Featured In: Courier-Journal Media | Digital Marketing Minute: Content Marketing
March 16, 2017
Digital Marketing Minute: Content Marketing
By Kelly Ehlers
There's no denying that 2016 delivered some groundbreaking content marketing trends, from Facebook Live to Instagram Stories and a whole load of Snapchat filters. At Ideas That Evoke, we love these innovative social tools. They can be quirky and funny, but they're also crucial to reaching audiences that are spending more and more time on these platforms. Each tool has a strength and a reason to use it.
To make content marketing work, businesses have to adjust to where their audience members are. That doesn't mean that every business should have a Snapchat account. Instead, focusing on strengthening content and putting it on the best strategic channels can make your brand stand out in a big way. In 2017, you can count on businesses and consumers alike to begin utilizing these tools to grow both their brand and their following.
Here are a few more ways stay ahead of the content game in 2017:
Why is native advertising so important today? Filters. I'm not talking about a spam filter or a water filter, but the ability for people to filter out advertisements on their feeds, websites and basically any other platform. Millennials do not like to be talked at. They have the ability to pick and choose what they see, and they heavily filter their feeds. Gone are the days of simply showing a product on the sidebar of Facebook. Today's ads need to evolve from advertisements to content. This starts with interactive posts that can get the user involved and actively thinking about the brand. Hard, straight sells are going to be quickly glanced over and forgotten, or even seen as intrusive. Using content to tell a story while remaining honest and authentic to the brand's voice will create more trust with your target audience, bringing them back to you again and again.
Bloggers, Instagram celebs and YouTubers are the future spokespeople for products, and they’re already making waves. Endorsements are moving from mainstream celebrities to social media stars. Why pay a celebrity staggering amounts of money to make a TV commercial when you can reach tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of people directly in your target demographic? Creating content for these specific channels and demographics can start as simply as sending a shampoo sample to a YouTuber who specializes in hair care tutorials. Influencer marketing amounts to the sum total of advertising placements at a fraction of the cost.
Video And Visual
What’s drawing your audience in? With the number of ad blockers and media platforms these days, consumers almost have to want to watch your ad placements. You have just a few seconds to catch and grab their attention in today's multitasking world, or your target will likely switch to a different app. That means you need to set your brand or product apart with something new or eye-catching – puppies and kittens are always a safe bet! We call that "thumb-stoppable" content. Cute images are just one way to quickly evoke emotion in users who are scrolling through their feeds. Whether you choose a photo, an original illustration or a Boomerang video, visuals are an effective entry into catching user attention. From there, it's important to make sure each post conveys part of the brand's story.
What else is popular with social users? Content that is visually engaging and on-brand produces powerful results. Staying colorful and aware of trending topics is an important way to connect with audiences, whether that means featuring a pop culture GIF or reimagining a popular quote in a typographic design. Social media presents endless possibilities to intrigue and provoke, but it is important to remember to stick to the brand's voice and image. Otherwise, you'll risk losing touch with the heart of your business, product or service's goals.
To reiterate, storytelling is at the heart of quality content. Users connect with a brand when content effectively shares a small-scale story that evokes an emotion. Brands can create a narrative that conveys their story in several ways. Although the thought of concise, witty writing isn’t new, it is important to note that it still matters. Users appreciate and connect with smart, creative content. If there’s a spelling or grammatical error, you can bet it’s one of the first things your audience members will notice and they’ll be sure to let you know.
Another factor to consider is that the traditional forms of brand storytelling are adapting to technology. Brands are engaging with consumers through 140-character tweets as well as heartfelt Facebook blurbs and hashtag-laden Instagram photos. Consumers still crave a story they can relate to in order to feel personally invested or connected with your brand, and your content has the opportunity to tell that story.
While these are only a fraction of the trends to expect this year, don’t worry about keeping up with all of them. Social media experts like those on our team are a valuable resource to step up any content marketing strategy. However, improved content marketing strategy starts with you. Implementing storytelling or advertisements that relate to vivid content are crucial ways to stay on top of this year's social trends. To propel your business forward, stay up-to-date on the newest innovations and changes to the platforms that are important to your target audience. Let your content marketing rule.
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