Content marketing is integral to the strategy of marketing departments. It’s the center of lead generation activities and informs marketing decisions. So, what should you expect from this vital component of your marketing this year? Here are five 2018 content marketing trends you should know to boost your campaigns.
Intrinsically Profitable Content Marketing Is Booming
The Guinness Book of Work Records is an intrinsically profitable content marketing campaign and can function independently of the beer brand. Branded content in other organizations have the potential to be profitable and this is increasing with the advent of company blogs and YouTube channels.
Many brands have brought this into fruition, for example, the SEO tool, MOZ. MOZ’s content marketing is profitable independently of its core product. Its blog is a traffic-generating machine and the YouTube channel has 36k+ followers. With this content marketing success, MOZ could afford to ditch its tool, focus on content campaigns and turn a profit.
What will change in 2018 is how brands approach their content marketing efforts. Companies will have profitability as the primary focus of their campaigns. Organizations learned that intrinsically profitable content marketing efforts are optimal for achieving business goals. And it doesn’t hurt the bottom line when a campaign turns a profit.
Converged Media Is the New Media
Do you separate your content campaigns into paid, owned and earned media? Well, 2018 is the year to change to a converged media strategy. The idea of converged media isn’t new but 2018 is ushering in a new era of converged media with content marketing centering on those efforts.
Brands are creating content marketing campaigns that work across all mediums. Traditional ad campaigns are less effective than newer, more informative and relevant content marketing campaigns. Rather than creating multiple pieces, brands are working within the same content marketing framework for their ads and original content.
What will be important for marketing professionals in 2018 is mastering the art of creating content that works across all media – paid, owned and earned. For instance, a video that works on a company YouTube channel is amplified when you place it on paid social and influencers share it. But this only works if the video is converged-media optimized. It’s a good idea to incorporate video asset management into the content creation process to streamline projects.
The Increase in Content Marketing Budgets Will Change the Content Creation Process
If you thought 2017 was the peak year for the content explosion, think again. 2018 will be yet another record year for collateral creation. That means the content marketing budget for marketers will increase. This necessitates a shift in strategy for how that content budget is spent.
The 2018 increase in content doesn’t mean companies will pump out more material. Sure, volume will increase, but what’s prescient is quality improvement. Companies will start investing in effective creatives and – more importantly – better creative operations management.
Creative collaboration is vital for content marketing which captures the imagination of your audience. It’s also important for conversions. This can only be achieved with responsive, quality creative teamwork. In 2018, creative operations management will be in the budgets of many marketing departments.
Marketing Departments Will Become Trusted News Organizations
Traditional media organizations, such as online publishers, have shifted from display ads to content marketing to pay the bills. Ad blockers and the ineffectiveness of banner ads have driven this trend. That means editorial and marketing departments have become more intertwined than in the past. The reverse is happening within marketing departments where quality journalism is working into content marketing. Casey Schmidt recently discussed this on Linkedin.
2018 will see a shift in how content marketing efforts are perceived by their audience; particularly the journalistic quality. Plenty of content marketing is already seen as having high-quality content standards. And with the myriad brand-neutral campaigns out there, many company blogs and YouTube channels are becoming trusted sources of news.
A great example is the OPEN Forum online publication from credit card company American Express. The campaign idea was to provide insights and inspiration to small businesses and start-ups – the target audience of American Express’ business credit card line. Now it’s a robust and trusted publication for business strategy news and analysis.
Content Will Be Created in Conjunction With AI
If you think you’re not using Artificial Intelligence in your content marketing, think again. Over 100 marketing tools are already AI-enhanced, and it’s expected that nearly all martech will have AI capabilities in 2018. That means you’ll be working alongside AI in your content marketing campaigns.
What matters for 2018 is how marketing departments learn to adapt to using AI in their campaigns. Contrary to naysayers, AI can be a source of creativity. Many AI features save you time on manual work so you can focus on more creative endeavors.
Image recognition and auto-tagging for images in digital asset management are great examples. Instead of manually inputting tags on pictures (so you can later find them), images are tagged automatically giving you the freedom to find more creative ways to connect with your target audience.
Capitalize on These 2018 Content Marketing Trends
Take these insights for the coming year and use them to drive the success of your organization’s content marketing campaigns. Stay ahead of the trends and be a trendsetter.
Do you have more content marketing trends for 2018? Let us know on Twitter.