Each year marketing experts tout their predictions for the year ahead. The majority are rehashed versions of last year’s predictions which don’t offer any fresh insight. So this year, I decided to pick the top seven most interesting and realistic predictions from around the web geared towards content marketing, from promoting global issues to the internet of things and from micro videos to podcasting. I’ve also explained how your brand can have a go at implementing them.
1. “Content will be more purpose driven, promoting global issues” from Steve Van Belleghem, B-Controversial
Starbucks is partnering with a Huffington Post journalist to create an editorial calendar of articles about causes and global issues. All of these articles will be “backed” by Starbucks in an attempt to represent their brand at the forefront of current concerns. This activity is about placing the brand in a good light.
Partnering with a charity or supporting a good cause is achievable for any brand of any size. Not only are you helping to raise awareness but you’re also opening up your reach to the charity’s followers and advocates.
British manufacturer of cruelty free products, Astonish, have recently partnered with the RSPCA to help raise £10,000 for our beloved furry friends.
For every limited edition Astonish antibacterial cleaner trigger spray sold, Astonish will donate 4p of the sale to the RSPCA.
Whilst your brand doesn’t have to make a financial commitment, being a supporter and making a pledge to promote and help an initiative in any way possible is a great place to start.
2. “Layering of your content for the perfect moment”, Ben Maher, Mashable Executive Director
Layering content refers to finding the perfect moment to target your audience using the device that they use. If someone has time to read long format content that’s great, but these days people only really have time (or the patience) to watch a quick video or see a summary tweet.
A good example of a brand using the right content at the right time, for the right medium was Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” during a blackout at the Superbowl.
Smaller brands can still enter the conversation authentically. Why not reach out on Twitter to people looking for your product? You can do this by monitoring conversations relating to your brand.
Condiment company, Sweet Freedom, regularly join in Twitter chats, getting to know their followers first and carefully placing their products within their tweets:
3. “Video will rule”, Chris Trimble, Axonn Media
Interruption marketing, like TV ads, is over. Brands are pulling budget out of TV advertising and pushing it into online videos. This might be YouTube, but brands are also looking towards newer mediums like SnapChat and Instagram. At the moment these are largely untapped areas and brands aren’t able to make the best use out of them. That’s why Facebook and Twitter are still so overly used by brands.
But if you are a brand that knows how to use these channels to your advantage, then your followers or engaged viewers on Snapchat are worth a lot more than 1000 likes on Facebook because on Instagram and Snapchat people are engaged because they’re actively seeking out content, more so than they do on Facebook.
Beauty subscription service, Birchbox, have been using Snapchat to their advantage for some time. They recently did a series showing how one lady used their make-up to style a great new look:
This is a very low cost form of marketing which doesn’t require too much editing and planning because the nature of Snapchat is immediate. Smaller brands who start to take advantage of Snapchat sooner rather than later will not only reach more people but gain followers and advocates much earlier on.
4. “Tighter Integration of data and content”, Ross Crooks, COO, Visage
Marketers will establish stronger relationships with analysts and data scientists, and cultivate stronger journalism skills, in their team to tell stories. So far industry studies have become less interesting and republishing the data is decreasing in value.
These days it’s a lot more affordable to carry out original research using tools like Google Consumer Surveys and Survey Monkey. Even Twitter now has a new poll feature. Here’s a recent poll Alpro sent to its followers and there were some interesting results:
Surveys and polls can also be a fantastic way for you to gain links from journalists and bloggers referencing your research. For example, we recently created a Travel Report for Mediahawk based upon a travel consumer survey. This was picked up by a number of travel news websites, including Travel Weekly:
5. Interactivity + Mobile First + Amplified by Advertising, Chris Bolman, Director of Integrated Marketing at Percolate
Increasingly, interactive content which places the user experience first is getting a lot more engagement. Amplification, through advertising budgets like retargeting and sponsored content, is going to give brands the attention they want.
Advertising and retargeting doesn’t have to take a huge chunk out of your budget. Social media retargeting offers brands the opportunity to keep in touch with visitors to their website by displaying ads of recently viewed products in their newsfeed. All you need to do is ensure that you have Facebook’s pixel code on your website.
For example, here’s an ad from Endource of a coat I recently viewed.
Brands have tight control over which audience to target and how much they spend thanks to Facebook’s easy to use ad interface:
6. “Podcasting is now entering its true golden age”, Naresh Vissa, Founder and CEO of Krish Media
Something that is most probably overlooked every time you write your annual marketing plan is podcasting. Podcasting is now incredibly popular. By the end of 2015, there will be over half a billion people with the podcasts app on their iOS device. Some brands are more suited than others to podcasting and it can be a great way to build rapport and brand recognition.
Many brands have jumped on the recording bandwagon and have their own podcasts readily available on their website and available to download. The Huffington Post UK has a large selection of podcasts in different niches from comedy to tech, but there’s one thing that brands must be wary of if they want to break into this media – you need to create good audio. Poor quality audio is going to annoy listeners and could make your initial efforts a failure so be sure to invest in some decent equipment from the get go.
7. “The Internet will disappear in 2016-17, becoming the background of our lives”, Robert Rose, This Old Marketing.
Whilst I can’t totally agree that the internet will disappear this year, I can agree with the notion that the internet as a “thing”, one that we log onto and connect with, will just become something that’s always switched on working alongside us every minute of the day. What Robert Rose is referring to here is the internet of things. Will things such as connected fridges, Google Glass and other devices evolve how we create content? I think so. We as marketers will have to start thinking about creating content for smart connected devices that aren’t just a mobile or a tablet.
While we don’t yet have smart lightbulbs or washing machines, we are seeing more things becoming connected, such as cars. General Motors vehicles have been trialled with a new commerce and engagement offering called AtYourService which is essentially a subscription-based vehicle service featuring GPS navigation, Wi-Fi and security features.
The service has partnered with several large brands such as Dunkin Donuts and RetailMeNot to offer car incentives, which has now turned the service into an ad platform. For example, if you regularly use one of the partnered retailers like Dunkin Donuts, when you’re nearby, the platform will send you deal alerts. The same for other retailers.
Brands need to start thinking about how they can take advantage of new connected devices and the types of content consumers will be receptive to.
If you would like help with your content marketing please feel free to get in touch with Receptional.