Recently we wrote about SEO/content interplay and about social content that needs to be platform-centric. Content plays a significant role in customer experience, influencing favourable decisions through the customer journey. We found common themes in ‘2018 trends for content marketing’ from Content Marketing Institute, Forbes Agency Council, Digital Marketing Institute, Practical Ecommerce and one of the thought leaders in the industry Neil Patel.
Original content and monetisation: The announcement by Apple to invest $1Billion on original content has intensified the ‘original content’ conversation. They have roped in big names like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steven Spielberg. Google is identifying content gaps through their search algorithms to decide what original content to acquire from brands and media. Big brands are investing in in-house content infrastructure like Pepsi’s Creators League. Currently this is still a ‘big brand’ playground but eventually to stay relevant and improve consumer loyalty, all brands will have to produce content (non-advertising) that consumers want to engage with and is well worth their time and money. Monetisation through the right distribution channel mix and co-branding opportunities can turn the investment behind content into profit. All this means, more brands will invest more budgets behind original content creation.
Transparency: Trust is a crucial factor in customer experience. Peer recommendations score the highest while social/online ads are least trusted. Content across any format needs to be credible and if claims are made, they need to be substantiated. In ‘cause marketing’, consumers need to see these as ‘real causes’ and not as a commercialization of a cause. Influencer marketing needs to be transparent – clearly distinguishing a ‘paid influencer’.
More video: Online video is growing rapidly, driven by user consumption and increase in video formats across networks to meet this demand. Users are showing preference for ‘live video’ and the leading social networks are continuously upgrading their ‘live streaming’ features like Instagram allowing a user to ‘request’ to join another user’s livestream.
‘Content’ is not a silo: There is a lot of overlap between different disciplines – social being the closest one. A successful ‘content strategy’ should have an overarching business/company wide goal which then trickles down to each department. This also means the right mix of skill set within a ‘content team’ – strategy, design, production, campaign management and analytics. Experts in each discipline need to work together to ensure the content strategy impacts overall business model.
Technology: IoT, VR/AR, Voice Assistants – these are some of the technologies that will be adopted by the content team. Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) allow businesses to integrate Alexa with their own platforms, like ‘WebMD’ and ‘Ask Purina’. Here are 10 amazing examples of brands adopting AR/VR technology. KLM providing VR glasses to their ‘budget’ passengers to show what it’s like to fly as ‘regular’ KLM Royal Dutch passengers and EPIC/Legacy Recordings releasing their Michael Jackson ‘Scream’ Album with an AR/Shazam combined feature are just two examples of these technologies creating deeply engaging consumer experience.