Voice search, analyitcs and other content trends for 2018
By now, with the exception of a few stragglers, content marketing has become as essential to digital marketing strategies as SEO and SEM. According to a 2018 B2B report published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of respondents now use content as part of their marketing strategy. That’s a big number.
Effectiveness is another story altogether. Only 35% measure ROI, and a mere 24% deem their efforts as extremely or very successful. So, clearly there is much to consider. And as technologies develop, and formats emerge and evolve, successful marketers need to constantly iterate to stay on top.
So, as we dive headlong into 2018, what better time to look at some key factors that marketers should be thinking about when it comes to content strategies.
- Video is now ubiquitous.
Whether it’s live streaming or pre-produced storytelling. There are now only a few laggards who haven’t produced some form of video for their businesses. Eighty-five percent of businesses now allocate marketing resources toward video production, according to a benchmarks study by Vidyard. Whether it’s Facebook Live, social content, webinars or corporate videos, there is really no reason you can’t produce some form video to tell your story or show what your business can do. Everyone has a story to tell and nothing engages audiences as well as video.
2. Podcasts on the rise
According to HubSpot, 11 percent of marketers plan to add podcasting to their marketing efforts in the next 12 months. Podcasts are relatively new to the content mix, but have the distinct advantage of convenience. Instead of watching videos at their desks or in their living rooms, consumers can listen to podcasts while stuck in traffic or exercising. From a content creation perspective, podcasts are easy to make and won’t blow out your budget. You can provide handy tips to your market, set up an interview program with business leaders in your sector, discuss and dissect trends to advance your thought leadership, or go behind the scenes as you pitch new business. Podcasts, when done right, are highly engaging and a ton of fun.
3. Multi-content marketing is key
According to the CMI, B2B marketers, on average, use six different content marketing tactics. Social media posts, case studies, videos, ebooks/whitepapers, and infographics are the most common. Draw in more organic traffic by proactively engaging across multiple platforms. Each piece of content can be tailored to a specific medium: videos for Facebook and infographics for e-mail marketing, for example. And you can repurpose content for different platforms. Your monthly webinar, for example, could provide plenty of fodder for a weekly blog and a couple of eBooks.
4. Voice search is transformational
Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana are just a handful of available voice search platforms that are changing the way people interact with their devices. In 2017, it’s estimated that 18.5% of the population used voice-enabled digital assistants monthly. According to Google, 41% of US adults use voice search daily. In 2018, we will see a surge in businesses optimizing content for voice search. This area will evolve rapidly over the next few years as natural-language processing and AI become more advanced, and more features and functionality are added to voice-enabled systems.
5. The value of analytics
Content marketers are using analytics to make data-driven decisions at increasing rates. According to CMI, 87% of B2B marketers now use analytics tools compared to 79% one year prior. Inbound marketers will be delving even deeper into website analysis, keyword research, A/B testing and other techniques to learn more about their audience and make data-driven decisions. Through research and marketing analytics tools, you’ll have a far better window into your target audience’s interests, what influences them and the types of content they best respond to. Data can also help prioritize your objectives, such as increasing organic traffic to your site or growing your social following.
6. Everything is inbound
Consumers self educate before they ever engage with a sales person. According to HubSpot’s “Sate of Inbound 2017” report, 68% of marketers that employ inbound marketing strategies found their efforts effective. Inbound marketing employs content, SEO and social media to provide quality information to prospective customers at the time they are searching for it, positioning a brand as an authority and valued partner. By providing educational resources, sharing solution details and offering insights, companies are attracting and engaging potential clients to fill their sales funnel. And it's not just applicable in the B2B space. Think of the power of this approach to automobile sales, real estate or technology.