Content marketing is moving far beyond keyword stuffing and machine spinning, and this is mainly due to the increasingly sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence used by search engines and new factors used to rate content. This is why it is essential to stay ahead of the curve if you want to be able to not only improve your search results, but also refrain from wasting time and energy on outdated methods. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest content marketing trends to watch for in 2017.
Asking for celebrity endorsements for your products has been a backbone of marketing for ages. The Romans even had gladiators endorse olive oil and other products. Today we are seeing influencer marketing shift from big name celebrities in entertainment to far more niche influencers.
For example, personalities on YouTube gaming channels are asked to talk about games and gaming platforms, while top rated Mommy bloggers are asked to review minivans and baby products. They live lives closer to that of their audience, and that increases their “street cred”.
The value of influencer marketing in this regard is that it is seen as more personal and accessible (and thus relevant) than having an A list celebrity endorse something. The more recent trend in influencer marketing is mainstream media outlets buying influencers.
Content marketing is shifting to provide more interactive content and experiences. The growth of quick answers means your content has to be deep or engaging for it to remain relevant. Some companies have shifted to podcasts and videos to engage their customers in immersive content. Others are using infographics to explain complex topics in an easy to understand way. Infographics have the side benefits of being impossible for content scrapers to copy. Infographics and video presentations tend to be shared by others instead of summarised because it is too hard to do more to explain than send a tweet with the link and “read this about X”.
An Engaged Audience Is Invaluable
An engaged audience is invaluable and only becoming more precious by the day. An engaged customer base provides an immediate source of social media sharing when you release new content. They generate “buzz” that causes search engines to rate your brand and content more highly. Keeping the audience engaged results in deeper customer loyalty, something that you want in order to maintain sales when there are so many other options on the market.
Content marketing needs to cater to your audience in order to keep them engaged. Sharing coupon codes or discounts with them and them alone is one way to reward your customer base. Another way to build engagement and loyalty is to give coupon codes, inside information or company newsletters to your customers via email first before it is posted on social media. The minimum for keeping an audience engaged is publishing high quality content marketing pieces that fit their needs and support your brand on a regular basis.
Social Media Backlash
We are seeing social media backlash on several fronts. One is the response to Twitter’s demonstrated censorship during the 2016 election by purging many brand name conservatives off the site in the name of trust and safety, while others had their verification badges removed or content shadow banned.
YouTube generated controversy by altering algorithms to punish certain types of content, resulting in YouTube star PewDiePie losing traffic and ad revenue while many conservatives and libertarians were seeing videos demonetised under very biased guidelines. Sometimes the censorship was subtle like putting Dennis Prager’s educational videos in restricted mode, classifying the moderate speaker’s political and capitalism videos at the same level as rated R videos. Singer Mykko Blanco having a music video that fell within community guidelines taken down due to accusations of being homophobic while sexually explicit videos were readily available is another case of double standards.
One result of this is the shift for many content providers to mirroring sites, while others now actively solicit for donations on Patreon to make up for the lost ad revenue. Another impact is the sheer demand by content creators for sponsorships to provide another source of income, creating an amazing opportunity for companies to create relationships with mid-level influencers. A third impact is the growth of platforms like Gab to rival Twitter, Vimeo to rival YouTube and Voat and Aether to rival Reddit. While none of these sites are big, the lesson of Myspace should loom large for those who take the risk of alienating too much of their user community with either excessive commercialisation or outright censorship.
Influencer marketing is growing simply because it is so much closer and more credible to the customer base. You have to keep your customer base engaged and happy to help your SEO and maintain your market share.
Social media backlash is driving the rise of new social media platforms while creating new opportunities to sponsor influencers. Interactive content is becoming a necessity because any content that answers questions “instant answers” can provide will get passed over by both search engines and users.