Where Do We Go From Here? The Future Of Content Marketing- August 17, 2020 - Views: 320
You must have at some point in time, heard “Content Is King.” It’s borderline cliched, but it is true. From being a facet of marketing, today, it has become marketing in its entirety. There is not a single part of marketing that can work if your content is not right and relevant.
How you approach content pretty much defines how you will end up performing in the online sphere. But nothing is exactly how it used to be ( thank you, coronavirus!). So, neither is content. From the beginning of the year to now, almost 9 months, the industry has gone through the kind of transformation that has not been seen since the internet first arrived.
In the good old days, you could write a couple of blog posts, stuff the keywords, post them on your website, promote on a couple of social media platforms, you end up with a barrage of direct traffic to your site.
However, now the best you can hope for is a decent ranking for a very short time as there is a constant influx of content taking place on the internet.
So, where did we go wrong? How are we constantly drowning in content and simultaneously running out all the time? Have we broken the system to a point of no return with only big-ticket names managing to get top billing?
Controlling a narrative was easy when there was no competition all around. Now you are not only trying to get the customers but also wading off intense competition constantly. Marketing channels often reach a point of saturation after a while. It is like just about everything on this planet. You reach a certain peak, and then you either plateau or you fall.
The success of traditional content marketing is now fading, not disappearing (mind you. ), just fading.
This fade is leaving space for something new to come up. You just can’t stop with content marketing. What you need to do is become smarter. Or run the risk of being just another website in the vast reaches of the internet.
We will look at what the recent changes in the content landscape are and then look at the trends that are emerging through these changes.
You don’t have to change the car you are driving; all you need to do is shift gears. Let’s see how.
Understand Content Is Not Content Marketing
This is another issue that still crops up from time to time. Understand and repeat after me -“Creating content is not content marketing”. Why?
Because content is practically everywhere. You have sales content, product content, event content, campaign content, and so on and so forth. But it is not all those things that make content marketing, it is when you leverage all of these collateral’s to make someone come to your website, that is content marketing.
Confused? So was I initially.
It is not the creation of content that makes marketers. It is the ability to drive a sale or add value to a customer’s life that makes us marketers. Understanding what your target customers need and then being able to communicate this with them through benefit driven content is the whole idea. You don’t create content because it is needed, you do it because you are creating a sustainable community. What you want to do is engage people and drive them through your sales funnel.
The difference thus is that of your destination- a share, or a conversion. Once you understand the difference, you will be able to create the right strategy.
Good, Timeless Content Is What You Need
Yep, there is a difference. We are continually churning content but good marketable content is a different ballgame.
It takes time, effort, and patience to produce quality content that can lead to adding actual value to a customer’s life. This is why content marketing works well only if a writer understands your company, product, and business model inside out.
Do you know what content is being consumed? The one that is on the first page of Google SERPs or on a high authority website. That’s it. That together is about 5 % of all content gaining engagement.
This implies that even if you stop publishing right now, you will more or less remain where you are. What you need to work on is “timeless content.” Filter what you are putting online. Publish when you have something to add to a potential customer’s life.
Do not take this as posting infrequently. Post, but try and retain quality as much as you can. Be strategic and smart.
Know The Content
There are two different kinds of content :
- One is timeless or evergreen, the kind that does not deteriorate over time and has no expiry date attached to it.
- The second is temporary, bite-sized takes that are of the moment and culturally relevant.
Both are equally important, your content marketing strategy needs both to co-exist peacefully for you to develop a devout audience. Temporal content will get them on your site, but it is the evergreen content that will make then stay.
It is highly tempting to continuously keep churning out buzzworthy, of the moment content that will fare well, but the truth is that this approach is unsustainable. For a minute, your content might even end up performing really well online but it will eventually just fizzle out.
This is one practice that works best if you make it a habit. You are bound to have content that was created ages ago but now feature outdated information. Plenty of articles do great in the organic traffic department but most of them fail to convert, or they convert but have low traffic. In the end, both of those things are bad for you.
It is not even all that difficult to update old content. All you need is a title change, some improvement in the copy, integration of internal and external links, updating images and a CTA glow up and Voila! You’re done.
The time and effort that goes into doing this are matched by google as it prefers fresh content.
Pay Attention To Content Distribution and Resurfacing
When you are mapping the pathway to attaining success for your content, an often overlooked aspect is its distribution. People spend all their time crafting the perfect copy, and optimizing it to be attractive to the target demographic but then conveniently forget where to distribute or promote it.
Before someone reads your content, they first need to find it. Which means you need to decide which channels you want to promote it on.
Content is like any other trend on this planet. It keeps going around in circles and something written ages ago might start trending again at any point all you need is the right audience. Constantly monitor the trends and then accordingly promote content.
You can resurface any content you want. It can be refurbished stories, evergreen hits, old temporal content, and even just general articles or research papers. You have to decide if it works in the current content climate and then accordingly republish or promote it.
Most of the time, things like this are an educated guess but other times what you need to research is about the topics that are trending. Great tools to do this include Ahrefs content explorer and BuzzSumo.
Practice Smarter SEO
Let’s be honest, we might do everything right but we are all at the mercy of two companies; Alphabet and Facebook. Just about every big platform operating in the search scope is controlled by either one of these companies i.e Google, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram).
All our results are subject to their search algorithm, which is constantly evolving.
- It usually favors “real experts” over all other kinds.which means as a brand, nothing short of high-quality content has the distinct possibility of ranking.
- Search Engines are constantly growing, the algorithms are becoming smarter and a lot more sophisticated – they now have the ability to understand topics beyond the keyword. Every update is trying to make the search results as conversational as possible.
What Is Semantic Search?
Google’s main aim is to constantly make the world a more connected place and if you keep this in mind you will realize that it will want all its data to be semantically connected.
Semantic search is essential in helping Google identify and subsequently disqualifying any low-quality content. Additionally, methods like spinning and keyword stuffing are also flagged at easily. Personalized search has leveled the playing field to a point where even keyword ranking has a lot less meaning, as they are unique to every single person. Making the whole process seem unpredictable and harder to calculate.
Featured Snippets are a golden opportunity for companies to come right on top of SERPs.
All of these things show that SEO is evolving to become a lot more than just keywords and rankings. The first step you can take in the right direction is by ensuring that your content is engaging, educational as well as enticing to search engines.
See, nothing is the way it was.
If you want to join the league of experts and be considered one of the high authority go-to sources then you need to be consistent about the keywords and create topics around it.
As a content strategy, topic clusters are definitely the future. They are catching steam, so right now would be the right time to implement.
Topic clusters are a group of pages that link back to each other with the help of the same hyperlinked keywords. The advantage here is that if one page performs really well, the whole topic gets a boost. This is with the help of constant feedback loops that keep the viewer circling between posts on your page,
For a topic cluster to work, one needs to be very deliberate about posting and the kind of post you end up making. This is also hinting at as a move away from posting just for the sake of posting or topicality. This also helps utilize the organic gaps in the existing topics to give more value to the customer base,
It’s Time To Target Featured Snippets
This high ranking google feature can actually get you to the top of Google SERPs without too much-added effort except for good content. Being there can help you gain a lot more exposure. But the only catch here is that you need to be on the first 10 search results to even get a shot at ranking there. You are taking a jump in the organic results and, in turn, a lot more exposure.
There are many ways you can undertake to optimize your content and get featured on the featured snippets. Most foolproof ones include keyword research, structure, formatting , on-page SEO, & imagery.
It is important that you focus on dedicated pages to answer as many questions as possible. A dedicated page shows Google that you have enough information about a certain topic to give the user some value.
Another way to comprehensively get snippets to rank is to look at the existing snippets and then get a company to mention you. Additionally, you can focus your efforts on the “people also ask” widget. This is a goldmine for unanswered potential snippets.
Before anyone says that Facebook is passé, let me tell you that the number of users is projected to climb to 1.69billion. If that is not potential, I don’t know what is.
These highly customizable ads give you the ability to virtually design every aspect of the campaign to help create a very specific ad experience. Content, thus, can take many shapes and forms to be effective in a Facebook ad.
Unlike traditional PPC, Facebook has a very different kind of algorithm in play. It relies on active interaction i.e.commenting, sharing, and reacting. This means that bait content is often penalized, and genuine engagement is often given priority, which means that content needs to be authentic, emotionally driven, and meaningful to be able to actually produce any results.
Video Is Just Going To Grow
If you look at the trends, video is here to stay. Just have a look at the most recent video sharing platform-Instagram Reels, now that might be a copy of Tick-tok but if the past has been any indication, all of us know it is going to be huge.
Videos are a step in the authentic communication direction. What makes videos even more powerful is the visual and auditory prowess they possess. This makes them a lot more effective than just text-based content.
We have already established that practically everything is content, that is what is making the world go around, and the next natural steps are to be powered by emerging technologies like AR/VR. It is still uncharted territory, so it will be interesting to see how that takes shape.
In the meantime, content is poised to become increasingly personal. We are no longer just marketers whose sole purpose is to sell; we are more like journalists who need to have authentic content to connect with audiences. The focus is now going to be to create a personal connection instead of just transactional ones.
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