The Future of Content Marketing
People have been speculating about the future of content marketing since the beginning of content marketing, which, by our estimates, has been around since the dinosaurs. That’s a lot of future to talk about! But what does it mean in the context of the digital age, where everything is moving quick, and there appears to be no room for the Don Draper style of copywriting?
We’re going to cover how content marketing got us here, what’s in store for the future, and what the next “Big Thing” in copywriting is.
Purpose of Content Marketing
CMI defines content marketing as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” So all in all, it’s about using your presence online to create a brand that will attract customers.
Note that we didn’t say “Words” or “Articles” - Content is more than that. As a content platform that helps our customers test every day, we look at content from a 10 thousand foot view and include everything your brand puts on social media into our definition - yes that means your Instagram account, it means your videos, it means your TikTok that you are just starting to use - we see you! Keep at it!
We wrote a whole post on why content marketing is important, and it came down to 5 key points. Content marketing helps:
Improve brand perception and build trust with your audience
Having a consistent and clear message online and in your content marketing helps customers feel a sense consistency and comfort with your brand
Gain better traction on social media platforms
Creating quality content can help you put your best foot forward when generating traction on your social media platforms.
Generate leads for your business
Customers that consume your content - no matter the platform - have a higher likelihood of purchasing from you than those that don’t.
Enhance your SEO
Search engines LOVE content, and having fresh content is always better!
Increase your online authority
Quality content not only enhances your SEO, but it gives you a better chance to be recognized as a credible source of information within your niche market.
And content marketing is consistently and continuously evolving. This, however doesn’t mean it’s purpose is any less clear - help people understand your brand enough to cause conversion.
The Future of Content and Blogging
So that leaves us in a very speculative position, where we can ask ourselves - what DOES the future of content marketing and blogging look like?
We’ve distilled our perspective to four key areas to focus your content in 2021 and beyond.
Build inclusive value driven content that cements your brand as the expert and the only ones that can complete your mission
Creating topical authority around your brand’s values is going to be a big factor in determining who wins in content. When we talk about topical content, we’re talking about creating content around one topic in particular - your brand. The future of content is all about building content about what you do best and being open and honest with your audience about that.
Make a statement with your content - make it original and jump on trends ASAP
One thing about content that never changes is how quickly you should be jumping on trends and current events. Being able to make bold statements and create great content that resonates with your audience in the moment is all about having courage. As the world moves to more connected content through social media, we’re going to see the need to be more aggressive with content creation increase. Couple this with still having an original take on the trend, we’re looking at the need for some pretty suped up marketing and creative departments!
Be there and be remembered
Memorable and interactive content is the way of the future. It’s not enough to just have an idle Facebook page. The goal for future content is to build community and be where your people are. Hubspot’s main message is to meet your audience where they are, and this has become much more important as we see continued shift after the pandemic towards more digital forms of marketing, and as different platforms rise and fall - namely TikTok. The emergence of TikTok in the social entertainment space in a time where traditional creative collaboration has forced marketers to adopt a less polished, more realistic brand presence. Creating content that engages users on a variety of media platforms is going to be more successful than engaging with users on one social platform.
Create more, write less
Speaking of new and emerging platforms… Video and voice were the new things in 2008, and in 2021 and beyond, they’re the norm. With TikTok focusing on short form (60 seconds or less) videos, and Clubhouse focusing on live voice conversations, there’s a lot out there that requires more than the written word. More than that, they require a mobile first mindset! All content you create should consider mobile screens to truly perform.
What is the next big thing?
With that all said, what kind of content should you be creating in the next year? We’ll take you through some of our top picks for truly unique and boundary pushing content.
User generated content sounds like it’s a no-touch content option, but it actually requires a lot of creativity to reuse and repurpose user generated content. User generated content is content generated about a brand outside the brand’s content generators. It can include everything from snaps on social media to reviews and mentions online. We see UGC continuing to climb in importance as new platforms emerge and creators from all over the world start using their in-pocket megaphones to bring in new audiences. Smartphone companies are continuously creating a world where photography, videography, and sound marketing are democratized, and companies should be using these mini-megaphones to their advantage. You should be in the UGC game, and it’s really easy to get started.
Our post on rethinking UGC walks through how we at Cohley help our clients utilize UGC in effective ways.
Philz Coffee is a brand centered around building community. They’re dedicated to engaging with our customers, creating memorable experiences for their fans, and developing the Philz brand to be in line with their mission of bettering people’s days. As Philz continues to grow and expand in new geographical markets, their small marketing team was strapped for resources. They not only needed to scale their content generation efforts across multiple product lines, they also needed content coverage in physical stores to support openings in new markets.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - video is the way of the future. Video content is not going away any time soon, in fact, there are whole social platforms dedicated to video - YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and it continues to grow every single second. So why aren’t you doing video? More so than YouTube, the rise of TikTok and short form video content on other platforms makes it clear that users want to engage with smart, funny, and interesting content in a video format. What makes video exciting and why we’ve included it on our future of marketing list is that effective online video content is changing. It no longer has to be this highly polished, over-edited piece of content that costs a lot of money to create and distribute. Video in this day and age is all about authenticity and exposing sides of your business that you wouldn’t ordinarily, and that builds trust. One of our favorite TikTok accounts is the Washington Post account where there’s one creator, the content isn’t highly polished, but it is still informative enough to consistently be relevant. Our client Adore Me found huge success with TikTok last year:
While Adore Me saw the value of venturing into TikTok to tap into a younger demographic, testing a new platform and generating “fun video content,” they had never ventured into the TikTok world prior to working with Cohley. They wanted to give content creators the creative freedom to express themselves with their Adore Me lingerie authentically on the platform without giving up complete creative control.
These types of accounts and videos allow brands to be more flexible and create content that actually resonates with their audience.
It’s no secret that email has one of the highest ROI of any performance marketing channel, and it’s going to stay that way for a long time. Email marketing is an opt in service that allows brands to reach customers who are already familiar with and have an interest in their brand. We’ve included it in our future of marketing list because testing emails is the way of the future. Testing email marketing is all about segmentation and finding your niche. With so many brands vying for attention in someone’s inbox, it can be hard to break through the noise and clutter of the spam and promotions folder, that’s why testing engagement in emails is an important step to fully capitalizing on your captive audience list.
Podcasts are becoming more ubiquitous and almost every brand has either produced, advertised, or appeared on one in their lifetime. Long-form spoken content is an easy way to express your brand values in a way that is low touch for your audience.
Benefits of a diverse content set
At Cohley, we are staunch advocates of diversifying your content and creating a testing plan that works for your brand. Creating content on multiple platforms helps serve users where they are, and creating a diverse set of creative helps users and brands find a message that resonates. Check out our case study on content diversity:
Written by Parker Dietz
Parker is a staple in our marketing team - Our Marketing Manager brings with him an intimate knowledge of the platform, and is our go-to on technical topics, and user behavior. With a wealth of knowledge about competitors and pricing, Parker is all about exploring the best way to communicate Cohley's benefits. Outside of work, Parker enjoys poorly playing guitar at parties, watching every Adam Sandler movie ever made, and eating Arabic food.