9 Digital Marketing Megatrends for 2018

9 megatrends across the 5 pillars of marketing today which every business should action

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After all, that’s precisely why your brand should be investing in content marketing. Ask yourself and your wider organization -  is this why we’ve decided to embark on a content journey?

It should be, it’s to build your own subscribed audience by researching, listening and creating or indeed curating content in whatever form that may take (blog article, graphics, video, presentation, slide deck) that answers the challenges to your particular audience.

Something where perhaps your brand can differentiate, reinvent and create a new opportunity in a crowded marketplace. In fact, content marketing continues to gather pace and a recent article by the CMI suggested that:

"Content Marketing will continue its epic rise as one of the most preferred options for both B2C and B2B marketers in engaging with their audience and prospects. In fact, a recent study by CMI suggested that 70% of B2B marketers plan to create more content in 2017 yet only 37% of B2B marketers have documented strategy in place"

This is a shock, considering the below recent survey from Econsultancy/Adobe suggests that Content Marketing is the key priority for B2B companies in 2017:

So the challenge of a successful content led approach requires organizations to adapt. The purpose of this post is you can prove the case of a content led approach.

It is critical to address the importance of content marketing because it has been hammered as a “tactic” that simply does not work.

And that’s because content marketing can’t be considered a campaign or tactic, it goes far deeper than that, it should be an opportunity, no matter your role or position in the organization, that acts as the enabler to bring your brand to life, connecting your business, your purpose, your very reason for existing.

Easier said than done right? Here is a great example from River Pools and Spa, a US based swimming pool business who were struggling to drive sales during the market crash in 2008-09. Rather than waiting for potential customers to visit his premises, Owner Marcus Sheridan decided to go to the customer by literally answering the questions and concerns of his audience.

Case Study: River Pools and Spa

River Pools used libraries of customer research, asked questions and brainstormed the major challenges and requests from customers to visit River Pools showrooms and engage via social media and the phone. Armed with this long list of intelligence, Sheridan set about turning this into content, content via a company blog that answered the most common questions people had about swimming pools.

By putting the customer at the centre of their strategy, the organization transformed and became a “knowledge centre” for anything to do with helpful advice for anyone considering a swimming pool.

So taking inspiration from River Pools and Spas, here are a few easy wins to consider in order to get your content marketing mission on the right path by first making sure what you’re writing stems from a challenge your audience has. But how do you find these challenges?

It’s all around you! I’ve pulled together a handy list of information you could use to re-purpose into content:

1. Company Slide Shares

Most companies have a library of slides and power points in shared files. The content on the slides has firstly been approved and secondly is going to be topical (at least it should be if it was used for a recent presentation). With some re-purposing into relevant blog copy you have the makings of 4 or 5 topical posts that would appeal to your audience.

1. Customer Service

Go and speak with your customer service team. What are the common themes and questions they are having to deal with from customers? This tactic can provide you with plenty of subject matter to create some suitable content.

3. Internal Search

Always a great indicator as to what users search for when they arrive on your desktop/mobile site. Not only should this be a KPI for UX teams but this again can provide you with some interesting topics and ideas to create content around in answering the most popular internal search queries.

4. FAQ Pages

Ah the somewhat dull FAQ page – The origins of such a page are a mystery but it’s a fantastic example of a simple example of content marketing that has been pulled together with a remit to answer questions and uncertainties of previous customers. Take a look at some of the questions listed on your pages and look to add some polish by elevating them into new content for your audience.

5. Competitor Sites

Researching your competitors can also provide you with some fresh ideas for content themes as well as it providing you with key content areas your competitors are focusing on to address the same audience as you.

For example, it could be content that enhances their products or services or seasonal/topic content themes.

To get a better steering on what your competitors have focused on sites, here are a few suggestions on 3rd party tools you could use to better understand what content is serving your competitors well:

Keyword Research - SEMrush can provide a wealth of insights into the type of content through search terms they are attracting.

6. Emails

Spend some time with your customer service team and listen in to calls they’re taking from customers as well as common themes and trends that surface from customer communication with your business? What can you begin to theme and categorize into subjects that would create helpful articles to assist your audience?

7. Corporate Events

Find out the upcoming events calendar for your business and where they plan to be running or exhibiting at any trade shows. If there is an opportunity to be included and use this as an opportunity to ask questions in the field. It’s an opportunity to survey and ask questions as well as listen to the concerns of potential customers at these specific events.

8. Interviews – Internal and Industry

No doubt your organization has a wealth of experience in the industry and there must be a few senior managers who have their own network of contacts as well as be able to provide their personal views and insights – these can be the makings of great content for interviews, videos and explainers that can be used to drive awareness into your industry and help position your brand as helping the audience.

9. Coffee Shops

Possibly the cheapest and most effective form of user research. Take your customers out for a coffee and ask them to explain their concerns and challenges and where/how your organization is set up to meet their challenges.

 

These are just a few examples that can help you begin to define and justify your organization's position as helping their audience with the type of content they want and need.

Putting the customer at the centre of your strategy is a cultural shift, but these examples of where you can begin to identify pulling together helpful content will begin to put your content marketing strategy onto first base.

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