In one form or another, content marketing has been around for hundreds of years: In 1733, Benjamin Franklin began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack as a way to promote his printing business. For decades, companies from John Deere to GE to Kraft have used content marketing to tell stories and nurture audiences into customers.
Though the fundamental importance of content marketing hasn’t changed, what does change from year-to-year are the tactics, strategies, and platforms this discipline is executed with. As 2017 rolls on, we expect to see plenty of changes and trends in the increasingly-competitive world of content marketing.
Influencer Marketing Will Become Even More Important
The internet continues to become saturated with content. Researchers are now measuring the amount of data created in zettabytes, a unit that equals 44 trillion gigabytes. As savvy marketers have realized, competition for a prospect’s attention is increasing on all fronts. Between smartphones, streaming video, and the rise of apps, it seems like a daunting task to even get a few minutes of attention from a prospect these days.
One way to deal with this challenge is influencer marketing. Influencers have a large and loyal base of followers who trust their product recommendations. Research recently published in CMO shows that influencer marketing provides a $6.50 return for every dollar invested. Some influencers accept payment for a mention or retweet, but the best way to harness this tactic is to organically attract the attention of an influencer in your field.
Seek Inspiration From Other Industries
In the 1980s, circuses like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey were benchmarking metrics for their shows, trying to figure out a way to combat declining attendance and steadily-rising costs. Guy Laliberte, a street performer from Quebec, had a different idea. He got rid of the live animal performances and instead of emphasizing dangerous, high-flying stunts, took a page from the theater industry to create a more subdued, graceful performance.
His show was called Cirque du Soleil, a blend of theater, art, and the traditional circus that was like nothing consumers had ever seen. By incorporating unconventional elements outside of its industry, Cirque Du Soleil achieved in less than two decades the type of revenue that took Ringling Bros. over a century to reach. Earlier this year, the long-running circus announced it would be shutting down in May 2017.
You can do the same in your content marketing. Look for techniques, tactics and stories being told by companies you admire outside of your industry. Think about elements you can adapt to your own content, and how you might go about doing so.
Be More Interactive
It’s no longer enough to consistently position your brand as an authority by engaging in one-way marketing. With the rise of social media, smartphones, and hashtags, savvy brands have already realized that their content marketing efforts must be a two-way street to maximize success. If your business doesn’t have much experience with this tactic, start small with a poll or simple question for your audience. From there, you can continue to develop your interactive content into full-blown campaigns, like KFC’s “How Do You KFC?” campaign from a few years ago.
Consistency is Key
In its annual study of B2B content marketing, the Content Marketing Institute found that 85% of the best-performing marketers deliver content consistently. As they point out, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to publish every single day or every week. Whether you use blogging, videos, or webinars, what’s more important than the rate at which you publish is your devotion to working on content marketing every day, week, and month.
Looking to improve your content marketing efforts this year? We can help you develop valuable, insightful content that differentiates your brand from competitors. Request a consultation today to find out more.