When starting a new PR or marketing campaign with content at its heart, preparing the content assets, e.g. blogs, video and infographics, is the easy part. Understanding the ways audiences consume this content is the tricky part as it’s forever changing. So while what you create might engage with audiences temporarily, it can be difficult to create content in a format that will remain accessible and relevant. That’s why it’s important to take a forward-looking view if you want content marketing to have a longstanding impact.
It’s predicted that video will claim over 80% of all web traffic by 2019. But it’s not just about creating a video and sticking it on your YouTube channel. Digital marketers will have to think hard about where they place their videos to maximise its impact, especially given the increased competition they’ll be up against. Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%. 64% of customers say they’re more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it. It’s as important to consider the channel that the video is on as it is the content itself. But don’t just think about video when you want to create image-driven content. Think about content audiences can view on flash players, such as games or quizzes that allow for interactivity. One expert says that the accessibility of content now means that people want to do more with it, so adding another dimension in which audiences can give their own input can give you more scope to engage with key audiences.
But don’t underestimate the power of the written word; blogs are still an effective tool for boosting online presence. With the popularity of BuzzFeed in recent years, and Twitter’s 140 character limit, it’s easy to think that when it comes to written content: the shorter the better. But looking forward, if you want to rank highly on the search engine and show your level of expertise, you need to think hard about depth and quality of the content. In a short blog, once you’ve introduced the topic, made a few key points and added a call to action, you’re done. But longer content means you can go into far great depth and really show off your knowledge on a topic. A few industry experts in this list highlight the importance of content being authentic and well-suited to the brand, which you have greater scope to do when you go into greater depth.
‘Fake news’ has been a talking point for 2017, and social media is becoming cleverer at spotting deceptive content. It will soon no longer be about ‘churn and burn’ content and creating masses of content to post over social media and drive traffic back to your website. Businesses shouldn’t create content without first thinking about how valid they can make it, and should consider the authority they have to speak on the issue if they want to use it to spur SEO.
Online content goes through trends – what may have attracted lots of engagement a few years ago might not be what your audiences want to consume today. Google’s algorithms change too, and this determines how your content fares in terms of SEO. As the web becomes cleverer at spotting invalid content and clickbait, the future of content marketing won’t be about creating content for content’s sake. It will be about creating well-thought out and relevant content that will be of genuine interest to key stakeholders.
Alex Brown enjoys being one of the Skout blog’s most regular contributors.