Updated: Jan 31
The world of content marketing has changed a lot in the last ten years. At the start of the 2010s, social media was still in its infancy (Facebook was a mere six years old; Twitter was four; Pinterest would launch at the start of the decade). Blogging was still considered the medium of dramatic teenage girls and sci-fi fans in their parents’ basements (with a few notable exceptions). Traditional marketing like print ads and television still reigned supreme – and yet, a few forward-thinking companies decided to give “content marketing” a try.
Today, the marketing landscape could not look more different. While traditional marketing is still widely used in the corporate world, the past decade has proven that digital content is both cheap and incredibly effective. What’s more, there are COUNTLESS avenues through with to market online, from email marketing to a corporate social media presence and everything in between.
Today’s marketers must keep track of which content formats gather the most interest from audiences. Capitalizing on content trends can help businesses drive even more brand awareness and attract new customers. And as we enter yet another decade, it’s time to discuss the content forms that look most promising in 2020.
Video Content Is (Still) Unstoppable
Last year, we said that “video content dominates internet traffic.”
Not to toot our own horn, but we were absolutely right – and this trend simply will not fade. In 2019, the online video platform YouTube reported that their site saw 2 billion unique viewers each month – about 45% of all the internet users on the planet. Additionally, these users are not restricting their viewing habits to their personal devices; according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, YouTube users watch about 250 million hours on content on their TVs EVERY DAY!
With so many viewers scouring the web for video content, it should be no surprise that marketers are rushing to meet their customers’ demands. Not including videos in your content marketing strategy means missing out on a huge untapped market – and no business wants to miss their piece of this pie!
Set up your own company YouTube channel. Hire professionals who can create great work (both in front of and behind the camera) Create video content that highlights your products, services, or brand identity. You just might find that your video content leads more people than ever to your company.
Get Your Audience Involved
Have you ever been scrolling through Instagram and spotted a post marked with #sponsored? Ever been stumbled upon a “Community Post” on Buzzfeed? How about a reader-submitted article on Medium? All of these fall under the umbrella of “user-generated content” (UGC), and they are all VERY effective.
You might think that this is counterintuitive. After all, your audience visits your blog or website seeking expertise. Why would they want to hear from some random user just like them? However, studies have shown that UGC is a great tool for converting potential customers into buyers. About 85% of consumers are more influenced by UGC than by the company’s content!
If you have a loyal online audience, do everything you can to leverage their love of your company. Do social media giveaways to get people talking about your products. Allow guest blogs on your website or customer reviews in your online store. The more user-generated content you have, the more likely you are to attract new eyeballs.
Customers are Using Their Voices
Smart speakers are here – and they’re changing our lives in every possible way. Devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home have changed the way we shop, the way we remember birthdays and anniversaries, and even the way we get information online.
According to Marketing Land, about 24% American adults own some sort of smart speaker. That means that 60 million people are saying “Hey Alexa” or “OK Google” when they have a question they want answered – and 60 million people are trusting Alexa and Google’s answers instead of their own searches.
If Alexa or Google don’t know about your business, you basically don’t exist.
This is why so many businesses are working on improving their voice-activated content. This includes voice app development for chat bots, audiograms (a small snippet of audio that overlays a still image) and even longform voice content like podcasts. Ignoring this kind of content marketing means mission out on millions of potential customers, so make sure you use your company voice today!
Playing with Reality
According to Statista, 59.6 million people used virtual reality in 2019. That figure alone should be enough to make any marketer take pause, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg; experts anticipate that the VR market could include 3.5 BILLION users by 2022, and that VR-based advertising could become a $15 billion industry.
We know what you’re thinking: “VR?! Like for video games? ”Yes and no. Virtual reality (or augmented reality) is actually a broader world than just video games. If you’ve ever used a filter on Instagram or Snapchat, taken a 3D tour of a house on the market, or scanned a QR code on a poster or business card, you’ve engaged in AR-based marketing. This is a burgeoning field with lots of potential for innovation, so make sure your company is leading the pack!
Create E-A-T-able Blogs
With so many new and exciting content marketing options, you might think that old-fashioned blogs are falling by the wayside. But we’re here to tell you… well, the same thing we told you last year: “Not by a long shot.” Blogs are still incredibly useful for SEO, increasing brand recognition, and delivering value to your customers. But as Google reminded us last summer, it is important that you create blog content your customers can E-A-T – in other words, content that provides Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
If you continue to invest in your blog content, your business will absolutely benefit. Firstly, as your E-A-T and SEO improve, your content will jump to the higher ranks of Google searches. Additionally, having a wealth of content on your own website can help drive traffic to your page – and once your audience is already there, they’ll be more likely to stick around.
While other forms of content marketing can be incredibly valuable (and, as the 2020s continue, new forms will inevitably appear on the scene), there is no substitute for high-quality, SEO-driven blogging.