Back in 1996, Bill Gates said that “Content is king,” and there haven’t been any significant changes to this paradigm since then, just the type of content we consume and the way we distribute it. This type of marketing remains an essential strategy that provides businesses with a key competitive edge in a broad spectrum of industries and niches.
Taking into account the momentum that it has gained over the last twenty years and the dynamics of content creation and consumption, we can deduce the following:
- This type of marketing will only grow in relevance and popularity
- The way we distribute and produce content will change dramatically within the next few years
In 2018, in a report published by HubSpot, little over 50% of marketing specialists have mentioned that generating content has become their greatest priority. Furthermore, another report states that over 40% of the companies they’ve surveyed have hired a content strategist.
So, given content marketing’s growth in the current year, what are the best approaches we should take in 2019?
Write for people, not search engines
Although taking SEO into account is really important, we need not forget that our content is designed to fit the needs of our customers. Hence, providing users with articles or videos that aren’t worthy of their time will most certainly have an adverse effect on your product. That is partly because we have now become so aware of the fact that we’re constantly distracted by external stimuli, which brings us to the realization that attention is not a limitless resource.
Once there is a limited amount of a particular resource in the world, it is assigned a value, like gold or currency. This is why users not only appreciate when we don’t waste their attention on useless content, they really appreciate when we provide them with valuable information. There is now a growing body of research, which confirms that shifting your focus from product marketing to content marketing will have an impressive effect on your conversion rates.
Transparency and authenticity in content
Another part of the concept of “writing for people” is being as transparent and authentic as possible. These are the qualities that build a meaningful connection between a company and its customers, and luckily it is much easier to achieve for small business. This tendency stems from the people’s distrust for corporations and marketers in general.
People are willing to use the services of a transparent brand, that’s what nearly 95% of the respondents reported in a study executed by Label Insights.
So how do you achieve transparency in content?
It’s mostly about informing your customer about the essential things that go into making your product or services happen.
- Be transparent about where you source your materials from
- Be transparent about how you price your products or services
- Be transparent about your customers’ experiences
- Create content that aligns with your mission and your customers’ goals
- Create content that makes customers feel comfortable about doing business with you
A great example of how transparency can be used to address critical issues, answer the customers’ questions, and increase public brand awareness is McDonald’s. Although the restaurant chain is by no means “small business,” it only underlines the public’s distrust of big corporations and how important transparency is for people today.
This is a campaign in which McDonald’s addressed urban myths about where they source their meat from, whether their food doesn’t rot and a host of other vital questions from their customers.
How do I optimize content for voice search?
Voice search is now seriously impacting Content Marketing. As of the beginning of 2018, there are around a billion voice searches performed on a monthly basis, and naturally, this number will grow considerably in 2019.
This implies that our content needs to slightly adapt to the demands of verbal syntax; namely, your content needs to ask more questions (like this subheading does).
Here’s a very straightforward example of how a written query differs from a spoken one:
- weather Boston
- Siri, what’s the weather in Boston today?
The written content we produce should display questions like the one above, in order to make it easier for the voice assistant to favor your content over the rest since it satisfies the criteria for the query.
Another important aspect that derives from the one mentioned above is that even the best copywriting services and marketers can benefit from incorporating dialog-like elements into their content. It helps the search engines identify these results as worthy of being provided to the user.
Create shareable content
Although that may have been your intention in the first place, the search engines have a holistic approach to selecting the content they’ll provide to particular queries. The content that has good social media performance tends to be favored by the search engines. The average voice search result has around 1200 Facebook shares and 44 Tweets.
There are many formats out there
Many companies have already enjoyed the benefits of multimedia content marketing in 2018, and the wave is slowly growing. When it comes to video content, many of us are still overwhelmed of how quickly it all happened, starting with when Facebook began to auto-playing videos in users’ feeds to today, when nearly a quarter of the United States’ population consumes video content on a daily basis. It is predicted that 80% of the Internet’s traffic will be video in just a few years.
If that doesn’t motivate you to start producing video content for your company, we don’t know what will.
Podcasts are also very popular these days. Even though audio hasn’t had an explosive increase in traffic, as compared to video content, it has been enjoying a steady increase in public interest.
Also, let’s not dismiss infographics. They have clocked in the most impressive growth within the last five years. And at the end of the day, they provide our audience with a lot of value — which is one of our central interests.
Never say “never”
Multimedia content revolves around a central issue — usefulness. The more useful it is to the user, the more engaged and loyal the user becomes. Creating content provides you with the necessary platform to enact the first point of this article — being transparent and authentic, as in “having an identity,” taking pride in what you do, and making your customers’ lives better.
This is why refraining from adopting these formats in your content marketing efforts will most probably be detrimental to you in the long run.
Why is video compelling?
Video content is very varied and can address a broad spectrum of issues that the customer may be confronted with. By merely making a one-off video where you present potential customers with your brand story will considerably increase your sales, simply because stories are compelling to us.
When a person is exposed to an exciting story, their brain becomes overflown with dopamine, which is one of the essential hormones that make us feel good. People love narratives.
Our mirror neurons are designed to relive the narrative and create an emotional connection with it.
Telling your existing and potential customers a story about how your company came to be and by incorporating the principles of authenticity and transparency — you’re bound to motivate people to use your services. And especially when it comes to small business — every customer counts. Creating just one high-quality video gives you the possibility to share it in a variety of channels and platforms. Furthermore, besides the increase in sales, after creating explainer videos, your support department may also experience a decrease in calls.
Back in 2015, Google introduced the concept of micro-moments, they are the act of turning to your device to satisfy a sudden urge. There are four distinct categories of micro-moments, which can be differentiated by the type of urge we have. We may want to:
- do something
- find something out
- go somewhere
- buy something
An average smartphone user unlocks his phone around 100 times a day. This suggests that every time we look at our phone, we don’t choose to do so, we act on our immediate urges.
How to tap into micro-moments?
To take advantage of the micro-moments, it is essential to dig deep into your site’s analytics and try to understand the bigger picture.
- The critical step is to establish how your customers find you, the devices they use, and other essential information that will help you find the patterns in the users’ behavior. By doing so, you’ll be able to maximize the influx of customers and adapt your content.
- Providing customers with valuable content ensures that it will be your website where an I-want-to micro-moment will arise. Providing your audience with content relevant to their immediate urge puts you in a favorable position to be the website where that urge will be satisfied. In a scenario where a potential customer is looking for a new destination for their new vacation, providing them with a well-researched article about the “Wildest travel destinations of 2019,” you’re bridging the gap between the beginning and the final point of the sales funnel.
- An essential aspect of harnessing micro-moments is ensuring that your site is optimized for mobile since queries are often made from smartphones.
Influencers are still very relevant
There have been many reports that have indicated the fact that promoting your brand via influencers is highly lucrative. The numbers show that the return on influencer marketing can be as high as 8$ per invested dollar.
And it obviously makes sense, since the general public resonates with them, they are the sort of celebrities that are much closer to the people, compared to what we’re used to with Hollywood stars, for instance. A staggering 70% of teenage YouTube users relate to the content creators that they are subscribed to.
Some brands now collaborate with YouTube and Instagram influencers beyond the basic paradigm of just “giving a shoutout.” The content creators are now invited to do what they’re best at — creating content, not simply advertising a product.
How to ride the influencer wave
Collaborating with influencers on creating content will considerably increase the levels of engagement, but it will also reach a much larger audience, beyond the influencer’s following.
A team of influencers will ensure that your business will reach a broad spectrum of industries. Furthermore, the generated content will cater to a large variety of age groups and both men and women. This way, your content marketing strategy will be more holistic.
It is often the case that small businesses refrain from collaborating with internet personalities since they believe their services to be too expensive. The truth is that it is always a good idea to start small, as prices still depend on their following. You can always dip your toe in the water, and see the return it generates.
To at least have a basic idea about the prices that particular influencers charge, some websites provide data-based estimations of how much they may be charging.
Plus, never hesitate to inquire detailed information on their metrics. Social media personalities collaborate with brands on a regular basis, there’s nothing wrong about asking them on how their previous ads performed.
The take-home message
The market is permanently changing, and it’s our duty to adapt to it continually. In the last few years, the vast majority of the marketing standards have become much more focused on the customer, which can pretty much summarize the general direction we’re headed.
Regarding content — it’s about time we start writing valuable content for customers too, not just search engines.
Internet users are slowly transitioning towards voice search, which is suggestive of the fact that we need to optimize our existing content for voice queries; they are different in terms of both grammar and syntax.
It is also a great idea to experiment with both video and audio content. Podcasts and various types of video are gaining a whole lot of momentum that will guarantee a much broader reach, which is absolutely essential to any small business.
Tap into micro-moments. Smartphones have changed the way we perceive information, due to its accessibility. Users are now unlocking their phones over 100 times a day. It’s essential that we create content that can satisfy their immediate needs.
And lastly, it is essential to collaborate with the creators that your potential customers appreciate. Influencer marketing remains one of the most efficient and cost-effective types of marketing, so why not try to have the influencers actually create some content for you?