Traditional marketing is dead, and the internet has killed it…
Experts in the field have been saying this for years, and it seems like each year passing is just putting another nail in the coffin.
Bombarding people with ads, hoping your product stick, is seen as an annoyance in today’s shopping culture.
Nowadays, before making a purchase decision, most consumers will search up the product online.
What they’ll find is a variety of content – blog posts, top lists, videos – talking about it.
With a few minutes of content consumption, customers will see the product in action, compare it to others and make a decision.
Companies that play the online-marketing game correctly know this and are ahead of the curve.
They meet this demand by investing in the content. This is what we call “Content Marketing”
So, whether you’re a new business aiming to get ahead of trends, or an established brand looking to modernize their approach, here are 5 important trends in content marketing coming into 2020:
- Create the content yourself
- Expand your content variety
- Collaborate with others
- Manage your micro-content
- Hire a social media manager
Create the content yourself
With the rise of social media in the past few years, many up-and-coming companies – but established brands as well – have turned to influencers as spokespersons for their brand.
They’d approach a person with a sizeable audience and offer to compensate them to advertise their product.
The influencer would then incorporate the product in their usual content and – more often than not – intentionally play it up a bit to get the audience interested.
This method has worked for many, and there are multi-million dollar businesses that found their success this way.
However, relying exclusively on third-party content creators to showcase your product can work against you.
Consumers have become aware that influencer-marketing is just marketing taking up another form.
They don’t enjoy feeling like someone is forcing them to buy a product.
Instead, they want to hear about the product and then look directly at the source.
If the source provides zero original content, it simply won’t look as appealing or look downright untrustworthy, depending on how established the brand is.
To give an example, let’s look at Samsung Mobile:
A giant in the phone industry, yet they still dedicate their resources to creating content on platforms like YouTube and Instagram.
Would they run out of business if they stopped doing this? Of course not.
However, if they stopped content marketing showcasing their products and features, they’d slowly lose customers to competitors who do take the time to teach people about their product.
By creating native content, you’re also more likely to get discovered on your own- instead of relying on people to discover you through others.
Expand your content variety
We’ve established that creating original content can be the difference-maker for your brand.
Before you start creating content, here’s what you should consider:
- If you’re offering a physical product, your content should showcase how your product fits into the consumer needs.
- If you’re offering a service, the best way to convince people to work with you is by providing them with some valuable information upfront.
Regardless of which category you slot in, here are some content options to consider:
- Video – tutorials, showcases, vlogs, behind the scenes, demonstrations, etc.
- Images – infographics, text-images, artwork, memes, etc.
- Audio – podcasts, lectures, speeches, interviews, etc.
- Text – blog posts, video/audio transcripts, articles, studies, etc.
If you do not know where to start, simply search online.
You can look at what worked for others in the past, what’s trending now or what your competition is doing.
Collaborate with others
Collaboration is an amazing and oftentimes free (or very low cost) way to reach new audiences.
Even in the past, but more so in the age of the internet, a good way to expand your reach, is a collaboration with someone in the same business.
Their audience should be physically (or virtually) located where you haven’t been noticed yet.
The music industry has many examples of this:
Let’s say you live in Australia and enjoy the work of a singer who’s rather popular in your country.
That same singer announces they’re doing a collaborative project with someone well known in the U.K.
What essentially happened is, one manager phoned the other and said:
“Look, you and I have been stuck in the same place, if we do this correctly we can expand into both markets”.
Next thing you know, the song is topping the charts in both countries and the artists are exposed to new waves of fans.
Now, how can you, as a business owner, entrepreneur, content creator, etc. use collaborations to your advantage?
Here are some examples:
- Appear on a relevant podcast
- Guest-post on a blog
- Exchange a few social media posts
- Sponsor a project
- Create a collaborative product or service
There are many other ways you’ll likely discover as you go.
One good way to start is exchanging blog posts with someone in your field or utilizing one of the many free guest-blogging sites relevant to your audience.
Blog posts are easy to write or at least easy to outsource, since you can revise them until you’re happy.
Manage your micro-content
Micro-content is smaller pieces of content derived from a larger source.
It’s to the point, easy to consume and share – making it perfect for social media.
If used correctly, it can have high impact on audience growth (go viral).
Here’s an example:
Have you ever heard a rising music star, when asked how they found success give an answer like:
“I don’t know it just happened overnight…”
Here’s the truth, it didn’t just happen.
One clip of them singing at a local bar started getting shares and the snowball grew from there.
Now, your job is to get ahead of the game.
Instead of waiting for this piece of miracle content to be made by someone else, create it yourself.
Here’s an example of how podcasts do this:
Each episode they air, they chop up into short segments where a popular topic is addressed.
They post these clips on multiple platforms, and one out of 100 gets millions of views.
This clip alone gives them the biggest spike in audience growth in the past 12 months.
Here are some examples of the kind of micro-content you can create:
- Take a short clip from a guest appearance and post it on social media.
- Transcribe an audio interview into a blog post.
- Take a quote from your speech, create an image-quote and post on Instagram.
- Make a short tutorial about a cool feature from your product or service and link it to a common problem.
Most importantly, do not underestimate the power of the platform you’re posting on:
The important thing is to recognize the potential for leads across multiple platforms, which brings me to my final point.
Hire a Social Media Manager
Depends on the size of your business, you can hire someone who will do this for you full time or simply teach you what you need to know.
Most modern business owners will tell you that a big portion of your companies success will depend on how well you play the social media game.
Like it or not, many businesses with great service have failed because they underestimated the power of social media.
Likewise, many of their competitors with inferior service have thrived because they understood it’s power.
The important thing to remember here is, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have.
Not every business is meant to be world-wide and that’s okay.
It doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing or that it can’t generate large sums of money.
Now, being on social media itself is not a trend, but there’s a huge rise in the market for experts in the area.
Companies are quickly realizing they require people who can steer their flow of social media content to best reach their target audience.
The social media manager’s job is to determine where the company fits in the grand scheme of things.
He does this by carefully looking at things like company data, audience demographics, market trends, rival companies, etc.
He also understands the importance of each platform for your company:
- You can have 100 000 followers on Instagram with zero buying power.
- You can have 1000 followers on LinkedIn and one of them recommends you to a business owner looking for your type of solution to their problem.
Content marketing has taken over as the industry leader.
It changed the way we look at advertising forever.
Marketing is no longer about the products filling a need, but rather providing a known solution to a problem before it manifests itself.
Heading into 2020, it looks like the only correct way to approach growing a business.
Understanding the game better than your rivals, starting with these 5 trends, should give you a head start.
Selflessly providing real value to consumers before they decide on buying your product, makes you look trustworthy and dedicated and is the most important takeaway from today.