Content Marketing Trends 2018 – What's new and what's left?

201712KD Blogbeitrag Content Marketing Trends 2018

Well, how long have you kept your good intentions for the year 2017? The participants of the study Content Marketing Trends 2018 obviously took our blog post from last year to heart: All participants stated that their company has a content marketing strategy. However, only 14 percent have a fully developed and functioning strategy. And the others? For the majority, the strategy is still under construction, with around one-third of respondents saying that they are dissatisfied with the existing strategy. There is still room for improvement for 2018!

As is often the case with good intentions: most of them are still valid next year. Nevertheless, we looked at each other: What are the Content Marketing Trends 2018?

Purpose 1: Invest in content quality

Improving content quality is a key task for 98 percent of respondents in the New Year. What a confession! If you want to achieve success with content marketing, you first need a strategy and goals – only then do you use your budget and resources as effectively as possible. An important part of the content marketing strategy is the development of personas. This ensures that the content is relevant and useful – either satisfying a reader’s need (pull content) or awakening (push content). In the English-speaking world already a big topic: the optimization of content in terms of voice search. Maybe you’re one of those who uses the voice commands “Okay Google” or “Hey Siri”?

Resolution 2: More videos, preferably live

We have already predicted this for 2017. But this trend will intensify even more in 2018: videos. The days when it took an expensive camera to make a good video are over. A smartphone and a tripod are often enough. According to Facebook, live videos are particularly popular with users. They are viewed more frequently and commented ten times as much. What also eliminates this is the elaborate post-production. All the more important is a good planning in advance. Bad light, noise or an unstable internet connection are just some of the technical hurdles that must be circumvented. In terms of content, you should also think carefully about what added value the live video offers the viewers.

Resolution 3: Expanding the Reality

Since September 2017, there is “IKEA Place” in the AppStore – an augmented reality (AR) app, with which you can virtually place furniture in your own home. By the end of 2018, there could be 800 million smartphones around the world supporting sophisticated AR applications. The depictions are already amazingly realistic. That’s why Deloitte predicts the big breakthrough of augmented reality for 2018.

Intent 4: Content over the whole user journey

The importance of content marketing will continue to increase. Companies can come into contact with the users via suitable content, arouse their interest and finally build trust. A common mistake made by companies is to focus on users who are still at the top of the sales funnel or have long been customers. The intent is therefore to provide relevant content for users at every level of the user journey. Neil Patel goes so far as to say, “Content is the fuel for the Buyer’s Journey.” Sounds logical: if the fuel runs out while driving, you will not get to the finish, or there will be no conversions. So plan the content strategy along the whole funnel.

Resolution 5: Collaborate with influencers

“Influencer Marketing” is the buzzword 2018. A recent study proves: Influencer marketing works. And especially with young people. In the age group of 14 to 29 years, every sixth German online user has already bought products that he had previously seen with an influencer. Do not forget: Transparency is king! The users want authentic, transparent brand messages. If the product is to be housed only indiscriminately with as many Instagrammer with as many followers, then that brings nothing. It is better to carefully choose micro-influencers with fewer but dedicated followers – especially for niche products.

The conclusion of Content Marketing Trends 2018:

Despite all trends, one thing remains crucial: the communication mix. And the interlocking of the different channels. In a digital customer magazine, Facebook or Instagram can be integrated into the concept, as well as the cooperation with influencers. A valuable supplement is a print magazine with a personalized address, a newsletter or a live event in which the smartphone is included as a video camera. There are many possibilities – what are you trying out in 2018?

From customer magazine to content marketing: you should pay attention to this

It’s striking that most authors base their thinking and content marketing theorems on a kind of zero situation. The most important target group seems to be the marketing directors of online start-ups. Those who are just starting to rebuild their marketing fundamentally.

Many mature companies, on the other hand, have questions that can not be solved easily with common blueprints. There was already marketing with content operated long before it got the name Content Marketing.

Marketing with content has been around for a long time

In such companies, there is a regular customer magazine as well as a website with narrative elements and a Facebook page. Even e-mail newsletters and press distributors are not inventions of the content marketing age.

Of course, the decades-old customer magazine is an instrument of content marketing. In fact, print magazine has produced content marketing, not the other way round. But be that as it may. Today’s content marketing has grown into other functions, such as SEO, PR 2.0 and reputation management.

Overcome silo thinking

Companies that have been marketing content for a long time and want to take these new features with them are facing different challenges than the start-up. The boundaries between marketing, corporate communication and sometimes even human resources that have been established for years cannot be overcome in a coup d’état. But they hinder the free flow of content. In addition, personnel responsibilities are mostly distributed by channel. Colleague Müller is responsible for the print magazine, colleague Meier for Facebook. The website looks after IT. This results in silo thinking, thematic individual courses, and inefficiency.

One short-term approach to this dilemma is to first focus on one of the existing channels. Due to its high content density, the printed customer magazine is ideal for this. When preparing each issue, large quantities of material are usually researched, viewed and utilized. In addition, seasoned print editors have always been used to thinking in stories and consistently putting themselves in the reader’s seat.

The customer magazine as a starting point for content marketing

With explanations about personas, communication goals, topics etc. you do not have to spend much time with experienced editors. In any case, shorter than it takes to teach editorial work to an SEO specialist …

So why not make the customer magazine the core of the content strategy? In the first step this means:
– Expand topic planning to social media channels.
– Think beyond the traditional journalistic formats when transposing them.
– Always think about seeding in addition to long formats and also work up the content in short formats such as infographics, top ten lists, short presentations, tip boxes, and picture galleries.

Changes in structure and processes are inevitable

That looks still manageable and can work in conjunction with a certain social media management quite first. However, this entry also means changes in workflow and responsibilities and must be well planned.

However, a complete interministerial revision of the structural and procedural organization will become inevitable for a really efficient implementation. Because turning away from channel-specific and turning to a topic-specific way of seeing and working brings about a paradigm shift in the entire professional communication work.

What is Content Marketing?

Tips for a lean start to success measurement

For many companies, measuring success is still new territory. They find it difficult to find the right measure in dealing with key figures. Often the motto is “completely or not at all” – big data or blind flight. The truth is, as so often, in the middle. Find out here how to get as streamlined as possible into the analysis and control of your content marketing and which key figures you really need.

Especially small companies and startups like to orient their marketing activities to “prominent” metrics, which can be determined without much effort, eg visitors to the website, like on Facebook or clicks on Youtube. Each of these values can be music in the ears of a marketer but does not yet give a realistic picture of how successful the content really is from a business perspective. Here’s an example: A whitepaper on your site is downloaded five times a day, and it’s well received on social networks. At first glance, a complete success, at least as far as the marketing of the content is concerned. However, their distribution comes to a sobering conclusion: the leads that flush the whitepaper into your CRM are anything but qualified. This white paper turns out to be a flop from a business point of view, although it can be well marketed. Because it does not contribute to the sale of your product.

What do we learn from this? A measure alone is only part of the truth. To truly evaluate the effectiveness of your content, you need to measure and interpret different metrics in context. Especially at the beginning, it makes sense to concentrate on a few but relevant key figures and to expand them gradually if necessary.

“Lean” Content Scorecard for the start

The most important key figures for your success measurement can be divided into two areas: Key figures for the marketing of content and key figures for the purchasing process. Key figures in the area of content marketing describe the use and scope, or the distribution of content in the network. Purchasing process metrics, on the other hand, describe the customer contacts and sales generated by your content. For the sake of clarity, we map all key figures, broken down into areas of impact, in a Content Scorecard. In this example, for a B2B company offering, among other things, white papers and webinars on its corporate website.

Lean content Marketing_Gastbeitrag_marketing-with-content-Abb2

A Content Scorecard serves as a report sheet to measure the effectiveness of your content. He should be kept as lean as possible, especially if you are just starting to measure success. “Lean” stands for a lean system of few meaningful key figures, which can be optimized on the basis of experience from the live operation continuously.

Key figures for B2B Content Marketing

Start measuring content success at the lower levels of your scorecard, where it’s about tracking the use and reach of your content on the web: How is content consumed on your website or on social media? Is your content recommended or linked in social media? etc. On this basis, you then proceed to measure the impact of your content in the buying process: Does your content generate qualified leads? Does your content help you make purchasing decisions? etc. The most important key figures for your analysis are listed below.

1. Key figures for using your content

How many people have seen or downloaded your content?

  • Number of new vs. returning users who visit your content each day
  • Average time visitors spend with your content
  • Number of registrations and participants for events, eg webinar
  • Number of downloads (white paper, e-book)

2. Key figures on the recommendation behavior of content users

How many people shared or shared your content?

  • Number of links from external sources to your content
  • Likes, tweets, “+1”, shares on Facebook and other platforms

3. Key figures for lead generation

How many people who used your content became leads?

  • Number of Qualified Leads (Sales Qualified Leads, SQL)
  • Number of personal contacts with your sales department (customer calls)
  • Cost per qualified lead

4. Key figures on sales

How many people who used your content bought your product?

  • Total sales (online, offline)
  • Share buyers in the leads gained
  • The share of new customers in the purchases
  • Cost per purchase

Conclusion

Your content is not there just to be consumed. It should also spread on the net, generate leads and help to sell your products. Always measure usage in the context of “hard” sales goals that you track with your content. And that continuously. This is the only way to obtain sound advice on the return on investment of your content from a business perspective.

Is the core story in content marketing a big misunderstanding?

The core story is the proverbial core of strategic content marketing. It brings to the point what distinguishes the company or its products. Is it really like that?

Common schemata for designing a core story in content marketing are based on building the formulation of a corporate mission or on classic storytelling: who, why, how, what? The result of such a derived story puts the company and its products at the center. “We, the … AG, believe that … – that is why we produce products that … – with the result that …” Who makes such a story at the heart of his communication, will talk about himself in the sequence above all.

Above all, content marketing is one thing: user-oriented communication. This refers to the reader benefit. And this is not primarily to find out what distinguishes a particular product. In fact, the reader may even be looking for very different information, entertainment or entertainment. It is precisely this need that content marketing addresses with its content and directs it to the products that are to be marketed. This approach – orientation towards the reader’s benefit – must be consistently applied in the design of the core story. Only then can he consistently pass on the content cascade.

So what does a core story look like, which is consistently oriented towards the reader’s benefit, and how do you get to such a one?

In our experience, it’s often easier to get to the core story than the other way round. Take the fictitious example of a manufacturer of motorhomes. We introduce ourselves to his topics, like the headings of a print magazine. Which categories are interesting for the potential RV buyer and for the RV owner? On the other hand, we often have certain brand attributes, which of course must also be considered. The result of a corresponding creative process might look like this:

Topic 1: Wanderlust (longing, travel fever)
Topic 2: family (community, children, security, pet)
Subject field 3: Nature (sports, enjoyment)
Topic 4: Product (USP, Benefits, Specifications)

Of course, the product should not be excluded. Ideally, the reader reaches the point in the customer journey, where he is also directly interested in the product. The core story, to a certain extent, integrates the essence of all topics – their common intersection. To achieve this, it formulates a challenge or a problem, and the product acts as a solution. For example, according to this pattern (here it is more about the basic mechanics of the story, less about the linguistic elegance …):

“Those who are longing for wanderlust can often think of nothing more than the vast blue sea, majestic mountains in the sunlight, green forests, lakes, and rivers. Doing sports in the wild or with the whole family tree and on the go. Arrive when and where you want. The children can connect, the dog can walk freely. And if the weather does not play along: just drive on, facing the sun. We at Womo make sure that you are on holiday – in nature and yet always at home.
Our family-friendly RVs are characterized by their high variability, driving safety and energy efficiency. ”

Do you really need a core content marketing story?

Strictly speaking, an editorial team does not really need the core story. The topics are actually enough to derive topics and stories. Above all, the main benefit of the core story is that it expresses a certain attitude: the benefits orientation. The benefit of being able to experience yearning, planning the journey, coming up with new ideas is what the content and its sender donate. Incidentally, this also makes great motorhomes. The core story makes it clear that in future it will be written about mountains and the sea, about childcare on vacation, about sports in nature – and occasionally about how this becomes possible: with the camper.

For us, the presentation of the topics in the “content flower” has proven to be successful. The flower shows very well how to understand the core story: as a common intersection of topics. Each individual topic, each contribution can then be placed specifically in a subject area in the content production or in the intersection of several subject areas. The more topics covered, the more the theme of the core story is similar. The further one moves from the center to the outside, the more one pays only to individual aspects of the thematic cosmos.

Social Media Marketing: 10 valuable tips for your business

Kristopher Jones, CEO of LSEO.com and ReferLocal.com, gave a very interesting talk on social media marketing at the March 2015 online marketing rockstars conference. Before a company starts with social media, two questions have to be answered: 1. What goals would I like to achieve through my social media marketing? 2. Do I manage and manage the social media channels myself? And if not, do I hire someone or do I outsource social media marketing to a specialized service provider? Only then it goes to the development of the social media strategy: And only when that is, you should get started.

Social Media Marketing: Here are the 10 most important tips from Kristopher Jones!

1) Stop selling, listen, dear!

Who likes to listen to people who just tell you how great they are? Nobody! So stop selling! Those who only want to sell their products via social media will definitely fail. Because he is ignored. So what to do? To listen! What problems are affecting your target group? This knowledge is very valuable. Use qualitative reporting, quantitative reporting is not enough. And always ask yourself these questions during the interaction:

  • Can I give free (valuable) tips immediately?
  • What free content is available that I can share?
  • Do I – or do I now – have useful information that I can share? For example white papers, how-to guides or new links.

2) Interact and touch!

Conversations on social media always take place between people. So: Be human, natural, authentic! Not only useful content needs to be shared. It can also be personal experiences and experiences that touch other people. So a relationship can be built up with prospects and customers. Very important: answer all questions that are asked. Direct messages and “@ -posts” should always be answered promptly. But please never automated standard texts!

3) Offer added value!

Keep your eyes peeled for valuable content that you can share with your community. Also, look for ways to deliver knowledge to your customers – for example, using links to articles, videos, books, or other experts. It may also be helpful to connect your audience with people outside their network who might be of interest to them. For example, by introducing or recommending.

4) Create and share your own content!

Own and relevant content is a major factor in the success of social media marketing. There are many different formats: reports, interviews, how-to guides, videos, pictures, infographics and much more. Use these different formats and make your content available in different forms. In addition, individual contents have different functions. Think about which goal you primarily pursue: Should the content inform? Should he solve problems? Or just entertained? Always remember your strategy. To use the content really efficiently, it is very helpful to start a blog and display the content on the website in a social media-friendly way. The nice thing: Creating good, social media-enabled content not only pays off on your social media marketing but also on your SEO.

5) Share many pictures and videos!

Pictures and videos have a special power. They usually generate a higher commitment than mere text posts. For example, use Twitter’s ability to add up to three pictures to your tweet. Make sure your push communication is a good mix of text, video, and pictures. Pictures and videos can have a big impact on the brand image.

6) Stay consistent!

Consistently share useful information. This is not always possible, but at least try to provide one useful piece of information per day. And share in-house content at least once a week. And very important: answer direct messages and “markings” quickly.

7) Be always available!

Social media can be ideal for customer service. But: Then it must be ensured that you are always available. When complaints arise in the community, respond as quickly as possible. This not only prevents a shitstorm but often turns anger into satisfaction. But only if you are reachable!

8) Stay focused!

About 85 percent of your community should have a relationship with your product or service. Focus your social media activities on building relationships with customers and attracting new customers. To do this, you must select the social media platforms your customers are on.

And please always remember: The quality of the followers is crucial – not the quantity!

9) Become an influencer!

Build a high-quality community that feels connected to your content and communication and actively participates. As? With the creation of high-quality content that generates engagement and shared. And with quick reactions to questions and comments. Finally, one can conclude Quality = Influence.

10) Analyze and optimize your actions!

Try different things and compare the results. For example, post at different times of the day or week, make different quotes or try different content formats. So you learn and get valuable information for your future social media marketing. And that every day.