The WTCA launched a robust content strategy late in 2018, beginning with the launch of this publication. Because brands only break through the noise when they make meaningful connections with their customers, we asked Adrienne Smith to identify some trends in using content to stand out from the crowd.
Using content to strengthen your business is as important today as ever. When done strategically, content can help generate three times more leads than outbound marketing, while costing 62 percent less.
Content marketing is comprised of two core elements. First, it involves creating content that reflects your business’s perspective and expertise. Second, it involves using that content to spread brand awareness, engage existing customers, and even secure new customers.
These two approaches are constantly shifting, as technology evolves and people change how they consume content online. From the rise of video to the importance of community, here’s a look at the latest trends in content marketing.
Video is becoming more popular and easier to create
While written content is still a top focus area for content marketing in 2019, video has quickly risen as an up-and-coming medium, and its demand is only increasing further. Today, 50 percent of consumers say they want video content more than any other type of content from brands. Additionally, video content is now 50 times more likely to drive organic search results to your website than plain text. By 2021, it is expected that digital video will represent 82 percent of all internet traffic and, of that, live video will grow from three to 13 percent.
The good news is that creating video content is more feasible now than it has ever been. While a polished and produced video is worth striving for, consumers today are perfectly content with unscripted videos. You can film on an iPhone, edit minimally, and keep your talking points casual rather than create something formal, to achieve the same goal of reaching your audience.
Experiment with the video style that reflects your business — try live streaming that panel discussion or event you’re hosting. Interview a local leader on camera (it can even be an iPhone or recorded Skype call) instead of conducting the interview in writing over email. Or explain a concept using imagery and a voiceover to create a video without filming anything — the sky is the limit.
Sharing your expertise in content is the key to building trust in your brand
Content marketing is about so much more than using content to sell your business. It’s about building trust with your audience. If you can build that trust, your customer base will return and even expand. Sharing your expertise is an increasingly critical way to build that type of relationship. In fact, educational content is listed as one of the top ways in which business-to-business (B2B) marketers nurture their audience.
Consider the unique expertise your business offers, whether within a certain industry or for a certain type of customer. You can share that expertise to establish your credibility and spark genuine trust in your brand. Create videos or hold webinars explaining a complicated topic. Answer FAQs you hear from your customers and share them beyond your daily customer base. Create an email series or online resource sharing the topics you covered at a recent event. Knowledge is power, and it can fuel connection with your key audiences.
Marketing your content is about participating in your communities
In today’s fragmented and cluttered marketplace, it’s become increasingly important to maintain a sense of community. There’s plenty of opportunity to become active and valued in professional communities, such as Slack and Facebook, and your content can help you do so.
For example, the Slack community “Launch” has more than 8,000 entrepreneurs worldwide and has produced five Y Combinator founders, four Venture-Capital-funded companies, a Thiel fellow, and dozens of startups. Another example, the Facebook Group Small Business Connections helps 6,000 members connect with other businesses and take part in themed discussions. Join communities like these within your industry and ask questions that spark discussion. Answer the questions of others and share your expertise. Also, when you create new content, share it!
Other valued communities for local businesses include your local World Trade Center (of course!), Chambers of Commerce, and business associations. When consumers know that a small business is a member of their local Chamber of Commerce, they are 44 percent more likely to think favorably of it. They’re also 63 percent more likely to buy goods or services from the company in the future. Contribute articles to publications, speak on panels, and bring follow-up materials for attendees. Partner on these kinds of initiatives and provide helpful content to leverage these communities.
Taken together, the latest trends in content marketing reflect an important theme: that providing valuable, helpful content to the right people is the best approach to content marketing today. Opt for something with a point-of-view, or a lesson to teach, rather than straight marketing pitches. Consumers and customers know when they are being “marketed” to, as opposed to when they are being genuinely engaged. Electing to do so through value-added content will help build your brand awareness, attracting and retaining customers to your business.