December 31, 2018

8 Content marketing trends that will shape 2019

hand browsing through futuristic tablet for content marketing trends of 2019

Content is no more just king; it is the kingdom. And 2019 will blur the line between marketing and content marketing.

The latter has been evolving rapidly. This time last year, it was predicted that videos would become even more important. Live video was also expected to take off. Another trend that brands were bullish about was influencer marketing.

The reactions to these predictions may have been mixed, but all of them saw fruition this year.

Now, as 2018 comes to a close, the million dollar question is, ‘Which new echelons will content marketing achieve in the coming year?

We believe that 2019 has some truly disruptive trends in store. Let’s take a look:

1. Personalisation and relevancy will win

The need for original and engaging content ruled 2018. In addition to it, the coming year will focus on content personalisation and relevancy. Customers will seek content that speaks to their personality.

An industry study reveals that 78% of consumers say content that’s customised for them and is relevant increases their chances of purchasing a product or service. On the other hand, content marketing campaigns without relevancy have an 83% lower response rate.

Clickbait content will no longer work in 2019. Customers want something that will solve their problems, inform them, and help make the right decision. They want content they can trust, not be fooled by.

As influential marketer and best-selling author Andrew Davis famously said, “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”

2. Interactive content will take precedence

The coming year will also focus on generating higher engagement through interactive content. Brands should, therefore, aim at involving customers than just pushing out content because studies urge them to.

William Comcowich, CEO of CyberAlert, highlighted this when he said, “Content marketing is becoming less about the words you put on a page, and more about the experiences you create for the consumer.”

Marketers are creating more and more content. With so much competition, grabbing customer mindshare is becoming difficult. Interactive content will be the key differentiator, going ahead.

Interactive infographics and videos, polls, and interactive e-books will make an appearance in 2019.

3. Role of influencers will strengthen

Influencer marketing has rapidly turned into a preferred approach to marketing. However, to achieve a greater impact, 2019 will witness the approach lean towards micro-influencers who foster a niche audience.

The vehicle will overwhelmingly be found within video content that will continue to rule the roost, especially through Instagram and YouTube. Don’t take our word for it; take Cisco’s. According to one of its studies, video messages will represent 82% of all internet traffic by 2022.

In addition, businesses are expected to offer influencers greater freedom to create content as they integrate the message, rather than make a bland brand push. As a result, partnerships with influencers will evolve from trying to leverage from a single interaction to building a long-term relationship.

4. Brands will reach customers via new formats

The supreme reign of formats like quizzes and videos aside, there is nothing that charms a perpetually hungry digital audience like a new content format. (Case in point: Instagram’s shift to vertical video)

In 2019, brands are expected to experiment more with the audio format. Podcast listeners are loyal, educated, and affluent. With production costs significantly lower as compared to other media, audio formats can also be customised for regional languages.

This is a much-needed marketing move, as a study by KPMG indicates. According to it, 90% of Indian consumers intend to access content in a local language over the next five years.

However, audio is just one example. Different formats will be used to link back to a detailed brand message.

Brands intend to create a topic cluster around a specific brand message, which will allow them to not only convey the message to their target audience but also find relevancy with search engine algorithms.

5. Customers on the go will demand bite-sized content

While long-form content works better for search optimisation, millennials are more likely to consume crisp, visually appealing content.

According to an industry study, 59% of millennials rely on infographics and videos for decision-making. One doesn’t have to give up long-form content, but rather look for an ideal mix of detailed and ‘snackable’ content.

Robert Rose explained it well, “When taking a content-first approach, our job as marketers is not to create more content… it’s to create the minimum amount of content with the maximum amount of results.”

6. SEO will adapt to voice control 

We are moving towards a world of screenless searches, and content marketers need to catch up. Voice commands already drive about 20% of the searches on Google. And future consumers are more likely to use voice over touch.

Already, 71% of consumers in the 18-29 age group use voice as compared to 39% in the 44-53 age group. Sales for Amazon Echo and Google Home are skyrocketing, and Alexa alone is slated to add US$ 11 billion to Amazon revenues by 2020.

Since we talk differently than the way we write, content will have to adapt to natural language for improved search optimisation. Brands should cater to longer conversational sentences with naturally phrased keywords. This will help them generate better traffic and gain greater visibility. And again, local language searches will take precedence.

Author and podcast host Jay Acunzo conveyed exactly this when he said, “Actually talk to your customers. Use the language they use. Talk about the things they talk about. Never feed salad to a lion.”

7. AI will better engage customers

While we have seen a few tech leaders leading this change, providing content and engaging with customers via chatbots will become mainstream in 2019.

New-age customers prefer to chat online than talk when communicating with businesses. Hence, intelligent automated bots are expected to point customers to relevant content.

Companies should take a more data-driven approach to their content and leverage analytics to better understand their customers’ needs.

Brands should also leverage the power of AI to automate and scale content marketing efforts. Finding keywords, planning blogs, search-optimising conversations, and personalising and distributing content – all of these processes should be aided through AI.

8. Demand for content marketers will grow 

Though content marketing has taken the world by storm in the recent past, it is still a relatively new science. Most companies acknowledge the importance and effectiveness of content marketing, but they still don’t have specialised content marketers to shape their brand narrative.

The coming year will see that change. Brands are expected to hire content marketing experts and partner with specialised content marketing agencies that offer trained writers, graphic designers, photographers, and more.

Parting words

The coming year is going to be exciting and full of learning for brands and marketers. Study these trends and see how your brands can leverage them. They will prove to be key differentiators for you in this cluttered marketing world.

Additional resources:

Constellation Research declares AI-driven personalization the answer

85 Fascinating content marketing statistics to make you a marketing genius

7 Content marketing stats you need to know for 2019