Content marketing is all well and good, but if you’re just churning out irrelevant clutter, you might as well not be doing it at all, says Jon Stubley, VP ANZ sales, GumGum.
In a post-digital transformation world an increasing number of brands are moving to a content marketing driven approach.
But this itself presents a challenge for brands who truly want to connect with consumers; there is a risk that consumers will begin to suffer from content fatigue as the glut of content out there threatens to overwhelm.
The answer for smart brands is to ensure that the content they do is of the optimal value to their target audience and that they are on top of where their current and potential audience is.
This is not as straight forward as it sounds as rapid technological advances mean that new platforms are emerging all of the time; brands need to be able to quickly adapt to these new platforms and find the best way to tell a great story that captivates and informs in a way that is appropriate to that medium.
From our experience of working with some of the best content marketing brands in the world here is our insight into the five emerging trends that will help give an edge to your content marketing strategy.
Many people, including over 14 million Australian users, now get their news exclusively from Facebook. Consequently, publishers are now tailoring their content specifically for social platforms, thanks to fast-loading, ad-friendly editorial formats such as Snapchat Discover and Facebook Instant Articles.
But it’s not just publishers who are doing this. Last October, Sony Pictures became the first brand to purchase its own Snapchat Discover channel, which was dedicated to the latest James Bond movie, Spectre.
Meanwhile, as of last week Facebook made its Instant Articles available to brand publishers, meaning that marketers can now adapt their content for these enhanced social formats – effective and entertaining vertical video on Snapchat, stunning motion photography for Instant Articles, not to mention content that generally sparks discussion and sharing.
Dark Social: Chat
Given their sheer number and audience – WhatsApp alone has one billion users – messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger Google Hangouts, and iMessage would seem like a no-brainer for content creation, but their lack of trackability has kept most publishers and marketers away.
Now that there’s too much content everywhere else, though, “dark social” is suddenly the new frontier. Facebook, just last week, announced the introduction of chat bots to its Messenger platform prompting much industry debate. It isn’t the subtlest of iterations so we’ll be watching with interest as to how it is received.
In the meantime, for a taste of what content creation using the chat idiom can look like, look no further than the Quartz app for iOS, which reimagines the news as an IM conversation, complete with GIFs, emojis, and dialogue.
Social media influencers have historically been hired primarily for the volume of their followers, but more recently they are beginning to be commissioned to create original content for brand social media channels.
Case in point: YouTuber Miranda Sings created a funny music video for US fast food chain Jack in the Box that her fans loved because it captured the feeling of her appeal while still showcasing the fast food brand. To quote one commenter, “I never thought I’d replay a branded content video 38 times in a row.”
The Visual Web
Instagram and Snapchat demonstrate how people generally prefer to interact by visual rather than written means. The brain can process pictures much faster than words, which is probably why visual content is 40x more likely to be shared on social media and content with images gets 94 per cent more views than content without.
Images and other visual media provoke an instant emotional response, allowing for a stronger brand connection. They’re an essential element of any savvy content marketing strategy.
User-generated content (UGC) has emerged as a powerful format for marketers. The rise of the empowered consumer has led to customers wanting to be part of the entire brand experience, including marketing. The most popular brands on social media are the ones that interact with their customers the most.
They aren’t seen as detached companies delivering one-sided marketing messages; rather, they’re organic communities that customers can be a part of. This approach is why UGC campaigns are seeing such success, whether they’re user-submitted street photography or customers’ own artwork.