Content marketing is about the customer perspective. It is therefore a smart idea to keep observing customer behavior to be able to respond promptly to changes. And, as the following five trends show, there is a lot going on. But that’s not all. In a second part we’ll show you another five trends to keep an eye on.
Since content marketing has secured itself a firm place in corporate communications, the volume of published content has risen continuously and experts have been speaking of “content shock” for some time now. On closer inspection, this is a self-reinforcing system, as more and more content fights for the attention of the target audience. However, this audience does not consume more as a result, but simply exercises more discrepancy.
Instead of randomly producing as much content as possible, marketers should therefore include topic clusters in their content strategy. For each main topic (pillar content), subtopics are then continuously published to provide more insight into specific issues related to the main topic. As new aspects come to light, existing content can be easily updated. Links provide both readers and search engines with a very good overview of an important topic.
Jan Tißler has already described this principle in more detail here: SEO in content marketing: of pillars and clusters.
Quality instead of quantity
This trend is heading in a similar direction. It seems to be an almost inevitable reflex to combat decreasing reach by producing more mass. It is quite obvious, however, that content consumption cannot keep up with the resulting explosion of content. Each piece of content competes with a growing number of other pieces of content and gains less visibility on average. A solution that doesn’t exacerbate the problem any further is to create less, but very high-quality content.
Those who create content instead of producing it benefit from a satisfied audience. They are more likely to recommend content to others if they could benefit from the content themselves, or if they think the content might be useful to others. By the way, it is a pure myth that long content does not work. If this content is of high quality, it even ranks better than the so-called snackable content.
Format variety: video, live, podcasts
Text content will remain relevant in the near future, but a balanced and sometimes surprising content mix is becoming increasingly important. Video has already established itself and is defining its own trends. Podcasts are increasingly adding audio content, which had actually already been declared dead, but is now really taking off.
A newer development consists of the live variants of the various formats, which companies are only slowly discovering for themselves. They are perfectly integrating Facebook Live, Twitter as a real-time medium or Instagram Stories, which are ideal for events among other things. Live content not only creates a temporal proximity in communication, but also provides viewers the feeling that they are actually part of the action. This is particularly important for younger target groups, who make intensive use of this type of communication themselves and even triggered the trend in the first place.
Diversification of the content formats is causing a shift in staffing of content marketing teams. Ideally, texts, videos, podcasts and events are each processed by specially trained editors.
Personalization has become integral to the customer experience, email marketing or e-commerce. When it comes to content marketing, however, this aspect is usually discussed more than it is actually used. Most companies already have the necessary customer data at their disposal; it just has to be removed from the silos and assigned to previously defined personae. This is achieved using a data management platform (DMP), which also publishes the right content at the right time. Visitors to the content platform are then shown the content that matches their interests, their history and their specific position within the customer journey.
Tech giants such as Amazon, Spotify or Netflix are demonstrating just how successful personalization can be.
This trend is expanding even further with hyper-personalization. This is used to dynamically generate and deliver additional content modules that were previously static. PDF documents are a good example of this. These files have traditionally been kept in a very general form, so that they fit as many target persons as possible. Using hyper-personalization, defined elements such as headings, statistics or images are also dynamically adapted here.
Brands are just gradually understanding that content marketing is an offer to engage in dialog. If content is to revolve around customers’ personal needs and issues, there must be a return channel from the consumers to the companies. While open offerings such as a comment function are associated with risks in light of today’s tonality, 1:1 communication channels such as chats or messenger connections offer alternatives for building customer relationships. Successful examples such as the Kwitt bot used by the German Savings Banks Association, which collects money lent for you, or the KLM bot are showing what is possible.
The development of customer relationships can also provide marketing managers with the argumentation they need for the long-term implementation of content marketing. To some extent, it is still difficult for them to legitimize the costs, since the content is not directly connected to sales. But it’s no secret that customer satisfaction and loyalty are important factors in sales – and that’s what customer relationship management achieves.
Five more trends in content marketing can be found in part two.