Was it really as long ago as 2008, that Seth Godin noted: ‘content marketing is the only marketing left’? Back then I’m sure even the renowned guru himself couldn’t have imagined the myriad of opportunities that ‘only’ would now represent.
Year on year we see the growing importance of content marketing to organisations and brands. And as technologies advance, and with every new channel that emerges, the options for content creation and distribution become ever more innovative and exciting.
But with so much choice comes the challenge of developing the ‘perfect’ content marketing strategy. That’s why we want to share the most important trends we’ll be keeping in mind when we work with our clients in 2020.
1. Print means more than ever
Print is still the only medium that enables you to get directly into the hands of your target audience. Its physical, tangible and sensory qualities generate a stronger emotional response from users than digital, as a neuromarketing study by the US Postal Service proved. And people trust print. The 2018 News Consumption Survey by Ofcom revealed that, when scored by users on measures of quality, accuracy, trustworthiness and impartiality (among other things) magazines perform better than any other news platform. Print is also hitting the spot with Gen Z, who are reported to spend about an hour each week reading magazines, favour printed learning materials to help them focus and trust print publications more than digital media.
2. E-A-T to boost your rankings
Search raters are the 10,000+ strong army of researchers who provide Google with insights that reveal if its algorithms are providing good results. And they are trained to understand the strength of content’s E-A-T. That’s ‘Expertise’, ‘Authority’ and ‘Trust’. They cannot influence how a page ranks, but their work helps the world’s number 1 search engine maintain the quality of its results. So focus on the quality of your E-A-T to rise to the top of the rankings. Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines point out that this is especially important for ‘YMYL’ (your money or your life) sites covering topics such as medical, legal, or financial advice.
3. Video and livestream go stellar
B2B video usage as a marketing tactic has been soaring over the past few years, and the trend look set to continue. A reported 87% of businesses now use video as a marketing tool – a sharp rise from 63% in 2017, and 81% in 2018. And the variety of video you can deliver ticks off just about every user and business need, from explainer videos to vlogs, interviews, tutorials, testimonials, product demonstrations and reviews. What’s more 79% of people saying a brand’s video has convinced them to buy a piece of software or app. Earlier this year Linkedin reported that video is the fastest-growing format on its platform, and launched Linkedin Live giving the opportunity to broadcast in real-time.
4. Audio grows apace
Are you serving a time-poor audience unlikely to sit down a read a long-form article or white paper? Podcasts are growing in popularity and proving the perfect fit for busy lives, delivering content on the go, on the commute and in an engaging and accessible format. Around 7.1 million people in the UK now listen to podcasts each week, according to Ofcom in its Media nations: UK 2019 report (7). That’s one in eight people and an increase of 24% over the past year – more than double over the past five years.
5. Interaction has the engagement factor
A simple way to engage with your audience is to interact with them through content such as quizzes, surveys and polls. Ask them their opinions, answer their questions and give them the opportunity to interrogate you. So it’s no surprise that we’re experiencing increasing demand to host webinars, which can be accessed live or on demand. This year we’ve covered subjects ranging from cyber security to rural business challenges, for brands including Virgin, Amazon and Cisco. And research shows that webinars work. In a global analysis of 22,922 webinars, 76% of marketers say webinars allow them to drive more leads and 75% agree that webinars help them extend their brand reach.
6. Series hold attention
Strongly allied to 4 and 5, is the trend to keep your audiences to keep coming back for more, building desire and anticipation by delivering content episodically as a series. It requires brands and organisations to adopt a new mindset, identified by podcast host and director Jay Acunzo at this year’s Content Marketing World as the: “switch from constant acquisition mode (get in front of people, acquire followers, readers, subscribers, etc) to retention mode (be memorable to people, hold attention over time to gain trust and loyalty and trigger actions)” (9). And it means shifting from piece-by-piece content that delivers instant gratification to taking ownership of important ideas and developing that authority over time.
7. Collaboration unlocks value
The mutual benefits to be gained by brand partnerships and collaborations is a trend that’s growing in the B2B and membership space. And at Redactive we are constantly developing new and innovative ways for different brands with complementary value propositions to join forces. Targeting the same audience to co-deliver content marketing solutions – from white papers to webinars, round-table discussions and events – that generate value on all sides. Get in touch to find out more.