How to keep your content strategy cutting edge
We’re entering a new era of content marketing, and if you’re like the majority of content marketers out there, you probably haven’t adapted. Competition is fierce, and if you want to remain relevant and visible for your target audience, you have to reimagine your strategy for the new challenges and opportunities that exist. Influential forces like Google and basic consumer preferences are beginning to weed out the slow adapters, so now’s the time to adjust your campaign and forge a course for the future of content marketing.
The New Era of Content Marketing
What is this new era of content marketing and why is it important? There aren’t many landmark changes that have spurred this shift; instead, it’s the result of a number of gradually evolving technologies and shifting market trends coming together to establish new content marketing norms. Some of the biggest influencers include:
- Overwhelming volumes of content. Content marketing has become too popular for its own good, making it harder to stand out.
- Cool new content mediums. People are more demanding of diverse experiences.
- Mobile devices. The way we access and interact with the internet is changing.
- Google’s increasing standards. Google continuously refines its quality standards, and competition for search visibility is always rising.
As a result, consumer demands and availabilities are shifting, but there’s a ripe opportunity for success if you can change before your competition.
Sinking or Swimming in the Modern Era
If you want to be successful in this modern age, you need to adopt these changes:
- Target a much narrower demographic. Demand for any given content topic will remain more or less consistent. In the realm of “general” content topics, which can be relevant for almost anyone and cover a broad topic, competition is extremely high. You have thousands of articles covering the same types of material, but a disproportionately low number of people who want to read this material. The result is a loss of opportunity. If you want to engage more readers, you have to aim for more niche topics and target a very specific demographic, such as dentists, or cover a very specific topic, such as feminist readings of sci-fi movies. The more specific you can get here, the better—you’ll lose raw numbers of potential readers, but gain in potential reader relevance.
- Utilize as many mediums as possible. There are too many mediums available for you to ignore them, or focus only on one. If you’re only producing written content these days, you’re already behind the times. At a minimum, you need to be embedding images and videos to at least a handful of your posts. Preferably, you’ll be cycling through various types of produced video, image, written, and even audio content. If you produce potentially cross-medium pieces, such as interviews, you can actually use all mediums at once
- Pour your effort into single standout pieces. Think of this as the “quality over quantity” element. There are millions, maybe even billions of articles posted online every day, but how many are actually getting read? According to a recent report by Moz and BuzzSumo, the vast majority of posts never receive any social shares or links—only a quarter of all articles ever receive either one. This is because only the best of the best content stands out in the modern era. If you want to survive, you need to start spending more effort on a smaller number of pieces, and stop churning out articles for quantity reasons alone.
- Make your content experiences interactive. This may seem like a tricky angle, but there are many ways to make your content interactive. The goal is simply to get your readers to engage with your brand on some level, and the word “engage” is intentionally ambiguous. For example, you could call for user opinions by opening up a discussion, or implementing some kind of reader survey. Or, you could get your readers to engage directly by submitting their own content, perhaps through a social media contest. On a more basic level, you could simply encourage discussions on a debatable topic in the comments section of your blog (or on social media as a follow-up to your original piece). The more involved your readers are, the more likely they’ll be to remember you in an overcrowded content age.
- Adapt and readapt. Many companies are starting to notice that their content marketing strategies are no longer working; this is because they haven’t adapted with the times. Technology will never stop evolving, and consumers will never remain of a single mind for too long. If you want to survive, you have to constantly re-measure your efforts and adjust to meet the new expectations, whatever they are. Only the businesses who measure, analyze, and adjust consistently will be able to survive for more than a few months into the future, so bear in mind that all the steps we’ve listed here are only an introduction.
These strategic shifts are mandatory if you want any hope of remaining relevant in the future. They aren’t helpful suggestions or ideas; you need to adopt them and enforce them if you want to remain relevant in the coming years. If you’ve already adopted them and you’re still running strong, take a moment to congratulate yourself and keep watch for more developments as they roll out.