Working on the marketing team of a content marketing company means that every year around this time, I’m very aware of what is happening in the industry and what my team is preparing for in the upcoming year. Best case scenario, the upcoming trends are ones that we are already aware of and have been planning for.
When you work in content marketing, you are in an industry that seems to be constantly changing, growing, and evolving.
You know and understand that what you should be working on, isn’t always what is being worked on.
The industry requires you to ebb and flow with it, and that occasionally means you’ll get blindsided. These blindspots can come from anywhere at anytime. The whack may come from a new technology or movement that will ultimately shift and change everything you have in place for your standard processes.
In an effort to ensure you aren’t completely caught off guard — because I’ve been there and it isn’t fun — I want to share a few trends I see affecting the industry in 2019.
Here I discuss what the current trends are, and the ones I see coming, so you can be better prepared for them.
1. Distribution Will Continue to Matter
In conversations with our publication editors and contacts, they’ve mentioned that a success metric they are increasingly tracking is how many shares an article is getting. Instead of simply focusing on getting your content live and visible on outside sites and calling it a day, you need to make sure you’re doing your part to get these pieces seen.
This means that you must have a well-thought-out distribution strategy in place so that each piece of placed content is being seen, shared and engaged with.
2. Say Goodbye to the Traditional Marketing Funnel
This year at INBOUND there was a lot of commotion around doing away with the traditional marketing funnel. Whoa, we’ve all been swearing by this funnel for years.
Before, we were continuously appealing to anyone and everyone and filtered them down into the inbound funnel — only to spit them out again. Currently, a new flywheel method is emerging that focuses on continuous engagement, and ultimately, better retention.
Instead of an in-and-out approach — the flywheel is ongoing. This flywheel focuses on attracting, engaging, and delighting for longevity.
3. Your PR and Content Marketing Should Be More Aligned
PR has totally changed. It’s not what you learned in school (or what is probably still being taught today, to be honest). Previously we used our shameless self-promotion and press releases that announced certain company milestones and events.
Utilizing modern PR is more about aligning with your company’s content marketing strategy to showcase third-party credibility.
In this way you are able to showcase your brand’s expertise. This is about earning your audience’s trust, rather than creating a ton of buzz. Before we were hoping that the noise would attract potential customers. Now, we can be confident that if we provide the benefit the audience is looking for, we’ll obtain that business.
4. SEO Will Have to Be Part of Your Strategy
Content isn’t going anywhere, which means that year after year, more and more companies are creating a content strategy.
Strategy, by its very nature is a creative pursuit. So expect to see a variety of unusual happenings. The placing of content in online publications and getting earned press will become more important.
This strategizing by great teams will create quite a crowded swimming pool of content. You’ll want your pieces to stand out, especially when your audience is searching for it. You will want to up your SEO game as part of your content strategy.
Know what terms your audience is searching for and start creating content around them. Have work ready that you can easily link to. Track your results so you can see how you rank when those terms are being used. As you create more content that is optimized for SEO, your content will begin to rise above your competitors’.
5. Voice Search Will Change Everything
Voice search is on the rise, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Voice-activated tech will change everything.
In fact, 47 percent of consumers are already likely to use digital assists to inform their buying decisions. This means that if you want your company or product to be among those easily voice-searched by consumers, then you’ll want to make sure you learn how to accomplish this. (Hint: The answer is SEO, as this wave will most likely start with search.)
6. There Will Be More Emphasis on Content Creation
In the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2019 report, CMI found that 56 percent of marketers plan to increase their spend on content creation.
To echo the point I made above, this means more people will be ramping up their content strategies, focusing on having dedicated team members to strategize and implement it. Ensuring that they’re targeting their audiences’ needs effectively will be primary. Don’t be late to the party; start preparing by amping up your creation strategy now.
With the content marketing industry being the fickle beast that it is, it probably goes without saying that these are just a few trends to be aware of. Make sure you do your research on these and any others that may emerge so you can be fully prepared in the new year.