Content marketing is not a new practice. Its long and storied history goes as far back as the late 19th century when agriculture company John Deere launched its magazine called The Furrow. What made it stand out was the fact that the magazine was not meant to sell but to educate readers about the innovations and new agricultural methods to help them become better farmers.
Despite the emergence of many other marketing methods and more powerful marketing channels, content marketing does not show signs of slowing down or fading away. If you look at the current digital marketing trends compiled in the infographic by Serpwatch, you will notice that it continually evolves and adapts to new technologies.
Its basic principles haven’t changed much from the time John Deere launched its magazine. Producing content that is relevant and valuable to the readers through engaging storytelling is still the central philosophy behind this marketing channel. Most content marketing materials educate first and sell later.
However, the changing times mean that content marketing needs to keep up with digital trends to stay effective. So, what can we expect from content marketing in 2019?
There is more to content marketing than polishing a creative, valuable piece and distributing it to different channels. For a content marketing strategy to truly take off in the digital world, there needs to be a marriage between creativity and data. The internet has a deluge of information and new content every minute, so yours needs to stand out.
Cutting through the noise from thousands upon thousands of competitors will need a thorough look into your audience. What do they need? What value can you provide to them? You can answer these questions by examining the data at your disposal.
Look at your site traffic and determine which content resonates the most with your audience. Data is instrumental in identifying your target market, trending topics, and specific channel preferences. Only when you understand your potential customers’ needs and motivations you’ll be able to successfully map out a content strategy that is engaging, relevant, and effective.
Storytelling has always been a part of life, and it is intrinsic to human culture. In content marketing, this particular practice makes the difference between engaging and flat content. Storytelling is a powerful tool that can evoke emotions, build connections, and convey information. Content marketers use it to draw the audience’s attention and invite them to act.
The modern world takes storytelling to another level with the emergence of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Beyond traditional and digital media, these new technologies enable a new style of storytelling that allows the audience to take part and immerse themselves in a story, becoming a part of it.
Immersive storytelling is still in its infancy, but it will be interesting to see how it evolves from now on. One thing is certain, though, this form drives significant levels of engagement.
Voice Control and Search
After mobile marketing, the digital landscape underwent another revolution once again with the arrival of voice-enabled technologies. Being a disruptive force in what was a predominantly visual medium, voice technology transforms the way people conduct search on the internet. Additionally, it could also be used to perform other actions, from adding items to their shopping cart to comparing product prices.
Even though it is in its early stages of development, it is important for marketers to slowly integrate voice-powered technologies in their marketing strategies. They can start by optimizing some of their short-form content to emphasize instant and concise answers to questions fired on-the-go, making them appear similar to featured snippets in the search engine page results.
Chatbots And AI
In an era when the use of automation is on the rise, it is not so surprising to find marketing catching up. The birth of artificial intelligence (AI) gave way to software, machines, and other handy tools to take over simple and complicated processes involved in providing services, creating marketing strategies, or increasing sales.
There is, inevitably, a growing relationship between content marketing and AI.
The latter speeds up the process of analyzing and understanding the bulk of data on the web which can help in campaign mapping. It is no secret that web data is a treasure trove of insights into the minds and behaviors of customers. But with the huge and ever-increasing amount of online data, it is impossible for a human to extract and analyze useful information by manual work.
AI can also make content creation easier and faster while ensuring that personalization is not forgotten. This is evident in customized email marketing campaigns and landing pages. Curating and distributing content across multiple channels becomes more manageable.
Identifying digital channels for content distribution and how to distribute it can greatly impact the overall content marketing strategy. This is where you get to see the effectiveness of your strategy by evaluating your goals, customer insights, tactical choices, and creative executions.
The problem is that the digital world is so much saturated with dozens of media channels and platforms that it could be challenging to determine which ones will work best for your target audience.
This means leveraging your content across several channels. Sticking to your blog alone would not cut it anymore. You need to promote, re-purpose, and syndicate content in different channels to reach a greater number of potential customers.
Make sure that your content is tailored to each channel for maximum engagement and stronger relationship-building, whether it is for your blog, email marketing, or social media.
Content marketing is a work in progress that builds and grows with the changing trends. In the end, it is up to you to plan and create a strategy for 2019 by choosing the right ones for your business goals.
About the author
Josh Wardini is co-founder of SerpWatch, a rank tracking platform for modern SEO professionals. Josh has been building his experience in all things ‘internet’ since the beginning of 2000. He lives and breathes SEO and loves to explore how the world wide web works.