Can you believe 2018 is almost here? It seems like just yesterday I was putting together my 2016 content marketing plans.
Q4 is an important time for marketing teams as we begin building out our 2018 strategies. As content marketers, we’ll take a look back at what we did in 2017 and what drove the highest impact. Then we’ll start brainstorming new ideas for next year, because sticking to the same old thing isn’t going to drive the results we want.
Now is the perfect time to explore emerging content marketing trends. From original content creation, to strategic repurposing, and emerging content formats, here are six key content marketing trends to help shape your 2018 strategy.
1. Originality is key.
This isn’t exactly a new trend, but it’s worth keeping in mind. Audiences expect fresh, innovative content from businesses in 2018. Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute stresses that consistent, original, and addictive content is going to be all the rage in 2018.
The key to producing the content your audience will find entertaining and educational comes from thoroughly understanding your audience. Take the time to revisit and possibly update your marketing personas. Interview your customers. And spend time reading what your prospects read. Taking a step back from your goals to refocus on your audience and their needs and goals, will inspire a fresh outlook and new ideas.
You should also take a look at your content from the past year. What performed well? What got the most downloads or views? Most importantly, what helped generate new business? From there, try to think of new and engaging formats. While eBooks, blogs, and webinars are tried and true types of content, think of ways you can breathe new life into them. Maybe it’s time to try an interactive eBook to boost engagement. Or how about trying a bottom-funnel recurring Simulated Live webinar? The possibilities are endless.
The bottom line: Try at least one out-of-the-box idea this year, and stay away from regurgitating the same old information and best practices everyone else is.
2. Social will be more than a distribution channel.
Sharing a never-ending stream of links on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn isn’t going to cut it in 2018. Social media giants like Facebook are pushing to become publishing platforms in their own right. Approach your social media content strategy with a focus on the types of content that will attract the attention of your audiences.
For example, instead of sharing a link to a webinar recording a thousand times, look through your webinar slides for a key stat or graphic. You can create an image, short video, or GIF better suited to the visual nature of social media. Or share the actual recording of your webinar on Facebook.
The idea is to create unique content for your social channels. LinkedIn publishing is a great example of this. Instead of always driving your audience back to your website (which has its benefits) try engaging people on the platform where they’re already present on a regular basis.
3. Content should be the building blocks for all marketing.
In a recent Salesforce podcast, Rebecca Lieb discusses the expanding role of content marketing. Rebecca points out that “no marketing is possible without content.” What marketers say and how they say it will play an even more pivotal role in 2018.
When it comes to building out webinar content, take the time to really do your research. Learn as much as you can about your audience – what are their goals, what challenges are they facing, and how can your business help them solve those problems. Out of this research, you should be able to create captivating content that provides real value to your audience. Then you can work with the rest of marketing to decide the best ways to deliver key messages and truly valuable content.
Too often we think about channels and advertising opportunities first, then what content fits those mediums. In 2018, it’s time to really be more customer centric – let’s think about our audience first, the content they need, and how we can best deliver it.
4. All content can be repurposed.
Let’s say you create a well-written, highly engaging eBook. That’s great! But your job isn’t done yet. Instead of reinventing the wheel every time you create new content, you can take the quality content you already have and repurpose it across formats and channels.
Webinars are a great way to incorporate highlights from more dense content formats, like eBooks, data reports, or case studies, into an engaging experience for your audience. You can tease the content and then use the source material as a CTA at the end of the webinar. This way you keep your webinar participants engaged and moving through the customer journey.
5. Video content remains essential.
Video consumption shows no signs of slowing down in 2018. Whether it’s on your website, YouTube, or Facebook – your audience will be watching. Video needs to be an essential part of your content marketing mix in 2018.
Webinars are one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to integrate video into your strategy. Recorded webinars can be shared with webinar registrants as a follow-up action. They can also be used as stand-alone assets. And the best part? They can be repurposed into other forms of content and even short video clips. Try editing your webinars down into a series of digestible pieces that can be shared on social media.
6. Content will become more interactive.
According to Content Marketing Institute’s research, 79% of marketers surveyed plan to increase their use of interactive content in the next 12 months. Your audience will be expecting more than just words on a landing page in 2018.
Webinars are a great format for creating interactive content. Webinar tools feature built-in Q&A chats, live polls, and more to help keep your audiences engaged and entertained. With a mix of audio, visual and interactive elements, webinars are emerging as one of the most engaging and personalized forms of content.
There’s so much to look forward to in 2018! If you need a refresher on webinar best practices, download The Big Book of Webinar Stats.