There has been an increased focus on content marketing as part of a digital strategy over the last few years. 2018 will be the year that more brands will realize the potential of branded content and how this can lead to a successful marketing strategy.
As content becomes a greater priority, there are also growing challenges on how to stand out with your content as a brand. The best way to solve this problem is to keep up with the trends in order to adapt your content marketing strategy when needed.
Here are five ways to make sure that your content marketing strategy won’t stall over the next twelve months.
1. Using data-driven content marketing
A closer focus on data can help you learn more about your audience. Your data can make your content marketing more effective by providing the right content for the right audience while delivering it at the right time and in the right format.
Moreover, personalization can bring your audience closer to your content and the segmentation of the content according to their needs can increase the engagement.
A data-driven content marketing strategy can also make the process of content discovery easier by analyzing your existing content but also your competitors’. This way you can explore which content has more chances to bring you closer to your goals.
The most important reason though to invest in data analysis is to improve the content measurement. It’s easier to justify your work by measuring the content marketing ROI and according to CMI’s B2B Content Marketing Report for 2018, 47% of B2B marketers don’t measure content marketing ROI. 2018 can be the year of spending more time on data and what this means for our content marketing efforts.
2. Content as part of the buyer’s journey
Content marketing is becoming more important for marketing and sales purposes. That’s why it’d be critical to explore in 2018 how it can be part of all stages of the buyer’s journey.
A piece of content can work towards awareness, engagement, or conversion and the analysis of the goals from each type of content can lead to a more effective strategy.
For example, if a business wants to improve conversions, then a content marketing strategy should involve ideas to contribute towards that goal. This can be achieved with content that makes lead generation easier, while the optimisation of the journey and the following steps can increase the chances of success.
If the goal is to improve the awareness for the company, then the types of content might be different, focusing on a broader audience with the purpose of reaching new readers that can eventually turn into loyal ones.
The variety of content types makes content marketing a very important part of the sales funnel and that’s why it’s important to establish how to align the business and content marketing goals.
3. Documentation of the strategy
A content marketing strategy can help you get more organized while maintaining an overview of your goals. It assists in planning the next steps and it becomes easier to meet your objectives.
However, not all marketers focus on the documentation of their strategy.
According to CMI’s report, 38% of B2B marketers who have a content marketing strategy don’t have it documented yet. This means that they have come up with a plan on how to use content marketing, but it hasn’t been written down to present it in a more strategic way. Although it’s a good start to create a brief plan, there are further benefits in writing down.
A documented content marketing strategy can provide an overview among all stakeholders on the next plans. It can help marketers become accountable for their work. Moreover, it can be the first step to a more efficient and productive year by focusing on what matters most to the business goals.
4. Creating conversational content
2018 will be the year that conversational content will grow even more. A content marketing strategy needs to consider this rising trend and make sure it takes into account when planning the future content plans.
Messaging apps like WhatsApp, bots taking over Facebook’s Messenger, but also digital assistants have brought up the need for new types of content. People are getting more used to private messaging, voice search and bot communication. This means that marketers need to create content that highlights their brand’s authenticity.
As technology evolves, it will become even more important to be authentic while delivering an immersive experience. This is the right time to explore how these new trends can affect your brand and what it takes to create the right content for each one of them.
The first step is to establish whether your audience is gradually moving towards these trends. Then, it’s time to come up with a plan on how your content marketing strategy is expected to change. Most importantly, it’s important to measure any new experiments to justify your shift in your marketing strategy.
5. Bigger focus on content marketing technology
Content marketing is becoming more important for a digital strategy. This has created the need to invest in the technology that will make your work more efficient.
As more tasks pile up in the day of a content marketing manager, new tools show up to improve productivity and efficiency.
Content marketing technology is addressing the needs of a content marketer and it focuses on making their work easier. It’s a narrow-angle of martech and its general rise in the marketing field and it aims to automate the right tasks and get the best results from a planned content marketing strategy.
More content marketing managers will invest their budget in such technologies, in an attempt to keep up with the latest trends and create a successful strategy. This decision is also encouraged by the fact that 38% of B2B marketers in CMI’s report expect their content marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months.
As more people in the company recognise the growing interest in content marketing, there will be a greater need for the right technology to maintain a successful content marketing machine.
This year should be very exciting for content marketing. We are expecting more marketers to invest their focus and their budget on a content marketing strategy. The growing need to focus on strategy and explore different content types will bring out more creative campaigns.
The challenge with content marketing is to keep up with all the different aspects that can bring successful results. Technologies will help in this direction with more tools coming up to make our lives easier.
A look at the future indicates that content marketing will focus more on the target audience rather than the brand. It’s the time to realise that data can tell us more details about our audience and what they expect from us. This will lead to the creation of content in a context that makes it more successful. For brands, it will also mean that the time spent on content marketing can become more meaningful by focusing on the priorities that will help them meet the set goals.