Digital content marketing has been growing fast for the past decade.
Every major brand is online now, trying to engage more and more customers with their content, and for a good reason. Content marketing was long known for its (comparatively) lower up-front costs and diverse long-term benefits.
As a result, content marketing has become the major digital marketing tactic, with over 90% of B2B and nearly 90% of B2C marketers admitting to use be including content in each of their marketing campaign.
This steady growth in popularity is bringing forward several important outcomes:
- Content creation is quickly exceeding content demand. You may have noticed that: There’s a solid amount of content already created for any possible question you may have
- Consumers are being spoiled: They have access to more content they possibly need. It’s getting harder and harder to surprise or engage them
- It’s getting harder to compete with bigger content marketing budgets. The more that big brands start building content in your niche, the higher the content standards, and the more your target audience expects from any content they come across
So what’s the future of content marketing? Is it dying?
Certainly not. The great thing about digital marketing is that ingenuity and creativity can always win over big marketing budgets.
Here are 3 content marketing trends (that we already see happening) and how to use them to your advantage.
3 Important Content Marketing Trends
1. Content Collaboration
Content collaboration is one of the most welcome marketing trends out there. In 2019 and beyond, content connects and bridges the gaps. It’s a beautiful concept.
Content collaboration means working with other people (inside and/or outside your company) on creating and marketing your content asset.
Collaboration is a possible answer to most of your content marketing struggles:
- It allows you to save on content creation and marketing (and compete with higher budgets). If you focus on the relationship building aspect of it, you’ll be able to find content collaborators who’ll be happy to help you for free
- Collaboration lets you discover more unique angles and formats you wouldn’t have thought possible if you were the single person working on it.
Here are possible examples of content collaboration:
- Engaging your non-marketing employees and various departments in content brainstorming and marketing (for example, customer support team). One of the most publicized examples of this tactic working extremely well is “Made the Johnsonville Way” video campaign, 100% created by the company’s employees.
- Including influencers in your content. One of the best examples of influencer-driven content out there is Moz’s Ranking Factors, which includes lots of industry influencers who were not only featured as contributors, but were also able to provide their unique comments on each ranking factor they were voting for. Remember, this is your unique content that’s also highly trusted, since it came from notable experts in the industry:
There are lots of platforms and tools being launched these days to meet this need for advanced marketing collaboration.
ContentCal is one solid example that allows you to include your whole team in the content planning and marketing process via its 2 main features:
- “Campaigns”: allowing you to create content briefs that your whole team can access (and contribute to)
- “Pinboard”: allowing your whole team to contribute to your brand social media channels (with the extra quality assurance layer to ensure consistent brand voice)
2. Question Optimization
There used to be a huge gap between content creation and optimization: Writers were forced to build content around “keyword strings,” set phrases that we needed to include in a copy a certain number of times.
Apart from somewhat killing creativity, this approach had another big issue: Keywords de-humanize writing. It’s too easy to forget that there are actual people typing those keywords in the search box.
Google’s algorithm evolution is quickly putting an end to this outdated optimization tactic. Google no longer focuses on keyword strings. It can now evaluate each query’s context and intent.
To accommodate the new algorithm, we are finally moving away from keyword-matching content and learning to build more in-depth content that actually adds value. This is bringing another great marketing trend: Question optimization.
There are many important reasons to build content that answers niche questions:
- Questions are closer to natural language than keywords, so they make your content much more optimized for voice search
- Google understands and features questions. Notice all those “People Also Ask” and “Featured Snippets” search elements where Google features pages that do the best job answering search queries.
- Questions are easier to relate to: You are able to clearly see the problem your target customer is facing and can provide solutions in your content
Build content that answers questions and provides solutions.
There are lots of tools that allow you to research popular questions, but the one I tend to recommend using is Text Optimizer which is a semantic analysis tool.
- Uses Google’s search snippets to extract related terms and concepts
- Identifies popular questions around any topic and helps you optimize content to provide best answers
More sources of niche question research include:
- Your customer support and sales teams (again, collaborate with them on creating content)
- Social media (especially Twitter comments)
- Quora, Reddit, and Amazon Q&A sections
- Online reviews and discussion boards, etc.
Another solid tool to mention here is Serpstat’s clustering feature that allows you to discover related questions and group large lists of keywords/questions by meaning. If you use multiple sources for question research, Serpstat allows you to come up with content ideas that cover multiple questions and thus helps you rank for a variety of them:
3. Content Personalization
Dynamic personalization is another trend that is making its way into the marketing industry, despite all the growing privacy concerns.
Marketing personalization means customizing the web experience for each particular user.
Personalization is not segmenting (which means providing a customized experience to an identified group of web users).
Through personalized product and content suggestions, Amazon and Netflix have been providing customized user experience for ages. BigCommerce has found that younger generations of US-based consumers rely heavily on Artificial-Intelligence-powered personalized product recommendations and personalized social media ads when making shopping decisions online.
These days, personalization is expected from your brand. It also helps brands catch their customers’ attention in this era of information overload.
When it comes to content, dynamic personalization is more doable than you may think. Here are 2 ways you can easily personalize your content now:
- Personalize in-content calls-to-action
Personalized CTAs have been found to increase on-page interactions by 202%. Hubspot’s Smart CTA is a great tool to help with this. Of all personalization settings, I find these the most useful:
- Personalize your CTA by using your list contact’s first name
- Show visitors your customized CTA based on how they found your content
- Personalize in-content product recommendations with Alter
Alter is a marketing personalization platform that uses non-personal data they collect across the web to target your content to each web user better:
Alter is very easy to set up: You don’t need any technical knowledge, and it also provides you with some basic reports so you know how the personalized experience is being served to your site users. You can use it to customize your in-content CTAs, banners, or product recommendations.
- Monitor your on-page engagement closely!
Finally, if you want your personalization tactics to succeed, you need to closely monitor how your audience is reacting to the personalized experience. Finteza is the free analytics software focusing on monitoring and reporting on specific on-page events.
Set up conversion monitoring for each personalized CTA you have created to better monitor the engagement.
Moving Forward: How to Prepare?
These are by no means ALL of the content marketing trends that are already happening right now. Likewise, these are not ALL the tools you may want to play with. The purpose of this article wasn’t creating an ultimate resource—which is hardly possible anyway, because content marketing keeps evolving as we speak.
What I did want to achieve with this article is to show you that evolution is good, and there’s no need to be intimidated by change. Technology is evolving, our audience is changing, and our competitors are always moving forward too. These are all challenges we have to be dealing with, but these challenges also bring new opportunities.
To adapt to any change and get ahead of your competition, always be ready to explore new tools and experiment with new things (including content formats and tactics).