What Does the Future of Content Marketing Look Like?

By:
08/03/2016
Executive Voices

The term “content marketing” has been around for a while, and most organizations are using some kind of content (blogs, infographics, white papers, videos) to identify and/or nurture leads through their chosen channel (websites, social, email).

But what does the future hold for content marketing? Turns out, just like our technology clients, whose businesses are being turned inside out by the digital transformation and the new requirements for enhancing customer experience—so is content marketing.

So here’s what’s coming: Tomorrow’s marketing content will be highly visual, often interactive, personalized whenever possible, and 100% mobile optimized.

Highly visual storytelling

There are plenty of reasons why visual storytelling works—the growing number of sometimes-impatient digital natives who prefer visual food-for-thought, the fact that most people are visual learners, the list goes on. All of this is good news for us, and backed by stats like this one from the Huffington Post: infographics generate 45% more search volume and traffic than most content.

The key to success? Creative conceptualization. It’s often more important than finding the right words. Messaging has to be woven together with and communicated through the visual elements. So take off your copywriter’s hat and think like an art director, a graphic designer, an online game developer, or a digital UX designer.

Interactive engagement

Humans like to interact—and compete, share their opinion, and have fun. Lucky for us, digital marketing caters to those tendencies. Interactive infographics are just one example: think clickable factoids and pop-up stats that appear as you mouse or swipe across the graphic. Animated infographics—aka gifographics—incorporate .GIF files for visual stimulation. And that’s just the start—imagine the digital version of assessments, calculators, contests, and quizzes.

The key to success? Think like a kid. Who doesn’t like taking an insta-poll, where you answer the question and see your response change the results in real time? Games, interactive e-books, wizards—they’re all ripe for the picking—just loop in your design team right from the get-go.

Personalized outreach

It’s the new norm: personalized customer service, customized recommendations, targeted offers, and tailored search results. Why not marketing content that shifts with the customer’s likes, dislikes, and preferences, or varies by his or her location, professional title, purchasing habits, company size, and so on.  The age of personalized content marketing is upon us.

The key to success? Data—plus real-life fact gathering and curation. There’s loads of data to analyze regarding your customer’s habits, preferences, and demographics. Personas are useful—especially those that drill into detail based on real-life interviews. But as marketers don’t forget real-life, on the street, observing, interacting with, and even impersonating the potential customer. Get outside the office, see the real world, and interact with customers whenever possible.

Mobile optimized—and beyond

Cell phones are a fact of life: Nearly 2/3 of Americans own smartphones, and for many the phone is their entry point to the online world, according to research from the Pew Research Center. And mobile is now responsible for 37% of all digital traffic — up from 31% in the last 2 years, according to research from Adobe. So all content marketing of the future should be mobile optimized, hands down.

The key to success: Once you’ve checked off “mobile optimized,” think to the future—how will we reach the next generation of customers? It might not just be through their “access” devices, such as tablets, goggles, or glasses—but through the Internet of Things (IoT) devices in their everyday world: their car, their watch, their office—even their clothes. Your content needs to be scalable across these changing billboards of the future.

In a word, forward-thinking content marketers are not just figuring out how to solve their customer’s pain points—they’re also figuring out how to address those needs visually, interactively, personally, or through a new crop of devices.

Let’s continue the conversation. Find me on Twitter @BarbaraRCall1

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