Creative thinking that delivers results

07 Dec

Content Marketing will still deliver the goods in 2018

Category: Content marketing
Written by: Ian Turner
content marketing, marketing strategy, social media, social media marketing, video marketing, personalization

As 2017 comes to an end, one of the biggest challenges facing marketers in 2018 will be keeping up with the rapid change occurring in our industry. And while some are swayed to jump, sometimes blindly, on the proverbial bandwagon and adopt the latest marketing trend, many other marketers are realizing that some old tried and true tactics still work and hold true. Content marketing would be one of these.

Content is still king!

While there has been some recent debate on the relative merit of content marketing, most experts still recognize the tremendous value it offers when done correctly. This latter point is the critical one – when content is done simply for the sake of getting something out the door and with little foresight and strategy, it often provides little to no value for most brands.

So why does content marketing work? It works so well simply because it embodies storytelling, something that marketing and sales have been using for decades to convey their message. Content marketing allows brands to tell a story to their audience, to paint a picture and outline how their product/service can help them meet a need or address an unresolved issue.

However, when content is done in a haphazard way with little to no planning and no thought as to the desired or preferred outcome, what ends up happening is a hodgepodge of disjointed topics, themes and ideas that add little value.

Value > Volume

I recently sat in on a webinar by the people at Marketo on the topic of 2018 Predictions for Content Marketing.  In it they spoke to marketers about the important axiom of focusing on value to the end customer over volume of content disseminated.

The rationale for brands is pretty simple – focus on providing quality over quantity, on developing value-added and targeted content as opposed to random pieces that do little for your audience and don’t portray your business in the best possible way.

Creating a content marketing strategy

A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine  noted a study from the Content Marketing Institute where 83% of marketers said they believed a content strategy was very effective in increasing ROI, but only 31% had documented theirs. It’s hard to believe in an era where strategic planning has proven to be so critical to business success that companies are still failing to plan and document their content strategy.

It’s clear that documenting your content marketing strategy, along with your overall marketing strategy should be your first step in getting your content right. Another valuable point mentioned in this article touches on thinking about your content with a “mobile first” mentality. With mobile quickly becoming the preferred channel for many cohorts, businesses need to think first about mobile, and by extension social media and email. They can then consider the content implications for desktop.

Living in a visual world

It would seem that the world we live in has become faster and faster with each passing year. With this, audience attention spans continue to move to historical lows; brands must find smart and creative ways of capturing their attention and engaging with them in a more effective manner.

Visual content continues to over-index for metrics such as clicks, likes and engagement and there is no sign this trend will change anytime soon. In fact, there is every indication based on the available data that this trend will continue to accelerate in an appreciable way over the coming years.

Brands thus need to ensure they are including high quality imagery, live video and even podcasts in their content marketing strategies. Capturing customer attention in a quick and captivating manner will continue to be a difference-maker in many marketing channels, market segments and industries. But take note: this does NOT in any way suggest that written content is dead or passé! Instead, businesses need to use both in the right situations with the right clients to get the best results.

The move to personalization

As we mentioned in our November blog, personalization is becoming and will continue to become a big marketing trend in 2018 and beyond. In fact, one can argue that technology is finally catching up to the needs of marketers when it comes to this topic, which has been on our radar screens since the 1990’s.

There are still many challenges marketers will face when trying to implement personalization in their marketing plans in a substantive and meaningful way. One would be the proliferation of data and how best to use it plus the corresponding technological limitations. Hopefully trends like the growing prevalence of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) will provide a simplified and systematic approach to making personalization a reality in the near term.

Content and content marketing is still very much king in the world of marketing for no other reason than its storytelling and messaging powers. Combined with elements like visual content and ABM, marketers can develop campaigns that use this content to convey the right message to the right audience using the right content medium. So get at it, engage your audience and encourage them to engage with you!