that it gets harder every year to grab even a moment of your audience’s undivided attention. The answer to that quandary is not simply to try and produce more content at a faster rate – you couldn’t keep up with the millions of pages, posts, videos and more going live every day anyway!
That’s not a reason to feel overwhelmed, stop producing content and surrender your role as a thought leader. More and more, brands are finding that in fact, it’s a reason to get creative and find a way to integrate user-generated content into your content marketing mix.
Today’s consumers – with an abundance of apps, tech and tools at their disposal – have almost as much content generation ability as the brands they engage with. Find ways to tap into consumer creativity and turn brand loyalty into brand advocacy to cut through the white noise of online content saturation.
Did you know that every minute:
As alluded to above, there is a lot of competition for attention online, and your brand is just one voice amongst a cacophonous chorus, all struggling to be heard.
In that context, distribution becomes as important an aspect of your content marketing strategy as generation. Social shares alone are no longer enough, and with Facebook’s organic reach having dipped by about 20% in 2017, it has never been more important to think outside of the box when mastering content distribution.
2018 Will be the year that more brands start really understanding how and why they choose their distribution channels, as well as identifying new and creative options for making sure that their messaging finds their consumers.
Speaking of distribution…
It could be argued that the two practices are already closely related, but we’ve only just started to see a conscious and self-aware aligning of these two disciplines.
The reason is largely due to the value that has traditionally been placed on some of the mechanics that have made content marketing an effective part of SEO. Backlinks and keyword density provide objective, quantitative metrics. They can be measured and their effectiveness ascertained without doubt. Tactics like link buying, forum spamming and keyword cramming were all viable (if somewhat shady) methods of improving your website’s SEO.
Today, with the rise of the millennial consumer and the ongoing updating of Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithms, the value of content marketing has taken on a more subjective tenor. Good content doesn’t just sell. It communicates. It builds trust. It establishes relationships.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because that is what the PR department is for – albeit, using different channels and strategies. Public relations focuses on feelings while digital marketing’s strength is in its focus on the statistics.
However, digital marketing continues to shift its focus from just satisfying Google’s algorithms to satisfying the people that are using Google and other channels to find you. As this goes on, so too will the focus of content marketing continue to shift from pleasing the number-crunchers to understanding the qualitative and quantitative context in which content is received. Going forward, we’ll be seeing a greater overlap between (or perhaps a total combining of) PR and content marketing departments.
Video has made an appearance on almost every trends prediction list put out by industry leaders for years now (yes, that includes ours). And there’s good reason for that.
People love video!
So much so, that by 2019, consumer video traffic is projected to make up 80% of all online consumer traffic. Simply put, you cannot afford to ignore video – at least, not if you want anyone to pay attention to your content.
It should be self-evident that visuals encourage more engagement than solely text, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures. So, if you’re not producing and promoting videos as a part of your marketing mix, you are overdue on starting.
You may have noticed a theme running through these predicted trends.
Content is still king, and as such, content marketing is an area where a great deal of advancement and refinement is going to take place. And why wouldn’t it? Almost every aspect of promotion involves the utilisation and distribution of content. On top of that, the world is more connected than it has ever been – if you are not working hard to communicate and connect with your target market, you’re failing at promoting your business.
Without content, there is no communication or connection.
To learn more about all forms of digital or traditional marketing and, of course, how our mastery of it can help take your brand to the next level, get in touch with Wetpaint Advertising today!