The content marketing landscape is continuously transforming; since the digital revolution, the way we generate and consume content is evolving almost daily. The pandemic has also been a strong influence in recent years, advancing our interactions in the digital world and resulting in the rapid digitisation of strategies.
There is a wide range of content marketing strategies used across the industry right now. According to Monica Majumdar, Head of Creative Services at the Retail Marketing Group, those brands who are utilising these tactics effectively will leverage a curated combination in order to gain a competitive advantage.
The Evolution of Content Marketing
Over the last decade, we have seen content marketing grow in prominence as well as complexity.
A 2011 study released by Google found that 88% of consumers engage in the ‘zero moment of truth’ prior to reaching their final decision - where a prospective customer researches a product or service before purchasing. The study captured the principles of how and why businesses needed to focus on a content marketing strategy.
The impact of the study shifted the industry’s focus to generating more relevant, meaningful, and higher quality content via search engines. At the same time, content marketing was evolving elsewhere with the rapid rise of social media, and these platforms setting into the foundation of everyday life. As social media developed, it promoted a very different kind of content consumption.
The difference between search engines and social media content consumption, in essence, was that consumers purposefully explored content via search engines - where social media allowed consumers to passively allow content to find them. This forced the creation of more eye-catching content that could be shared across social channels at the touch of a button. In fact, a recent report by HubSpot found that over 80% of marketers utilise social media; whereas, by comparison, only 40% implement content marketing and SEO as part of their marketing strategy.
As the decade progressed, video surfaced as one of the fundamental content marketing mediums. Video is characteristically more engaging, and by the end of the 2010s video streaming platforms were essential to the landscape of content marketing, with 70% of marketers using video as their main source of media in their content strategies.
Content marketing isn’t - and will never be - static. The practice is constantly shifting and there are still many changes to come in the near future.
Popular Content Marketing Strategies
The world of content will continually develop and evolve along with a brand’s marketing strategy. Depending on your objectives, there are emerging trends in content marketing that can be leveraged to help shape your approach and refine your strategy.
Focus on customer experience
It’s no secret that consumers’ preferences are continuously changing. Staying up to date with what your target consumer prefers is the best way to create an enhanced customer experience. Create your own unique content with a more cohesive structure. Research, plan and implement an innovatively cohesive content experience for your consumer; become part of your customer’s world to provide relevant, engaging and valuable content, consequently enhancing your customer loyalty and brand image.
Companies are creating more video content as the first step in content plans, and repurposing those videos into 2D, text, and audio formats. Videos create a deeper connection with your consumer and capture their attention more readily.
Customisation of messages and information augments overall consumer engagement. Hyper-personalisation dives deeper than just calling a customer by name – it taps into individual preferences, wants, and needs. It is a data-driven marketing methodology, utilising data, analytics, AI, and automation to create unique interactions with individual consumers.
Artificial intelligence continues to creep into the content marketing landscape. Integrating AI with your human efforts can lead to a better content marketing strategy, which saves you time and resources - and consequently improves your customer experience.
Consumers will become more selective when choosing what to focus their attention on. Businesses will need to think of innovative ways to bring value to their consumers, apart from the product or service itself. They need to understand the needs of their customers and the reason why they would want to interact with their brand. Instead of simply showcasing what your product or service offers, showcase how it can solve a problem your consumer might face. Always keep the consumer in mind when generating content and how they can benefit from your content.
Creating content on their own has made it challenging for brands to stand out from the amount of saturated content currently produced. By conducting original research, companies can gain a deeper insight into their customers and competitors. As such, brands can discover more about a problem, accumulate answers to better understand it, and devise a solution.
More interactive and engaging content
Content needs to catch a consumer’s attention – and interactive content does that extremely well. According to an Outgrow study, 88% of marketers feel that interactive content differentiates them from their competitors. Companies can utilise different formats to make their content more interactive and engaging. Quizzes, short videos and infographics are great examples to get your values across without being monotonous.
In the modern smartphone-driven age, which has led to a decreasing attention span in consumers, snackable content increases the rate at which your content is consumed. The average attention span of consumers is around eight seconds, which leaves very little time to catch a user’s attention. Brands don’t need to reinvent their entire content strategy to be relevant: adding new content types is a great way to start.
In a world where AI and automation are starting to become part of our everyday lives, companies need to think about adding the human touch to their content, by creating a voice that is unique, engaging, and relatable. Consumers want to know that real people are behind the brand.
There is a wide range of content marketing strategies used across the industry right now. Our experience in content services suggests that those brands who are utilising these tactics effectively will leverage a curated combination in order to gain a competitive advantage.