In the land of digital marketing, content is king.
Content’s reign is justified by how much content-led sites grow their unique site traffic year-on-year — 7.8 times more than non-content-led sites in fact. To maintain the position as a trusted, respected and successful source of digital marketing, content has to answer to the constantly changing needs of its people.
As Neil Hancock, Head of Marketing at Hive said “Content marketing, like all forms of marketing, needs to evolve to meet the changing needs and habits of the target consumer, and this has led in the last couple of years to a trend of making content short and snappy”
So, as an ever-evolving digital resource with an increasingly demanding audience, how do you get ahead in content marketing?
We’ve collected four strategies for the future of content marketing to ensure that your content doesn’t lose touch in 2020.
1. Introduce multimedia content
A study of online communications by the Technical University of Denmark confirmed something Neil and other content creators have been aware of for a while — consumers’ attention span is getting shorter due to the increased abundance of information.
This means there’s a constant battle to find new ways of engaging your target audience.
One way is to introduce multimedia content to your site and social media.
Multimedia content integrates text, audio, image, animation, video, and interactive features to make content more dynamic. While creatively mixing all these elements to complement your content is a good idea, there are two content types you should give extra attention to in the future:
Video and Live Streaming
Video content has become a pivotal component to any comprehensive marketing strategy.
Because video and live streaming platforms have solved the issue of shortened consumer attention spans by engaging the audience better than any other content type.
And not only is the engagement higher, but so are the conversions: 64% consumers are more likely to make a purchase after seeing a video about a product.
As video content marketing has become the rule rather than the exception, producing original video ideas can be tricky. Nevertheless, there are always new ways to leverage video content to stand out:
- Demo videos to showcase your products
- Brand videos: meet the team, vision & mission
- Event videos or live streams
- Video or live stream expert interviews
- Educational/Thought Leadership videos
- Case study videos
- Client testimonial videos
A great example of leveraging this is SEO guru Ahrefs that creates thought leadership video content as an essential ingredient of their content marketing strategy.
The number of podcast listeners have tripled in the last decade and they reach now over 100 million Americans every month. This trend is only predicted to grow, and even though podcasts are creating the most buzz, it’s not the only audio content that’s on the rise.
Every type of digital audio content is at its all time high: audiobooks, streaming audio, and audio blogs from other formats.
Audio content helps companies to share their stories and build brand awareness while their audience is on the move. This makes audio content a uniquely lucrative medium for fostering relationships with consumers while they travel or commute to work.
For this reason, we successfully leveraged long-audio reads of our written content into our own content marketing mix by adding audio reads for our most popular blogs and guides. Since we introduced long-audio content, we’ve seen our bounce rate on these pages decrease by 80%, and our average time spent on these pages increase by over 100%.
2. Optimize your content for voice search
Voice search has been a familiar smartphone feature for a while now, though its consistency in the early stages of its advent made many question its reliability.
Today, the technology has advanced and now delivers more accurate results, making voice search an increasingly popular device for search. 62% of the US aged 12 or older now use voice assistants.
The question begs, therefore — how do you optimise your content to rank for future voice search queries?
Target conversational long-tail keywords and incorporate natural language
It’s important to note that the way we search through typing and speaking are different. This means that the keywords you target for voice search are also different. Targeting conversational long-tail keywords and incorporating natural language such as ‘What’s the best food delivery app to use in San Francisco?’ instead of ‘San Francisco best food delivery app’, is your first port of call.
Optimize your content for local queries
Voice searches are 58% more likely to be location-specific. That being said, it’s important that your contact information is easily available. To optimize your business for local SEO you should do the following:
-Get listed on Google My Business, Bing places and Apple Maps
-Optimize your website to answer for local queries like ‘Sushi restaurants near me’, ‘where can you find the best sushi in New York’.
-Get more local citations that include your name, address and phone number (NAP) to increase your search ranking and check that the existing citations are consistent using Moz local.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly
There is nothing worse than losing all the hard work you did with keyword optimization to a slow loading time on your page. Many businesses underestimate this, but the reality is that 53% of your page visitors will leave if your page takes more than 3 seconds to load.
To check if your site is mobile friendly, use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool and to test the mobile loading time, try Neil Patel’s SEO analyzer.
3. Build your content so that it tells a story
If you don’t have a story, you don’t have an audience. At the very least, the connections between your target readers and your brand is a tenuous one.
When done right, a brand narrative can boost your product value 20 times higher than it was originally.
Storytelling has been the way to pass on and digest knowledge for thousands of years — only its characteristics have changed. Using storytelling is a great way to set you apart from your competitors and build brand and consumer trust.
Knowing your audience will help you craft your own narrative. By using elements and intertextual references from their favourite stories, you’ll be able to connect with your audience and attract engagement.
Whether you’re choosing a fun and entertaining way or an emotion-striking story to humanize your business and connect with your audience, make sure it’s aligned with your brand identity.
Remember, using storytelling isn’t just creating a one piece of content with a narrative, it should be present in every piece of content and reflected in the way that you handle customer service.
Here’s few examples how to use storytelling in content marketing:
- Give real-world examples that will resonate with your readership
- Appeal to emotion when appropriately highlighting a consumer pain point
- Use humor to bring bland topics to life
- Establish an original tone of voice
A great example of a company that uses storytelling in its marketing is A Dollar Shave Club that grabs its audience’s attention with authenticity and humor.
4. Integrate thought leadership content
If your relationship with your partner breaks down, who do you go to for advice? Your friend who’s happily married of 10 years or an estranged relative who’s never been in a serious relationship?
The former over the latter, of course.
For the same reason, your target audience will look to you if you’ve successfully fostered thought leadership in your industry, better said — marketing your expertise.
So, how do you create thought leadership content?
Firstly, establish your expertise by giving your audience insightful answers to common, industry-relevant questions. As there are thousands of professionals in every industry, a good way to get noticed is to find an undiscovered niche and create a forum for it to be explored.
For tech companies, thought leadership content proves fruitful for sparking important conversations and showing drive to address consumer issues.
According to research around thought-leading brands, tech companies are more likely to succeed establishing thought leadership than other industries, and 72% of the tech companies studied were successful at generating marketing qualified leads with this content.
Thought leadership content isn’t only reserved for big companies with a wider audience like TechCrunch or VentureBeat. Even a small business or an individual with a special niche has potential to rise to the top.
Keeping engagement rates high with multimedia content, optimizing content for voice search, using clear storytelling and fostering thought leadership are all signs of a content marketing strategy geared towards future industry trends.
Now more than ever, it’s increasingly important to foster brand and consumer trust while using these strategies, in turn generating more leads in the marketing funnel.
As content marketing’s importance continues to speak for itself, staying ahead of the curve with the content industry trends we’ve highlighted is the only way to guarantee your company’s online presence continues to grow and prosper.