There’s no getting around it, content marketing is here to stay. It’s proven its worth over the last few years as the most effective form of inbound marketing. Done right, it can build brand trust and nurture the holy grail all marketers seek; a winning combination of loyal customers and brand ambassadors.
Done wrong, content marketing will leave you as just another voice in an increasingly cramped online world.
The key is swapping selling for telling.
Stop hitting your audience in the face with aggressive advertising. Start giving them your brand personality, your expertise and your time.
Tell them your story; delve deep into what makes your business tick, drives your people, and underpins your values.
Effective content marketing is about sharing the things that humans can connect with, because it’s that connection that drives truly sustainable business growth.
Through sharing quality content that offers real value to your target customers, your business is positioned as the one to trust. The go-to experts. The brand with integrity.
That way, when you do have a great offer to shout about, you have an audience poised, waiting, and already interested in what you’re saying. They are now far more likely to sit up and listen than block you out as just another annoying sales message.
In 2019, if you’re not already using content marketing to grow your business, you’re missing the biggest trick in the book. And if you are already on the content band wagon, you need to up your game.
Like any good technique, content marketing is evolving over time and the savvy marketer stays one step ahead. Yes, it’s vital that you’re doing your keyword research and optimising your content for Google, but if you really want to supercharge your efforts, here are the top content marketing trends of 2019 you need to incorporate into your schedule…
Find Your Niche…
As content marketing has boomed in popularity, the web has naturally become more crammed with stuff, and not all of it is good.
The internet is flooded with content every day from marketers trying to build their brand and win customers.
It’s getting pretty crowded, so how do you stand out?
One way is to go really niche.
You don’t need to grab the attention of everyone, just those who are particularly interested in what you’re selling and saying.
Don’t just blog about interior design; blog about eco friendly interiors, or how to get the designer look on a shoestring. Take a look at what your competitors are writing about. Then, try to identify smaller, overlooked topics and make them your own.
A niche is more than simply the industry you work in. Everyone has an industry, but not everyone has a clearly defined niche – one specific area or USP that sets them apart from everyone else, and focuses their knowledge and offerings.
One of the best ways to identify your niche is to stop thinking about what you do, and start thinking about why you do it. For example, Acrylic is a digital marketing agency. We ‘do’ digital marketing and cover a wide spectrum of services, from web design and development, to social media marketing, video marketing, app development, and (of course) content marketing.
That’s an industry, it isn’t a niche.
If we focussed only on the ‘why’ of Acrylic, our brand would be very ‘samey’ compared to other digital marketing agencies. After all, we all offer the same basic services. Our niche lies not in the services we provide, but the reasons we provide them.
We’re a local business, forged when two local business owners (Simon and Nick, our fearless leaders…) realised they worked better and could achieve amazing things together. They recently hired a new Digital Marketing Manager, and chose another local business owner for the same reason.
Businesses supporting businesses creates more business for everyone.
So while we provide digital marketing services, our niche is helping local business owners (just like us!) to thrive, grow, innovate, and make their companies as successful as possible.
Look beyond the ‘what’ of your business and focus on the ‘why’, and you’ll find the niche that will distinguish your brand.
Having A Comprehensive Content Marketing Plan…
No content plan? 2019 is already powering ahead so you’d better make one. Start by listing your business goals for the year. Whether that’s to increase sales by 10% or gain a foothold in a new market, you need to plan content that aligns with these goals. Create a content calendar and stick to it. Throwing content out haphazardly is not going to do you any favours; you need to get strategic about it.
A truly effective content marketing plan takes a lot of work, here’s a quick guide to get you started:
- Map out your goals for the year.
- Research search terms related to those goals, and any areas surrounding them that your audience need to be educated and made excited about.
- Plan out weekly content for your blog, with one post optimised for each of the search terms you identified.
- Consider your social media platforms – where are your ideal clients hanging out online? Look at the best strategies for those platforms, and plan a weekly social schedule that will work best for that platform. (Top Tip: Repurpose your blog content to create related social content and link the two to drive more traffic to your website)
- Write your content in batches and schedule everything in advance, rather than trying to do one a week and throw up social content ad hoc every day or so.
- Upgrade your blog content with lead magnets and optins that will build your list, and craft carefully tailored nurture sequences to follow up any subscriptions.
- Plan out a weekly newsletter to go out to your list, highlighting all the new content you’ve released that week, and promoting any offers you have.
Get In On The Voice Search Action…
Now, all good content marketers are well-versed in tailoring their content to the way people type their queries into search engines.
But voice assistants are changing the game.
Voice searches now make up 20% of all Google searches on mobiles.
More and more, people are finding what they need via Alexa or Siri, and the way we ask for something is very different to how we might type it out on a keyboard. The answers we expect are very different too. While you might scan over a couple of pages on a screen to find what you’re looking for, you probably wouldn’t want to stand around listening while Siri reads out reams of info.
That means marketers need to optimise their content for how people ask questions verbally, and provide concise, to-the-point answers. Here are a few tips:
- Write complete, full-sentence questions and answers in your articles.
- Use long, specific phrases in your titles and headers.
- Try to target longer, naturally phrased keywords.
- The majority of voice searches come from mobiles, so make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
- Optimise natural language content for local ‘near me’ searches.
New Content Formats…
New Year, New You, or so they say.
Ok, so it’s not exactly New Year anymore, but it’s still early enough in 2019 to resolve to try something new.
If you’ve been focusing on long-form blogs, try adding in Facebook or Instagram stories for a snappier way of telling your story. If you’ve not dipped your toes into video yet, then dive in and give it a go. Don’t just write blog posts, record your content as vlogs and post both formats for maximum impact. Mix it up with an interactive Facebook Live or podcast. Or if you’ve been bashing out punchy blogs and video, try out long-form posts that will boost your search engine ranking.
Whatever format you use, just be sure to put the right information in the right format and that it is providing value to your audience. Some topics deserve a 2,000 word blog post, some only need an FAQ or newsflash podcast. Some topics lend themselves to video or a fun animation, some just don’t.
Trying something new will liven things up for your customers, staff and your whole business. A small word of warning – don’t try to do everything, at least not all at once. Find what mix works best and then stick to it. Add more formats and try out different combinations. And if a format isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to ditch it and move on to the next.
Influencer marketing is a technique that has been growing steadily and looks set to become even more important in 2019. In the past, influencer marketing has meant getting a high profile celeb to endorse your product or service on social media, or whatever channels they have a large following on.
Now, however, consumers are smart enough to see through partnerships that aren’t completely genuine.
They won’t be swayed by a celeb who’s pedalling your goods because they are paid big bucks, not because they believe in them. That means you need to work with an influencer whose values align with those of your business.
Look to local or national leaders in your industry or niche who carry a lot of trust and respect, rather than just going for the influencer with the largest Instagram following.
Aim to do more in-depth, collaborative work.
It’s not enough to get them to retweet your posts or namedrop you on Facebook.
As well as them promoting your content via their channels, they can create content for your channels. You will get far more value from building a meaningful, mutually beneficial partnership.
It’s a beautiful system when it’s all working in harmony.
Go Long And Create Topic Clusters…
Long form content reigns supreme when it comes to the search engines. Google loves it, and prioritises it in search results accordingly. This is because it is regarded as more informative and therefore of more value to the reader.
Longer posts also cater to those people that are specifically interested in your area of expertise – potential customers just waiting to be engaged and converted.
Once you have their attention, creating topic clusters can work wonders.
Clustering topics simply means grouping a series of long form posts under a single heading, but with each post dealing in depth with a particular aspect of the main topic, which is outlined in a central or ‘pillar post’.
For example, this post is a pillar post for a topic cluster centring around the big content marketing trends of 2019. In the coming weeks you’ll see more posts relating to each of the trends highlighted in this post. As new posts are published, this post will be linked to them, while they are linked to each other, to form a big, juicy, interconnected body of content that the search engine algorithms will simply love.
Topic clusters are so effective because they establish you as a provider of high-level, expert information on a subject. By creating a topic cluster for each of your core areas you can educate your audience on the value of your products and services, position yourself as a thought-leader in your industry, and boost your rankings all in one move.
Not only this, but each post directs readers to another, related post, and before you know it, your audience have spent a lot of time on your website or blog.
In their mind, you’re a touchpoint for what they need to know or are interested in.
They’ll come back for more and boom – you’ve started them on a journey to becoming a customer.
Google loves topic clusters, as it shows you’re a source of genuine, quality information, not just someone out to fix the system by stuffing mediocre content with keywords.
Get Geeky Over Data…
Data is your secret weapon. Even if you’re not the techy type, you need to get yourself knee deep in data if your content marketing efforts are going to pay off.
Really, this just means looking at the data behind your social media posts, blogs, web traffic, e-newsletters, or advertising campaigns, to determine which content really gets people going and which falls flat.
This will give you the inside track on where to focus your content. The starting point of any new (or revamped) content marketing plan should be a full analysis of your data, and a devotion to ongoing data gathering.
Other data such as trending topics, top influencers, platform preferences, and ‘moments’ give a valuable glimpse into your target market and what kind of content you should be creating to get their attention.
Knowledge is definitely power.
So, now you know all the big trends you need to harness to go out and build a killer content marketing strategy in 2019. You should also have a good idea of where to start with each of them. But, should you need a little help, book a free consultation and we’ll give you some bespoke advice and create a marketing plan for you (no obligation, we promise!) We’re really nice and we know a lot about marketing…
Our Head of Marketing, Hazel Butler, is an award-winning author, copywriter, and editor. Part ghostwriter, part blogger, part videographer, and part strategist, when she’s not endlessly penning content for our clients Hazel’s happily concocting the perfect marketing plans to propel their businesses forward.
Get to know her...