Another year is drawing to a close and with 2018 now squarely in sight, it’s time to celebrate with some seasonal predictions about the future of content marketing and what the New Year will bring.
Undoubtedly there will be changes, new innovations and new technologies that will shake things up in one way or another. Content marketing, after all, is all about experimentation and, as online habits continue to evolve and the industry in general continues to mature, it’s important that companies ensure their strategies are keeping pace.
So today, we’re gazing into our crystal ball and bringing you our top 3 content marketing predictions for 2018.
However, before we do so, it’s important to remember that no matter what else changes, great content will always be great content. New technologies may help us distribute it better, new tools may help us make it more personalised and there may even be new social networks emerging somewhere down the line that may help us share it farther and wider. But, at the end of the day, if the actual content you create for your target audience doesn’t resonate, no amount of digital wizardry will make it work for you.
Above all else, the most important thing for content marketers to focus on in 2018 and beyond is still going to be creating quality content – no matter what.
So, taking that as a given, let’s now move onto our content marketing predictions for 2018.
3 Content Marketing Predictions for 2018
1. Content Marketing Roles Will Continue to Evolve
Content may still be king – but we’re not just bowing down to written content anymore.
Years ago, when digital marketers talked about “content”, it was typically the written word – the blog – that was being referred to.
That strategy simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Organisations in 2018 will continue to need content marketing teams with a broader skillset than just writing in order to meet the ever-evolving demands of the modern online audience.
The format is still going strong of course, and indeed, a solid blog will still form the cornerstone of all content marketing efforts (for SEO purposes if nothing else). But, the time is coming where organisations will need to move beyond the blog and consider other formats much more seriously.
Video marketing will continue to rise in importance, as will all aspects of visual marketing. Audio, such as podcasts, will also need to feature in many organisations’ strategies.
For next year, it will be time to consider expanding your content marketing team to include people who not only have writing skills, but video production and editing skills; graphic design skills; photography and photo-editing skills; and audio production and editing skills as well.
The latest figures from the Content Marketing Institute do indeed confirm these trends – in 2017, the average company used eight separate content marketing tactics in their strategies. And we might go out on a limb here and say that we predict this figure will grow in 2018.
(Image source: contentmarketinginstitute.com)
2. More Mobile-optimised Content
(Image source: comscore.com)
And this holds true even for a site like YouTube – again, seven out of every ten minutes spent consuming video on YouTube is on mobile.
What’s more, there is a growing audience that relies exclusively on mobile for internet access, with the largest cohort being women aged 18-24 (22%).
(Image source: comscore.com)
With consumers spending so much time on their mobiles – and a significant proportion ditching the desktop altogether – it’s very likely that we’ll see more brands creating content that’s specifically designed for the small screen in the coming year.
What’s your content marketing strategy for mobile in 2018?
3. More Ephemeral Content
For many years, many content marketing teams have focussed a significant proportion of their efforts on creating evergreen content – i.e. content that can be almost continuously recirculated for months (if not years) on end.
And this tactic does of course make good business sense. Creating content is a time-expensive endeavour – and so investing that time in the creation of evergreen content delivers the best chance of a good ROI.
However, today, the digital world is a fast-paced environment – especially in the realms of social media where most content is promoted.
Snapchat was the first big company to really pioneer the concept of ephemeral content – photographs that vanish into oblivion just seconds after they’ve been viewed. It’s become a massively popular platform, especially amongst young people. Brands are using it more and more to connect with their audiences.
Indeed, it took a couple or three years perhaps, but it wasn’t long before first Instagram and then Facebook followed the ephemeral content suit with their own “Stories” features that essentially mimic the Snapchat offering.
The great thing about ephemeral content of this nature is that it keeps consumers coming back for more. Evergreen is always there when you need it, but when you want to engage regularly with an audience and keep them entertained in near real-time, it’s Snapchat, Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories that will likely continue to grow in importance over the coming year – particularly (if not exclusively for the time being) in B2C.
An example below of Instagram Stories marketing from menswear retailer J.Crew.
(Image source: instagram.com)
Some Final Thoughts
Content marketing is an ever-evolving industry, and in reality it barely sits still for even a minute. And that’s why our number one prediction is that content marketing roles will too have to keep evolving in order to keep pace with the industry at large and the demands of consumers in general.
There was no such thing as ephemeral content just a few short years ago, but now that the biggest social media platforms in the world have created a space for it, marketers will have to fill it, as that’s what consumers will expect. Finally, as the world continues to go mobile, so too must content marketing – video will continue to be the most important format in this regard as well.