As technology improves, new innovations are forcing businesses to rethink their content marketing strategy in order to adapt to consumers’ new buying habits.

That’s the word from Business 2 Community, who also points out that in 2018 businesses are taking content marketing more seriously, increasing their investments accordingly. In fact, a report by Content Marketing Institute indicates that 83% of marketers consider a content strategy very effective in increasing revenue.

To ensure that your content marketing strategy is helping you improve web traffic, generate leads, retain loyal customers and increase revenue in 2018, here are the trends you need to know:

1. Content Roles Shifting Due to Changing Formats

Going forward from here, your company will need to expand it’s pool of talent and skills, in order to meet the demands of your audience.

“Content marketing is moving beyond just blog ideas,” says Neil Patel. “There is a greater process you have to work toward in which ideas are constantly improved on, customized for different audiences, and adapted to new formats that consumers are using.”

Neil Patel goes on to say that your content management team will need to evolve and adapt to include people who have talent in, among other things:

  • Video and audio production and editing skills
  • Content optimization for multiple formats
  • Content strategy development, execution, and campaign management
  • Understanding and execution of communications and branding, as well as advertising and media buying
  • Analytics, metrics, and reporting

2. The Mobile-First Strategy Needs to Take Priority

In recent years, brands have been focusing on making websites more accessible on mobile. But with mobile accounting for about 80% of all internet usage in 2018, Entrepreneur suggests that you plan for mobile users first and add desktop functionality later.

With 80% of social media time spent on mobile and 57% of users refusing to recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site, it only makes sense to concentrate your efforts on improving the areas where the majority of your customers are.

“The key is understanding consumer behavior then adjusting your priorities in order to seize opportunities.”

Source: Entrepreneur

3. More Content Will Move Off Screen

Content is no longer limited to the screen. Technology innovations have paved the way for content to exist all around us, interwoven into our daily lives in a convenient hands-free / eyes-free manner.

Alexa, Amazon’s voice service, is currently being used by several organizations to share content with audiences that don’t wish to be a slave to the screen. With Ask Purina, for example, pet lovers can get content on particular dog breeds, including a breed’s size, shedding and energy levels, and much more.

Everything these days is shifting to digital. From sensors and device pairing to beacon-based proximity marketing, there are more and more opportunities for content interactions that go beyond audience engagement, points out Neil Patel.

“It’s content that is highly targeted and is available to your audience in more formats, at the right time, in the right place, when they need it most.”

Source: Neil Patel

4. Content Will Continue to Play a Pivotal Role in the Buyer Journey

“Content marketing will continue to grow as the cornerstone of all marketing, driving strategies into 2018,” states Neil Patel.

Content is what draws the attention of your audience and builds trust with your brand. The experience you create with content pushes the customer through the top of the funnel down into the final conversion of the buyer’s journey.

Don’t focus too heavily on the top-of-the-funnel content when it comes to fueling customer acquisition. Instead, suggests Neil Patel, you should try to support every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Moving forward from here, your content must be more diverse, purposeful, nurturing, and interconnected so it compels the customer to advance to the next stage of the conversion process.

But don’t stop at the point of conversion! “Without relationships, your audience isn’t going to carry your content beyond the first glance,” says Neil Patel. “Continue to nurture those customer relationships with content, however, and you’ll create very vocal brand ambassadors to lead you into 2018.”

5. Email Marketing Will Remain a Big Player

If email marketing strikes you as an outdated form of marketing in our digital age, consider this: 79% of marketers said that email was the most successful distribution channel in 2017, over blogs and social media. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t use a little fine tuning in 2018, though.

Segmentation, the highest priority and technique used in email marketing campaigns in 2017, will continue to drive conversions this year.  Entrepreneur suggests sending more targeted emails, especially as they relate subscriber histories.

“By understanding the specific products and services a subscriber is interested in, you restructure the type of content they receive. Leveraging big data and AI technologies will prove useful in achieving this.”

Source: Entrepreneur

Another way to enhance the effectiveness of your emails is to optimize them for mobile, which is becoming increasingly popular and important for retention, UX and engagement on on-the-go devices for quicker and more convenient consumption of content.

“Whilst email competes with organic (SEO) and paid search (PPC), it can drive a higher volume of sales than other channels and is important for customer acquisition, engagement, and retention.”

Source: Smart Insights

6. Companies Will Need to Experiment With & Adapt to New Platforms

A 2015 report by BI Intelligence indicates that messaging platforms have caught up to social media in usage. In fact, over 2.4 billion people—combined—are active on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp monthly.

If your business didn’t adopt chatbots in 2017 for content marketing, Entrepreneur suggests that you prepare to do so in 2018. Already proven successful in customer service, the importance of chatbots can also be witnessed in content marketing.

Then there are technologies such as virtual reality (used by the Golden State Warriors to recruit Kevin Durant) and mailable microsites—or interactive emails—which companies are using to increase customer research, engagement, and retention (interactive emails allow users to interact with the email interface within the inbox, keeping the inbox interesting and unique).

2018 is the year to start experimenting with and leveraging the power of new digital platforms to reach your target audience. Doing so will help you increase brand loyalty and engagement, expand your understanding of consumer behavior, and even improve conversion rates — all the necessary elements of successful content marketing!

Conclusion

“From creation to diffusion, technological innovations are forcing brands to rethink their content marketing strategy to adapt to consumers’ new buying habits,” says Business 2 Community.

Digital innovations such as interactive visual content, chatbots, video, and mailable microsites will increasingly dominate the content marketing scene in 2018, so you’ll need to restructure your content marketing game to incorporate new platforms with traditional ones (like email) to succeed.

Still, as Neil Patel points out, “Trends aren’t everything.” You should conduct your own research by keeping a watchful eye on what top marketing performers are doing, as well as using data to gauge how today’s digital innovations can improve your own content marketing strategy in 2018.

About Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and the eBook The Small retailer's Ultimate Guide to Increasing In-Store Sales. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.


Also published on Medium.

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