Over the past few years we’ve heard many sayings about content and its role in marketing: From ‘content is king’ to ‘video is king,’ to ‘content marketing is (gasp!) dead.’ While there is truth in all of these sayings, the reality lies somewhere in between; content is neither dead nor still king, but it remains essential for any modern company and requires tweaking with the times. With that said, here are 3 trends we think you should add to your content strategy to keep you ahead of the rapidly changing curve.
Follow the Less Is More Rule
Forrester has said that an estimated 50% of all content is going completely unused. This stat is not surprising if you think about how much content exists out there today. Where before blogs and one social media channel were good enough to keep you at the top of your marketing game, we now have omni-channel strategies, vlogs, Instagram microblogs, YouTube channels and a list that keeps growing.
It’s no wonder then that 5% of branded content garners 90% of total consumer engagement, according to Beckon. In fact, a recent report by Hubspot found that, on average, “19 out of 20 pieces get little to no attention. Or, if a team produced 90% less content, they would still achieve the same results.”
But how do you know which content to push and which content to pull? The answer is simple: Track, use and assess content success with analytics. If you aren’t doing this already, you are behind the times. Whether your goal is to increase awareness, engagement or revenue, there are literally hundreds of analytics apps, platforms and resources to show you how well your content is performing. Once you have narrowed down what works, and what doesn’t, you can nix the time-wasting areas, whether it’s the daily blog (hey, once-a-week might be just as effective) or the 10-page whitepapers that only your staff read.
This brings up another important point: Repurpose your best content! Save time and money while still getting results—it’s a strategy we have seen for some time now and will continue to see because it is effective and practical.
Get Very Video Savvy
So, video might not be king, but it’s pretty darn close. We’d like to withhold the royalty status in light of other emerging technologies such as VR, AI and Instagram’s overall dominance of the social media sphere. That being said, you must have a video content strategy to compete in today’s market.
It’s no longer hearsay: we have shorter attention spans than ever before—shorter than a goldfish’s according to a study by Microsoft. This has increased the popularity of image-based content and video by miles.
In particular, according to Hubspot,
- Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
- 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
- Digital marketing expert James McQuivey estimates that a single minute of video content is the equivalent of 1.8 million words.
And it’s easy to see why it’s so effective. Not only is it easier to digest, but it can highlight many points more quickly with the use of stunning visuals, quick cuts, added text and catchy music. In other words, it basically combines all forms of content (written, audio, visual) into one fun-to-watch format.
But that doesn’t tell you how to begin your video strategy. In destination marketing, there are so many channels for video, including YouTube channels, Facebook, Instagram, television, vlogs and beyond. To effectively determine where you can make the most gains, and how much time you should invest, you need to first assess the goals you want your videos to achieve.
For instance, if you are looking to generate more engagement and buzz online, Instagram videos are a fantastic channel to test out. But if you want to have solid ROI or revenue, then YouTube channels with regular, strategically-planned vlogs or features might be more effective. You won’t know for sure until you test, analyze and assess the results of your video efforts, but that’s why (again) tracking your data and analytics is so essential for improvement.
Cultivate Conversations and Storytelling
Look around the web and you’ll see the buzzword “storytelling” everywhere. In modern content marketing, people are seeking transparency, authenticity and reality. This is all cultivated through the art of storytelling. People want to understand the story behind the brand, its message, mission and reality.
In destination marketing, this means carefully curating content that reveals the culture of a place, whether, through stories of the civilians/cultures, user generated content or UGC featuring people experiencing attractions and activities, or focusing on the ‘local’ experience.
In the same vein, the best brands, in addition to telling stories, are now having conversations with customers rather than talking ‘at’ them. These conversations are achieved in a myriad of ways. For instance, social media makes engaging with your audience easier than ever with comments, tweets, native messaging services, groups, pods or private messages, while live streams and chats allow for Q&As, discussions and debates with fans.
By conversing with your key audience, you can learn more about their likes, needs and interests—key information that can feed back into your content strategy through topic pillars that you create and modify over time. In fact, with proper management of your conversations, you can get your audience to create the exact UGC content you need, as seen in Nelson and Kootenay Lake’s Finding Awesome Contest.
Don’t forget, if you’re struggling to manage the pile-up of content for your marketing team, we have simple solutions to streamline your workflow here.