Make the content marketing connection to your customer.
Content marketing connects your brand to your customer. Your work is either going to touch people’s hearts and minds and connect with them in an emotional way OR it will miss the mark.
Here are 6 content marketing trends in 2019 that will keep your brand on target. (And we especially love #5 and #6!)
(Article by Phoebe Bain published on socialmediatoday.com 18 Feb 2019)
1. Distribution is as important as your content
You might have the best content ever written in the history of content. But who cares, if no one can see it? Content distribution needs to be a vital part of your content marketing strategy. This is something most companies ignore, or don’t even think about, so if YOU do, you’re already a step ahead. When your content hits the right channels (ie. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & many more!) at the right time, more people have the opportunity to learn about your services and get to know you.
2. Focus on micro-influencers
The trend in influencer marketing is moving away from the days of simply paying a celebrity to hold your product in every paparazzi photo. Identify influencers by looking to your own community – find who people are retweeting, or commenting that they took an action because of something a particular person said. Work with THOSE people. They will be more valuable to your business due to their ability to reach niche demographics and the trust they engender with their audiences.
3. Streaming video
It’s live. It’s now. It’s imperfect. And that’s what makes it perfect for your business. According to research by explainer video company Wyzowl, 97 percent of marketers say that video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service, and 76 percent indicated that it has helped increase web traffic and sales.
Live video allows viewers to feel a sense of closeness to the people recording it. That makes you (read: your business) more real. It allows you to humanize your brand faster than ever before, leading to that emotional connection all brands strive for. Live videos increase the perceived trustworthiness and relevance of a brand. There’s also the fun, unexpected happenstances that often occurs, which creates more viewer engagement. Cisco predicts that by 2021, video will take up as much as 80 percent of all internet traffic. That’s way too high a percentage to ignore—so don’t.
4. AI (artificial intelligence)
We’re still waiting for the 1960s Smell-O-Vision technology to take off, but artificial intelligence HAS arrived and social media marketers are employing it with successful results. Marketing is an art, but it’s also a science, and AI offers brands the ability to tailor campaigns and deliver content and experiences based on consumer intent at any moment.
Is it a bit creepy? Well, yes, but it doesn’t have to be. AI, coupled with real-time location data, allows marketers to better understand the consumer’s mindset and where, when and how to reach them most effectively. They can pull data instantaneously based on key strokes, page views and more – and then can design AND deliver in-the-moment content.
The future of AI may be uncertain, but one thing isn’t – brands and marketers that don’t begin to delve into artificial intelligence are already losing out on strategic advantages to their AI enabled competition.
5. Engagement, engagement, engagement
This should be the top goal in any content strategy, no matter the year. Algorithms favor content that start conversations, but more importantly? People favor conversations! For those of us who focus on content marketing as we check our phones while laying in bed each morning, it’s uber surprising that the majority of brands are not taking the time to engage with their consumers and their audience. There’s no shortcut to building relationships. It takes what it takes, but the time spent will undoubtedly be worth it. And “engagement” isn’t simply liking or sharing a post. It’s taking the time to get to know the people you are creating content for, and allowing them to truly get to know you. Marketers must aim to create interesting and engaging content, then take the time to chat with those people who spend theirs engaging with you.
Hieroglyphics. Cave drawings. Fireside chats. Ghost stories around a campfire – telling stories has been one of the most basic ways we communicate with each other for thousands of years. Something happens in our heads, in our brains, when we hear stories. Think about it – how much do you retain when someone reads from a PowerPoint presentation? Now think about how much you retain if that presentation starts with a story.
Stories put our brains to work! How can we use this to our advantage for our brands? If you can give your products and services a story that people can relate to, you are then able to take your target audience on a journey with you. In order for people to form a personal connection with your brand and recognize all the ways it seamlessly fits into their everyday lives, your stories must be honest, inspirational and REAL.
As you are looking to begin telling your brand’s story, you need to first establish your brand voice in an inviting way. You can then begin to show people who you are, what you stand for as a brand, and how your stories relate to those of your audience.
Of course, there are many more trends we could have included here. Remember – not every trend is for everybody. Pay attention to social media trends, but carefully evaluate each one before blindly incorporating them into your marketing strategy.