How is your 2019 going so far? Have you created your content plan already? If not, you are running a bit late, but it's probably for the best. If you are reading this post, you are in a better position than others, because you get to find out what content marketing strategies DON'T work in 2019. Excluding these from your plan will save you time and unnecessary wasted efforts.
But before we crack on, what's actually content marketing?
A lot of people get confused, thinking that content marketing is just blogging. That's like a fraction of what it really is. Content can be presented in many different formats and delivered through many different channels. For example, videos on IGTV and YouTube, digital and online courses, text posts on Facebook and LinkedIn, images on Instagram and Pinterest, articles on your blog or Medium, white papers, audiobooks, podcasts, emails, newsletters and the list goes on. To achieve your business goals through content marketing, you need to build working strategies for some or most of these content types. And because we live in a fast-paced society, where the digital world and tech are dominating our lives, the knowledge of how things work you gained yesterday, may not be relevant tomorrow. So, let's see what you should cross off your content marketing in 2019.
1. Creating Content to Build Quantity
Ok, it's true Google likes websites that regularly update their content and frequent blog posts are the easiest way to do this. BUT, what many people miss, is that Google likes fresh content that also brings value. In other words, if you are creating content for the sake of populating your pages with some new information, but that information isn't helpful, entertaining or valuable in some way, you'll probably get penalised rather than rewarded by the search engine. That would mean your content marketing strategy has failed.
What works in 2019: Find the questions and the problems of your audience. Then provide the answers and solutions through your content.
2. Sticking to Text Content Only
Text content will always be important for your SEO, and for some industries and niches, it will be more important than it is for others. However, people have less and less time to read long blog posts, no matter how good they look in the eyes of Google bots. That's just one thing. The way people search for information is also changing. One of the top 5 digital marketing trends for 2019 is audio content. I mean, this isn't really a surprise, considering how popular voice assistant devices have become recently.
What works in 2019: Repurposing content has never been more relevant! Turn your best blog posts in audio articles or a podcast. Change the way you use keywords and key phrases in titles and content body. Think of what would a person say when they are searching for something, rather than how they would type it.
3. Sticking to Video Only
Content marketing has been simply dominated by video for the past 3 years. Its popularity and great performance continued growing until...it stopped. Just around the Christmas period I, as well as, some other professionals, noticed that video content on Facebook started underperforming significantly in favour of images. Now, this doesn't really apply to live videos, which continue to rock all social media platforms where they exist as a feature. And also, don't consider videos irrelevant in 2019, because they are very far from that label. But, for what is worth, experiment with more diverse content.
What works in 2019: A good mix of video, high quality images, short and concise, rich value text content, as well as long form problem-solving written and audio content.
4. Over-optimising Content
I can't believe that in 2019 there are still SEO "specialists" who try to stack a ton of keywords into a 300-word text on the home page. Unfortunately, this does happen and I continue to see it disturbingly frequently. Two-three years ago, that would have been a great tactic and a working content strategy, but in 2019 it is bound to fail. Official Google guidelines on keyword density suggest that the use of keywords should make up for 1.5% to maximum of 2.5% of the total word count of the article. And, whenever a keyword or a phrase is used, it needs to fit naturally in the sentence, not damaging the quality of the reading experience. Let's make it a little bit simpler. If you have a blog post of 1000 words, the maximum times you can include a keyword is 25. I personally think that's even too much, if you want the reading to flow naturally and really engage the reader.
What works in 2019: Creating text that is a pleasure to read and people would like to share because they enjoyed it or found value in it that others may benefit from.
5. Relying on Google Ads to Popularise Your Content
Google Ads have become atrociously expensive. On top of all, they don't even bring the results you would expect despite the huge amounts of money you pour into them. 2019 is not the year to invest in Google Ads to popularise your content or increase your website sales. Google is currently developing a major update, which supposedly would outperform Facebook's ad targeting, but it won't be released until 2020. In the meantime, a lot of Google services are taking the hit, for example, Google Maps. Google+ is shutting down in August, which to some content marketers, will also be a disadvantage (but not such a big one).
What works in 2019: If you want to bring more traffic to your website or popularise your content, use Medium and LinkedIn for article publishing and engage on Quora. Facebook Ads and even better, Pinterest Ads, will work wonders on a minimal budget for now. Use the opportunity while it lasts!
6. Publishing Content that Sells Too Hard
The other day someone said in a business group on Facebook that they strongly believe in aggressive marketing and being in the face of the consumer all the time, because that's what makes the brand stick to a person's mind. I say no, thanks! We've had enough of that in the past years. I don't want to constantly hear about something that I'm not even interested in. More importantly, I'm not the only one who feels that way. There was an avalanche of other business owners sharing the same opinion over pushy, aggressive and intrusive marketing, always trying to use content that sells too hard.
What works in 2019: Showing your personality (or the personality of your brand if you own a bigger company) and displaying the value your products and services bring. Referrals/ mouth-to-mouth marketing is what you need to focus on achieving in 2019.
7. Blindly Trusting Stats
If we want to build a good content marketing strategy, we need to follow best practices. WRONG! You need to establish best practices for your business. And that means you can't follow statistics and expert recommendations blindly. Yes, research shows that the best time to post on Facebook is Wednesday at 3pm. But is this true for your audience? Email marketing gurus advise to send 3 emails a week to your subscribers. Well, if you did that to me, you would have lost me on the second week. Keep your spam to yourself, please!
What works in 2019: Experiment and learn. Monitor your website and social media analytics closely. Understand your ideal customer. Build your content strategy based on the activity and behaviour of your target audience.