Content marketing trends indicate more companies are using social media, e-newsletters and website articles to engage with customers, establish themselves as experts and build their businesses. With content curation, content discovery tools, personalization, optimization and storytelling requirements — not to mention changing search engine algorithms and paid advertising — implementing an effective content marketing plan as part of your overall marketing strategy seems like an ever-changing, if not overwhelming, task.
But help is at hand. As we move into 2015, work on getting your content in front of your target customer, building your brand awareness and increasing sales by aligning your content marketing strategy with these five trends:
1. Write It Down
A study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs showed the top strategy trending in content marketing is perhaps the most obvious: Document it. While most marketers surveyed had a verbal strategy, 60 percent of those with a documented strategy found it more effective than a verbal one.
2. Create Engaging Content
Create and disseminate engaging, relevant content to retain existing customers, attract new ones and increase conversions. Nielsen found that 55 percent of tablet owners read reviews on the path to purchase. Successful companies use this trend to increase brand evangelism as engaged users share, comment on and review products and services.
According to the CMI study, 58 percent of business-to-consumer marketers found e-newsletters to be an effective strategy. A targeted, personalized e-newsletter content campaign that includes an opt-in list can reach returning customers as well as those who have already expressed an interest in your product.
4. Use a Variety of Tactics
While the most popular tools are social media, email, website articles and blogs, other tools are being used successfully, such as videos, infographics, webinars, in-person events and microsites. These tactics are easily implemented and should be added to your toolbox. According to the CMI study, the most popular social media platforms for business use are LinkedIn (94 percent), Twitter (88 percent), Facebook (84 percent) and YouTube (72 percent), with Google+ following with a nine-point increase from last year. Identify where your customers are and meet them there.
5. Measure Content Effectiveness
Having clear goals and an adequate budget for your content marketing strategy will help you measure its effectiveness, whether you want increased customer retention, customer engagement or brand awareness. The CMI study showed that the most important goal of 84 percent of companies is building brand awareness, and 63 percent measured success by website traffic, followed by sales lead quality (49 percent), conversation rates (48 percent) and sales (43 percent). Use your analytics tool to measure these metrics to determine your campaign's success.
CMI reports that 70 percent of companies are creating more content now than in previous years. If you stay abreast of current content marketing trends, establish goals, document your strategy and disseminate compelling content, your strategy is sure to be a winner.