10 Content Marketing Trends Everyone Is Talking About

Every year seems to bring a new set of marketing trends, those “can’t miss” opportunities that scream out for attention. If we were to hop on every trends, we’d certainly grow dizzy from exhaustion. Nevertheless, there are some trends that we’d be foolish not to recognize.

As we begin the last chapter of 2017, many companies are still working through the creation of a bona fide content marketing strategy. If that’s you, here are some hints: Native advertising continues to be the gateway drug to success, and mobile continues to be the flavor of every month.

That said, Smart Insights reports that content marketing is THE single most important technique for driving incremental sales in 2017. In an industry that’s all about experimentation, some key trends stand out.

Here are 10 content marketing trends that everyone is talking about.

1. Brands Will Continue to Invest in Original Content

Recently, it became public knowledge that tech giant Apple is planning to invest of $1 billion in original content. Though some gossip states that Apple is making this move to take on Netflix, we believe there’s more on Apple’s mind than video streaming. As competition in this space heats up, brands need to stay relevant. Valuable, original programming can help companies grow an audience and keep current customers satisfied.

Google is also purchasing original content from media companies and brands to fill in content gaps, while Facebook is investing huge amounts of capital on original video. Not to be outline, online shopping giant Amazon will perhaps be the largest investor of all. Though the consequences remain to be seen, one thing is for sure: content marketing is taking the spotlight.

2. Transparency Will Reign King (or Queen)

Consumers are becoming increasingly desensitized. We want — and often expect — companies to be transparent, authentic, and dedicated to giving back. After all is said and done, however, many consumers are reporting frustration with brand advertising, environmental claims, charitable contributions, and corporate support for various causes. Though such efforts have been successful for some brands, this type of promotion is increasingly being perceived as desperate or dishonest.

Moving forward, brands need to focus on transparency and disclosure to close this gap as much as possible. Enter: Influencer Marketing.

Yet, working with influencers can be sticky. The Federal Trade Commission continues to take measures to protect consumers from companies who aren’t transparent enough, including work with influencers. Take what happened with Machinima. In 2015, the FTC slapped Machinima, a YouTube gaming network, with a warning for not disclosing paid endorsements to YouTube influencers.

And this is far from the only instance. A quick Google search shows that a lack of disclosure and transparency have caused trouble for many brands. To build (and maintain) the trust of your audience, the next phase of influencer marketing and branded content needs to ensure that every piece of content created is transparent.

3. Content Marketing Budgets Will Continue to Increase

Across the globe, companies are spending huge amounts of money on content marketing. What serves as great news for content marketers also presents challenges for businesses with a limited staff. This is propelling the likelihood that companies turn to freelance writers and others who can produce content for a price.

4. Content Marketing Duties Continue to Overlap

Often, it’s difficult to determine exactly who is in charge of content within a company. Roles and duties shift within marketing departments and even in other areas of the business. PR and communications may have separate content creators, social media managers, and other writers that are not integrated with the official content team, leaving no one really in charge. Such disarray can lead to a very disjointed content strategy.

5. Internet of Things Will Take Content Off-Screen

Customers are no longer limited to the screen in the way that they view content. Although different content formats have long been available, the IoT has made it so content is interwoven into our lives in brand new ways. Consider how we current interact with technology, such as Apple’s Siri. When users speak, Siri responds with call-and-response content wherever and whenever they need it. Alexa, Amazon’s voice service, is becoming a digital doorway to content as well.

Many organizations already use Alexa to share content with their audience beyond a laptop, tablet, or cell phone screen. For example, the American Heart Association uses Alexa to provide details about performing CPR, including step-by-step information on how to perform the process in an emergency situation. This content is further embellished with information about warning signs of a stroke and heart attack.

With IoT, most content is becoming digital. Beacon-based proximity marketing, sensors, device pairing, and other features usher in the opportunity for marketers to invest in endless types of content interaction. This type of highly targeted content can help you reach your audience at the right place and at the right time.

6. Pre-Recorded Video is So… Yesterday

It isn’t exactly time to write the obituary for pre-recorded video, yet it is being overshadowed by live video. According to Buffer, 80 percent of marketing respondents to a 2016 survey want to create more video content, with 42 percent specifying live video as their preference.

While live video really exploded in 2017, we predict that it’ll become even more mainstream in 2018. According to Facebook, users spend three times more time watching live videos than videos that are pre-recorded. More, they comment 10 times as often during live videos. A Livestream survey confirmed this, with 80 percent of respondents indicating a preference for live video over reading a blog post. This presents modern-day marketing specialists with a unique chance to hop on the live video bandwagon before competitors do.

7. Blurred Lines

If you look at how content has changed over the past decade, you’ll notice that it has evolved outside of its original “container” of owned media. As social media expands, as well as the ways we interact with and engage audiences, the lines between owned, earned, and paid begin to blur so that they’re almost indiscernible from one another. Content can no longer be confined to these silos.

With the entire buyer’s journey in mind, the content shifts to take on the form of all three approaches. This underscores the importance of each form working seamlessly together to support a company’s growth strategy. That means you must adjust your internal and external teams to handle content development, deployment, and promotion.

8. Strategic Documentation

Ask a marketing specialist about the effectiveness of content marketing, and chances are he or she will be able to pinpoint what makes the cogs turn effectively. That’s because companies are becoming laser-focused on developing thoughtful content marketing strategies.

In 2015, only 32 percent of marketers had a documented content marketing strategy. The following year, this grew to 37 percent. This year, however, the number has ballooned to well over 40 percent. Our prediction for 2018, then, is that developing an effective, efficient strategy will be a job expectation.

To remain competitive in the upcoming year, what strategies will you include? You may want to consider more targeted content, expanded content, more efficient content creation, or other elements that will help you foster greater growth.

9. Interactive Visual Content

We all know that live video is engaging and responsive, yet there’s another type of visual content that allows you to craft an entirely different experience for your audience.

Virtual reality.

VR offers new opportunities for content marketing, as well as customer engagement. Shopify, for instance, has taken this to heart and developed a VR app that allows online shoppers to customize clothing from the comfort of home.

International Data Corporation reports that, based on sales and forecast models, revenue for augmented reality will grow from just over $5 billion in 2016 to more than $160 billion by 2020. Revenue forecasts from Digi-Capital are equally optimistic, reporting an estimated growth to $108 billion by 2021.

While the prospect of virtual reality may seem daunting, it will likely be worthwhile for anyone willing to give it a go. Forbes Global shows that up to 30 percent of consumer-facing brands will experiment with virtual reality marketing by the end of this year.

Keep in mind that it isn’t solely for consumer advertising and marketing, however. Consider what the Golden State Warriors did when they wanted to recruit Kevin Durant to the team roster. Using content marketing in VR, they immersed him in the “Warrior’s Experience,” thereby placing him courtside at Oracle Arena as well as in the thick of talks with coach Steve Kerr in the locker room.

10. Distribution, Distribution, Distribution

While most marketers recognize how instrumental content is for companies now, what still remains uncertain is the means of which content is distributed. And though there are countless other blogs, newsletters, and email campaigns out there, the sure way you’ll have your message heard above the rest is through optimum content distribution.

If you want the attention of the 2.789 billion active social media users, you need to adopt a strategic distribution plan. Smart brands are going to make investments in not only acquiring content, but in distributing it strategically through multi-channel approaches as 2018 unrolls.

Think out of the box for profitable rewards.

The Evolution of Marketing Automation

While aiming to promote products and services successfully in the market, businesses had realized the importance of adopting marketing strategies early on. Due to the intense competition, marketing strategies got infused with the technological innovations in order to evolve out as the modern marketing, which is now embedded in the customer’s lives and affecting it at a rapid pace.

Fortunately, from radio to internet and smart-phones, nowadays technology has revolutionized the ways marketers can reach to their potential customers. But, back then in the late 50’s, with almost no effective marketing channel, companies were finding it challenging to approach a huge customer base.

This is how automation technology came into existence. It has traced its origins back from a Customer Relationship Management or CRM that came out of Rolodexes and a pack of business cards. It acted as a rescuer for the companies who were endeavoring to maintain their employees and client’s records into a central knowledge group. But, in no course of time, it became the fundamental business element and started finding its applications in professional business services as well.

During the late 1980s, CRM platforms had gained more power in terms of customer support servicing, sales management, and forecasting. But, the high price tag kept it confined to few multinational corporations.

In 1999, Mark Benioff, the founder of Salesforce, invented the Monthly Licence (MLC) fee model, with aiming to offer cost-effective and agile business model, that further introduced SaaS or Software as a Service. And in contrast, this technology evolved out as an amalgam of email capability, web analytics, and the Marketing Resource Management (MRM). With the advent of the internet, marketers were seeking potential ways to reach their customers. The pioneer of this space Eloqua came in 1999 and developed a product, later renowned as automated marketing service in 2003.

Soon, the success of this trend led to the arrival of more players in the market such as Pardot, HubSpot, WhatsNexx etc, and industry started gaining momentum while shifting marketing automation services to cloud platforms.

By 2008, new platforms such as HubSpot, Act-On, ruled the market, and the advent of social media marketing, content management, search engine optimization made marketers incorporating a variety of automation tools.

In the period 2013-2014, the automation industry witnessed a huge growth financially through acquisitions when a giant marketing software company ExactTarget acquired a marketing automation company Pardot for $95.5 million and in turn, salesforce.com spent $2.5 billion to acquire ExactTarget, This is recorded as its largest acquisition ever.

I found people wondering if CRM and marketing automation co-exists. In fact, few consider the later as a subset of the CRM industry which follows one of the marketing laws suggested by Al Ries and Jack Trout. To clarify, CRM is sales focused software while the other is user-centric software that completely focuses on marketing strategy. Where a CRM manages company’s interactions with their customers, a automation software streamlines company’s marketing tasks, and work-flows. However, these two, together, go hands in hand and reinforce company’s insights and efficiencies. A good CRM-marketing automation integration unleashes an opportunity to handle data management and strategies marketing plans.

It can filter relevant data and required fields to standardize tagging and data, and ideal processes. Also, it can run auto-cleaning processes to clean the dumped data in a CRM system. Businesses utilizing automation software have witnessed an incredible growth of 451% in qualified leads and 14.5% in sales productivity as well as 12.2% marketing overhead reduction. We can conclude by saying that the future of marketing completely belongs to Marketing Automation.

6 Things IMers Need to Know About Marketing Campaigns

Table of Contents

Best Ways To Start Online Marketing With Little Money

6 Things IMers Need to Know About Your Marketing Campaign

  1. Marketing Campaigns Don’t Come Free… or do they?
  2. Free Marketing Tools… Yes!
  3. Don’t Underestimate Social Media
  4. Tell Your Story – It Matters
  5. How to Start Online Marketing with Zero Experience
  6. Don’t Just Walk Away

Best Ways To Start Online Marketing With Little Money

Anyone who has ever started a marketing campaign can tell you that marketing is a very tricky business. However, the days when marketing was simply about throwing up a few fliers and sending out some snail mail are long gone. Today, most marketing campaigns are done on the Internet, and that is a whole other ballgame. With that being said, read on below for a few of the top things you need to know about your marketing campaign.

If you want to make sure that you are giving your IM business the best chance at success, then you are going to have to invest some time and a little bit of money into online marketing. This is vital if you want to make sure that you are keeping up with your competition. If all of your competitors are making use of proper marketing techniques and you are not, it is only a matter of time before things for your business start to dwindle and you want to prevent that from ever happening.

There are 6 Things IMers Need to Know About Your Marketing Campaign if you want to build a successful Internet Marketing business online.

However, First Things First… You want to get it out of your head that you have to have a lot of money in order to properly market your company. In fact, some of the best online marketing tools and techniques do not require a ton of money. They might need a little bit of money, but mostly, they require time and effort. If you have that – then you can make it work with no problem.

To help you with this, you will want to make sure that you are taking the time to make use of the following tips.

6 Things IMers Need to Know About Your Marketing Campaign

1. Marketing Campaigns Don’t Come Free… or do they?

This is a MUST for anyone who hopes to have even a remote chance of succeeding with an online business as an Internet Marketer (IMer). There are plenty of programs available that will provide you with the ability to build your own “free” site. However, you want to be very careful as to what exactly “free” allows for and doesn’t.

Your initial attempts at internet marketing, until you acquire the necessary skills and know-how, should always be with programs that are “free” (or at minimum offer free trials of at least 30 days). This will allow you some time to become more knowledgeable prior to engaging in any paid internet marketing system or promotional campaigns.

Nonetheless, whether free or paid, you want to have some specific requirements that must be met if you are to have any chance of success in your journey as an IMer. They are simple and should include (but not be limited to):

  • Free hosting (for at least 6 months)
  • Offer ease of use
  • Provide reliable support and last but never least
  • Be reasonably priced (stay within what you can comfortably afford)

You can easily obtain most, if not all, of this information online by checking reviews. – Be Sure To Do That!

Do your due diligence and you WILL find “Exactly” what you are looking for and need.

Your Website Should Earn You Money… NOT Just Cost You Money.

While launching a marketing campaign certainly isn’t easy or completely free, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Remember, there is nothing more revealing than a well-placed YouTube video or taking a chance on social media. Get your feet wet free of charge, sign up for a social media page for your business (if you haven’t, yet). With this in mind, you want to make sure that you start planning to set aside a budget (even a modest one) for your marketing campaign if it is to be effective.

2. Free Marketing Tools… Yes!

You need to start understanding the online marketing tools that are offered to you free of charge. After all, your IM business will financially benefit if you make sure you are using them correctly. Then, with the extra money that you have earned from those techniques, you will be able to move on to bigger and better online marketing strategies.

So what kind of online marketing tool is free of charge?

Social media – that’s what! Sure, you might have thought that social media pages are for people to keep in contact with their family and to show off vacation pictures to all of their friends. However, while it is that, it is also so much more. You can create a nice business page on a social media website, update it as needed with valuable information, and interact with people who you hope to turn into customers one day.

3. Don’t Underestimate Social Media

As much as you might hate to, marketing on social media is where it’s at. By getting yourself out there and showing the world what your business has to offer, you will find that you will be much better off! Social Media are used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and nothing gets the word out there like social media can.

4. Tell Your Story – It Matters

In the marketing world, your product isn’t the only thing that matters. When you start a marketing campaign, you automatically become a piece of media. No one wants to watch an advertisement for a product that is boring, no matter how sensational that product may be. These days, you have to sell your brand, not just your product. The best way to do this is by making the customer feel what the product can do for them. Telling a story matters, if you want your product to sell and your brand to succeed.

5. How to Start Online Marketing With Zero Experience

Do not make the mistake of falling into the trap where you assume that you have to have a ton of internet marketing experience in order to make it work for you. This is nonsense because someone who has absolutely zero experience with internet marketing can become very successful with it. And the best part? It might not take as long as you think! This is because there are a lot of easy ways to get started. Since there are multiple ways to make use of internet marketing, you will find that there is always something you can do to make this an easier thing for you to accomplish.

Remember, one of the first things you can do, and with little experience if any, is to assure that you are setting up some social media accounts for your business. You will then want to make sure that you are spending enough time throughout the week interacting with the people that like your page. Utilize your time wisely, not for simple SM chit-chat. This is a time consuming but much-needed process, particularly if your budget is low – Let’s call this Time-Equity.

6. Don’t Just Walk Away

Simply setting up the page and walking away is not going to cut it because people will forget about you. They are also not likely to view you as an authority figure in the field that you are in. If you are tight on time, you can always have a friend or family member help you with your social media pages throughout the week. Since we are only talking maybe an hour or two of work a week, this should not be a hard thing to do.

Your Website & Content

There are also resources available that, for a fee (very small in some cases), will write content for you to publish on your site and SM pages. You want to ensure that your content is 100% unique and of the highest quality related to your niche so be sure to discuss your requirements clearly, if you are to source out your content writing.

Whether you set up the website on your own or you get help with it – it is all about keeping it up to date with fresh evergreen/unique, high-quality content. Show your potential clients or customers that you are the person to go to when they need a little help. Even a whiff of knowledge and sharing that knowledge can really go a long way!

Recap

These are but a few of the things you need to know before you launch a marketing campaign. Make sure that you don’t forget them and your campaign should be a roaring success. Marketing has come a long way, get on board for the success you have always wanted to achieve today.

It is important to make sure that you are doing everything that you can in order to get the name of your IM business out there. This way, you will be able to help more people than ever before. You will also be able to find that you are making more money than ever before. So, how can this be accomplished? One way to achieve this is to pay diligent attention to the things you need to know about your business and its marketing campaign.

Become laser-focused on internet marketing best practices for your IM business. This might seem a bit intimidating, especially if you have never given internet marketing a try, but it’s really not difficult to achieve.

Sign up for a social media page for your business right away, if you haven’t already. This is absolutely free and in today’s world, probably one of the best online marketing tools out there. This is because so many people find themselves spending a great deal of their free time online social media websites. It simply is not something that you want to pass up on.

Then What?

Of course, you are going to have to take it a step further; don’t just setting up the business social media page and walking away. You are going to have to make sure that you are being interactive with the people who visit your page. Post updates on your SM pages; Link articles/posts/blogs from your site to your SM pages; Offer free advice.

Do anything you can in order to gain the trust of your future customers.

Become very familiar with the things you need to know about your Internet Marketing business. Learn about and invest in some online marketing strategies whenever possible. Do not be surprised when this, and this alone, starts to give you some cushioning in your profit margins; which will come in very handy when you decide to venture and expand your market even further.