What is the future of content?
The world of content marketing is constantly evolving. Year after year, new technologies push the boundaries of what we thought we knew and people’s wants, needs and habits change, meaning that companies have to get creative to keep up. So here are four trends that we can expect from content marketing in 2020.
A rise in voice search
With the expanding popularity of smart speakers and the integration of AI-powered assistants on smartphones, the use of voice search is booming. It’s not looking like the sector will slow down any time soon, either; it’s estimated that the global voice-based smart speaker market could be worth $30 billion by 2024, so it’s definitely an area worth investing time in.
To take full advantage of this trend, it’s important to conduct your keyword research properly, as the language used in voice search is slightly different to traditional queries. For instance, instead of typing ‘weather Portsmouth’, someone would ask a Google Home or Alexa, ‘What’s the weather in Portsmouth today?’ While the variation is small, it is important when it comes to optimisation. You will also need to anticipate the longer-tail, conversational questions that your audience might ask to get ahead of your competitors in voice search SEO.
Videos will take centre stage
When 54% of consumers say they want to see more video content from brands and businesses, it’s hard to argue that video isn’t important. As the SERPs become ever-more competitive, diversifying your content is a good way to increase traffic to your website, and video is certainly a strong option as it keeps audiences engaged the longest.
It’s important to stress that you shouldn’t be making videos for the sake of it, though. As with any content marketing, they need to be integrated into your strategy and be of value to viewers. But the benefits can outweigh the effort it will take; HubSpot’s strategy manager points out that it’s a versatile medium that can be used for “sales, customer onboarding, driving loyalty” and so much more.
Remember that your video content doesn’t have to be limited to YouTube; Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are all good platforms to use, too. You could even go live on social media to host Q&A sessions or to provide updates that your audience can see in real time. There’s always the option to use video content on screens in spaces like gyms, local clubs and communities, too! Just remember to optimise your content in line with your content marketing strategy, as well as including the use of subtitles or voice overs, to expand your reach even further!
In September 2019 it was reported that one in every eight people in the UK listens to podcasts on a weekly basis – a 24% increase on the previous year. Podcasts are here to stay, and they are more popular than ever before. So where do they fit in with content marketing?
If you’re looking for a way to boost your brand identity and start a discussion in your industry, starting a podcast is a good way to go. They can be inexpensive to run and uploaded to multiple platforms like Spotify, Anchor, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts and more, meaning that you can reach more listeners and tap into a new area of consumers.
But, like with video production, podcasts need to be part of a series, not just one-off episodes every now and then. To take full advantage of the medium, plan ahead and make sure your content will be relevant to listeners. Invite guests, try to interact with your audience and keep the tone light while informative – there’s a reason why entertainment and comedy are the top two genres.
If you don’t have the time or the funds to put into podcast production, you can still get your name out there. Look into sponsoring a podcast in the same or a similar industry, or even running ads in them.
Make use of user-generated content
If you’re running out of ideas, or maybe you just want some fresh content, there’s one obvious answer: turn to your customers. They’re telling you what they want to see from you, so all you have to do is listen. Ask them questions and post their replies, or repost any competition entries they’ve sent you. Post some of their reviews of your products or services, or ask them to write blog posts and film testimonial videos. Use them as case studies.
But why should you be doing this? The answer is in statistics: 85% of consumers find user-generated content more influential than brand content. It’s not hard to see why customers like this kind of content – they’re being recognised and rewarded for interacting with the brand, and it makes a refreshing change from normal social media feeds. Why not work it into your content marketing strategy in 2020?