3 Content Marketing Trends To Look Out For In 2018!

  • By Andy Fox

With the New Year 2018 well on its way, many of us are already pulling up our socks and rallying our team to launch new marketing strategies for the year ahead…

While the start of a fresh new year inspires us to go on ‘overdrive’ to meet our targets and objectives - It also presents for an opportune moment to think, reflect and realise how far we’ve come as industries and brands thriving in the digital era, highly driven by the ‘Content Marketing’ phenomenon.

We sure have come a long way from the humble beginnings of the ‘online’ Content Marketing era – Most marketers may reminisce this as the golden period; a time when Bill Gates famously quoted the words ‘Content is King’ in 1996; after which followed the advent of digital content and thence ‘content marketing’ in the form of white pages, emails, blogs, etc.

Times have certainly changed. Today, we're facing unprecedented disruption in the internet or ‘digital’ technology, giving rise to various forms of ‘content’ other than simply blogs or e-books – Such as podcasts, webinars, infographics, live-videos, Augmented Reality (AR); or take the ephemeral pictures and messages spawned through the likes of social media vehicles, Snapchat and Instagram.

As per CMI’s 2017 Report, 89% of B2B Marketers are into Content Marketing; with half of the remaining 11% non-users saying they have plans to launch a content marketing effort within the next 12 months.

The research found Social Media Content to be the most used Content Marketing tactics, winning 83% of Marketers confidence, while Blogs closely followed at 80%:

Today we look into some of these trends that are likely to dominate the Content Marketing world in 2018:

1.  Augmented Reality (AR) Will Capture Your Imagination

It was only when ‘Pokemon Go’- initiated its location-based augmented reality game, that AR found its place with many gaming enthusiasts worldwide, and ushered in a new era for Augmented Reality content and experience. 

Now we can see many other players jumping into the ‘AR’ space and creating new ways to interact with and engage their consumers and audiences. Just recently, giants like Apple and Google have clearly demonstrated their interest in AR by bolstering their phone with tools like ARKit and ARCore – both of which offers users augmented reality experiences that brilliantly merge the digital and the physical realms:

Another shining example of AR already being leveraged in commerce is that of IKEA and its ‘IKEA Place App’. The brand through this innovative AR feature has radically changed the way people are perceiving technology and finding new ways to shop for their furniture: 

With the App you’re able to test and ‘try out’ a piece of furniture you fancy and get the ‘feel’ of say how that orange chair will look in your living room, on top of the carpet, or anywhere else for that matter. With the App’s ability to pull in more than 2000 products into your living room – an incredible tool for you or your interior designer looking to produce a sample for his/her clients. 

2.  Alexa, Siri & The ‘Screen-Less’ Content

The question here isWould you care to use your smartphone to open up an app to set a meeting reminder, order your favourite supplies of coffee beans or even listen to a song; when you can simply ask a shiny little ‘speaker-thingy’ that does all of that for you? 

That’s clearly seems to be a logical path for us humans; who are always seeking to take our comfort and convenience level up a notch. If it can be done by just our voice; then why bother interacting with any kind of screen after all. 

And Amazon, Google and Apple are already taking huge strides towards that promising future with their AI assistants, such as Alexa and Siri

We already have the ability to interact with Apple’s Siri, or Microsoft’s Cortana; who can provide us with call-and-response content on the go. If we look at Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa that comes with Echo, or Google’s assistant on the Google Home, they are capable of interacting and providing solutions to you without even having to lift a finger or open your eyes. 

The Amazon’s Voice Service Alexa can also be built into your devices such as your car, smart watches, or act as voice assistants to deliver important info for your websites/brand – The American Heart Association uses Alexa to provide information on the details of performing CPR.  Here, Alexa will walk you through the process step by step in an emergency situation to help you save lives that have sustained a heart attack or stroke. 

3.Doubling Down On ‘Micro-Influencers’

Let’s face it – These days there’s no denying that consumers and audiences are getting wiser, aware and savvier by the hour. 

Any ‘persuasive’ techniques which the marketers throw at the audience quickly become weak; some even go obsolete, as consumers grow smarter and are able to detect the ‘depth’ of the waters they’re treading. 

The days of following a renowned celebrity and purchasing a product he/she is endorsing, without giving a second thought – is rapidly declining. No longer are the audience convinced that the ‘detox tea’ which the likes of Kim Kardashian is sipping in her Instagram feed; or the brand of jeans she’s donning – is entirely something she loves or falls in her ‘favourites’ category. 

Instead, we all know that most of the top celebrity influencers, or Macro-Influencers are in it for the love of money, i.e. product endorsement. That’s where ‘micro-influencers’ come into the picture. 

Micro influencers are people just like you and me. They are authentic, mere ‘mortals’ like the rest of us. They are those ‘mommy’ bloggers, wellness or lifestyle writers, recipe podcasters, video bloggers or fashion enthusiasts who are passionately involved in their craft and have loyal followers above 10,000 but below 100,000 in Social Media

Along with having the ‘authenticity’ ring to them; they are much affordable than their ‘macro’ counterparts -  97% of Micro-Influencers on Instagram charge less than $500 for a branded post and 90% of them charge less than $250 per branded FB post.  A celebrity with millions of following could charge up to $7500 per Instagram post

Now that’s one brilliant reason to ‘double down’ on micro-influencers when it comes to Social media marketing. In fact with that rate you can even 100x your micro-influencers and it will still cost you less than a single big celebrity on Instagram. 

Given the stats with ‘micro-influencers’ having more ‘targeted’ followers than the celebrity influencers,  it comes as no surprise that many brands like La Croix Sparkling water are already tapping this potential to increase their fan base.

Finally…

We hope the trends outlined above give you a sense of the content at play and the direction where the marketing winds for 2018 will flow – albeit it's also crucial that you base your marketing strategies with regards to your industry, product and your user personas, to find the best approaches that maximizes your content marketing ROIs.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au

Our Website is www.element7digital.com.au

Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

More about me, visit: andyfox.com.au