People today, are exposed to content in quantities more than what they can possibly process. When fresh thinkers put a new spin on old tactics, they raise the bar of quality. Gone are the days when content used to be the side dish of the marketing main course. If anything has emerged the most in the last few years, apart from technology, it has to be content marketing! We are almost towards the end of 2018, and it is probably the best time to take a sneak peak into what we learnt from it in the art of content marketing and what we are headed towards in 2019.
According to Forbes, the content marketing industry would be worth more than $400 billion by 2021.
Content marketing is crucial to every function of marketing team today, as it is the best tool at your disposal for earning trust, building your brand, generating site traffic, qualified leads, and everything in between.
Content is the New Marketing
Source: Content Marketing Institute
According to the latest study by Content Marketing Institute, no matter what size a particular business is, they are all investing in content marketing. As you can see from the statistics above, the number of B2B marketers that believed that content drove their organisation’s success has increased significantly over the past year. It is clear that these marketers and many others across the world are seeing content marketing as not just the ‘complementary’ trend but more like a ‘mainstream’ trend that’s going to continue in 2019. Maybe it’s time content marketing is given the main course role it deserves, as opposed to still being the side-dish in many organisations.
'Strategy' Matters and In Fact it is the Most Essential Thing
Content is powerful but it won’t solve every business goal you set, on its own. Content marketing must be used more as a tool to achieve your specific goals. So, you need a guiding strategy to maximize the effectiveness of content and to secure the prospects you are aiming at.
According to Content Marketing Institute, 65 % of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy.
Different businesses have different goals. No two content strategies work the same way. Starting from lead generation, SEO, and thought leadership, you can customise strategies that are designed to work towards the goal that is most important to your business. With sales trends always changing, content plays a key role in attracting new customers. But what’s more important in all this, is the fact that documenting the very strategy is going to become a mandate in the coming year. After all, you are not going to be just publishing what everyone else is across the web, but you are going to implement an effective content strategy and its’ best if it is documented.
“How do you know your content is relevant? Increased social traffic, social engagement and higher quality leads.” - Jason Miller (at INBOUND)
If you have done a thorough assessment and identified the primary goal with a well thought of strategy and a documented one at that, you would be able to meet all your goals And then, you will also understand how your content is performing and whether your content is relevant or not.
With the help of the right content, marketers and businesses can use it to drive customer engagement and success stories. They would produce product tutorials, guides, actionable insights, etc to make sure customers not only remain engaged but also thrilled about the products and services they are enjoying from you.
Whether it is your sales team that’s using the content to nurture leads or the SEO team deploying its best tactics to optimise the content to attract new leads; the same kind of content has many possibilities and would be used in more ways in 2019 than what it was being used for in the past 11 months.
The coming year would see more and more personalisation efforts from businesses and driving content in the direction that benefits customers and prospects in the long run.
Giving Content Marketing the Attention and Budget it Deserves
According to a survey by Content Marketing Institute, businesses would expect their content marketing budget to improve significantly.
With content wearing many hats, it is only reasonable to give it the attention and budget it deserves. Many businesses across the world have already started investing more in content, but there are still a lot of them which are yet to see this change taking place. As content marketing evolves, companies would need more resources than ever before, and they would eventually need to bump up their budget for the same.
More Than Just Social Media
No matter how many content pieces you end up writing, it is important to devise a strategy for effective content distribution. Without one, your content is as good as the brilliant idea you never put to paper. As you keep refining the strategies, lukewarm content approaches will no longer suffice. You would need to keep a close watch on trends in the coming year as that will somewhat determine the fate of your business. You would need to create more useful and engaging content for your customers and prospects to read it, love it, and ultimately drive them towards buying what you sell. And simply sharing it on social media won’t cut it. You would need to dig deeper into where your customers are, what they are liking, sharing and absorbing.
Your content must provide “Youtility.” Your unique content offerings must help them make better decisions.
Don't Forget to Integrate SEO
Both content marketing and SEO seeks to attract and engage potential customers and help you understand what is important to the prospect or a customer. If a customer-focused content marketing program is a sandwich, then SEO is the mayonnaise! It touches nearly everything and enhances the overall flavor of what you are marketing. In 2019, be ready to embrace technical SEO best practices on a higher level that resonates well with your marketing and content teams equally. Noticed, how there is a ‘content team’ now?
To do well and surpass all the hype when it comes to content marketing and how it can help all the crucial elements of a business - sales, marketing and the business itself; organisations would need to pay more attention to these.
Like we discussed in the article, it’s high time content is treated as an individual entity and with the budget and attention it deserves if you want to ace the race in the coming years. Not just 2019, the years ahead indicate that content will play an increasingly crucial role in any marketing activity, lead nurturing, sales funnel, SEO integration and not to forget customer engagement and success. And what would it take? It would require you to have the right and careful approach towards creating a well-documented content strategy, the right distribution method, and digging deeper into what your customers and prospects are up to, without, of course, being intrusive.