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Back to School: 8 Content Marketing Trends for 2018

Hello! Did you miss me? I've been on holiday and just moved houses so it took me a while to get back on track, but here I am, ready to feed you more useful information on content marketing.

As you may know, this week most students in the UK go back to school. In the same spirit, throughout September, I will be stimulating you to learn more about the digital trends and news that are now part of any successful marketing campaign.

We are almost in the last quarter of 2017, which means most big organisations are already in the process of developing content marketing strategy for 2018. Today, I'll help you get the bases on your own content marketing plan for a mind-blowing performance in the new year.

content marketing trends 2018

1. Live Videos

Live videos are the biggest trend, expected to show maximum results in short period of time. This is partly due to the fact that live video features are fairly new to most social media channels. They emerged only a couple of years ago and people over 30 took some time to understand them and use them. Statistics show that in 2017, 78% of Facebook users watch live streams of brands and 80% of Internet users would rather watch a live video than read a blog. In addition, live streams make consumers feel like they are part of whatever is happening right now. This boosts the feeling of exclusivity and strengthens the bond between the brand and the consumer. The factual results are evident, 70% of people with the job title of a content marketing specialist claim that video content brings more conversions than any other type and registers the best ROI, compared to other methods. Have you tried using a live video in your content marketing mix already? Tell me more about your experience with it.

2. Influencer Endorsement

We have talked about this in some of the previous posts. Influencer endorsement is an inexpensive and very effective way to increase sales. In 2018 this is expected to be one of the winning strategies for attracting more new clients. People trust public figures that connect to their personalities or individuals with proven track record of credibility. When you affiliate your brand with such characters, naturally you get some of their followers and fame. Find the right person who resonates with your brand and who can deliver the right message. Make sure they understand the purpose of their endorsement and build a campaign. The results will come with no delay.

3. Email Marketing

Although Email Marketing is a separate segment of Digital Marketing, it still needs to be included in your content strategy and planning. Emails are the personal way to touch and talk to your audience. Build eye-catching and interactive letters with valuable content. This means either give information that interests your subscribers or send them offers they can take advantage of. This are the best ways to get more clicks on your website through your email campaign. Getting the frequency right is also crucial. Weekly or 2-times-a-week emails convert best because they keep you in touch with your consumers without overwhelming them. A great example of star email campaigner is Photobox. If you haven't subscribed to their newsletters and email offers, do it, even if it is just for educational purposes.

4. Virtual Reality

It is sad to say that VR is currently unavailable for small businesses due to its huge costs. But do not despair. Technology is growing and so is the demand for virtual reality. Experts predict that the revenue from VR will exceed $160 billion by 2020, so cheaper solutions will definitely come into play to favour SMEs, as well as big corporations. At the moment, The North Face is the brand that has got a great hang of virtual reality and is using it to promote premium products.

5. Augmented Reality

A decade ago augmented reality was only a cool scene from Sci-Fi movies, while today it is a rapidly growing part of the content marketing mix of many brands. It is a fantastic tool to use for fashion or tech businesses, as well as companies, offering services that are difficult to grasp without visual or motion content. Unfortunately, this type of technology also doesn't come cheap and until more cost-effective softwares are developed, only big brands will be able to benefit from the perks that AR has to offer. I hope this happens soon, because people are loving it.

6. Storytelling

Looks like hiring a good copywriter in 2018 will help you climb to the top. Storytelling becomes a very important part, if not the base, of your content marketing strategy. Consumers don't want to read blogs and social media updates that don't have any real value or are written just for the sake of populating a web page with content. Your brand needs to sound interesting, authentic and honest. Of course, not everything you say will be 100% real, but even if it is creative writing, it should be made believable. Choose a writer that fully understands what your brand is about and can create the stories that your audience will like. The price range for this service will vary from a writer to writer, but it is essential to not compromise with the quality of the content you receive.

7. Organisational Restructure

You are probably asking yourself how does this relate to content marketing. Here's your answer. Content marketing has been growing significantly in the past half a decade. At first, it was only a handful of businesses utilising it as part of their overall marketing strategy, therefore there was no real need for creating separate departments and job roles dedicated to that segment. In 2018, however, companies are expected to undergo some organisational restructure to accommodate content creation and distribution. For small businesses outsourcing these duties to freelance copywriters and virtual assistants or social media managers will still be the best policy. It may come cheaper due to the fact that you won't be required to pay employer insurance and NI contributions, pensions schemes, sick and holiday pay. However, it is becoming essential for medium and big sized organisations to create departments and positions for in-house specialists who can keep the running of these activities smooth and consistent.

8. Personal Voice

The eighth trend is practically a summary of the other seven. Gone are the days when brands had to be all smart and businesslike in their communication with consumers. Your audience wants you to be personal. They want to see that you are just like them, so that they can associate with your brand and trust you to deliver what they need. This is evident in the demand for storytelling, email marketing conversions and the brilliant performance of live videos. Whatever you do in your content marketing campaigns for 2018, make it personal, it is the recipe for success.

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