Content Marketing Trends in 2020

Digital advertising and content marketing are continually evolving and changing. It’s important for businesses to keep an eye out and look for practical ways to integrate the new techniques and tools into their existing content marketing strategy. If you implement one and your closest competitor doesn’t, you gain an edge over them.

Six (and a bonus) Content Marketing Tactics and Tools

Tailored Content

While this isn’t exactly new, new advances in data collecting tools are allowing us to highly customize content marketing for various audiences. Here’s an example of how you can apply this:

If you track your customers’ buying history at your store, and you notice that a group of customers tend to buy a lot of outdoor goods while a different set of customers purchase casual wear. You can send out separate emails customized to these interests.

While no one is in love with the idea of Big-Brother watching them, they do appreciate getting promotions and emails that are customized to them. Up till relatively recently, it was a challenge to highly personalize content to the audience because the collected data was limited. Age, income range, location, gender, etc. The new tools, which are becoming increasingly affordable, allow businesses to drill down the data and refine it. Content marketers will be able to better tailor the content for businesses’ audiences.

What you can do now

Start collecting data. Set up criteria that goes beyond the usual segmentation variables to get in-depth information about your customers or audience. The more information you can get now, the easier it’ll be to adjust your content marketing strategy when you’re ready to invest in the new-and-improved segmentation tools.

VR, AR, and Interactive Content

Using virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and interactive content in marketing is in its infancy. Right now (2019), practical application of these technologies for marketing is limited. However, because they are becoming increasingly affordable for consumers, it follows that businesses will look for ways to integrate these devices into their marketing strategies.

VR: VR participants are immersed in a virtual world. If you’re familiar with Star Trek’s holodeck, VR is a precursor to that technology. Future application of VR technologies will likely be games, movies, academic (online schools), shopping (virtually try on clothes), and even certain employment fields.

AR: the real world is “augmented” with digital graphics. Many Instagram and Snapchat users will be familiar with this. Both platforms have filters that can be overlaid your face, for example.

Two possible areas of marketing to explore are “immersive ads” and “product placement.” Immersive ads will likely be very similar to what Youtube utilizes now: banner ads that rolls across a participant’s viewing area while the game or video loads.

Product placement, you’re probably already familiar with: inserting a company’s product or service into a movie somewhere. A character could drink from a cola can. Or drive by a Texaco gas station. Or… It’s a tactic that marketing has used for decades in movies. While this sounds expensive, remember that because it’s digital, it’s very easy for a game or movie maker to digitally change products to target viewers with certain demographic data – like location. Denver-based businesses could buy product placement ads that are visible to only Denver-based viewers.

Visual Social Media

This is not new, by any means. But we’ll definitely see a bigger emphasis on using social media to market b2b and b2c products. Because photographs, graphics, and videos do extremely well on these platforms, we’ll see a bigger growth on the use of visuals.

Video marketing, in particular.

73% of adults in the USA use Youtube, which far exceeds Facebook (69%), and Instagram (37%). It’s only logical to follow the money, right?

What you can do now

If you’re not ready to launch a video channel, you can still get ready.

  • Make the graphics – the banner, your avatar images, and outros
  • Write and polish the “about-me” section
  • Outbound links – make sure they’re all set up and working correctly
  • Start making storyboards, and if relevant, scripts
  • Price contractor services. While it may be more expensive to contract the work out, a good professional can get the video and editing done a lot faster than a novice. Weigh the costs vs benefits

You can also look into advertising via Youtube, which is a very good platform for ad-based marketing. It’ll also be a little easier to determine the ROI by tracking the data analytic metrics.

Storytelling

For awhile there, the emphasis was on SEO and SEM, but we’re finally seeing a shift back to storytelling. Storytelling is a far better tactic for establishing relationships with a target audience and building brand authority and awareness.

Your average customers are not stupid. They don’t want to feel like they’re dealing with a gimmicky car-salesman. They want to establish genuine relationship with you. They want to feel good about parting with their hard-earned cash.

Good storytelling shows that you understand the customers’ problems and demonstrates that you or your products can help them achieve their goals or solve their problems. Want to know more about how to integrate storytelling into your strategy? Read this: Incorporate Storytelling for Killer Content Marketing.

Voice Search

By 2020, voice and image searches will make up at least half of all online searches. That’s in the ballpark of 200 billion voice searches. As mobile devices increasingly move toward using hand-free technologies and voice assistants, businesses need to be thinking about how to capitalize on this trend. Like AR and VR, this is a very new frontier, and much is unknown at this point.

What you can do now

Any marketing tactics that capitalizes on voice searches will likely lean heavily on SEO. Make sure that the SEO keywords used on your site are top-notch. Don’t forget to check any photographs and graphics, too.

AI and Chatbots

As chatbot tools become increasingly more affordable, we’ll see an increasing number of small and medium businesses using these tools on their websites. Chatbots are projected to drive $112 billion in retail sales by 2023.

Chatbots and their AIs have improved from their early days. While it’s nowhere close to talking to a human, advanced versions can answer simple inquiries, questions, and problems. One big advantage to using a chatbot is it cuts the costs of hiring low-level human customer support and reduces the manpower needed.

Brand Collaborations/Partnership

Not influencer marketing (though that’ll certainly continue to grow in 2020), but rather brand collaborations. More and more businesses are realizing the upside in dividing the labor (and costs) while reaping the benefits.

As an example, National Geographic Magazine frequently works with city- or state-sponsored tourism agencies of various US states and countries. A country benefits from National Geographic’s storytelling expertise and the boost in their tourists, and National Geographic benefits from ad dollars from their magazines and website, and also, continued brand building.

What you can do now

Seek out a business that isn’t a direct competitor and drop them a note.

Bonus: Omnichannel Content Strategies

Not quite a marketing strategy, but this certainly will become a necessary tool in a digital marketer’s arsenal in the coming years.

With all the new marketing platforms, strategies, and technologies popping up, managing them all will become a big headache. How do you ensure the brand voice/style is consistent across board? That the correct visual marketing is used for the correct social media platform? Coordinate seasonal promotions with other timely content?

Businesses will need to develop a single “master” strategy to oversee them all and ensure that missteps are avoided. The sooner you can outline your overarching strategy and schedules, the easier it’ll be to coordinate all the tasks in the coming months.

Conclusion

While we can only speculate at this point which marketing trend will take off, these “preparation” steps will benefit you in the long term. I am 95% certain that, of all the possible options, tailored content, storytelling, and visual marketing will pull ahead of the crowd. They are flexible, easy to customize to each business’ needs and budget, and the learning curve won’t be as steep.

Want to get started but unsure how? Contact me anytime.