Content marketing really isn’t as trendy a thing as many make it out to be. In fact, did you know that content marketing dates as far back as the 1600’s when a smart inventor by the name of Jan van der Heijden used it to sell his newly developed fire hose? He reportedly used white papers and other content marketing tactics to build a fire hose empire in Amsterdam. Cool guy. Ahead of his time one could say.
Anyway, I’m not surprised that content marketing is still going strong, even though it is evolving into different things all the time. It’s extremely effective when done well. But doing it well means you have to understand current trends in your industry.
What does content marketing in 2020 actually look like? Well, the better question may be what does it sound like. Two major trends that already started last year are podcasts and livestream content. But there’s more.
I know. Everyone and their mother has a podcast but apparently, it’s worth it. They’re going strong as the content marketing tactic of choice for many major brands who are reporting success with their branded podcasts. Setting up a podcast take lots of planning and dedication, so it may not be the format of choice for smaller businesses or those short on creative resources. For everyone else, a podcast can be a great way to explore branded storytelling or shine a light on all the knowledge that slumbers inside your organisation. Because really, people don’t like to read anymore, except…
High value articles
…they actually do read. If the piece at hand is worth their time. It’s not enough to write short, random articles for your company blog and share them to Linkedin anymore. In 2020, you need an overall narrative. You need to engage the reader in a greater story and please, for the love of God, stop talking about yourself and provide some actual value and/or knowledge to those who are taking time out of their day to read what you put out there. Businesses who do this well are going to continue to grow readership to their channels.
Video and live streaming have become bigger than ever thanks to popular platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch. But apparently, it’s not yet enough. According to HubSpot, 54 percent of consumers want to see even more video content from a brand or business they support. This means you better start thinking about how to take your content to the visual sphere if you want to continue to engage with your audience. The good news is, video content is easy to repurpose. You can use it on a bunch of different channels, like Linkedin and Instagram, ensuring stuff doesn’t just sit unseen on your website and the hard work it takes to create awesome video content actually pays off. Why not try out live streaming on Facebook or Instagram? You could test it the next time you release a cool new product and see how your audience reacts in real-time.
User Generated Content
User generated content (UGC) is still a hit and will continue to be one throughout 2020. UGC is all that content created and shared by users, customers or in many cases, influencers. It’s their take on your products and brand. But because we’ve been seeing so much of it, you might need to step it up a notch with your campaigns. Nobody falls for random product stories anymore, there needs to be a twist to them, a perspective that both feels on-brand and is interesting to both current and potential customers. Don’t think “share a coke”, think Spotify’s wrapped up.
Dynamic content aka personalisation
You’ve probably heard plenty about the importance of personalization. Personalizing experiences doesn’t halt for content. While many apps offer completely customised user flows, content needs to fit in. Consumers expect to receive emails and offers personalized to their specific needs. But “Hi Firstname”, is not enough anymore. Enter dynamic content.
Dynamic content refers to content that changes based on the user’s current situation – demographics, behaviors, preferences, and interests. For instance, the content on a webpage can change based on the weather of the location the user is in or what they already put in their shopping cart. In 2020, I anticipate dynamic content will be pushed even further, adjusting entire brand narratives to different user personas. That’s both pretty cool and a lot of work if you’re the one developing content because congrats! Your workload just multiplied.
No time to waste
No better time to roll up your sleeves and learn about content marketing. How do you define your audience? How do you reach users? Where do you start? And, most of all, how do you remain authentic? If you want the answers to all these questions and more, sign up for my Content Marketing Course. It’s online, it’s 12 weeks, and it’s packed with all things content marketing.
See you there.
Nicole A. Michaelis
This course is designed for future content managers and offers a foundation in content strategy, a toolbox for content production and a practical case to apply knowledge to. You learn how to plan and produce good content and understand how to measure and improve your content value and performance.