No matter what else changes in the world of marketing, content is always valuable. If you want to reach your audience you need to provide them with the kind of information and solutions that they’re seeking. However, trends in technology and platforms do influence what types of content you should share. It’s important to start planning ahead for your future content marketing strategy. With this in mind, let’s look at the content trends that are likely to dominate in 2019.
Focus on Long-Form Content
Some of the content trends we’ll be exploring have to do with visual and audio-based content. However, traditional text-based content will always have its place as well. One of the first questions to consider before creating written content is how long to make the piece. There’s no perfect length for an article or blog post. Google, as well as your customers, are seeking helpful articles that address real issues in an original manner. That said, there are some compelling reasons to focus on making your posts longer than, say, 300 or 500 words.
In the age of text messaging, tweets, and shortening attention spans, it seems paradoxical to write longer pieces. However, this is a proven way to build authority and get better search engine rankings. Search Engine Journal reports that the average length of page-one results is 1,900 words. Of course, the same article cautions that you should never emphasize quantity over quality. You don’t want to pad thin content just to boost word count. If, however, you tend to produce brief blog posts, you could shift your approach. Consider putting more time into researching longer pieces. You could also outsource articles.
Content That’s Voice Search Friendly
Amazon Echo, Google Home and other devices empowered by voice search are transforming content marketing. Now, when you think about how people are going to find your content you have to consider that they may be speaking queries rather than typing them in. This can make a real difference in your keyword strategy and other factors related to SEO. For one thing, people tend to speak, even into AI devices, in a more natural way than they type.
Another crucial element for voice search is the featured snippet, which Google uses to provide customers with an easy-to-find solution. Voice search only provides a single snippet, so whoever dominates this spot has a huge advantage. There’s no precise formula to optimize content for snippets. However, you can improve your chances by answering specific queries. There’s also evidence that Google likes FAQ and lists, which are easy to quickly digest.
Voice search is always closely aligned with two other huge trends: mobile and local. People searching for a restaurant, for example, are likely to be driving around using a smartphone. One way to optimize for this (if you’re a local brick and mortar business) is to provide concise information about your location such as neighborhood (“Soho,” “Lincoln Park”) and landmarks (“near the Convention Center”). It’s also crucial to claim your Google My Business listing so customers can easily locate you.
The Latest Video Marketing Trends
People are watching more and more videos. The only question is, what types of videos will be most popular in 2019 and beyond?
- VR and 360-Degree Video – The latest video technology gives viewers a more immersive, 3D type of experience. This is especially important for industries promoting products and experiences with a strong visual element. For example, if you’re marketing a restaurant, hotel, vacation rental or furniture, customers can feel like they’re right there in your business or on your property rather than watching from afar.
- Livestream Video – Facebook has put lots of time and money into its live streaming service, Facebook Live. Some 2 billion people have already watched Facebook Live videos. Other live streaming services such as YouTube Live and Periscope are competing in this field as well. Streaming live has some real benefits over traditional video, giving viewers the chance to see what’s happening in real time.
- Stories – Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook all have a Stories feature which lets you post short, ephemeral content that stays up for 24 hours. Instagram Stories have grown phenomenally, to 250 million worldwide users. While you can use static images and text, videos are the most popular format for stories. Like live streaming, Stories have an urgency about them and are good for promoting new products, promotions, and events.
- Optimize for Mobile – No matter what kind of videos you create, they must be mobile-friendly to reach today’s audience. Mobile optimization includes making sure text is visible on smaller screens and that your videos don’t take too long to load. Once you’ve created a video, it’s best to test it on various devices to make sure everyone can view it properly.
Few types of media have grown as consistently as podcasting in recent years. According to Statista, the number of listeners will increase from 58 million in 2016 to 112 million by 2021. People can listen to podcasts in situations where they can’t easily read or watch videos such as driving, working out, or doing chores around the house. This presents a real opportunity for content marketers, especially since many businesses have yet to jump on the podcasting bandwagon.
Like a blog, you have complete creative control over your podcast. It can be as long or short as you want and in any format. You could present anything from a 5-minute “Tip of the Day” to an in-depth weekly 2-hour interview with an influencer. Or you can vary the format. Once you upload a podcast to a site such as iTunes, people can access it anytime. You can also publish the file on your own website and share it on social media. Podcasts can even be converted into YouTube videos. This is a powerful way to build your brand and reach a wider audience in the coming years.
An Omnichannel Approach
When considering their content marketing strategy, people often wonder where they should focus the bulk of their efforts. Is it blogging, email, social media, or other platforms? While you have to consider the specific channels that work best for you, it’s also important to appreciate the value of an omnichannel strategy. This simply means connecting the dots so that people encounter your content in many places and are led seamlessly from one channel to another.
If you focus solely on one platform, whether it’s a blog, Facebook page, or YouTube channel, you are limiting your potential. NewsCred Insights, for example, suggests using the hub-and-spoke model where your content is at the center and feeds the spokes that are your various marketing strategies. At the same time, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. You don’t need to be everywhere. When it comes to social media, for example, let your analytics guide you as to the most profitable platforms to emphasize. Here are a few ideas to guide your omnichannel content strategy.
- Use email marketing to promote your content. Email messages, perhaps in the newsletter format, are perfect for supporting your content. You can point readers to your website, social media posts, videos, and other content.
- Repurpose content. You can get more mileage out of content by altering it for different formats. You can turn blog posts into white papers and e-books. As noted, podcasts can be transformed into videos. Articles can also be made into videos by using software such as Lumen5 or even PowerPoint (there are many other options as well, both free and paid). Take the key points from blog posts and turn them into infographics, which are highly shareable on social media.
- Personalize and Segment. With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to personalize content to the needs of individual customers. You can segment your email list based on factors such as geography, interests, and buying history. You might create a dedicated website or Facebook pages for specific products or services. Always target a specific type of customer and provide links to other relevant content.
Content marketing is always evolving. Nevertheless, some principles remain constant. Both your audience and the search engines are looking for authoritative and original content that addresses relevant issues and problems. It’s important to update your content regularly so people know you’re active. It’s also necessary to keep up with the latest content trends, such as the ones we’ve explored here. There will always be a demand for quality content. It’s up to you to identify the kind that’s best suited for your audience.