Of all the digital marketing trends of the last few years, content marketing has had the most enduring impact. It represents a fundamental shift in what prospective buyers expect from vendors: That is, informative and helpful Web content that furnishes value before the purchase is made.
Brands are embracing content marketing at a breakneck pace, finding it the #1 most effective way to build relationships of trust during long sales cycles. However, it’s no longer enough to have a blog – even an active and engaging one.
Now, content marketing is becoming more diverse, sophisticated, and rewarding.
All indications are that 2018 will be another banner year in the growth and maturation of content marketing. Proven best practices are becoming more widespread. At the same time, content marketers’ confidence means they are more willing to experiment within the proven formula.
No matter where your content marketing stands, these three trends should be on your radar
Bigger, More Diverse Content Creation Teams
While an active blog is the cornerstone of any good content marketing strategy, it is only one element among many. Content is now spreading to platforms like YouTube, SlideShade, and many others, which require an array of creative capabilities. Writers, performers, designers, and more are rising to the challenge of visually-focused content like infographics and video. All of these professionals can coexist in one team and continually reinforce each other’s efforts.
Awareness and Adaptability for New Platforms
The last two years have been marked by an increased focus on tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. As mobile reaches a tipping point, however, there is a new challenge on the horizon: The Internet of Things and all the different platforms, displays, and input methods it will include. Technology is integrating into our lives in new and unexpected ways, and brands must stretch their content concepts to achieve more in this exciting new world.
Content in Full Alignment with the Buyer Journey
When prospective buyers go online, they are usually trying to solve a problem or answer a question. Many buyer journeys begin with a generic Web search, but what happens next is hard to predict. Content marketers must understand the different “use cases” for their solutions as well as the many different ways prospects can arrive at awareness of their brand. Targeted, tightly-designed buyer journeys have greater opportunities for personalization and relevance.
No matter how the details grow and change, content marketing is here to stay. B2B firms in particular have much to gain by harnessing the power of this evolution to create meaningful experiences for prospects and customers. By fostering a genuine connection through content, your company can be the “last one standing” in today’s elongated sales cycles.