Content marketing is no longer a ‘new’ marketing tactic. It is one of the most used ways for a business to achieve their goals, and like the other tactics, it is constantly evolving. Here are the content marketing trends you need to stay on the lookout for in 2019.
The digital marketing landscape is changing at a never-seen-before pace and the only thing that seems to feature constantly in it is content. But over the years, even content has seen many changes. What started off as simply being able to present a few case studies to promote a product or service, soon became a means for attracting customers, educating them and then gradually nurturing them towards a conversion. This today, has led to massive content production and difficulty in grabbing the audience’s attention at the right time.
So does content marketing work?
Now that everyone is publishing content, the very first thing most of us marketers are hearing is how there is no point adding to the volume. But these words are just from companies who are just beginning to market their product or service or are still trying to get their foothold on digital.
I’m not kidding.
According to the latest report released by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, more and more B2B marketers are investing in content marketing – irrespective of the size of their business. And despite the volume of content on the web today, there are only about 1-2% of marketers today that claim content has not been able to bring success to their organization.
But that definitely does not mean that you can continue following the same strategy next year for making content work. Let’s be honest, you haven’t even tried to change anything in the framework that is already working for you and that’s where you’ll start losing customers and your market placement in 2019. Yes, your content marketing strategy is dying and it is time to pull up your sleeves and get to work again.
Here are some of the content marketing trends that are going to redefine marketing in 2019.
Content marketing trends for 2019
1. Content marketing will become the mainstream marketing
Until this year, content marketing has only been treated as a strategy that ‘complements’ the other marketing efforts you’re making on digital. Like, if you’re running a social media ad campaign to promote beta sign-ups for your ‘social media analytics’ tool, you would see marketers usually complementing the campaign with a few in-depth posts on analytics for different social channels. In fact, I too have been one of those marketers who’d cross all bounds to create even an ebook if that drives more sign-ups!
But with 2019, it is time to give content marketing the importance it deserves and make it an individualized role. Instead of using push marketing tactics, it is time to first ‘give without expecting anything in return’. As most successful brands and businesses already seem to be doing to start ‘conversations’ with their consumers, before trying to drive them towards a sale.
2019 will see content marketing serving practically all the business goals one wants to achieve digitally – driving in traffic, generating more leads, earning consumer trust and establishing authority, nurturing leads and practically everything you can think of!
2. Content marketing strategy documentation will become a mandate
While content can help you achieve most of your business goals, you need to have a documented strategy in place to guide it towards effectiveness. Imagine if your goal is to establish authority in a certain niche and all you’re doing is create 3-4 content pieces a week around all the topics related to an industry. While you’ll see some traffic coming in, you’ll only form a brand name of someone who is a ‘jack of all trades’ and not the ‘master of one’ (no authority).
Businesses will need to spend some time creating their content marketing strategies. They will need to not just align them with the more general goals like better SEO and traffic, but the more specific goals like establishing authority, increasing sign-ups, getting more leads etc. And most importantly, they will need to get their sales and customer success teams on board while creating this strategy – it is time to minimize assumptions and work on actual on-field data.
As per the survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, about 65% of marketers claim to have documented content marketing strategies. These are also the marketers who have said that it helped them leverage content in the best way, and drive the business towards success.
What does this mean? You’re going to stop creating content based on what’s happening across the web. You will now be using the right tools, backed by data, to document the content marketing strategy before you even begin.
3. Content marketing will drive customer engagement and success
We have all already seen how content has different roles to play across different industries. In fact, we have also noticed how differently it is used by people in different departments or job roles, within the same company. For instance, a marketer may use a case study to create curiosity around the product and drive in traffic to the business website. While the same content piece will be used by the sales team to nurture the leads in their pipeline, showing them proof of how effective the product instead is, instead of the usual sales pitch. Now the same content could also be used by the founding members of the company to speak about what they are building and how it is changing the industry they are addressing, or the impact they have on it.
Simply put, each content piece has endless possibilities. But the two things that it is driving us towards in any of the scenarios, are customer engagement and customer success.
In 2019, businesses will take making their customers successful, in their hands. They will focus on creating content that helps their customers make the most out of their products and services. This could include how-to guides, product videos or even small actionable checklists that will guide the customers towards achieving the goals they have set for themselves and want to achieve through the product or service.
Let’s just say that the new year is going to see content marketing focused more on customers and personalizing their journey to success.
4. Content marketing will be driven by your ability to distribute
I could write an in-depth article on how to create a content marketing strategy, right from scratch. But if I leave it at just writing and publishing the piece on my blog, just how do I even imagine it is going to get discovered by the audience I am targeting?
I need to take the content piece to the market and not expect the market to come to the content piece. That is why content distribution and syndication has always remained an important part of content marketing strategies, and 2019 will continue seeing the same – in fact, more so because more and more businesses will be focusing on creating more content. Grabbing your audience’s attention is going to take more than a GIF most certainly!
So instead of just relying on your social media profiles and push tactics like advertisements, focus on joining ongoing conversations on digital. Go look for where your audience is engaging with on similar content the most, take note of what they’re talking about and hop right in with something valuable to add, leading them to the content piece you just wrote. These conversations are usually taking place in online communities and groups, and sometimes on other websites. While they might lead you to your ideal audience immediately, you’ll get there!
What’s more? Search engines will love you if you’re participating more in these conversations.
So roll up your sleeves, put your best suit on and take your content to the right audience with a big smile on your face.
5. Content marketing will reshape the marketing funnel
All this while, we have been creating content that fuels the typical marketing funnel. The goals that a content piece typically needs to address include filling up the top of the funnel, qualifying leads, nurturing leads and then taking the lead to conversion. But with the focus more on customers in 2019, all us marketers will need to gear up and create content for an ‘after conversion’ scenario.
Basically, our marketing funnels will no longer end at a conversion. We will need to go beyond the usual and create content that takes our customers to success using the products or services we’re marketing to them.Match your content with the buyer's journey until success for actual growth! #contentmarketing #businesstips #inbound Click To Tweet
6. Content marketing will serve building communities
It is obvious that customers are going to hold a lot more important in your content marketing strategy in 2019. This only goes to say how you will need to build stronger relationships with your customers in order to grow more sustainably and keep them from walking away from your business, straight into the arms of a competitor.
One of the content marketing trends that will be taken more seriously in the new year, is building communities – of customers and prospects. This will make it easier for marketers to keep them engaged using content and start conversations easily.
To be honest, this one is practically a no-brainer that we all should have already been using. But building communities will definitely take active participation in online conversations before you drive anyone to join your group.
7. Content marketing ROI measurement
As per surveys, only 49% of marketers are able to measure the ROI from content marketing efforts effectively. But it is also a fact that the companies that are able to leverage from content marketing the most, are the ones that are able to measure its effectiveness the best.
In 2019, you’ll need to go beyond just measuring your website traffic, tracking your search engine ranking or counting the number of leads a piece of content generated. It will need to measure what impact did that content piece really have on your business in terms of the goals set by you – for instance, were the leads generated of good quality? How many of those leads turned into your customers?
Tracking these numbers will help your business align content marketing strategies in a better way with your overall goals. They will also serve as an actionable insight into guiding the direction that content marketing best works for you in. For all you know, you should be focusing more on driving traffic with your content than target any other conversion as a primary goal! After all, every business is different.
Oh, and of course, tracking the ROI will help you optimize costs across all content marketing campaigns.
Embracing the content marketing trends
Like I said before, content marketing has only served as an addition to digital marketing campaigns. It’s high time we treat it as an individual marketing tactic that can help a business achieve various goals in their target market. All it needs is maturity in our approach to creating, distributing and driving conversions from content, using a documented content strategy instead of worldly news to light the path.