This is a guest post about content marketing by Philip Piletic, more about Phillip at the end of this article
The future of marketing is all about content.
And print is far from death (it just smells funny)
How old is content marketing? Some specialists say as old as cave drawings, but it actually started once companies began to publish their own written content in different forms: Benjamin Franklin released almanacs, Michelin published travel guides, Johnson & Johnson gave informational material to doctors.
In the first half of the 20th-century pioneers such as Procter&Gamble invested in branded radio and television content. Then the Internet Age completely changed the landscape of content marketing. First came landing pages, e-books, articles and later, blogs.
After 2000, content marketing evolved at a fast pace and new forms of content rose to fame, like forums, podcasts, videos, and webinars. Soon after that, the rise of social media offered new opportunities to engage customers, allowing them to interact with brand content and becoming brand ambassadors themselves. Nowadays, marketplaces, content hubs, and personalised experiences are the dominating trends. Brands are trying to connect with consumers on every channel and so much content is produced that returns don’t always follow the efforts.
The future of content marketing
So how about the future of content? As you could guess, it is closely linked to digital development, devices, and artificial intelligence:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is changing due to a new algorithm in Google’s ranking system, called RankBrain, which is empowered by machine learning capabilities;
- Virtual assistants in the form of chatbots or voice assistants will dominate the customer experience as they are now improved with Artificial Intelligence;
- Mobile Accelerated Apps have already been adopted by some global retailers in order to improve mobile loading of search results pages;
- Voice search is becoming more and more important and will have an ever increasing impact on how we present good content.
- Video content of tomorrow will offer an immersive experience at home- branded Virtual Reality content is making headlines this year.
However, a small business won’t be able to afford to run complex analytics too soon, invest in accelerated mobile apps, and hire third parties to create VR content or optimize services with super-smart virtual assistants. Entrepreneurs will most likely use a combination of the most efficient old and new tricks to engage their consumers.
Looking for maximum return with a minimum of investment? Below you can find some recipes to boost your company’s content marketing efforts:
Personalization, New and Old Ways
Marketers are crowding our digital inboxes with promotional offers and last-minute buying opportunities, but their attempts are less and less successful. Old school marketing techniques are still very valid, MailChimp’s opening rate is less than 30% (often much much less than that), but 92% of direct mail gets opened.
Also, print is one of the favorite marketing channels for all ages and are you even surprised? In an era that’s pushing everybody to go digital, print has become some sort of luxury. Brands that still put effort into creating a physical outlet for their audiences are making a big step towards personalisation.
However, in order to impress young audiences, improve traditional print with a connectivity element. You can include a QR code that leads to a landing page or to your social media platform. Gen Z loves to interact with advertising content. Allow them to play with physical content- insert a postcard they can keep or a puzzle. Moreover, focus on visual elements and quality graphics because those are other things that our youngest value.
Great Online User Experience
Maybe chatbots and cutting-edge website design are not affordable for you, but keep your visual style updated, with clean graphics, modern fonts, and high-quality pictures. The average attention span has shrunk to 8 seconds for teenagers today, so website sections must be short and relevant, content marketing is all about short and sweet snippets (like my weekly one minute business tips) Furthermore, detailed contact info and links to social media platforms are a must.
Even if the first blog dates back to the beginning of the new millennium, starting a blog is still a valid method to improve your ranking and make your brand visible in the digital world. But know that Google always focuses on user experience. All its algorithm updates have been designed to improve user experience, and the introduction of the Penguin, Panda, and RankBrain Algorithm updates in the past couple of years were designed to make it easier for users to find what they really need.
Now more than ever you can make the most of your posts with relevant, consumer-oriented content. However, pay special attention to linking: link only to websites which are concerned with the same niche, build backlinks to reputable websites, prioritise linking to authoritative sites and find influencers in order to develop linking opportunities to other websites and social media channels.
The Knowledge Graph
Did you notice that sidebar panel on the right of your Google search listings, containing brief information about the subject you searched? That’s the Knowledge Graph, Google’s attempt to make all big sources of information accessible from a single platform, encompassing CIA World Factbook, Wikidata, and Wikipedia. These sources also connect to offer searchers correct and brief information about different online entities.
If you want visibility with every Google search targeted at you, learn to influence the Knowledge Graph. Company representatives are allowed to suggest modifications, but these demands need to be validated. Google will scan web data of a company to check if the information matches. Keep your brand accounts updated: Wikipedia Page, Wikidata platform, Google Plus account. Moreover, mentioning social media accounts in your descriptions will result in their display on the dedicated sidebar.
Video is the Present, Video is the Future
Since YouTube’s launch in 2005, video marketing content has become more and more important. You are probably familiar with the success of social media story tools that allow the creation of ephemeral video content and the rising popularity of vines and vlogs.
According to the Animoto’s Social Video Forecast, 92% of interviewed marketers make videos with assets they already have. If you are among them, below are some suggestions to get better at video content making
Creating Social Media Video Content
Here you can see how different generations favor different social media platforms. Creating marketing content for every platform is a waste of time for small businesses, so focus on the preferences of your target. Don’t approach your audience just with live videos or stories about your products and services, but also with content about the people behind the business, the working premises or the production process
Optimize YouTube Content
YouTube can work like a video directory – videos posted on this platform don’t drown in loads of mixed content. But you can also optimize it using these brief suggestions: include keywords in the filename, in the title of videos and playlists, in descriptions and tags. This free analytics list will help you choose the right tool to search for keywords.
VR Is Not Unreachable
Street View, VR View, and Cardboard Camera are easy peasy instruments that can be used to film 360-degree videos. Even if high-quality VR marketing is out of your reach, you can share simple content made with simple tools on Wordpress platforms or embed it on your webpage. VR plugin allows VR content to be played without the need of a headset.
All in all, old and new techniques can blend in a unique marketing approach to create a compelling experience that will conquer the hearts of your audience.
Online Marketing and the 7 Big Questions of Small Business
Business owners frequently ask 7 Big Questions about how to Build a Beautiful Business and Life.
The first of these Big Questions is: How do I grow my business?
To answer that question I have identified the 11 most important strategies to create Business Growth.
The third of those strategies is Grow your business with Online Marketing. This is one of many more articles on this site that explain how Online Marketing and Growth hang together, in some depth.
Guest article by Philip Piletic: Philip’s primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business and marketing. Freelancer and writer, in love with startups, traveling and helping others get their ideas off the ground. Unwinds with a glass of scotch and some indie rock on vinyl. You can read more of Phllip’s work on his Linkedin profile here: https://au.linkedin.com/in/philippiletic