17 Jan 2018

What will set apart content marketing in 2018?

Content Marketing

Success of any digital marketing campaign largely depends on the kind of content produced and shared. We are all writing tons of more content, but are we getting the desired return on investment?

Content has evolved over the years, from plain text to images to videos and now even to live videos. It’s being produced in variety of formats but how do you think content and content marketing will be any different this year?

Impact is the first step of the marketing (and comms) funnel. People can’t remember all the stuff they see. You need good visuals to make sure everything is not wasted. And you need a well-functioning digital ecosystem –@JonathanWich

We see before we read and it can add emotions to the brand. While a lot of brands have been using images as one of the ways of content marketing, they need to be really good, compelling and authentic. Of course, it needs to be backed by real words and actions.

Storytelling is the backbone of any content.

One needs to be clear about the purpose of storytelling and must keep the brand identity and audience in mind. Brands need to know their audience well enough to understand what will connect with them, inspire them and evoke the passion in them.

Don’t sell the product, sell ideas and beliefs that customers are passionate about…that also relates to the product. Develop content that is inspiring, helpful and insightful. Initiate stickiness through your content and build a long-term relationship with your community.

For visual storytelling, it’s recommend that brands leverage Instagram as the primary social channel purely because of the nature of the platform. However, as Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute says, the key is to build an audience on a platform and convert to an owned asset, like email. A lot of marketers get into trouble by NOT converting social subscribers from YouTube/Instagram to Email. This is a must do!

Another interesting trend this year will be to see what’s going to be more powerful: “Seeing” or “Hearing” ??

We would all agree that videos have dominated content marketing since the past few years and this form of storytelling is set to grow over the coming years, only if brands continue to share compelling and authentic stories. Remember, storytelling is the backbone of any content!

That said, in 2018 podcasts could possibly be seen as another platform for sharing content in the Asia Pacific region.

In North America and Europe, most interesting growth in 2017 was in podcasting and I see it growing worldwide – Joe Pulizzi

I second Joe’s prediction as I do believe that while “seeing” could be powerful in building stickiness with the audience, “hearing” could be yet another powerful way to build connect with them. However, one needs to be patient with podcasts since it takes at least six months to a year to build a loyal audience base.

Podcasts are the only media (right now) that you can engage in and multi-task at the same time. – Joe Pulizzi

Influencer engagement will become a core strategy to amplify content and content marketing:

In my opinion, APAC region will also see a spike in Influencer marketing and engagement. While brand publishing is on the rise, marketers will find more value to route “content” through micro and macro influencers. Given the recent statement by Mark Zuckerberg to make changes to Facebook newsfeed focusing on personal connections than on promoting brands and businesses, the most effective way to amplify storytelling will be by connecting and engaging with the influencers – people who are relevant and resonate with the brand and can further help in communicating inspiring stories about the brand.

While Influencer engagement falls under the digital marketing gamut, it will become a core part of any content marketing strategy.

Content marketing challenges in APAC

According to research by Content Marketing Institute, content marketing (both B2B and B2C) in Asia Pacific isn’t as successful as other parts of the world (North America/ Europe/ Australia).There are mainly two reasons behind this:

Content isn’t truly differentiated

It isn’t delivered consistently

It’s about time that brands realize that they need to re-work on their content strategy to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Like I mentioned earlier, focus should NOT be on selling a product or service but to genuinely engage with the audience with ideas and beliefs they are passionate about…that also relates to the product. Additionally, brands need to be consistent with their community to truly see the results they desire!

Those who commit to content marketing over the long-term will see results…those who don’t, won’t. – Joe Pulizzi

Are you ready for content marketing in 2018? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

The article first appeared on LinkedIn.

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