2019 has finally arrived and guess what…
Content marketing has only gotten bigger, more important, and more promising.
The reason? Honestly, you can blame the internet. There’s no better marketing tactic for the digital age than content marketing. It’s diverse, immersive and able to evolve into whatever the future holds. It’s no longer a “trend” — it’s a standard.
Speaking of evolution…what will the next year of content marketing look like? Well, let’s take a look.
More value, more authenticity, more transparency
We’re going to jump off with this one because let’s face it, these three facets of content marketing should be well underway in your strategy.
Content marketing is of course still marketing. But the intention, the drive behind creating a piece of content is to provide value. Value comes in many forms too…not everything has to be a tutorial, or an educational piece of content. Entertainment and inspiration are also extremely valuable forms of content.
Don’t write these off as fluff either, there’s a reason why some the largest content creators on the planet are wacky personalities and inspirational figures. Plenty of people just like this are being utilized in influencer content marketing strategies.
There are just a few examples, but they illustrate a point. Value is like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder. What’s valueable to some may be useless to others. That’s why it’s still crucial for you to know your audience and their needs when evaluating what type of value you want to provide.
The content also must reflect your brand, your voice, your values. It has to feel genuine, it has to feel natural coming from your company. This is where authentic content marketing can be tricky because companies often have a skewed or uneven brand identity. A cohesive brand identity has to be understood and implemented by everyone in your organization and it should permeate through everything and everybody that comes into contact with your brand.
Now, transparency is somewhat new…in the sense that marketers are starting to understand just how intelligent the consumer world has become. With so much information about products or services available on the big ole internet — and reviews accessible on many platforms, opacity only breeds distrust. Simply put: Say what you do and do what you say.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that allows you to schedule posts to all of your favorite channels. It’s a pretty great tool — before I came to work at The Guerrilla Agency I got the chance to use it at my previous agency. It’s not that sexy of a sell though, but Hootsuite found a creative way to make some content.
I’m certain they did some market research to find out just how nerdy us marketers are because they hit the nail on the head with this one. HBO’s Game of Thrones is an extremely popular series — but it definitely has a cult following. Our demographic must fit right in with that following because everyone in my old office loved this piece of content. And everyone watched G.O.T.
They perfectly recaptured the opening title sequence for the show with their own unique spin. They swapped out the warring kingdoms like the Starks and Targaryens with warring social channels like Twitter and Instagram. They conclude the recreation by showing how their software manages to unite all of these competing platforms within their software.
Blendtec had a pretty wild run for a few years with their viral content marketing campaign Will It Blend?
Blenders are pretty cool if you obsessed with smoothies or milkshakes (honestly I don’t really know what people use blenders for). But Blendtec found a pretty genius way to market their durable blender product. Put a bunch of random crap it in it and see if it blends. We’re talking a bunch of markers, a football, an iPhone, an Amazon Echo, deodorant…and occasionally — actual food.
Safe to say this strategy worked and their social channels and ROI skyrocketed. They did partnerships with superstars like Shia LaBeouf, professional sports team’s like Salt Lake City Soccer and even ended up on The View with Whoopi Goldberg.
The Make-A-Wish® Foundation works to inspire and create hope for the children they help. It’s a truly moving organization with a great cause at heart. Below is a poster for the documentary that came together after this non-profit’s efforts to help a young boy become batman for a day.
All marketing talk aside, this story is incredible and the documentary will have you sobbing. You should definitely check out the trailer.
So what content type is right for you?
This is going to take some creative thinking and strategizing from you. Will it be infographics or video content? How about blogs or interviews? Now that you better understand the vision and message your company wants to convey — it’s time to find the right format to portray your brand through content.
Where will it be published?
Next you’ll want to determine where your content will be published. There really isn’t an obvious or right answer here. Where you decide to put your content should align with the strategy you have created. You can put it out via social media (which we’ll get to later in the post), on your website, in an advertisement or in your blog.
You can even repurpose the content for multiple channels, platforms or locations. This is all dependent on the why behind your content.
Start your strategy
We’ve been mentioning strategy a ton in this post. This isn’t anything shocking, if you have goals your aiming for then you need a plan to achieve them.
If you’re looking for a clear cut path or a jumping off point for a content marketing strategy then we’ll give it to you. Well, at least the scaffolding.
Create a goal that you want to hit. This should be well defined and shared with everyone that will be a part of the content creation process. Ask yourselves why your creating the content. Ask who your content is for. Ask yourself if the content and the goals it aims for feels aligned with your brand.
Do your research on your intended audience. This means you should be creating buyer personas. Knowing who your audience is or who they may become is all a part of your strategy. This is a dynamic process. Your personas may change. You may want to grow and expand your horizons. Either way, understanding your audience and creating a well defined target market will help pave the way for your content.
Get a content management or publishing software so that you don’t have to spend an eternity posting content everyday. These softwares often have helpful features to not only aid you with content creation but publishing as well. Some even come equipped with analytical properties to help you track the success of your content. Here are some of the more popular softwares out there.
Note: All of these systems come at a subscription price. Just make sure that you read the fine print about how many platforms and posts each subscription tier allows before you make a purchase.
Come up with content that is realistic. Content marketing is incredible for a few reasons. It doesn’t have to be a damn Super Bowl advertisement. It can be pretty low budget as long as it aligns with your brand’s values and has value as well.
Content types for you
Blog posts have been a popular form of content for the past decade or so. No matter how many times people predict that they will drop off the content radar, blogs continue to provide amazing value and positive results.
There are a tons of ways to create blog content and a few rules of thumb to keep in mind. You’ll need a strategy in place for creating blog topics. We use the pillar and cluster method for our clients.
There are also lots of rules when it comes to blog post length. Typically you’ll want to shoot for around 750 words or so, but longer posts that are packed with value will do far better than shorter articles.
eBook’s are another great piece of value driven content. These are also typically lead generating content that are longer and provide a more in depth look at the subject matter.
Think of blogs as a teaser trailer (with some spoilers) and eBooks as the whole feature film. You want to lure in readers with a well written blog article and hook them with your eBook.
Infographics provide some structure and visual elements to a piece of content. You know the saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Well an infographic is worth far more.
The visual component of an infographic is what drives this piece of content. You will still need to accurately provide valuable information in a sensible way, but the imagery you provide will grab some attention.
You can also get creative with your infographic! Here’s a little screen grab example of an infographic we did using chicken (yes, chicken).
Case studies provide some legitimacy and a little big of bragging rights. They provide value for your potential customers by giving them an inside look at what you’ve done and what you’re able to do.
Think of these as a way to tell a story. These are essentially living breathing testimonials. Case studies can take on many forms as well.
- Blog posts
- Video content
Note: The format you choose for your case study should align with the client. If you’re having trouble visually illustrating a case study, it may be better off as a written piece.
Video content is possibly the fastest growing and most successful means of content creation out today. We just started implementing it here at The Guerrilla Agency and it has done great for new business.
People love video for a ton of reasons — mainly because it puts a face or a living image into a message or piece of content.
These are just a few of the many content types out there. Inside these broad content types there are even more variations and ways to provide valueable content in 2019. Check out this great graphic from Hubspot with a ton of ideas for you to try out.
Where to put your content
Once you’ve crafted your beautiful content strategy and created some great pieces — you’re going to want to share them with the world.
Where you choose to publish will depend on the type of content you’ve created and the channels you have for your biz. The great thing about content is that it can be repurposed or even evergreen.
Some of the most popular social media platforms for instance are:
A quick word to the wise: Be mindful of the type of audience you have on each platform. For instance, your LinkedIn audience may be very different than your Twitter followers. This means that the content you create for one may not work so well for the other.