Our team’s content marketing predictions for 2018
New year, new predictions. Once again, we’ve asked our team to look into the content marketing crystal ball and tell us what they think the future holds for our constantly evolving industry.
Virtual reality, black hat content bots, artificial intelligence – it’s all going to take hold in 2018. Are you ready?
2018 will see the ‘perfectisation’ of content (yes, I’m coining this!).
In the past, you would have a specific purpose for a piece of content – to rank well organically, to go viral on social, etc. Moving forward, every piece of website content needs to be created with ALL purposes in mind.
You essentially need a checklist which confirms your content is suitable for; organic search, position zero/knowledge graph, Google Home voice answers, social media engagement, email newsletters, and many other purposes. This will, in turn, dramatically increase the quality of content needed to achieve any kind of results online.
We’re going to see a much closer alignment between content marketing and marketing automation this year.
Marketing automation isn’t new, but it’s yet to really take hold in the region’s mid-market organisations. Combined with a proper goal-focused content marketing strategy, the right automation platform can take your ROI to the next level. 2018 is going to be the breakthrough year.
2018 will see decision-makers become more strict on aligning their businesses goals with their content marketing activity.
Only 19 per cent of marketers believe their alignment is either very good or excellent. I expect this to see a sharp increase this year as business decision-makers demand more out of their content marketing activity.
2018 will be the year machine learning starts to affect content writing. With bots now capable of creating almost-competent articles, expect to see Google clamp down on a new wave of black-hat SEO hacks (like posting screeds of auto-written articles).
Meanwhile the best content marketers will pivot in response away from content ‘about’, and towards content ‘by’, where authorship and originality will be the new currency.
So tee-up your CEO interviews – and create content that a computer can’t – to stay ahead of the pack in 2018.
I think there will be an increase in companies offering email and marketing automation software on a smaller but more functional scale.
The big players in this field still lack a lot of features and functionalities, such as efficient and easy-to-use email builders. I expect smaller companies to specialise in these features, trying to claim a niche while offering more competitive pricing.
There will be a push to develop strategies for voice search in 2018.
As Google Home gets rolled out to wider markets, I imagine finding techniques to get your results ‘Assistant Friendly’ will become more and more common. I see Google setting up a lot of development resources for their voice assistant at the moment – even though I don’t see a lot of people using voice apps just yet! For example:
I imagine there will be a big push there to develop apps and get users familiar with the idea they can simply talk to their devices for the answers they need.
Finding ways to make your content translate into Google Assistant will be a major advantage moving forward!
People will start to get serious about content strategy.
I predict that by the end of 2018, more than 75 per cent of businesses in Australia will have a dedicated, documented Content Strategy in place. It’s no longer just a buzzword. Currently, 46 per cent of businesses say they have a documented content strategy in place.
Reporting benchmarks will change.
As social networks push for paid options more and more, and as Google displays more information on SERPs (decreasing click through), we’re going to need to rethink “good” organic results and, in turn, how we pull organic visitors to a site.
In 2018, I believe the Editorial aspect of content marketing will veer towards an even more personalised experience than it is already. Our words are going to relate to the customer in a way that resonates with them more than ever before.
A survey carried out by Monetate found that 94 per cent of digital marketing professionals think that personalisation is imperative to both current and future success in the industry. So, written content must really speak to and engage with people on a level not yet seen – which is a challenging, yet hugely exciting prospect for writers and the industry as a whole.
I think quality will continue to drive search results in 2018, and we’ll likely see more interactive content.
Interactive and 360-degree graphics and videos will climb in popularity on social media, and developers will create more apps to help marketers (SMBs in particular) keep up with these types of content.
2018 is the year search engines will learn to understand non-HTML content formats sufficiently enough to give appropriate search weight to them.
These currently discounted formats (photo, audio, PDF, video) will disrupt the SERPs, contribute more to website rankings, and valorise long running, high quality content strategies.
Vine 2 will fail.
The original Vine was renowned as an anarchic, free-for-all platform that gave rise to hundreds of YouTube, Twitter and TV stars before its closure in 2016. This year, we’ll see Vine 2 emerge from the ashes. But with excessive features and pre-launch bans on users, Vine 2 looks to be a far more restrictive platform, built around cashing on in goodwill for the original.
Expect an initial explosion of activity before it becomes the Google Plus of video publishing.
We will see a return to shorter form content. Although longer form content works if the objective is to rank at the top of SERPs, millennials aren’t always going to read, and more importantly share, a 2,000 word or longer piece.
This generation of consumers want videos, infographics and content they can read and share in a matter of minutes. Shorter and sharper will mean better social media performance and ROI.
In 2018, we’ll see organisations go beyond just understanding their target audience personas and buyer journeys and begin to focus on tailoring content to those customers at different stages.
AI, machine learning and automation tools that can interpret big data will become more readily available and affordable, allowing marketers to create assets, interactive tools, ads and chatbots that engage users with personal, humanised content that may not be visible to anyone else.
A 2017 study by Everage found that only 13 per cent of marketers used machine-learning algorithms for personalisation. I would predict the adoption of this technology in content marketing will certainly increase this year.