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Content marketing is an ever-changing practice, but that’s no excuse for staying behind instead of keeping up with the trends. 2018 has already been a great year for content marketing, and it’s only going to get better through the rest of the year. If you want to make sure you get on the right tracks early enough to reap the benefits before 2019, you need to get familiar with where content marketing is heading in 2018 and how to adjust for it.

What do we expect to see throughout the rest of 2018 in the world of content marketing? Here are some of the trends that are continuing to gain momentum:

Increased Personalization

People are growing more and more interested in content that is hyper-personalized to their preferences, needs, and wants. Many people want smarter content that’s sending a message more relevant to them instead of a blanket statement to everyone. Personalized content draws in more engagement and response from people, and hyper-personalization helps increase it further.

Influencer Marketing

Recommendations from people I know” is listed as the #1 most trusted source of advertising in North America. While influencer marketing may not always fit into that category, many people put more trust in products or services that their favorite influencers like over products recommended in other forms of advertising. Influencer marketing is a way to tap into different audiences with a certain level of trust already established.

Localized Marketing Strategies

In the same vein as hyper-personalization, localization is becoming increasingly desired by people who are tired of getting broad advertisements which do not apply to them. Localization is a huge part of personalizing and targeted advertisements online, and it’s growing in usage this year.

IOT Expansion

Many more devices have internet access than before. This is increasing your opportunities to present content to viewers all over the world at different points in time. Many smart devices are growing in popularity, especially devices for the home, making this an important trend to focus on in upcoming months and years.

How to Adjust Your Content Marketing Strategy for Success

Knowing the market trends means nothing unless you respond appropriately. With the quick evolution of content marketing, you need to stay on your toes and keep your strategy up-to-date in order to have the biggest impact.

Here are a few ways you can push your content marketing efforts in the right direction to appropriately respond to marketing trends in 2018:

  • Create more targeted, specialized content

This is the obvious response to a higher demand for hyper-personalization and localization. People may not specifically list these as things they want, but they do show greater engagement and response to advertisements that are targeted to them more specifically. Broad content won’t cut it all the time, especially for ad campaigns or social media marketing.

Many larger companies create multiple different pieces of content, and often different content formats, to use for the same marketing campaigns. There may only be slight variations in the content, but it’s enough to make it more personalized to the specific people who will see it.

Live video is one sector that’s being encouraged by online platforms and is giving promising results for the companies that are able to use it well. There is far more engagement and interest in live videos as opposed to articles, blog posts, infographics, and even pre-recorded videos. This is an area that may be worth looking into if it makes sense for your business.

  • Consider new forms of content

With the internet of things (IoT) comes a great opportunity for content marketers in all sectors. Content can now be accessed in so many different places and in many new ways. You need to start exploring how to take advantage of the IoT in your specific industry.

IOT forces marketers to think beyond visual content and look at other options, some of which are not very well represented in the market yet. One great example of this is Neil Patel’s “Marketing School” program that gives 10 minutes of marketing informational content daily through smart home devices like Google Home or Amazon Alexa. This is something requested by the user that’s accessible throughout the day whenever they have time to listen.

Ask Purina is also a fantastic example lead by the pet food company Purina. Using Alexa, people can ask animal-related questions and get answers from Purina. This is a highly interactive form of content that brings the company’s brand to the forefront because people use commands like “Alexa, ask Purina…”.

These are two examples of different formats of content on the same IoT devices. Options for content on other IoT devices are as endless as the devices themselves, which will require you to adapt your content marketing strategy to find an even better marketing mix in the future.

  • Follow the buyer’s journey

Content marketing should be existing at every stage of a buyer’s interaction with your business. It’s not enough to throw broad advertisements around and hope that people will convert into buyers based on the same information repeated again and again. Instead, target people in the specific stage they’re in as often as possible so you can present the most relevant content to them first.

If they have no idea about your product, you need base-level content marketing that will help educate them about your product or service and fulfill their need for more information. People who already know enough and are looking for solutions to specific problems will need a different kind of information that those just starting out their search. Other people will need comparison content and other types of final-stage marketing content.

Wherever the buyer is on their journey, your content needs to match that as closely as possible. That means having content ready to target any type of person, regardless of whether they will convert at that exact moment or not. If you focus on people in a transactional way, they may not even reach the point of buying, as the path won’t be clearly laid out in front of them and there is not nurturing towards a buying decision. A better content strategy leads the person to the sale over time and continues to build the relationship after the sale, leading to a higher customer lifetime value.

It can be difficult to stay on top of the newest best practices in content marketing, but doing so can mean the difference between a fantastic campaign and below-average performance. If you want the best ROI, you have to keep up with the fast pace and avoid getting lost in the crowd of other marketers who are doing the exact same things as you!