Content is booming, which is great news. Until you realise that the marketers making it are all vying for the same audiences – and your business is increasingly just one voice in the crowd.
It’s not enough to know how to make yourself stand out any more. The game has changed and the shift from traditional advertising to content marketing has left many skilled marketers navigating unchartered territory.
So avoid a hit and miss approach to achieving your content marketing goals. Put these four key emerging trends into play and give yourself an instant advantage over your competitors.
1. Invest in video
Video marketing is a continuously evolving experience, largely due to the ease with which we can now create and watch it. People can record an experience on their phones, upload it to social media and broadcast it – or stream it live – without script, lighting, or actors.
It’s raw, real and short.
The aim of the game is no longer to create high-budget, studio-grade content. Since most of us now tune into ‘vertical’ (portrait) videos on our mobile phones, it’s about keeping pace with how people want (and watch) videos. This approach provides great ROI too. After all, these cheap, easy-to-make videos deliver what users want: authentic, in-the-moment content worth sharing. In return, you’ll get their loyalty and often their business.
Make it happen: Start by allocating more of your content marketing budget (and time) to video. But not for large-scale, time-intensive productions. Think bite-sized content that people can easily digest on the go. It could be anything, like a short ‘how to’ demo or a ‘behind-the-scenes’ peek at something exciting. And distribution is easy if you utilise established platforms like Periscope, Boomerang by Instagram and Facebook Live Video.
2. Get more personal
When it comes to cutting through a crowded market, relevance is one of your most powerful tools. It goes a long way to giving your customers a meaningful experience – building brand loyalty and trust in the process. It’s the reason why personalisation is a growing focus for content marketers.
Of course, the more you know about customers, the more you can customise your content accordingly. The good news is that up to 57% of shoppers are willing to part with personal information in order to benefit from personalisation. The trick is to know how much to ask for upfront.
Rather than trying to gather details about everything all at once, start simply and build from there. While it shows potential customers that you’re interested in knowing more about them, it’s also respectful.
Make it happen: Provide downloadable content such as eBooks or other relevant offers and you’ll find most people will give their name and email address in exchange. You can then nurture these relationships gradually via email and collect even more data to build up insightful profiles.
After this, the gateway to customisation opens up. From personalised offers to different website content for different users, you have the power to connect with people on a personal, relevant and thoughtful level – building a relationship that can convert into paying customers.
3. Be flexible with formats
While some still focus on out-blogging everyone to satisfy search rankings, savvy content marketers are meeting the needs of their customers. That means delivering a mixed bag of content, including more ‘snackable’ pieces that can be consumed quickly and easily.
But don’t forget, content choices should be based on the needs of your audience. Millennial businesspeople on social media might be more likely to engage with shorter, more visual and shareable content like infographics and videos. While older audiences might appreciate in-depth content like whitepapers. This may also vary by industry.
Make it happen: Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach to your content, think about your audience – what they want, and where they’re likely to want it. Go beyond blogs to mix things up with snappy content, like short videos, animations or case studies. Conversely, don’t be afraid to explore authentic long-form content since well-written thought leadership pieces still hold their own in the conversion stakes.
4. Go niche
Not to be confused with personalisation, niche content goes deeper to reach customers. It’s not just about standing out from the crowd, it’s about setting yourself apart and attracting new audiences altogether.
While the majority of businesses will continue to vie for the attention of the same audiences, taking it that bit further will give you a chance to side-step common ground. Exploring new areas of interest or putting a niche spin on old ones will give your customers a more compelling reason to connect with your brand.
Make it happen: Do some basic research on your competitors to see what content everyone else is talking about, then go deeper. Instead of simply writing about ‘getting fit’, explore ‘getting fit at forty’ or ‘getting fit with two kids, a dog and a job’. Make meaningful connections with your audience. After all, it’s better to have one hundred people who truly believe in your business than a larger group whose connection barely registers.