Future of Content Marketing: Who Will Survive?
The ease of creating, publishing and distributing online content has opened up an entirely new era in content marketing.
But what will the future hold.
As 88% of marketers now use digital content, and the playing field is saturated with "noise", how will the content marketers of the future (1-5 yrs from now) set themselves apart? How will they differentiate their brands, increase leads and inspire loyalty?
Those of us who can break away from this 70% to truly become proficient will lead content marketing into a new era, while advancing the brands we promote along the way.
This will require innovation, creativity and constantly challenging common knowledge. We need to buck the system to get results, while finding new and better ways to measure return on investment.
We need to find new ways to produce interactions, lead potential customers to make small commitments, increase engagement.
Increase Engagement through Content? Easier said than done, right? Let's look at a few ways we can do this that are not being widely used or at all. You can stay ahead of the game and develop your own innovation when you create content for humans.
As outbound measures and practices die away, and we fully embrace the power of content marketing and inbound marketing strategies, we will develop a greater understanding of the partnership between the brand and audience.
Our content's focus will be centered around strengthening this partnership rather than getting a quick sale. But ultimately, through relationship building, companies will achieve a much higher return than otherwise possible.
Those who continue in their CTA, quick sale strategies will find their returns diminishing. But you, as a forward thinker, will be there to reap the rewards of their failings.
I'm not talking about random quizzes and games that have nothing to do with your brand. Those have value because they are shareable. But they are often not related back to your brand, so you miss out on a chance for true brand recognition and conversion.
I'm talking about a more strategically planned and executed strategy, one that's unique to you and encourages engagement. Find more ways to make it impossible for your target audience and loyal customer not to interact with you?
Find ways to link hot or nostalgia topics back to your brand and generate discussion. Seek out their input and contribution to your brand. Make people feel connected and motivated to engage with you. But make it fun.
If you can make it a game or activity that links back to your brand, do it. If you are a serious brand who is concerned about how "fun" may harm you brand, here are some ideas.
Customer generated content like testimonials are actually some of the most influence in the decision stages of the sales cycle. But you can go way beyond.
Ask loyal customers to submit content to you. Call your contributing customers: Contributors, like they just got published on Huff Post or Forbes. Run contests for contributor spots and make certain customers who are truly talented regulars on your blog. Solicit fan art, videos and other inspirations that may come from your brand. Make people feel important and part of something. Allow your customers to link back to their portfolios or non-competitor businesses. Show that you support your customers like they support you.
Let your employees tell stories and create content. This should be in line with your brand but employees should be encourages to show their personalities through content. Do you have aspiring artists, actors, storytellers or sculptors among you. Find ways to incorporate their content into your employee brand. As we approach 2020, employee branding will become extremely important. This is great way to show that you value your employee as a person to attract and retain top talent while inspiring your customers.
Interactive Content Remember when you were little and you just loved to stack blocks, turn cranks, try to put circle pegs in square holes, doodle, dress up your dolls and make things? We never really lose our love of interacting with things. Find new ways to make your content interactive. For example, an infographic could require some interaction before it reveals that stat they are looking for. Not a commitment, like give me your email, but something fun.
Storytelling for business will continue to develop. The skill needed to tell these stories will advance considerably. A storyteller understands how to hook and audience, build suspense, deliver the pay off in the end. It is a related skill to blogging, but requires a unique skill set that many successful content writers may not have. This will be a much prized skill to develop and hire.
To better engage our audiences, we will turn to drawing greater connections between content pieces, so that content builds upon other pieces and there is more opportunity for binge reading content. Not only will each piece engage the reader/viewer, but each piece will draw the audience into the next piece. Our ability to engage the audience across content piece will become a new measure, as it will determine the level of investment that the audience has in your brand.
Ultimately, the future will be yours when making more content for people. If you don't make content for people, they'll just ask their personal assistant, Cortana, Siri, Alexis, Google Now, etc. to choose their next favorite brand.
You can create content that stands out. You just need to continue to create innovative content or work with a content creator who understands your goals and can align with your strategies to get results.
What do you foresee as the future of content marketing?
Do you agree/disagree or would you like to add? I give attributions.