With the availability of information being ever on the increase, it’s no surprise that the task of reaching customers and creating a strong brand image has become increasingly difficult. With the new digital age heralding a dynamic shift in the way that businesses reach prospective customers, content marketing has become an area of huge importance and intrigue; it is forecasted that 64% of all paid media on mobile by 2020 will fall into this area.
Traditionally championed by small business owners for being a methodology that creates results on a low budget, more and more big corporations are now coming to understand the power of this domain. So, with more players on the field how do you keep ahead? With so many tools and channels available, which should you focus your time on? Well wonder no more, these are the key points to focus on in 2018 to keep your business ahead of the trend.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Okay, so the use of video is nothing revolutionary, but a report from Cisco predicts that by 2019, up to 80% of all internet traffic will be dominated by it. If just one picture can tell a thousand words, then imagine how much more you can say on film. Not getting aboard this trend will be almost impossible if you wish to make any impact at all on your market. To maximize engagement, zoom in on these vital areas and watch your content take off.
Live Stream Video
Storytelling is at the basis of all good content media. We want not to just engage peoples’ heads, but their hearts too. Savvy business owners will be keeping people up to date with their actions and inviting the viewer backstage in their operations. This transparency translates into trust and understanding. The figures speak for themselves, with recent research showing that Facebook live streams increase engagement – over regular posts – by 178%.
If storytelling is the aim, the purpose is to immerse viewers within the brand image, and the use of new technology is certainly set to play a significant role here. Already head-mounted cameras have made their mark with leading brands, such as GoPro, now going one step further and introducing a 360° video feature. Use of augmented reality and computer-generated content overlaying video can add an extra dimension and help set your media apart from the rest.
Short, Snappy and Accessible
A key component to making video a success in the upcoming year is accessibility. With more media now being accessed through smartphones and tablets than through desktop computers; making sure that your media is user-friendly is crucial. The design and length of a video will also be under scrutiny, with a shorter more conversational style preferred by the viewer. There are plenty of inexpensive phone apps that can help you accomplish this style. Finally by embedding video within blogs and social media posts you can increase stay time on your sites. This means not only higher sales, but it also improves your search engine optimization.
Websites That Think for You
2018 will be the year where we work smarter, not harder. Employing computer learning to our websites could cut out hours of complicated data analysis. This is why DWP Dynamic Web Personalisation is set to take off.
The use of web personalization has recently started to grow, this is a logical step to help direct the audience you want to the relevant content for them.
Using computer algorithms to recognize and segment website visitors – in order to display information targeted to them – has had clear and proven results. Research shows that personalized calls-to-action do have a 42% higher viewer status than non-personalised calls-to-action – this is a staggeringly indicative statistic. Such a method streamlines the search process for both viewers and customers, helping them to see more of the things that they’re interested in. Effectively, this gets more people to the right place at the right time. To get the step on your competition, you should employ these tools and have the most efficient and user-friendly website possible.
Strike a Match & Watch the Fire Spread
As previously mentioned, we should be working smarter not harder, and, ideally speaking, what all businesses want is self-propagating content. For this, you must make it meaningful and relevant enough that others want to take it upon themselves to share it for you. In the past, using celebrity endorsements was the main vehicle for this, but with the rise of blogging, social media, and youtube channels, anyone with a passion for documenting and creating can become a helpful ally.
UGC User-Generated Content shared through non-endorsed channels is much more likely to be trusted and therefore shared; creating greater reach.
- The trends have shown that the most engaging content has to be meaningful. You need to strike a chord with viewers; amuse them, inspire them, inform them and so cajole them into sharing your content with others. The use of content funnelling has demonstrated results. Companies are creating videos with no emphasis on selling, and instead making short stories or documentaries that can appeal to a wider audience. Some great examples of such methods can be seen in Billabong’s ‘I surf because’ campaign. Or Volvo’s hamster steering video.
- By approaching their brands in a novel way and creating interesting media, people are more likely to share it. This has a knock on effect of reaching more of your target audience. By casting your net wide, you can, in turn, funnel your actual audience towards more product driven content using links to these original videos.
These methods show results, but, how do you decide what your audience finds meaningful? Obviously, money can be spent on experts that will help you creatively; film producers, designers, and so on, but for smaller businesses, this may not be in the budget. Instead, an effective solution is to partner up. Do your research – see who is hitting your targeted markets, and then see how you can get involved with them. By collaborating you can share the workload whilst increasing your reach. Popular social media platforms are becoming increasingly expensive to feature content on; whilst also becoming increasingly ignored by users, who feel bombarded by advertising. This year it is crucial that you find new contacts and therefore new channels to reach your audiences.
Feeding the Future
Finally, a trend that will see you through 2018 is automation of content sharing.
Content marketing may seem a relatively new phenomenon but it has been very much a work in progress. The key to success is to think long term. It takes time for you to gather followers, but by making sure you are consistent in releasing and engaging your audience, you can expect it to pay off.
However, this can be time-consuming and difficult for smaller businesses without personnel dedicated to marketing. There are many tools that allow you to schedule your media releases, creating a strong presence. It is, of course, important to remain flexible and to make sure you remain up to date on your content to keep it relevant. Creating a content calendar also works in reverse, allowing you to review past content and revive it, if still relevant for today’s market.
Content media will be something no business can ignore if they wish to carry on engaging their markets in 2018.
- The main vehicle to win your viewers hearts is predicted to be video. Opening up your business with live stream and shifting the focus away from selling – is a must.
- Investing now in new filming technology to immerse your viewers will give you an edge on your competition. Whilst websites that are streamlined and media that is easily accessed on all devices, will become the norm and therefore crucial to dedicate time to.
- Emphasis on making meaningful content, with little to no focus on selling, will accomplish a wider reach; with users taking on the role of propagators.
- Finally, invest in technology that thinks and acts for you, with websites that are personalized and that can automate the scheduling of content release.
Most of all, keeping on trend will be a case of constantly adapting and searching for novel ways to capture your audience. Stay connected and keep innovating – then, it may even be your content setting the trends for 2019.
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