Content marketing has undergone a dramatic transformation within the last decade or so. No longer is it a case of companies writing what takes their fancy: today, they have detailed analytics, target audiences and personas to appeal to which shape the content that they publish on their sites. And content is becoming an increasingly important part of many organisations’ recruitment strategies.
In a market where 64% of employers are struggling to find relevant candidates, content marketing is an invaluable way of reaching out to fresh audiences, providing advice, information and a glimpse behind the scenes at a business. Good content marketing generates three times the leads, and six times the conversions, of companies that don’t use it: it's clearly a valuable resource.
However, what appeals to candidates is changing all the time, and to that end we’ve put together a quick analysis of the top trends in content marketing for 2018.
The trend for video shows no sign of slowing down any time soon, and it’s become a growing priority amongst marketers, too. 48% of them plan to add YouTube to their content plan this year, and 46% more are planning to add Facebook video. In our social media-dominated times, a video is easy to watch, and snares the attention in a way that text often doesn’t. It’s also incredibly easy to do. What would have taken several high-tech cameras to film five or more years ago now only takes a smartphone and a Youtube account, and it’s become easier than ever to share videos via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Alongside this, live streaming has also become extremely popular, as users seek to engage with ‘genuine’ or ‘authentic’ content. In fact, content marketing gets higher engagement rates than any other kind of content on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Content creators are able to do everything from conduct live interviews with employees to creating ‘day in the life’ videos for their viewers: this is an effective way of snaring interest and generating conversions for your brand.
Get your users involved
User-generated content is, by all accounts, the next big thing in the world of content marketing. 70% of consumers and viewers place the importance of user-generated content above content that businesses write themselves. This can include reviews, recommendations, comments and even blogs that other people might have written about your company, or your website. Given that candidates tend to trust information about hiring companies more when it comes from external sources, it’s vital that you tap into this trend- as it’s only going to grow over the next few years.
Get your readers involved: whether it’s through competitions, campaigns or simply encouraging employees to post reviews on Glassdoor or LinkedIn, it’ll pay off in conversions and views. Similarly, get involved with thought leaders. 26% of businesses cite influencer marketing as one of their top content strategies, and for good reason: leverage their expertise and audience by asking them to guest post on your website or by undertaking joint projects together.
Mastering social media
Just over half the world’s population use social media, and it should be a key tenet of your content marketing strategy. However, though many marketers might be familiar with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, there are a whole host of new platforms out there that are mushrooming in popularity and influence- and which content marketers would do well to keep up with. Sites like Instagram are overtaking Twitter in popularity, whilst Snapchat and LinkedIn are constantly debuting new ways to show content to their viewers. If you want to stay ahead of the trend, this might be a good place to start.
Telling a story
Today’s viewers don’t want to read content that doesn’t apply to them. They want to feel like they’re a part of something bigger, especially the biggest consumers of content on the Internet: that is, Generation Z and Millennials. They like the idea of ‘authentic’ content, where we’re emotionally engaged and invested in what’s unfurling on screen- and, therefore, the brand that’s being promoted. The hard sell doesn’t work any more. Instead, seek to create a compelling connection with your audience by bringing the people behind your business to life- as with Adidas’ great ‘Unleash your Creativity’ campaign, which delivers the brand’s message alongside true, gritty real-life stories from female athletes.
Choose a story that connects with your target audiences, and go for stories that are specific, detailed and personalised rather than generic: though you might not think it, it will actually allow more people to relate to it, and broaden its appeal rather than delivering generic brand messages.
What do people want to read?
With the world of content marketing changing so quickly, you need to balance providing good-quality content with finding new ways to reach out to your audience.