We’re now nearly one whole month into 2017, how fast did January go!? Now we’re all back to work and getting fully back into the swing of things, it’s time to really take a look at how the top content marketing trends predicted for this year may turn out. We’re already seeing some marketers diving into these trends but it’s always important to have a strategy around each of these points. Make sure to tackle these trends with a solid plan that revolves around the bottom line to all your marketing – why would your audience want to see and engage with this? What is the purpose?
Back in 2014, Syndacast predicted that 74% of web traffic will be driven by video in 2017. That’s a huge number to ignore, so maybe it’s time to be brave and dive in front of the camera. Now, having video content doesn’t mean you need to collaborate with a film production agency to produce a slick, viral video. You could have the worlds most perfect video and it can go unnoticed if it doesn’t appeal to your audiences and get them inspired. Utilise the ease and personal feel of Facebook Live, Instagram Live Stories and Periscope to deliver quick snapshots into the life of your brand, this can be used for everything from behind the scenes sneak peeks, to exclusive offers that are only available to audiences prepared to wait for the live content to Q&A’s. Check out our recent article on how companies are using Live Video.
Influencers And User Generated Content
Here at SocialB, we think 2017 is the definitive year that companies will latch on to the influencers. 2016 had a really great run with this, but smaller companies are now becoming aware of the influence power of certain accounts on different networks, especially start-ups. Make sure you’re doing your research when it comes to finding influencers to help promote your product, make sure that they match your brand values and tone of voice and, most importantly, try to determine whether the influencer will be truly appreciative of being sent your product. However, we know that some influencers can add up in terms of cost, so it’s worth trying to build up a good amount of User Generated Content. UGC is simply when your audience is willing to write reviews, mention you in posts or blogs, without being prompted or paid. Utilise these people, encourage them to share photos/reviews of a product or service that they love and use regularly, then be sure to return the favour by engaging with those posts. This way you’ll build some great credibility from genuine customers and you can start to build a database of potential new brand advocates.
Paid Advertising May Overtake Organic Content
As an agency, we always encourage you to create engaging organic content on whatever channel you choose. However, we know that social channels (Facebook especially) are making it a lot harder for businesses to show up in news feeds organically, leading many companies to experiment once again with the power of paid advertising. The good thing? You don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to get in front of your audience, especially if this is very carefully targeted. Of course, don’t give up on organic content as this is what separates you from being a spammy ‘sell sell sell’ brand. Use your advertising budget wisely and only spend when you have key campaigns that you want to get some extra leverage on. This is also especially useful if you’re starting a page from scratch, as you know you can target the correct people to follow or like your page to start building your audience from the ground up – you’ll be safe in the knowledge that these are real people as oppose to paying a dodgy company for 10,000 bots and dead accounts who don’t actually care about your company.
Email Is Still A Content King
Email is still one of the most critical pieces of content that you can send out to your audience, both existing and new. A recent study found that email was still rated as the no. 1 success metric for measuring content marketing, sitting at 91%. So what should we be doing to keep content fresh in 2017? Personalise, personalise, personalise. More brands should be launching more targeted and relevant emails or e-newsletters to segmented audiences in a bid to grow loyal audiences. The data will need to be looked at on a larger scale to offer personalised emails like birthday offers, 1-year ‘anniversary’ discounts (e.g. if you purchased or signed up to a loyalty scheme on a specific date). Features such as abandoned shopping cart recovery emails should be in every e-commerce company’s arsenal, to remind people why they considered you in the first place. Chase em’ down and hit them with a special offer to make them feel valued and more likely to come back and convert. We want to be creating emails that are unique and special customer experiences as opposed to a generic newsletter.
What’s Your Purpose?
This is somewhat of a mantra here at SocialB… ‘why are we doing this? what is the purpose of this?’. And this should be at the forefront of everything that you begin to plan your strategy. What is the aim of a blog post? To sell? Think of the bigger picture – it can inform > inspire > be shared > generate audience growth > convert. There isn’t the time or money to spend to create content just for the sake of getting it out there. Content needs to serve a purpose and that purpose should always be to provide value to your audience.