Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018
Just how popular is content marketing during the present day? Rather popular. According to eMarketer, 60% of digital marketers are creating one or more pieces of content daily to further their cause and gain more brand exposure and saturation. One of the reasons why content marketing has gained so much traction in recent years is, as DemandMetric explains, because it costs 62% less than conventional marketing yet has the ability to generate 300% more leads.
As the Content Marketing Institute outlines, there eight primary benefits that should be consider as the key components of the current content marketing ROI statistics. These include: Brand awareness (84%), lead generation (83%), engagement (81%), sales (75%), lead nurturing (74%), customer retention and loyalty (69%), brand ambassadorship (57%), and upselling/cross-selling (52%).
Conversion rates for content marketing B2B are healthy, too, and can climb as high as 2.9% for adopters, explains Aberdeen. In a tit for tat corporate world where enterprise level entities rule the roost, the small and medium business sectors no longer struggle to compete on a comparatively limited budget, thanks to one thing: Content, and lots of it.
As CMI explains, 48% of small and medium businesses have adopted a content marketing strategy, whereas just 41% of enterprise level entities have. As far as the effectiveness per type of content being marketed, 58% of marketers prefer rich, original and engaging content, as is outlined in a Social Media Examiner report.
With these factoids in mind, what content marketing trends can we except to see in the year to come? Here are seven trendsetters that will assuredly cross your digital plate in the near future. Bon appetit.
Click Bait Will Die
Click Bait Will Meet Its Demise (Finally)
We’ve all been the victim of click bait. Those promising and catchy headlines that encourage a click to find the answer. Then, when you think you are going to get the answer, viola: you are bombarded with ads, pop-ups and a page that seems impossible to navigate away from lest you close your browser and erase your search history. The image below gives you a great example of a classic click bait title not fulfilling the promise in the body of the content that you know you’d click to.
Nobody has ever been happy about the result of click bait. The folks over at Facebook aren’t, either. In a recent CNN Money article, the social media giant issued a solemn decree to marketers: Stop creating click bait titles or we’ll ban you for good. In order to enforce this decree, Facebook has been creating new algorithms that not only demote click bait titles, but that also ultimately ban repeat offenders. This is a great trend that you will see crossover to numerous social media and news outlets.
Content Will Be Key to SEO
With Google’s never-ending batches of algorithm updates, fresh ranking cookies are always being pulled out of the oven. The goal is to prevent spam and make the content that shows up on the first page results of Google as relevant as possible to users. While there are two schools of thought regrading long form content, studies such as those which have been conducted by Search Engine Land prove that long form content not only gets read more, but also gets ranked better, too.
What’s more, Google is rewarding long form content writers and distributors with better saturation in their “Answers” features and enhanced rankings, according to the Google Webmasters Blog. In it, they advise, “Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.”
Most importantly, though, is the fact that studies have proven that long form content converts better. One recent study, which A/B tested pages, comparing long form content versus short form, found that long form content had a 37% better conversion rate. Not only will this trend continue to take shape, but it will also be harnessed by SEOs who desire to rank better for various long tail keywords.
Instant Social Articles
While social media is busy banning click bait articles and titles, they are also hard at work making something more satiable and appealing become a reality: “Instant Articles.” Facebook has rolled out the Instant Article feature by popular demand, and even offers complete publishing instructions for it on the Facebook Developer Blog.
One of the key benefits of Instant Articles, as explained by Tech Crunch, is that developers are allotted 100% of the ad revenue, on ads they sell, or 70% of the ads that Facebook places and sells. It’s important to note that these Instant Articles do not get preferential treatment in the news feeds, but popularity from likes, shares and comments can get them placed higher. If this trend takes off, you can bet that swarms of digital marketers will want in.
Visual Content Will Takeover
We’ve already seen visual content trends that defy the norm. Hint-hint, this article is a visually reinforced article that’s rich with graphs, screenshots and even the king of all visual content: The infographic (scroll to the bottom to see that nifty visual piece we created). Due to the wide appeal and engagement factor, visual content is easily a marketing trend that will carry over into 2018.
But what makes visual content so appealing? Take a look at these visual content statistics:
- Articles that contain visual content are 80% likelier to be read (Xerox).
- 34% of marketers say visual content is an incremental marketing element (Social Media Examiner).
- Adding relevant images to content can increase views by as much as 94% (KissMetrics).
- 55% of visitors spend 15 seconds or fewer viewing a page, something visual content lengthens (Chartbeat).
Contributor Columns Will Be Golden
While not technically a newer element to online marketing, this content marketing trend is becoming a surefire staple for entities of all sizes. We’re talking about getting your own contributor column in a major news organization. Such columns can attract countless clicks, reads and social shares while simultaneously feeding quality back links and organic traffic back to your money site.
News organizations love it because they get the benefit of a never-ending stream of quality content that they don’t have to pay for, but that they can sell ads against. Marketers equally make out because they are able to gain the reach of a massive audience that enables unsurpassed brand exposure, and the only cost to them is their time spent writing and publishing the pieces.
Bear in mind that you have to have something special to offer to get these columns, as Tech Crunch so advises. But if you can make your way past the red tape, they are an invaluable marketing asset that money simply is unable to buy. For these reasons, they are a viable trend that we’ll see continue to grow as we enter 2018.
The Press Release Will Finally Die
Press releases enjoyed a short-lived life in SEO. Then Google caught on and banned the links from counting in them. Once they lost their link building appeal, most SEOs just moved on to another form of content marketing. Now I’ve already covered the benefits of press release, and how to write them, in my Entrepreneur Magazine column. Nevertheless, their appeal is slowly waning and here are a few reasons why.
- Press release distribution companies are charging a lot more for a lot less, making them financial unviable to small and medium business.
- Distribution outlets are becoming less effective, with saturation and traffic not amounting to a reasonable return on investment.
- Journalists and major media outlets basically ignore them, and the feeds are buried in their online sites where nobody will find them.
- Printed releases do almost nothing for you because nobody reads them and you can’t click on a piece of paper.
- They usually are thinly coated, self-fulfilling ads that do not convince and convert readers.
My thoughts on these aside, a Forbes publication also helps us better understand why the press release is dead. A response from Tech Crunch editor Mike Butcher puts the final nails in the coffin: “Mostly, ‘press releases’ are written in the way a PR’s client would write a news story. They are usually pretty rambling and designed to please the client (read: stroke their ego) rather than assist the journalist … So, I think the press release format is DEAD.”
Now that you are aware of the most pertinent content marketing statistics and trends that will crossover into 2018, it leaves another question looming: How can you take advantage of this by marketing your own exceptional content? To help you get a head start, here’s an infographic that I’ve drawn up that can help you sidestep some of the common pitfalls that are encountered along the way.