Content marketing has developed a whole new meaning in recent times, content marketing is now being recognized as digital. Content combined with advances in the way we engage with each other online has brought us into the digital age. Content marketing provides an alternative form of marketing as opposed to broadcasting messages, consumers now decide how, what and when they engage with a brand and this provides a deeper level of engagement since the user can now chooses to engage. It is this perceived choice aspect to content marketing that has made it so successful, people like to feel that they are in control. Broadcasting messages is and still will be an effective form of marketing, however the fact of the matter is, people will only respond to that which interests them and if this happens to be your ad, then great! Content marketing ensures your impression rate is greater by side-stepping the broadcast effect and leaving the door open, so to speak, for engagement.
It is fair to say that content marketing has become a marketing discipline in its own right, it is no longer just a fad but an integral part of any digital marketing strategy.
1) A greater understanding of the link between content and social media – Content is the link between search and social and the link between offline and online, companies who still value the Facebook like as a metric really need to wake up to the fact that the like is only a register of an impression and it is what you do with those like’s that will make or break your content marketing strategy in terms of social. Social bridges the gap between online and offline and content acts as the bridge between the two.
2) Content is the driving force for the increase in local, social and mobile search – Social media has undoubted blurred the boundaries between the consumer and the marketer it is fair to say that the consumer can simultaneously drive brand identity and respond to brand identity. People now use search to inform their immediate needs via devices that can be used on-the-go. Using search to inform your immediate offline world provides a wealth of opportunity for brands looking to market online. Creating social campaigns that ask users to contribute some form of content of their own, such as a photo or even a like, blurs the boundaries between consumers and brands, bringing brands that may once have seemed far removed from their consumers in direct contact with the user’s personal world. Social, when combined with a user friendly content strategy can blur the boundary between local and global.
3) Writing for the user and then for the search engines – Content is now inextricably linked to SEO. Content marketing has become big business since Google’s Panda update. Google wants the internet to be as accessible as possible and contain the most relevant information, hence optimising your content for the user and then for search is definitely the way to go! Original and informative content will always beat churning out unoriginal and uninformative content simply for the benefit of your search engine rankings. Optimize for the user and good ranking should follow naturally.
4) Recognising content as the framework for your entire online marketing strategy – Any marketing strategy be it online or offline must begin with knowing your brand and defining the image you wish to portray. Hence content is directly linked to brand identity, since it will govern the type of consumer and tone of your brand. Everything else should follow suit. For example your posts on social media should reflect the tone of your blog and the user experience on your website will be governed by your content strategy, each page should be optimised for a certain topic so as to attract an array of users in various stages of the sales funnel.
5) A good multi-channel strategy relies on an integrated content strategy – With so many platforms now available for the user to access the internet, it is important to ensure you are sending out consistent messaging across social, mobile, tablet and desktop. Ensuring cross-channel consistency amogst multiple bloggers, print, web and phone and between your social media channels is not an easy task and this is where the difference between content and content strategy really comes into play. A good strategy will ensure the creation of good content.
6) Big data will become a big deal – As platforms become more numerous so does the content created for them, brands need a way of monitoring everything from visitor behavior, posts on social media sites, digital pictures to purchase and transaction data. There will be an increase in the development of integrated data sources in order for brands to manage their content across multiple channels.