CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2018
It’s that time of year when newspaper feature writers, pundits and bloggers alike get out their crystal balls and lay before us their best guesses and predictions for 2018. They will become ubiquitous after Christmas and before the dawn of the new year. Everything from sport and politics to economics and music. One early article caught my eye today “Content Marketing Trends for 2018” by Sasha Fedkevich. It was a amalgam of the predictions of 13 content marketing influencers.
These key writers were asked to focus specifically on two questions:
1 What current content marketing tactics will continue to be most useful for businesses to use?
2 What new content marketing tactics will find more popularity or arise as we head into 2018?
Some of their insights (summarised below) will not surprise you; others will affirm what you know already, if only subliminally. But a number of the gurus also predict a revival of some surprisingly familiar forms of communication.
Video and live streaming will continue to offer an incredibly relevant form of content that aligns perfectly with the explosion of mobile usage. Videos spark a deeper engagement than print and audiences crave it. Who wouldn’t rather watch a video (and even more so a live one) than read a page of text? Great videos address questions that consumers are asking. Video and the personalisation of a brand are still the hottest trends in today’s content marketing. Video require special skills, special technology and, most of all, a focus on storytelling. Those laggard brands who have yet to embrace video and explore its phenomenal appeal via FB, LinkedIn and Twitter, will have to get on board in 2018 or they’ll get left behind.
Employee advocacy programmes (where businesses leverage the reach of their employees and make them an integral part of their marketing strategy) will feature more heavily as brands seek to build trust and stand out from their competitors. I employed this strategy when working with US based Smith and Loveless and Pencalenick School earlier this year.
Artificial intelligence is with us but not quite all consuming yet. In 2017 I was on a mission to purchase an E-bike and did a great deal of research online. I was surprised initially by the number of times ads for Kalkhof bikes followed me and popped up on my FB, page Twitter feed and on my browser. It won’t be long before publishers and brands will be able to hone their content and focus it on our unique individual requirements – assessing the stage in our journey as a customer in the process. I was interested to see that Adobe is now powered by Adobe Sensei, a sophisticated technology that combines artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Chatbots are coming to the fore as AI increases. I have noticed very recently how often they appear as I research online a product or service. “Conversational commerce” as it is called, is increasingly being used to direct, influence and support our online shopping experience. Chatbots influence our purchasing decisions, answer our queries and prompt us to buy. They can even up sell and cross sell. At this moment in time I am one of the many who do their research on line but make their purchases in store. There’s nothing quite like visiting the 50 Cycles bike shop in Shoreham-by-Sea and giving the eBike a test drive.
Text messaging will gain value and traction in 2018 as more and more consumers migrate their e-commerce and business activities from their desktops to their smartphones.
Podcasts have been around for a while now and have finally hit mainstream. Yet there are many content niches that are currently not being covered. So more than a window or two remain open for a year or so.
LinkedIn will start the year continuing to provide businesses with the unique opportunity of getting their content in front of the right sets of eyes. We will begin to see a move away from the long article to the short 1,300 character status update. How long this goldmine, where you can potentially get a million views for free will continue to be tapped, is anyone’s guess. As with branded videos, the key to a successful LinkedIn post is to tell a story, invite your readers to comment and promise them an incentive, such as a relevant downloadable eBook.
In with the old in 2018. Strangely enough, in addition to the above innovations, more brands will continue to seize opportunities via remarkable email newsletters …and wait for it … the use of consistent print magazines. Did you see that one coming?
The written article will also remain an important piece in any successful company’s content marketing arsenal. Effective brands will continue to listen to and publish answers to their customers questions, challenges and concerns. I wonder how many of you have read this article to the end after baiting you with a list of content marketing trends worth being made aware of and considering in the year ahead. A Happy 2018 to you all.