Talking about content marketing trends is nothing less than trendy itself these days.
Content was, is, and will be the base of marketing in any form – especially content marketing.
Maybe it’s not overrated to say content is slowly becoming that giant beast we can’t stop from growing (if there is anyone who would want to mess with the beast anyway).
Yes, I know, this sounds like a teaser for Stranger Things or some science fiction movie, but stop for a moment and look around. Can you imagine marketing without content? Can you imagine the modern world without marketing?
Now when we agreed on the fact that content is all around us, we can focus on talking more about how it should look like in 2018 and the years that follow.
One thing I’m sure – it can’t be the same as the content in 2010. It even shouldn’t look like the 2015 content.
I suppose lots of you remember the years when content was created ONLY for the purpose of SEO. I hope I’m not the only one thrilled that this type of content doesn’t really work anymore.
Thank you Google for being persistent with your updates. 🙂
Back in those days, many people used to produce literally garbage content and we witnessed a serious threat of content pollution on the Internet.
Thankfully, as we step in 2018, it’s safe to say a lot has changed. Yes, you should still expect a bumpy road and a lot of challenges and work that has to be done on your content journey, but at least the pollution of the Internet is significantly reduced.
The focus of a content marketer isn’t and won’t be on producing content for SEO purpose anymore, but on attracting and targeting the right audience with it.
Not only that content needs to be interesting, provide real value and engage, but we all need to start focusing on storytelling through content, in contrast to producing content just because the trends tell us to do so.
Numbers are clear and show that 91% of B2B and 86% of B2C marketers are planning to use content marketing in their campaigns. Huge percentages, right? Everyone wants to grab their piece of the market cake.
So, building emotional bonds with your audience and storytelling are the two most important trends I personally expect to matter in 2018.
After 8 years of being an active content marketer, I took the liberty of tweaking its definition.
Let’s face it, content marketing matured and evolved into storytelling marketing.
Well, people are emotional beings.
We like relating ourselves to stories rather than to dull and raw content. By relating ourselves to stories, we‘ll spontaneously relate to the brand behind the story too.
And, if your brand is the source of these stories, you know what that brings, right? 🙂
In saturated markets, people are ‘spoiled’ too. Us marketers, spoiled them by constantly targeting them with a new set of ads, every day. It’s understandable, they expect more than raw, unnoticeable content from brands.
They expect stories that will entertain, intrigue, inspire, educate, help, inform, reward and finally connect them with the brand.
If there is a prediction I can share, 2018 will reward predictive, personalized, frictionless stories.
Just a few years ago, everyone was talking about the importance of having an editorial calendar. Yes, it still is important to have one, it is a significant part of content marketing strategy, but today an editorial calendar is considered only as one small piece of the whole puzzle.
And you can’t get the sight of the whole image with only one piece of the puzzle.
A top-down approach is the key. Have a broad picture of who you’re telling your stories to, but be specific from that point and speak to a single person in your stories.
Be relatable. Be a hero. A reachable hero your audience craves for.
In order to transform your content ideas into a grand and relatable story, you’ll need a solid and creative content marketing strategy.
When you start thinking about how to reach and engage with your target audience, you’ll deal with a lot of facts. Turning facts into something fun and inspiring can happen only if you know what your target audience considers fun and inspiring.
That’s why it is extremely important to have the strategy documented. The CMI’s research for 2018 shows that 75% of B2B organizations have a content marketing strategy (only 37% is documented).
Respondents who have a documented content marketing strategy report higher levels of overall content marketing success compared to those who have a verbal strategy only, or even no strategy at all.
A well-documented content marketing strategy is the key to have all the dots connected in a way that your audience understands. If you’re waiting for ‘the click’ between your brand and your target audience to happen, you need to trigger their emotions by engaging them on a personal level and maybe making their everyday work/life a little bit easier.
And you can’t do that without going strategic.
On the other side, the strategy itself is not the magic solution.
You have a competition who is (or will be) riding the same wave.
By having a well-researched and documented content strategy, you’re on the right track to be better than the competitors who didn’t bother to make one. Try to target better, engage more, trigger stronger emotions, find specific problems your target audience has, and provide them with solutions – solutions that either no one else provided before, or solutions that are more detailed, more relevant and provided in time.
Such ideas and solutions will ascend your content to the next level compared to your competitors.
It’s the last call for thinking about a content marketing strategy in 2018 that will help you create and tell engaging stories from a raw content heap, and bring these stories in front of your audience.
It’s actually not a rocket science. You just have to help your audience and they will follow you.
Have a safe flight and great content. 🙂
If you’re interested to see how the stats, plans, and expectations about content marketing changed from the last year, check our 2017 edition infographic: