The Internet of Things has the potential to bring a new age of content marketing. How can marketers prepare for this change?
The Internet of Things is a growing trend, and the idea of keeping everyone connected through everyday devices is becoming an increasingly established concept.
According to IHS, there were 15.4 billion connected devices in 2015, with the number expected to grow to 30.7 billion in 2020 and 75.4 billion in 2025.
This is reflected in the projections for the revenue it can bring. According to Machina Research, the revenue from the Internet of Things is expected to increase from $892 billion in 2015 to $4 trillion in 2025.
As this growth evolves year-by-year, there will be many fields that can benefit from it.
Content marketing may not sound as the first field that could be affected by the Internet of Things, but in fact, there are many ways that it could change the way we create and consume content. Here are five possibilities.
1. A new type of content
The Internet of Things brings a host of new content opportunities for marketers. Content marketing will go beyond blog posts and social media, reaching connected devices.
This may require an evaluation of existing content strategies, coming up with new goals and new measurements. Brands will need to master the art of intelligent content in order to make sure that their content is formatted and adapted correctly regardless of device.
A constantly connected audience brings out a new way of communication between marketers and consumers.
This increased connectivity will requires a careful analysis of the consumers’ needs and what they expect from a brand that reaches them through their devices.
2. A new content experience
A successful piece of content should be informative, inspiring, entertaining, and most importantly, unique. The rise of IoT brings out a new need for content marketers to focus more on the experience.
Experiential marketing is not new, as more brands try out the idea of promoting their work through an experience, rather than a traditional marketing message. This allows consumers to feel rather than read, which increases the chances of engagement. In the era of IoT, content marketers need to join the power of experiential marketing by understanding how it can help them discover new types of engagement.
In a connected world, it’s important to learn your audience’s habits and deliver the best experience they can enjoy. This can be achieved through innovative ideas and insightful initiatives.
Nike created such an experience with the introduction of Nike+, an app that offers personalized coaching for runners, motivating them to stay focused. The Nike+ app was made available via wearable devices through a dedicated partnership with Apple, which created the Apple Watch Nike+.
The device tracks runners’ pace, time, distance and heart rate during a run, and an extra screen during setup invites runners to install Nike+ Run Club. This connected experience taps into the power of community by allowing runners to share their progress with people all over the world, creating a fun and engaging experience.
3. Data-driven content
Content in a connected world has to use data in order to create a personalized experience that’s engaging, but also useful for consumers. For example, real-time content should be delivered to the right audience and with the right context. This increases the chances of engagement and success for a content marketing strategy.
Luckily, the growth of the Internet of Things will bring an abundance of data to help content marketers deliver the exact content that people want to consume. From smart fridges which collect data about the food consumers buy and eat, to smart watches or smart bands which track a user’s vitals and exercise habits, marketers will have access to more data than ever before that they can use to make content personalized and relevant to consumers.
The challenge for content marketers will be learning how to process, analyze and interpret all of that data in order to apply it to their content. Fluency in data and analytics may well become a required skill for content marketers in the age of IoT.
4. Contextual content
The Internet of Things will bring out new opportunities for communication between a brand and consumers, benefiting from the constant connectivity that devices can offer. Content marketers need to evaluate how this affects their content strategy.
The wide range of devices that may be connected to the Internet of Things means that marketing will need to depend even more heavily on context. We have already seen this need with mobile, as mobile marketing adapts to the context consumers are reading or searching in as they’re on the go.
Smart content can automate conversations that deal with common questions in customer service, or it can be delivered in real-time in case of an emergency or a new update that matters to the target audience. A tailored approach to content marketing can increase trust among consumers, building a new smarter relationship between a brand and its consumers.
Image: Wilgengebroed on Flickr, CC BY 2.0
The rise of IoT heralds an increase in location-based data from consumers who stay connected to devices wherever they go.
Marketers can use location data to produce relevant content for consumers, depending on their proximity to the branded products. This allows further personalization and relevance that can benefit both the brand and the consumers.
This type of content can increase the engagement, the loyalty and even the sales in a particular area, offering one of the best uses of Internet of Things in content marketing.
With the rise of the Internet of Things, we may soon see a significant shift in the type and volume of content that marketers are required to connect. Content will need to be smarter, more flexible and more personal; it will be driven by the vast amounts of data that we will have access to, and will reach consumers in every moment of their lives.
For content marketers, this presents an unprecedented opportunity and an unprecedented challenge: a need to create more, and better, content than ever before; a need to be relevant without being intrusive; and a need to be helpful without being annoying.
It’s early days as of yet, but we can already see the beginnings of how the Internet of Things could change content marketing. Will you be ready for it?