Three Emerging Trends in Content Marketing
If you haven’t jumped on the content marketing train yet, it’s not too late to hop aboard, but you better do it fast. Not only has marketing moved toward the Content stop, but it’s long past the stops at Social Media, Interactive Visuals, and Grand Central SEO. You may already be well-acquainted with the principles of content marketing, but the path it’s taking is changing. If your content doesn’t flex and transform to the directions and connections with sales and customer service, it won’t last. As Dr. Diane Hamilton, instructor in the Content Marketing Bootcamp notes, “Sales are based on people’s greed, fear, envy, pride, shame, and a host of other emotions that lead to a feeling of emotional reward. When creating content for consumers, marketing professionals consider the emotions that design, color, and images will have on them.”
Only Share Strong Content (Less is More)
A key component of content marketing is creating evergreen material—content that represents your brand and lives forever with only minor adjustments down the line. For this reason and for best search engine ranking, focus on only publishing high-quality content less frequently instead of repeatedly publishing too often and creating content for content’s sake. Director of Marketing Brian Sutter explains, “If you aren’t creating useful, interesting content, great promotion isn’t going to help much. In fact, it might do more harm than good” (2016). Sutter creates an important distinction between publishing and promotion, noting that high-quality publishing must come first if high-quality promotion can occur afterwards. Both are vital to a strong content marketing strategy.
Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, has observed that most companies, surprisingly, do not even have a content marketing strategy. Pulizzi writes, “Our research tells us that those organizations that do have one, and that review it consistently, are more likely to be successful. Even though you might think this is basic, it’s not.”
It’s vital to have a content marketing strategy that centers around smart, quality content that’s rich in both textual and graphic elements.
Make Content Visual
Therefore, it’s no surprise then that visuals should accompany content. Sharing your content usually involves sharing across social media channels, and social often means one thing: visual content. Images are typically what catch social sharers’ eyes. Sutter illustrates, “When we’re talking about sharing content, we’re usually talking about social media, and social media loves images.” In fact, research shows that Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images. Don’t spend time fighting against the visual demands of content and create pieces with at least one image that looks good on social media. Bonus points if you create visual content that’s dynamic and shareable on its own.
Produce User-Generated Content
If there’s one statistic to take away from this guide, it may be this: 85% of people trust content made by users. In a world where Yelp reviews and user experiences are readily available, readers need to know that they can rely on your content, and one way to achieve that is through user-generated content (UGC). UGC can be more influential than brand content, because when it comes to user motivations, users tend to enjoy sharing and creating this type of content.
As content marketing continues to develop, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of executing a strong publishing strategy. It’s equally important to stay up-to-date with emerging trends as the field evolves. To learn more about content marketing and its place in the business world, explore the intensive Content Marketing Bootcamp I offered through Forbes Bootcamps.
Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.