From driving brand awareness to generating leads to building loyalty, content marketing is probably one of the most versatile tools available in your marketing arsenal. Consider it our secret weapon to McGyver your way out of sticky customer situations. Need to educate a potential buyer? A snappy product demo video would be perfect. Want to say “thank you” to a repeat customer? Send them a custom greeting card and a personalized gift card.
With such a plethora of options that content marketing offers, it’s no surprise that this is one marketing strategy whose popularity keeps getting stronger by the day.
According to data from the Content Marketing Institute, 81% of B2C marketers say their customers found them to be a reliable resource, thanks to their content marketing efforts.
However, as with every marketing strategy, it’s necessary to adapt your content marketing moves with the changing times. So what are the most important factors that will impact your content marketing plans for the year ahead? Here’s a sneak peek!
1. Show! Don’t Tell
A picture may speak a thousand words, but a talking picture? That’s surely worth a few thousand more!
2018 showed us the power of video in content marketing as every platform worth its salt integrated video capabilities into its repertoire. Be it Instagram Stories or thousands of mushrooming webinar platforms, video programming grew by leaps and bounds. Research from Cisco claims that by the end of this year, 80% of all web traffic will come from videos.
Savvy marketers have jumped on this insight, with 69% of them saying they’ve increased the use of audiovisual content in 2019, according to the CMI study referenced earlier. Of these, 68% used social media stories, 52% created video snippets and 20% created short films and documentaries.
The much talked about “The Best a Man Can Be” video from Gillette accomplished a bunch of different goals in one fell swoop.
From riding on the #MeToo wave to getting creative brownie points for not sticking to foam and razors to sparking a conversation among its audience about something bigger than the brand itself, the video did more than any blog or poster might have managed.
(i) Get creative with your video content. No one wants to see a hard sell product pitch. How about a story of how your product came to be, instead?
(ii) Make videos work harder for you with shoppable links to your website on Instagram Stories and Snap Ads.
(iii) Podcasts and live streaming video are all the rage right now. Get talking 1×1 with your consumers with these popular and interactive video formats.
2. Listen to the Writing on the Wall
It’s finally happened. In 2019, the walls do have ears. With 50% of all searches predicted to be made via voice search by 2020, you better be ready to tell the customer what they want to hear or get left behind.
Just 25 keywords are responsible for over 20% of all voice searches made in 2018. The list below is an indicator of the types of queries to expect from voice search and offers the first step towards your voice SEO efforts.
Voice search becomes even more critical for companies that have brick and mortar locations. 76% of smart speaker owners perform local voice searches at least once per week. 27% of these visit the website of the business after a voice search. Typical voice searches revolve around everyday needs of users including replacing traditional search engines, checking the weather setting reminders and the like.
While voice searches may not set your cash register ringing right away being prepared for this fast-growing phenomenon makes your business a trusted and integral part of the voice economy of the future.
(i) Embrace natural language and semantic search to win at voice search. Long tail keywords, conversational language and hyper-specific search queries are your best friends for voice search.
(ii) Keep your local SEO game sharp. From NAP details to updated business hours to showcasing local store inventory in your Google Shopping ads, each step takes you closer to voice search gold.
(iii) Invest in developing audio content from scratch, as what people search for with voice search differs from highly searched topics in traditional search.
3. Keep Your Enemies Closer
So you think you’re doing a decent job of reaching out to your audience and getting them to convert? And you know that this is the best possible way of targeting your customers? And you are confident that your customers will never turn to any other business to get what you already offer them? If the answer to any of these questions is a “No” or a “Maybe,” you need competitor analysis pronto!
While the idea of competitive analysis has been around forever, the need for it has never been more pressing than it is in 2019. Facebook’s organic reach went from around 16% in 2012 to 6.5% in 2014 to less than 2% today. With the mobile update in 2018, new backlink policies, a renewed focus on Schema data and constant tweaks to their core algorithm, Google’s made it harder each year for your content to rank high in search results.
It’s now time to earn every small advantage you can over your competitors through your content strategy.
Start off with an overall inventory of your competitors’ content, to understand how much they publish, how often and on what topics. SEMRush’s Keyword Gap Analysis feature is a great place to get started with competitive content analysis.
In the example above, I’ve taken three leading business news sites to compare their SEO and content strengths. The tool spews out the top keywords each website ranks for, along with the search volume, CPC, number of results and competitiveness for each keyword.
One can easily discover the keywords where your website lags behind by taking a quick look at competitors’ rankings for keywords that matter.
(i) Competitor analysis is not a “set it and forget it” step of content marketing. As you can see from the images above, the keywords that will give you an edge over competition keep changing quickly and without warning. Making competitive analysis part of your regular content marketing routine makes your content more potent and a true competition killer
(ii) Invest in a reliable content and SEO management platform to gain immediately actionable insights from your data.
(iii) Don’t be hung up on being different from your competition. Sometimes, you can win by being better than the competition at the same thing.
The Customer Calls the Shots
As a vast majority of customers and decision makers continue to testify that they’re put off by “salesy” content and in-your-face attempts at generating brand awareness and preference, businesses around the world are finally taking notice. Almost all of the most successful content marketers now prioritize the informational needs of their target audience instead of their own promotional messages in the content that they create.
In other words, your content is not meant to fulfil your goals. It’s meant to help users fulfil theirs. And the true winners in the race will be businesses that understand what information their customer needs, where they seek this information and in what form they’ll consume it best.
Where do you stack up? Let’s discuss content strategy, wins and losses in the comments!
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