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Best Content Marketing Trends – Out with the Old, In with the New

By Nick Colakovic on August 3, 2016

Reading Time: 12 minutes

Over a short period of time, content marketing has evolved and changed. In the past, the content marketing world was ruled by the people who were able to create a large amount of solid quality content, but things are different now. In order to succeed in this field today, you will need a lot of valuable connections and a variety of content formats, but this is not everything. You must also possess the ability to engage and connect with your audience using as many channels as possible.

In the past, content marketing and SEO were completely different things. But today, they are becoming more closely connected with each passing day. Google has become so sophisticated that it can value content and rank a certain page based on what experiences the readers had with that content. To create a good web presence you need to understand the latest content marketing trends.

It is important to know that the days of quick and aggressive link building campaigns and two day long SEO strategies are long gone. Google has made marketers play a long game that requires them to be resourceful, consistent and professional. Content marketing is becoming a popular tool that is used to create relationships with audiences. If you don’t create a content marketing campaign you will lose the upper hand.

SEO and content marketing complement each other

SEO creates a demand and content marketing is there to fulfill that demand. The fresher and more unique your content, the better it will do with search engine rankings. Content is supposed to be personal, creative, and interesting and it should not be used just for SEO purposes. Still, a good marketer can combine these two and create valuable content that enhances SEO efforts.

Content Marketing 1

Focus on interactions and storytelling

Today, readers are not satisfied with being just simple spectators; they want more. Consumers have become more aware of what’s out there and they know what they want. People want to read content that allows them to become involved with a brand while also not feeling targeted.

Readers are hungry for powerful, out of the box, and visually appealing stories. If you are mindful of your audience and try to give them content that means something to them, it is more likely that people will react to the stories you’ve told and remember them. You need to be an interactive storyteller. This means that you need to reach beyond bare text and present content such as videos, images, infographics, graders, generators, calculators or quizzes.

[tweetthis]Readers are hungry for powerful, out of the box and visually appealing stories.[/tweetthis]

Of course, it is important that all of the things you include in your content have a context and that they are deeply related to each other. All of your content needs to be part of a holistic content marketing strategy. With good storytelling, you can easily do this.

Simply put, the web includes a lot of static content and this is why businesses need to offer content that is different. Interactive content fits in with this idea perfectly. Interactive content is especially useful for small businesses. A lot of experts are claiming that small businesses increase their conversions and traffic the most with interactive content.

Content promotion

In the past, it was possible to simply publish new content, such as a blog post,  and get solid traffic by choosing a relevant topic and writing well about it. This is simply not possible anymore. As we speak, there are thousands of blog posts being created and published. At the same time, that content has higher quality standards than ever before.

You can create good content that is interactive and engaging, but this guarantees you nothing, it’s only the first step. The problem here is that there are so many people out there who don’t succeed in promoting their content thoroughly. There are many tools and channels you must learn about to promote your content skillfully in today’s idea marketplace.

Nor are tools enough. Creating and publishing your content should take up half of your time. You should invest the rest of your time towards manual promotion of your content to connect with readers and reach out to influencers. It is also important to focus a lot of your efforts on social media and learn how to promote your content to people on these platforms.

You must design meaningful strategies for promoting fresh content. It’s no longer possible to simply create something good and expect it to get the attention it deserves through organic search. Instead, build a base of followers and establish meaningful relationships with people online. Try and convey your ideas to influencers as well, as they can help you get noticed.

Content Marketing 2

New options for publishing content

The first one that started the trend of giving new publishing options to marketers was Facebook when they decided to introduce Instant Articles. It really came as no surprise that other social platforms decided to give the option of publishing as well. Until now, all the content that was being shared on Facebook or some other social media was a redirect to some outside source.

With Instant Articles, Facebook was able to turn itself into a natural publishing platform that provides users a direct option for publishing and sharing content with their audiences directly. The initial results of Facebook Instant Articles were amazing and the future looks bright for this future. Google has also followed this trend by creating a version of its own, rapid, instant content sharing platform called Accelerated Mobile pages (AMP). It is only a matter of time before other digital and social channels start creating their own native content publication platforms for easier targeting.

Social media is a bit of a captive audience. Marketers and businesses are simply going to create cool content and instantly share it with their audiences, and their consumers are going to find it quickly and easily. When you publish content directly on Facebook the crowd that follows you there will know that this is for them and they will want to check it out. The same rule applies for other similar new publishing options.

This rising trend means that the near future ahead will be very competitive when it comes to content marketing. Currently, the market is saturated and there are many new technologies, algorithms, and formats that allow cheaper and easier content publishing for businesses large and small. The result of this trend is that the market will be filled with content and only the best content is going to get any real visibility, unless, of course, there is some serious promotion behind it.

You must have episodic content

Dividing content into several parts and releasing it slowly over a long period of time will ensure your target audience remains engaged. This method creates anticipation while you share the story in a narrative fashion. Comic book publishers have been using this strategy for decades. It can work for your content, too!

This type of episodic, disjointed content has a great impact on readers’ minds and it will leave a mark for a longer period. This level of engagement cannot be done by creating single pieces that will be read only once. If you invoke intrigue, create suspense and leave the readers wondering after the first piece of content, they will be anxious to read or watch the next part that comes along.

There are a lot of examples of episodic content you probably see every day, but don’t really notice it. If you use Netflix to watch your favorite TV series and you can’t wait for a new episode to come out you already get the idea of how addictive episodic content can be. The cliffhangers you come across at the end of each episode or post are responsible for making people anxious to wait and read or watch the next piece of content that comes out.

Like I mentioned before, the importance of connecting your audience and your brand is indispensable. You must do this constantly and not just once. 2016 has already proven that it is the year of episodic content. This is why you must try and deliver interactive stories that engage people and split them up into several pieces in order to make the most of them.

Content repurposing

Content repurposing is not anything you haven’t heard before. It’s taking old content that performed well and giving it an update. The fact that this method is growing rapidly in popularity during 2016 means that you should take some time to think about doing this yourself as well. If you were able to provide content that went well with your audience in the past, then you should absolutely feel free to try and give them more similar content that revolves around the same topic.

[tweetthis]There are a lot of examples of episodic content you probably see every day, but don’t really notice it.[/tweetthis]

By repurposing old content, you are adding more horsepower to your marketing efforts. With it, you can take good content you created a step further. Plus, since you’re starting from a strong article you can create something new faster. Another benefit of content repurposing is that it taps into the audience consuming the old content and brings them up to date on your brand. Simply put, why should you create something new and waste all the time and energy if you can enhance some of your old stuff and get the results you want?

This is the beauty of content repurposing. You are only pushing the previously existing content (albeit cleaned up and updated) through your channels so a new audience can consume it. For example, a blog post that had success in the past can be divided into a couple of crucial points to be turned into something new, such as a short video, an infographic, a bundle of images with a small amount of info that can be pushed through social media etc.  That repurposing can extend to any of your online assets, including case studies.

Content Marketing 3

Personalizing content

Like I’ve said before, simply creating good content is not going to cut it anymore. I say this again, but for another reason. The new goal is to create content that can connect with your target audience on a much higher level. People are simply becoming indifferent to content, as there is so much of it coming out every day. A lot of it may be top quality, but people are fatigued. They simply don’t read articles. This is why it is absolutely essential to create content that is personalized in order to improve your results and get the desired attention.

The idea of creating different types of content for different types of visitors is simply amazing, but it is often neglected because of technical reasons. First of all, this doesn’t mean that you cannot design a page in such way that all your visitors feel like it’s the right place for them. It simply takes a bit more effort to design something that can work for various audiences on a deeper level.

When content is personalized, it is important that everything that is within it – no matter if we are talking about words, overall tone, images, fonts or videos – speaks directly to your target market and that it has the best effect possible on your target audience. They must see it or read it, and feel their experience, hear themselves talking and relate to what is within that content.

It is also very important that your content is presented in such fashion that it simultaneously highlights your brand. This means that it must include your symbols, icons, or that great looking logo you have. Besides having a great experience while consuming your content, people will also remember your brand and this will ensure that they will come back to you time after time in the future.

With the second part of 2016 well on its way, marketers have already started to adjust their content marketing methods. They are looking to get the most out of these trends and improve their techniques to stay ahead in 2017 as well. As a marketer, it is important that you always try to stand out from the rest and keep yourself updated with all of the latest channels, techniques, and trends. I hope these trends will help you understand where you have to focus your efforts to perform great content marketing in the future.

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