Our Team’s Content Marketing Predictions For 2019
We get it. It’s hard to concentrate. In T-minus-X days you’ll be on holiday, yet for now you’re stuck in the office trying hard not to stare out the window, or think about the beach. But stay with us. This “content marketing predictions” article is just what you need because…
- Reading it is nominally doing work.
- It’s one of those snackable articles, comprised of short quotes from our staff next to pictures of what they look like (which is always interesting, right?).
- We stay accountable by publishing a ‘did we get it right’ follow-up piece each year. That way you can look forward to finding out in 12 months time how wrong or right we were.
So come on team, what are your predictions for the world of content marketing in 2019?
Live streaming will become one of the most hotly contested advertising platforms.
Live streaming had an extremely successful 2018. Twitch (the most popular platform) saw its top earner make more than US$500k per month – and the gap is quickly closing on YouTube’s top earner who makes more than US$1m per month.
Marketers will want to consider using live stream advertising platforms, as their viewers are highly specific. For example, if a streamer plays a video game that’s typically targeted at 15-18 year olds, it becomes a highly useful platform for a company targeting that demographic.
Content marketing will become a core marketing function that’s no longer siloed. It has continued to deliver ROI while more traditional marketing has lost ground. That means marketing managers will be looking to content opportunities as a priority, not a secondary function.
I see more companies ‘breaking the 4th wall’ of content in 2019, spending more time, energy and money on interactive and experiential content campaigns to bring them closer to their customers.
Content for so long has been about what’s on the page. How content can improve your SEO, how it can add value to your website, how it can promote your brands’ position in the market. I believe that with the significant improvements in data mining, behavioural analysis and customer intelligence/analytics for sales and marketing, brands will search for more opportunities to create personalised experiences for their customers through their online content. It’s no longer about targeting the masses, it’s about how brands can meet the needs of their minimum viable audience in ways that create a special and unique relationship between brand and customer.
Marketers who are creative and can think outside the box will rise to the top – it’s no longer about ‘ticking boxes’ to satisfy the algorithm, it’s about creating WOW experiences through your marketing campaigns and content.
My prediction for 2019 is that there will be an increased focus on personalised and highly relevant content.
A study from HubSpot showed that personalised CTAs converted 202% better than standard versions. With such obvious benefits and readily available intelligence to make this possible, I think this is something that will become increasingly popular.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories that you tell.” Seth Godin.
I think that marketing in 2019 will be all about appealing to consumer emotions, developing trust and building relationships. Known as experiential marketing, it’s about businesses finding a way to stand out from the crowd and create long-lasting impressions. We’re exposed to marketing every day, but it’s the content that talks to our emotions that we remember the most, and that ultimately influences our decision to buy. We no longer want to buy just the product, we want to buy into the whole experience that comes with it.
I predict a decline in the effectiveness of influencer marketing (controversial opinion). While I think that the industry in general will continue to rise, it’s losing its authenticity. We’re seeing so much of it and when not done subtly, influencer marketing can easily lose the trust factors that makes this form of distribution effective.
Good writing will continue to be the backbone of any effective content marketing strategy.
You can have the fanciest digital strategies, the best strategic direction and the biggest budget to push it but without engaging, value-adding editorial, these tactics are largely futile.
For content marketing to do what it’s meant to do, you’ll need to ensure all of your written content is bullet-proof. This means unique takeaways, engaging insights and strong writing. There’s no point in centering your strategy around gated content if it’s just going to say the same thing everyone else is saying.
Providing genuine value and personalisation will become more important, to balance the effects of process automation and streamlining.
Marketing automation has become a big part of making business processes more efficient and timely. However, it’s critical that personalisation and providing genuine value to prospects and customers don’t get overlooked.
Prospects and customers should never feel like they are handled as a mass audience. Instead they need to be treated as individuals with particular needs and wants. That’s going to mean marketing managers tailoring their automation efforts to different buyer personas and audiences. For example, they shouldn’t just send out one blanket email about their services but break it down and make it relevant to all their different audiences.
Video will go bust.
The Facebook-driven ‘pivot to video’ got dealt a hammer blow with the revelation that Facebook had artificially inflated its video engagement statistics. While this largely hit newsrooms that had laid off editorial staff in favour of video specialists, this will also hit content marketing companies that have made significant investments in the format. They will still be tethered to video if they’ve set up entire departments for it, but expect fewer 60-second slideshow videos with subtitles and a bigger focus on inventive aesthetics and formats in written work.
Influencer and micro-influencer marketing will continue to grow across social platforms.
With the changes in social platform algorithms, brand content is less visible than before. Using these influencers will help brands get their products/services in front of highly engaged social media audiences. Customers view these influencers as trustworthy and they help brands drive better results on social media. For marketers it means looking deeply into who the top thought leaders are in their industries.
The next hire in your department will be a data analyst.
Obviously this won’t happen for every business, and mostly it will affect big enterprises, but what I’m predicting is the rise of a particular kind of marketing professional: someone who understands traditional marketing, but who has specialised in working with data sets. They’ll support your marketing automation efforts, be involved in your chatbot rollout, and work closely with the IT department as you serve personalised content to your different visitors.
We’ll create more content that provokes emotion.
More than ever customers care about the values and ethics of a company, and I think it will be increasingly important to reflect this in your content strategy. Just creating content isn’t enough because everyone (including all of your competitors) is doing it. To have cut-through content you will need to really think about what is close to your customer’s heart.
This will require marketers to think outside the box; drilling down into customer personas, and thinking about what they care about, what excites them, what are they passionate about – then making content that is different to what everyone else is doing.
We’ll lose the “content” part of the label “content marketing” as our specialisation becomes more ingrained as standard practice.
We’ll also see more companies hiring in-house content strategists, with marketing managers then using agencies for the actual content creation.
Content for content’s sake will finally die.
The myth persists in certain circles that relentlessly regurgitating editorial, video and graphics is still the way to get ahead in the Google game.
That’s just not the case, which is why both digital and content strategists will really be earning their daily bread in 2019. Even the most finely crafted, well-produced content will require a supporting masterplan in order to realise its full potential. Directionless, arbitrary content will end up where it deserves to be – at the bottom of the pile.
The drive for more meaningful customer experiences will see the expansion of personalised content strategies like interactive landing pages, drip campaigns and anything else that can be used to tailor content to a specific user.
Personalisation grew in importance in 2018 but the technology is still burgeoning. Basically people want less spam and more relevant content, so our software and our strategies will evolve to make this easier and cheaper at scale.
Mainstream marketers will create less content – but make it bigger and better.
The game of ‘do more of it than your competitors’ can only go so far – even for those with limitless budgets. Creating less allows for bigger investment in each piece, resulting in wider use of rich media in those pieces, and more engaging end products.
Fewer, but better pieces of content will also support tighter amplification strategies to get that content in front of the right people – and in a world of content overload, those people will be more willing to read it.
End result: getting content marketing back to where it should be – demonstrable value from each piece you create.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 59 per cent of Aussie brands outsource at least some of their content marketing activity. I’d expect that figure to be the same or higher when they do their next survey.
Two or three years ago we thought we’d see a lot more in-house content marketing teams. That hasn’t really happened, but instead most digital marketing teams now include people with some content marketing skills. And most digital marketing campaigns include some content marketing activity.
In 2019 marketing managers will think of content marketing as part of their wider digital marketing and work on a campaign-to-campaign basis. With each campaign they’ll look at what they can do in-house and then look to agencies to complement their skill, ideas and resource. So whether it’s for analysis, strategy, planning or creating particular types of content or doing content at scale, demand for external help will remain very strong in 2019.
The challenge for agencies like us is to offer sophisticated products, flexible agreements and responsive production so we can meet this demand.