“Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” – Seth Godin.
Many marketers didn’t believe it at first when Seth Godin said this ten years ago. They thought content marketing is just another fad that’ll die quickly. But, that wasn’t the case.
Content marketing is growing from strength to strength and has become the most trusted ROI generator for marketers.
Here’s a couple of stats for you.
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads – DemandMetric;
- Conversion rates are six times higher (2.9%) for companies and brands using content marketing than those that aren’t (0.5%) – Aberdeen Group;
- 92% of marketers said their organization views content as a business asset – Content Marketing Institute.
We have entered the true information age where the audience is in full control. They have access to all the information they need to make an informed decision – to buy or not to buy.
And in this information age, for a business to survive and grow, it needs to:
- produce website content,
- create case studies,
- create info-graphics,
- create social media content,
- create long-form content to strengthen their authority,
- create short-form, snack-able content to the millennials,
- create a video for the new age customers, and so on.
The need is huge. The amount of content to be created is enormous.
And creating content is the half side of the coin.
Even the best-written content is no good until the target audience discovers it. Only then it can produce the desired results like growing the list, educate the top of the funnel audience, helping the visitors to become customers, and so on.
And to get those results, you need to promote your content.
Without right content promotion, the best of the best content could be buried in the plethora of articles/blog posts that are getting published on the web daily.
Content promotion is the second half side of the coin.
To succeed, you need both. You need to create fantastic content, and you need to promote it.
But, businesses are struggling to do it because good content writers and content marketers are a few. There is a massive demand for content marketing skills.
On top of it, like with everything in digital, content marketing is also evolving and changing at a very rapid pace.
If you want to win at content marketing, you need to keep up with the changes and adapt to it. And this post is all about those significant changes and how you can stay relevant to the future of content marketing.
Trend #1: Adapting To The New World of Voice Assistants and Searches
Voice Search SEO
The most significant change upon us is the arrival of voice assistants and their impact on our behavior.
People have changed and how they search online has changed. The days of typing in the queries have gone.
“Alexa, play me ….”
That’s how it’s happening these days.
The invisible barrier to a pleasant user experience has been further reduce by these voice assistants.
Voice is the new interface.
Almost 20% of all Google searches on mobiles are voice searches. And 50% of all searches will be voice by 2021.
Voice-activated home assistants are selling off the shelves, and they are going to ramp up these numbers quickly.
And it’s time for the marketers to adapt because whoever changes fast wins the race.
How can you do it?
#1: Change your keywords
Let’s look at a couple of examples.
If you want to find the cupcake recipe, you might generally type “cupcake recipe.” But with a voice search, you’d be asking, “How do I make a cupcake?”
In the same way, instead of typing “how to do link building,” you would ask “How do I build more links to my website?”
See how it’s changing.
Focusing on the keywords as you always used to do is not going to work anymore.
You should prioritize targeting natural language keywords – ones that people will be using when the dictate the search.
Third-party tools like AnswerThePublic.com or Ubersuggest can help to identify the question keywords that people are actually using.
#2: Answer the questions
Instead of providing the information in the regular content blocks, make it a question and answer.
According to Brian Dean’s research,
Google tends to show answers that are around 30 words on average. So keep your answers in that range.
Most of the answers are written at the 9th-grade reading level or below.
And they also tend to use structured schema.
If you want to rank in voice search results, then you should follow these tips while creating content.
How to rank for voice search queries?
Write your content in question and answer format. Keep your answer short, under 30 words. And write in 9th-grade reading level. Also, structure the content using schema markups.
It should work.
Trend #2: Snackable Content For The Younger Audiences
“When taking a content-first approach, our job as marketers is not to create more content … it’s to create the minimum amount of content with the maximum amount of results.” – Robert Rose
Of course, long-form content is the king, and when it comes to search engine rankings, it rules.
But, you aren’t creating content for the search engines. You are doing it for the audiences. You are creating content so that you can convert them into customers.
And when it comes to audience building, you need to expand continuously to grow. That’s why you should focus on younger audiences.
Because younger audiences are your future customers and it’s essential that you start attracting and nurturing them at the earliest.
But the challenge is to create content that they like to consume.
They live in a world of GIFs, videos, emojis, and texts. They have their own acronyms and language. They prefer to multitask. They snack and go.
They don’t have the patience to read a 2000 words blog post or a case-study. They want short content pieces that are easy to digest and share on the go.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be writing long blog posts. But, when you create such posts, break it into short, snackable pieces so that it’s a win-win for both.
How can you do that?
Convert your long-form content into quotes, picture quotes, Instagram stories, Facebook stories and the other formats that your younger audience prefers.
And it’s a win-win. You have a long-form content that isn’t boring, and your younger audiences get their preferred snackable version.
Trend #3: Personalization
“The only way to win at content marketing is for the reader to say, ‘This was written specifically for me.” – Jamie Turner
People are busy. Their days are full. They are rushing from one thing to another. They have enough to read, write, and share. They don’t want anything new unless it is specially created for them or addressed to them.
Because they just don’t have time for anything generic.
It’s nothing new. People always focus on them and ask what’s in it for me. With the content explosion, they have become even more choosy. Because it is impossible to find the right piece of content to read among the plethora of articles pushed on to the web daily.
The only way to grab their attention is to create content that makes an instant connection with them and makes them feel like it’s written for them.
The only way to do it is to focus more on your customer persona and understanding where they are in their buyer’s journey. You should know their awareness level, problems, dreams, wishes, needs and more. And your content should reflect it.
And it’s not enough. You need the technical capability to track and provide the right content at the right time to the right audience.
When that magic happens, you get the best ROI for your content.
How can you do it?
Don’t write for everyone. Write for a segment of your audience. Focus on addressing and solving their pains and problems.
Personalization tools are growing in numbers and capabilities. Leverage them to deliver the right content to the right audience at the right moment.
Trend #4: Dive Deep Into Sub-niches And Topics
Deep dive niche research
“Stop writing about everything. So many brands create content and try to cover everything, instead of focusing on the core niche that they can position themselves as an expert around. No one cares about your special recipe… Find your niche, and then go even more niche.” – Joe Pulizzi
We live in the age of specialists.
We have a social media specialist, Facebook ads specialist, Google ads specialist, email marketing specialist, and so on.
But, even they are becoming a generalist because the sub-niches are growing deep.
And it’s the same with content too.
No one is interested in reading about everything or read from someone who writes about everything. So, dive deep into your niche. Find the sub-niche that has the connection between your expertise and your audiences’ need.
Don’t write about SEO. Focus on SEO for startups or SEO for SAAS startups or SEO for B2C SAAS startups.
Trend #5: Create Less And Get More Traffic with Historical Optimization
Less is more content
“More content is not better. What’s the worst case scenario if we slow ourselves down and do some analysis?” – Kristina Halvorson
It is impossible to create new content forever because at some point you’ll hit the brick wall. You’ll run out of ideas. You won’t have anything new to share. You’ll end up repeating the same thing again and again.
You’ll end up losing the trust and reputation you built brick by brick.
And the best thing is, you don’t need to create more. You can create less and still get more traffic.
Optimize your existing, old content.
Make them better with more data or stats. Update them to be relevant for today and tomorrow. You’ll see your traffic growing.
Because your new audiences will experience the same old problems. They will be looking for answers to those problems. Your updated old content will become relevant to them and Google will gladly rank them because they are updated and old.
“Only 55% of bloggers update old posts. Those who do are 74% more likely to get strong results.” – Orbit Media
Trend #6 Video Content
82% of all IP traffic will be videos by 2022 – Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Trends, 2017–2022
Now, we cannot be NOT talking about videos when we have the words future and content marketing in the same sentence. Nothing can testify this better than Cisco’s forecasts.
It definitely makes sense and can be attributed broadly to two phenomena:
- The number of people who are getting on the internet bandwagon will increase dramatically by 2022.
- To consume video content, you need not be literate.
And that’s possibly the best part about video content, it opens you up to such a massive audience.
Now, if you are comfortable getting in front of the camera, this could be your turning point. But if you are camera shy, there are plenty of ways to create content where you need not have to be in front of a camera. There are plenty of tools out there which will help you create videos very fast.
This also means you can try out different forms of video content like Webinars and Live videos.
Does this mean, textual content will be dead?
Definitely not. My guess is it will be around for as long as the human civilization exists. Ok maybe, that’s a bit of a stretch but you get the point.
Trend #7 Going Local, Vernacular Style.
We have already spoken about how a large wave of people are going to be part of the internet ecosystem soon and most of them might not be literate and most might definitely not be comfortable with English.
There is a void out there. The internet to a large part caters to the anglicized audience only. You can fill this void, especially if you are comfortable with a vernacular language.
If you are a video creator, your job becomes a lot easier.
The number of searches on Google and Youtube in Vernacular languages is only increasing. It is also evident that the content to searches ratio for these languages is rather poor, which is a sign of a massive opportunity.
Don’t be the hard working content marketer. Be the smart working one.
Remember, content marketing is growing stronger than ever before. The demand for content writers and content marketers is also increasing. But businesses are struggling to find the right talent due to lack of experienced professionals. And content marketing is evolving rapidly.
To succeed, businesses and professionals need to adapt to the changes and stay relevant. Keep up with these five major ways the content marketing is changing and you’ll be good for another decade or so.
What’re your thoughts? Where do you think content marketing is heading? Share your feedback in the comments.