As the sun begins to set on another year – a very exciting year for Sweet Fish Media – marketing specialists are already anticipating top trends for contenting marketing in 2016.
Content has been king on the marketing landscape for a while now, and recent algorithm changes from Google confirm Seth Godin’s bold claim that “[Content Marketing] is all the marketing that’s left.” As a business owner, if you’re not creating and promoting quality content, you’re going to start 2016 already behind the online marketing pacesetters.
Gone (and happily so) are the days when you could string together frequently searched keywords to boost your search engine ranking and connect your audience to your business. Don’t get us wrong. Keywords are important. Very important. They’re like guideposts on the trail of your content marketing strategy, directing your efforts to most effectively reach your audience.
But increasing your search rankings and general online visibility requires a more holistic approach. And the most fundamental piece of that approach is valuable, targeted content. More than anything else, quality content will help your business grow and master and produce and sell and ship and inspire. And all of the other things you set out to do when you started this thing.
So, with the old school smash-as-many-keywords-in-your-web-copy-as-possible approach in our rear view mirrors, where to from here?
It’s easier than you think to sniff out content for content’s sake, so top online marketers know they have to keep posts and articles relevant, fresh, and engaging. Well-researched and written content will compel your readers to stay a while, explore, and ultimately share what they’ve found. But in 2016, well-researched and well written content is just the beginning.
Content will need to do more like answer a question or solve a pressing problem for your target audience. Confidently leave the trends of 2015 and your comfort zone by anticipating those concerns and issues in your content. Anticipate them creatively through varied media. This coming year, stay at the front of the content marketing pack by telling irresistible stories that connect your audience to why you do what you do.
From our research (and a good look into the Sweet Fish Media crystal ball), here are our predictions for content marketing top trends in 2016.
1. The Rise of Video
Contrary to popular belief, content marketing is more than just blogging. Any medium that conveys a story or message can be utilized in content marketing.
Of the popular media available to us, though, video is arguably the most powerful and efficient option.
When creating video content, you essentially get three (maybe even four) hits in one swing. Obviously, your end product is an incredible video, but in the process, you’ve also created and can break out an audio file, a transcript, and still image screenshots from the video footage for other content applications.
While videos can be comparatively expensive to produce, the impact is unparalleled. And the cost is easily offset by breaking out the additional content components mentioned above. The versatility and universal appeal of video in content marketing makes 2016 the year that video continued to kill the radio star.
2. Purposeful Content
The best adjective for great content in 2016 will be purposeful. Purposeful will replace relevant as creating content shifts from merely addressing issues of your target audience to pinpointing solutions with definitiveness and accuracy.
With so much big data at the online marketer’s disposal, it becomes more and more difficult to identify the market segments that content should target. So information becomes blurry; content marketers try to create a one-size-fits-all solution that fails to connect with any specific group.
By filtering through this data through the lens of purposefulness, marketers can create content with greater clarity and encourage decisions to purchase or patronize.
3. Purposeful Marketing
Another casualty of big data is information overload. Manufacturers and brands have inundated consumers with so much information that it’s hard to make heads or tails on what a product or service is all about.
In 2016, purposeful marketing will attempt to change all of that. Consumers are less interested in what a product or service can do than “why I should.” Content will be delivered from the perspective of added value.
Companies like Starbucks have already been heading in this direction by widely promoting a sustainable approach while simultaneously increasing the price of your Americano. The higher cost of a latte doesn’t stop the masses from flocking to their local Starbucks because it’s still perceived as a profitable company with a “social conscience”.
4. Re-defining Competition
For years, the great marketing guru, Joe Girard, promoted his “protagonist” approach to sales. Girard believed that an effective sales strategy was predicated on building a mutually beneficial relationship with the buyer.
Girard believed that the buyer-seller process is a negotiation, but shouldn’t be viewed as a protagonist vs. antagonist relationship. Both have needs. The Buyer needs to fulfill his intent to purchase and the Seller needs to make a sale. The focus of negotiation should always be to meet the interests of both parties.
Fast-forward (but not too far, as we’re almost there!) to 2016, and you’ll notice that content marketing will be structured the same way. There are no protagonists and antagonists. Greater value will be seen in a product or service that adopts a win-win proposition.
Consumers will expect that accepting the proposition will mean victory for the buyer, the seller, and those in the value chain: company personnel and suppliers.
5. Redefining Value
Wait for it. The iPhone may not be the best smart phone in the world. Steve Jobs never claimed it was, even though it carried a pricier tag. In fact, Jobs was quoted as saying, “Pricing does not equate to quality.”
But Jobs positioned the iPhone as a “revolutionary” invention; one with features that the people “asked for,” and Jobs gave it to them. The market connected instantly with Jobs’ message. Every iPhone launch since that day, eight years ago, has become as manic as Black Friday.
Other great examples of redefining value include Uber and Airbnb. Both companies promoted the vision that there is no such thing as an underutilized asset. Consumers immediately saw the value in their proposition and became loyal patrons.
Not only did Uber and Airbnb provide innovative income opportunities, but they also encouraged consumers to become socially responsible as well.
2016 is shaping up nicely to be another year of foundational transformation for content marketing. As market demographics, tastes, demand patterns, and preferences change, it becomes more difficult for content marketing to maintain inflexible structures. Content you poured your heart, soul, and resources into producing may no longer be relevant in a few days.
Anticipate the shift. Pull ahead with fellow pacesetters. Instead of just using big data and research to create content about “what you do,” start telling people the story of “why you do it.” People want to discover who you are, your purpose, and the story behind establishing your product or service.
Let “purpose” become your purpose; the crux of each new content marketing strategy you design. Consumers are already trained to identify the value of latent business functions. In 2016, they’ll expect it. Content marketers are the new latency excavators and value proposition storytellers. Find your business’ story, and tell it with great passion.
This article was provided by OutsourceWorkers.com.au.
Felix works with the SEO tool, Monitor Backlinks. He enjoys writing about business and entrepreneurship. You can connect with him on Twitter.