News Flash: Content is definitely still KING.
Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram. That’s where your audience is. And where you reach consumers on their “path to purchase.” But at the same time, content strategy is no longer simply about having an internet/social media presence. Not if you want to:
1. Engage your customers
2. Retain them and foster loyalty to your brand
3. Generate some serious industry “street cred”
Yes, it’s a tool that’s easy to access, but in 2017, your content needs to be more than just easy to find. It also has to be great. That’s how you stand out in a sea of competitor voices for your niche.
Now, there’s always a lot happening in the digital realm, but we know these 4 trends are the most important for you to focus on.
1. Compelling Content
Good news, your audience is ready for even better content. That’s because there is so much being consumed on a daily basis, that to stand out, you need to make an impact.
CREATE AND CONQUER
This trend is all about niche topics. Why? If your brand can become an authority on a topic, you’ll earn the trust
of your customers. They’ll turn to you for information. Say, for instance, if you’re a travel agency. Hire a photographer to capture images of the best markets to visit in New York, a personal guide to Tokyo, or what the airports in Africa look like. Maybe you’re a Realtor? Let your Instagram account be an exploration of the area where you are selling homes. Make sure you tell compelling stories, are transparent about your business practices, and enlist influencers. The next step? Find ways to continue the conversation on your own platform so you can drive sales or grow your database.
2. Mobile-Friendly Focus
According to the CMA (Content Marketing Association), people in the US now spend up to 5 hours a day on their smartphones, which is a 20% increase from 2015. In fact, mobile use worldwide has taken over that of desktops.
Of course, brands are looking for ways to profit from this trend. eMarketer’s latest UK ad spending forecast shows that driven by mobile, the UK’s digital media ad spend will increase by a massive 11% this year. That report also shows that mobile will account for over one-third of total ad budgets this year alone.
MAKE MOBILE WORK FOR YOU
Research shows that people are using apps more than their browser and that games are no longer a favorite pass time for mobile users. Facebook is still the most popular mobile app, then comes YouTube and Snapchat. That means apps that plug into those popular mobile platforms may be the way to reach eCommerce targets and retain your online audience.
3. Stunning Visual content
Social media was a game changer for the marketing world. It’s the reason visual content is such a big marketing deal at the moment. In our post THE REVOLUTION OF IMAGE RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY, we talked about Facebook Alternative Text and Google’s Allo. Both of these new tech developments mean search engines will soon be able to read visual images! So make sure your marketing budget includes a visual content push.
EPHEMERAL IS THE WAY TO GO
Your audience wants short-burst, visual stories. That is what is happening on Periscope, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Whether they’re created by a professional photographer or videographer, or someone from your marketing department, the most successful ephemeral stories always tend to follow these formats:
1. How-to videos
2. Hosted contest
3. Short recipe clips
4. Single question and answers from interviews
5. Live event coverage
6. Daily or weekly series
7. Product reveals and announcements
4. Video content
Did you know that video content, when done right, brings the highest ROI of all marketing endeavors? Not only that, but video has made more impact on the marketing landscape than any other form of content. In 2017, video content is all about in-the-moment-updates. Think live streaming, email videos, and more.
FACEBOOK LIVE LEADS THE WAY
In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) announced plans to put video first. The platform launched Facebook live and with it came a new way to communicate with your audience. Aside from having a basic feature that allows live streaming, it’s a broadcast tool that has a maximum time limit of 30 minutes. There is also an option to block certain users, so your broadcast is targeted. This is very similar to Periscope, but it’s housed in the content giant that is Facebook, making it that much more powerful.
HOW TO GET VIDEO CONTENT RIGHT
Engaging videos are really about holding your audience’s attention and getting them to take the next step or continue the conversation. If you’re a salesperson and customer service rep, you could create videos that introduce you to new leads or existing clients and add a personal touch. How-to and recipe videos are also a way to add value to a campaign. And many brands are making retention a primary goal by inserting simple phrases like “Leave a comment below,” “Share this video with a friend,” or “Subscribe by clicking the link” below a video.
What do these mobile, video and visual content trends mean for marketers in 2017?
The Content Marketing Institute describes this form of advertising as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Simply put, a solid, strategic content marketing plan is important. Marketers can no longer get away with haphazard digital activity. And if you want to keep your customers coming back, create unique content that allows for open and honest dialogues. Where possible, plug into the most popular apps, drive your audience to your brand-home-base, and retain them with even more content that adds value to your offering and improves the experience of your customers online.
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