Everyone wants to be ahead of the game. Whether it’s the latest band, a rising company, or a talented young sportsman, we all like to be the first person to get behind an upcoming success story.
The world of marketing is no different. Not long ago, content marketing was labelled ‘the future’. Now, the future is here. But what’s coming up next?
We looked into the Prize Content crystal ball (£5, charity shop, bargain), and here’s what we found to be the future of content marketing ...
Podcast Popularity Persists
Content marketing doesn’t always involve the written word. Increasingly, brands are turning to the spoken word and, more specifically, podcasts to raise awareness and offer value to their customers.
As of April 2020, there were more than 1,000,000 podcasts available to listen to through Apple Podcasts, and upwards of 30 million episodes to choose from, To put that in perspective, just two years earlier, in April 2018, Apple Podcasts claimed to have 525,000 active shows.
Why has there been such an increase in podcast numbers? Because the audience is growing just as fast.
In September 2019, Ofcom reported that 7.1 million people in the UK — that’s one in eight — listen to a podcast each week. That figure represented an increase of 24% from 12 months prior. Having broken the audience down into age groups, research in spring 2020 found that 18% of adults (age 15+) in the UK listened to podcasts on a weekly basis, up from 14% the year before.
Much like the blog has become a staple part of every forward-thinking brand’s website, the podcast will soon become an essential element of a company’s marketing strategy.
If your company isn’t investigating the world of podcasting, now is the time to start.
An Informal Tone Becomes the Accepted Norm
A common desire to come across as professional has meant the ‘normal’, widely accepted tone of voice for businesses is formal. Under the old pattern of thinking, a formal tone demonstrated authority, honesty, and integrity, and was the best way to build trust with an audience. In the future, that won’t be the case.
The emergence of social media, digital presences, and online conversations has changed the way we communicate personally and professionally. A formal tone of voice is now seen as outdated, cold, and, well, boring. Consumers want brands to have a personality and represent something they can resonate with.
A number of businesses, including new companies established by those who have been brought up with new media, are pioneering a more informal, personable tone of voice. While others are playing catch up and experimenting with an engaging tone through their social media feeds, in the next few years we’ll see an increasing number of brands adopting a more conversational tone in all their content.
Content Must Be Tailored for Voice Search
Just as you’ve mastered a new skill, a more efficient method arrives to complicate matters. The role of the new skill is played by SEO, and the new arrival is voice search.
No doubt you’ll have heard how important it is for your online copy to be optimised for search engines. If you’ve invested a lot of time, money, and effort into SEO, you’ll be relieved to know that it will still be important. But, you’ll need to also consider optimising your content for voice searches, and here’s why.
- ComScore predicted that, by 2020, 50% of all searches would be voice searches.
- As of January 2018, there were an estimated one billion voice searches per month.
- By 2022, it’s expected that 55% of households will own a smart speaker device.
- In 2018, it was reported that voice commerce accounted for $2 billion of sales. That number is predicted to rocket to $40 billion by 2022.
Those are just four of the myriad statistics that exhibit just how important voice searches will become for businesses, especially those who sell their products online.
Data Drives Content Creation
Content needs an audience, and audiences want content that interests them and offers value. As a business, it’s your job to make sure you create content that people want to engage with.
Currently, the ‘gut feeling’ approach to content ideas is common, with companies insisting that they know what their audience is looking for. All too often, they’re wrong, and their content falls on deaf ears (or averted gazes).
Analytics are already an accepted element of modern marketing. In the coming years, their influence will continue to grow, and so will their role in content creation. The future sees content marketers building strategies based solely on measurable statistics and evidence of what will and won’t work.
Early adopters of this savvy, data-driven approach will achieve increased levels of engagement that others can’t ignore, leading to the normalisation of stat-based strategies.
Company Collaboration on Content Increases
Max De Pree once said “we can accomplish more together than we can alone.” That perspective is being taken on by businesses, which are beginning to see the value of collaborating on content with other companies.
Producing content in tandem with another business benefits everyone:
- It increases the capacity of both companies to produce content.
- It gives each company access to the other’s audience and increases their exposure.
- It allows the businesses to share their knowledge and insight.
- It provides double the value for readers.
As content marketing becomes ever more essential to brands looking to grow and engage their audience, we’ll see an increasing number of companies working together to produce collaborative content in the future — just like we did here with Dawn Creative.
The Future, Now
As our crystal ball has revealed, there are many aspects of content marketing that will change. Getting a head start on your competitors and preparing for the future is a great way for your business to get ahead.
If you want to take action and move a step closer to the future now, we’d love to help, so get in touch with the Prize Content team today.