Content marketing is a rapidly developing field, with new approaches and techniques developed on a constant basis. In recent years, it has emerged as a critical strategy for online businesses to connect with their target audiences, and for a good reason.
According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is popular because:
- It’s a great alternative to hard sell advertising
- It has lower up-front costs and more long-term benefits
- It generates 3x more leads as outbound marketing and costs 62 percent less
- It helps small businesses to get more leads; in fact, small businesses with blogs achieve 126 percent more lead growth than those without.
Now, take a look at that last point once again. Quality blog content can help your small business to get 126 percent more lead growth! That certainly sounds like something worth pursuing, right?
But are you aware of the latest content marketing techniques and trends that can help to maximise the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy in 2019? If you’re not, read further because sharing them with you was the main reason why I wrote this article.
When you finish reading, you’ll know seven content marketing trends that will define success for small businesses in the field in 2019. Let’s go.
Trend #1. More Video
Video marketing is so hot right now. It has been moving at the speed of light in recent years and hasn’t lost any momentum in 2018, which means that online businesses will continue to rely on this strategy next year as well.
Let’s talk specifics now. According to The State of Video Marketing in 2018 report, video is super popular this year:
- 81 percent of businesses use video for marketing purposes
- 97 percent of marketers say video helped them to increase sales
- 81 percent of customers have been persuaded to purchase a piece of software or an app after watching a promotional video
- 76 percent of marketers say that video helped them to reduce support queries
- 72 percent of customers say they would rather watch a video to learn about a product or service.
This Ascend2 report also showed that 45 percent of marketers agreed that video marketing was “effective to achieve lead nurturing,” which is a principal goal for all online businesses.
Impressive, right? Clearly, video has an amazing potential, and it could be an indispensable tool for your small business.
The stats above, for example, suggest that it can help to increase traffic on your website, reduce the number of support queries, educate your customers about your products and services, and help to achieve other marketing goals.
On top of that, people love to share videos they like. In fact, the aforementioned report found that 83 percent of customers would consider sharing a video with their friends.
So, this tool can do wonders in terms of increasing your online presence and even building your image as a thought leader in your niche, assuming that you’re creating engaging how-to videos.
Takeaway: Video is getting increasingly popular, so you have to get ready to ensure that your business takes advantage of this medium. Here are the tips that you can use to grow your business with video in 2019:
- Create behind-the-scenes videos about your business (make it a story, too!)
- Produce customer testimonials (customers value third-party proof)
- Help customers to resolve their issues by filming someone from your business explaining the solution (“How to create online invoices,” “How to dribble a basketball” etc.)
- Go live from interesting events related to your business or niche (It can help to increase viewership on social media).
Regardless of what video you choose to create, remember one important thing: it should be customer-centered, e.g. be interesting and relevant to them.
Trend #2: Personalized Content
This trend has been going strong for quite a while now, mainly because personalization helps to deliver that much-needed customer-centeredness in content. Besides, it makes a perfect sense because the days of in-your-face, salesy content are gone, and every business that tries to use it is likely to fail.
Let’s see how personalization is doing. According to 2018 Trends in Personalization report by Evergage, the majority of digital marketers say that personalization has a positive impact on advancing customer relationships.
In fact, 56 percent and 18 percent of them reported that it had a “strong” and “extreme” impact, respectively.
Source: 2018 Trends in Personalization report
Only 2 percent of marketers saw no impact of personalization, which suggests its effectiveness in advancing relationships with customers. Since 88 of the expect a personalized experience with businesses, the same report suggests, so it’s safe to claim that personalization can go a long way in improving your business.
Takeaway: To increase the effectiveness of your content in 2019, you have to personalize your content. But where should you apply personalized experiences? The 2018 Trends in Personalization report suggests the following most popular channels for personalization.
Source: 2018 Trends in Personalization report
Trend #3: The Use of Chatbots
AI-powered or command-based messengers, or chatbots, are quickly becoming a big deal in content marketing.
“Today, many businesses choose to go with them instead of developing apps, and this decision makes a good sense,” states Christopher K. Mercer, CEO at Citatior. “Customers are getting tired of and bored with apps; plus the app market is so saturated, getting noticed is extremely difficult.”
On the other hand, chatbots, are a completely new and exciting thing that eliminates downloading and installing, communicates with users, and can supply them with content based on their preferences.
For example, the Food Network chatbot supplies the users with useful and relevant content based on their needs without the need to visit the website or download an app.
Source: The Food Network
The uses of chatbots are already well-researched. For example, here’s a list of them from The 2018 State of Chatbots report.
As you can see from the list, many of these predicted uses are content-related, so chatbots can be a great addition to improve the effectiveness of your content strategy. For example, a chatbot can supply a user with content for inspiration and ideas for purchases.
Takeaway: A chatbot can be a great tool for small businesses in terms of advancing their content marketing, so consider developing one. It can provide these great benefits for small businesses, according to Robert Castellanos, a social media manager at Resumes Centre:
- Supply users with content
- Personalize content for users
- Provide content & product recommendations to users
- Allow quick and easy communication between businesses and customers
- Provide limited customer support via chat
- Scale up important business operations.
Trend #4: Direct Interaction with Customers
Businesses continue to develop chatbots and improving their social media game to answer all requests from customers and leads. Since customers want specific and personalized answers to product/service requests and other questions, doing your best to deliver them is a must in online business.
“Use your website and social media profiles to communicate with your audience directly to demonstrate your commitment to deliver an excellent customer service,” advises Amanda Sparks, in-house marketing specialist at Essay Supply. “Also, you can collect a lot of valuable data from customers using these channels; for example, you can ask them about their content preferences and use their answers to improve your newsletter.”
Takeaway: Use every opportunity to communicate with customers directly and do your best to provide quick and clear answers. For that, you may need to develop a chatbot and use a customer support automation solution.
Trend #5: Social Media
There are a number of social media trends that your business will have to pay attention to in 2019 to stay relevant and competitive. They include the following.
More Live Video
We’ve already discussed this trend in the first section, but let’s now focus on social media live video. Here are stats suggesting the importance of streaming live for online businesses (source: Livestream):
- 80 percent of customers would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog
- 82 percent of customers say they prefer live video from a business than social media posts
- 78 percent of online audiences are already watching video on Facebook Live.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
It includes such content as customers’ posts about businesses featuring images and videos.
For example, if a customer made a selfie with their friends at your restaurant and thanked you for making their birthday celebration perfect, you can share this photo on your business’s profile and demonstrate the quality of your service (don’t forget to ask that user for permission to use their content, though).
Doing so is a great way to attract more attention to your business, build social media follower-ship, and increase word-of-mouth referrals.
Messenger Apps and Chatbots
We also discussed this one above. Messenger apps and chat-bots are social media-based, so we have to mention them here. For example, many businesses have developed chat-bots to communicate with customers and supply them with content using Facebook Messenger platform.
Bots offer customers another easy-to-use channel to communicate with brands and vice versa, so using them to keep your customers engaged with your small businesses is becoming a must.
Trend #6: Creativity and Authenticity
As it was mentioned above, Internet audiences are fed up with hard-sell advertising, so creating engaging and authentic content will be the key to content marketing success in the next years. This could be quite difficult. In fact, a survey of B2C marketers completed by Content Marketing Institute discovered that producing engaging content was the most difficult challenge for them.
Source: Content Marketing Institute
To make this task easier for your small business, feel free to try the following tips:
- To make sure that your content is worth reading, write about something you have expert-level knowledge of
- Use user-generated content; it’s the best content in terms of authenticity
- Write useful content; for example, study your target audience and identify their content needs
One last tip: own your mistakes. Many businesses make mistakes in content from a simple typo to making a ridiculous or plain stupid claim about something. If you did it, admit that you made a mistake and apologise. To improve the quality of your writing and proofreading process, feel free to check your text using tools like Hemingway Editor or find reliable writers on review sites such as Online Writers Rating to assist you.
Trend #7: Guest Blogging
Guest blogging, or publishing an article on someone else’s website, is still an effective and affordable way for small businesses to get back links. Despite the rumours about it being irrelevant and obsolete, this recent survey described on Business2Community found that it’s pretty much alive and kicking.
Here are the complete data on the number of guest post pitches per month.
Clearly, many people turn to guest blogging for links; in fact, 7 percent of the respondents pitched to more than 100 websites!
Fortunately, there are lots of websites from many industries out there accepting guest blogs for free, so you’ll never run out of options.
Takeaway: If you have an idea for an article that can be useful for a certain audience, find a website from that industry/niche and let them know about it. Of course, you should also consider the website’s popularity and image before pitching and don’t forget to mention your business in a relevant and natural way in your articles. Remember, no hard sell stuff.
That’s it. These are the seven content marketing trends that your small business shouldn’t ignore in 2019 to remain competitive and stand out from the pack.
Since your competitors are constantly improving their content game in terms of strategy, thought leadership, and quality, following the latest trends is a must to maximise the chance that your brand’s voice will be heard.
At this point, it’s clear that 2019 will be about AI-powered technology, personalization, video, and authentic content, so to stay ahead of the curve, your business will have to get better at each of these trends. I hope this article was helpful for you and gave you the knowledge you need to start doing that.