Content marketing is a well-known and much-used promotional tool for the web.
In case you are new to the term, content marketing means creating content (which could be blog posts, LinkedIn posts, videos, podcasts, infographics and more) containing information useful to your potential marketplaces.
It’s a kind of sideways form of marketing which avoids the full-throated approach of direct advertising.
By giving away useful information (content) that your customers will appreciate, you build trust and goodwill towards your products and services.
Of course, paid online advertising remains a key marketing channel, as does SEO. However, because major players are willing to invest huge sums into ads and SEO, costs for these forms of marketing can be high.
Content marketing can be done with a range of budgets and provides wonderful opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge, creativity and innovation.
Adjusting your approach to content marketing will enable you to capitalize on the trends that will dominate in the coming months.
So what trends should you be focused on in 2020?
Growth in live streaming
Video has been a significant marketing channel for many years, but live streaming has remained largely untapped during promotions. Consumers like to watch live streams, using platforms such as like Facebook and Instagram.
A study by the IAB found that 67% of consumers around the world had used live streaming. Another study showed that 82% of consumers preferred live video than reading a blog article.
Use live streaming to answer questions, provide tutorials, show behind-the-scenes footage and offer more impromptu content. The looser structure behind live streaming also helps to make brands relatable compared to more structured promotional videos.
Voice search grows in popularity
Voice search continues to grow across mobile devices, with accuracy levels improving.
Users feel more comfortable conducting voice searches, and it has become normalized through the popularity of voice assistant devices. While some brands have been focusing on voice search, there are still plenty of opportunities in the field. Creating quality content based on voice queries increases the chances that the search results will use your brand as a source. You can research the searches taking place in your niche and develop content based on this new style of question-based searching.
A focus on expertise and value
Consumers want content that offers them value. Consumers have become more aware of promotional articles that only exist to sell products. If a brand is not focussed on providing real value, it will be hard to engage people fully.
Search engines are also looking to show the best quality content to searchers, with a focus on expertise and relevance. You can provide excellent articles and videos by analysing what your audience is looking for and what currently exists in your industry.
Provide quality over quantity. In SEO terms, Google will favour high-quality long-form articles over “thin” (low quality or short) articles.
Tailoring content for featured snippets
Searchers are becoming more used to finding answers to their search query directly within the Google results. Many questions don’t necessarily require an in-depth analysis of a subject, with a simple solution or a brief list being sufficient.
Your information can be used as a featured snippet when you create quality content that answers a specific question. Stats show that in 2018 around 41% of questions returned a featured snippet. That leaves plenty of room to answer the other 59% of unanswered questions!
The downside of featured snippets is that they slightly reduce the likelihood of the user clicking through to your website. Many webmasters feel aggrieved that Google is commandeering their content without sending traffic to their website.
However, stats show that the reduction in clickthrough is relatively low – about 29% of searches with a featured snippet resulted in no clickthrough, compared to around 25% of searches without a featured snippet.
Even if searchers don’t always click to your website on the initial query, you can grow your brand and get further clicks if they return for more information.
Topical content across your site
There is so much content available online that it is essential to have a clear direction and tone of voice.
Users can get distracted when you provide a broad range of articles, videos, images, and podcasts that don’t appear coherent.
Content marketing will usually work best when you narrow your focus, providing exceptional quality in a small niche. Additionally, search engines will value the sites that appear heavily focused on a topic rather than trying to rank across a broad range of keywords.
Content marketing is a fantastic promotional opportunity for brands in 2020. Clicks and engagement with paid advertising is hard – and content marketing builds trust by “giving back” to the consumer.
Developing outstanding content helps you build a relationship with existing and potential customers by providing value before you try to make a sale.
Consumers usually have a broad range of knowledge about a subject, making it essential to educate them. Integrating these trends into your plans can help you reach your target audience at the right time and place.