With only a few weeks remaining before we bid 2017 goodbye, now is the time to finalize marketing strategies for the coming year. It’s time to identify which parts of your old strategy worked and which ones you’ll need to throw out. Also, are there any new techniques to replace them with?
According to a report by Content Marketing Institute, 83 percent of marketers consider a content strategy very effective in increasing revenue. This is a significant increase from the 74 percent who placed confidence in the strategy the previous year. But even as more marketers understand the need to have a documented strategy, only a paltry 31 percent have documented theirs.
For increased web traffic, a growth in leads, more loyal customers and that spike in revenue in 2018, a closer look at your content strategy is necessary. Set some time aside to analyze what has worked, and identify opportunities hidden within trends.
Related: Why You Should Craft a Compelling Content Strategy for Your Small Business
For instance, Cisco estimates that visual content will account for 82 percent of all internet consumer traffic by 2021. And currently, 74 percent of internet usage is being covered by videos, with live streaming growing in demand. Using this information, you can plan to have more videos — both live and recorded — in your content marketing strategy.
Good enough? Here are four more tips to help you prepare for 2018.
1. Adjust your mobile first strategy.
In past years, the focus has been on making websites more accessible on mobile to reach the 53 percent of global users accessing the internet on mobile. But, now the tides have shifted and given way to a new kind of mobile first. According to this report, mobile will account for nearly 80 percent of all internet usage in 2018.
So, instead of focusing your strategy on desktop and then optimizing for mobile (as has been the case), consider doing the opposite. Plan for mobile users and then add desktop functionality. After all, 80 percent of social media time is spent on mobile, millennials and Generation Z are glued to their phones, and 57 percent of users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.
The key is understanding consumer behavior then adjusting your priorities in order to seize opportunities.
2. Get more creative and personal with your content.
While it’s clear that visual content is a leading factor in content marketing success, your creativity may need some boosting. Pairing text-based content with visuals to keep visitors engaged was the norm in 2017. But, in 2018, it’ll be more about the type of visual content you’re posting and sharing.
For instance, while infographics and videographics are great, going live with raw content on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube may be more effective. Consumers want to purchase products and services from brands they know and love. That’s why 61 percent of marketers plan to use Facebook live and Periscope, while 69 percent plan to learn more about live video.
Prepare to share more organizational activities with your followers, especially the “behind the scenes” content. When it comes other types of content, like recorded videos, images and blogs, only post and share high quality content. Eighty-five percent of marketers believe posting higher-quality and more efficient content was the major reason for success in 2017. So, focus on original content that’s personalized to users and communicates to their emotions.
Related: 3 Ways to Ensure Early Content Marketing Efforts Pay Off
3. Prepare for new platforms.
If your business or organization didn’t tap into chatbots in 2017 for content marketing, prepare to incorporate it in 2018. Chatbots have proven successful in customer service and the same can be witnessed in content marketing.
A 2015 report by BI Intelligence shows how messaging platforms have caught up to social media in usage. More than 2.4 billion people combined are active on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp on a monthly basis.
Why then aren’t you leveraging bots to reach out to your target audience? Bots are a great way to increase brand loyalty, engagement, your understanding of consumer behavior and even conversion rates — all of which are necessary for successful content marketing.
And as you think about bots, also consider optimizing your content for voice search and using machine learning to deliver personalized content.
4. Don’t give up on email. Get better.
Are you struggling to see success from the emails you’re sending? Have you thought about giving up and focusing on social media and blogs? You’re not alone. Sixty-six percent of marketers currently share your plight. But, before you give up, consider that 79 percent of marketers said email was the most successful distribution channel in 2017. This was in comparison to blogs and Social media. That means you probably just need to approach email differently in the coming year.
Related: How Can Small Businesses Compete in the New Age of Email Marketing? 3 Ways.
Think about sending more targeted emails, especially in relation to a subscriber’s history. By understanding the specific products and services a subscriber is interested in, you restructure the type of content they receive. Leveraging big data and AI technologies will prove useful in achieving this.
Interactive visual content, chatbots, storytelling and increased personalization will dominate the content marketing scene in 2018. You’ll need a carefully crafted and documented strategy that incorporates these trends, yet still maintains the traditional email to succeed.
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