2017 was a weird year.
Salt Bae became a celebrity. Something like 4 bajillion fidget spinners were sold. One day was SUPER dark for some reason.
Luckily, 2018 is shaping up to be totally normal. Ahh, sweet simplicity.
Wait, nope. Everything’s still weird.
And the world of content on the web is no exception.
Facebook, Twitter, and similar platforms have evolved from trendy social networks to entertainment and news moguls, bringing a bigger microscope, a more skeptical audience, and new sets of rules to marketers and content creators.
But there is good news. Lemonheads have been navigating trends in content marketing for a while, and we’re here to help you identify the trends to keep tabs on over the next (hopefully less weird) year.
Web of Content
So you’ve decided to give content marketing a shot. Nice! The next step? Make the most of it. To draw as many eyes as possible, consider a web of content: a network of conceptually and visually consistent pieces that live across your communication channels and lead back to a central, larger piece of content like an infographic. This central piece can also be separated into slides, expanded into a leave-behind document, or modified to fit other needs. Each piece of the web can also fit together like a puzzle, encouraging viewers to explore every avenue of your brand to get the full story. The goal is maximum effectiveness and efficiency for each flagship concept you execute.
Think of it like this: There’s an overwhelmingly good chance that you’ve been exposed to some form of Star Wars promotion in the past week or so. Most likely a lot of forms. Because beyond the episodic films Disney produces each year, they release stand-alone “anthology” films and partner with car manufacturers, coffee condiment producers, cosmetic brands, novelists, video game studios, fruit producers, and a whoooooooole bunch of other entities to form a ridiculously valuable, influential, and pretty much unavoidable web of content. Obviously, this example takes things to extreme, but the theory holds up – by building a web of content, you create mutual support between your main execution and its extensions. Win-win.
Committing to a web of connected content is a great way to keep your audience members engaged and make sure your brand remains at the top of their minds. Awesome visuals that boost brand perception and keep consumers on the edge of their seats? It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
Between Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant, there’s no doubt that the age of AI is in full swing. Thanks to corporate Christmas party gifts and smart-home-obsessed millennials, tens of millions of smart speakers are occupying shelf space all across the world. If your brand doesn’t start thinking about voice specifically and intentionally, you’re going to be left behind.
The immediate draw of smart assistants isn’t tough to see: they make completing simple tasks more convenient, access to information quicker, and life a little easier overall. But checking the weather and turning your lights on are square one. Child’s play. Marketers need to get creative when it comes to developing valuable audio content. Some have already started.
It might seem insane to give audio equal weight when considering your content marketing mix, but “What’s our Facebook strategy?” was probably a pretty weird question ten years ago. Just sayin’.
“What’s our Facebook strategy?” was probably a pretty weird question ten years ago.
Nothing tells a story quite like video. Combine audio with visuals and attention-grabbing motion and you get more than just a vehicle for sharing your narrative. You get a brand-new Porsche. With a personal driver. And a massage seat.
The explainer video (example below) is one emerging video trend to consider. These typically few-minutes-long clips fill viewers in on your product or service in a simple, engaging way that’s proven to be incredibly effective — four times more likely to be viewed than a text document. They can also be broken down and spread out, providing a perfect opportunity for quick tips or more thorough explanations of certain features or topics. Web of content, anyone?
Whether we’re talking explainer videos, live streaming, microcontent, expiring content, or more traditional executions, the staggering stats make one thing clear: Brands that build a reputation for consistent, high-quality, innovative video will be the ones that lead the way.
Accessibility is going to touch a lot more than marketing in 2018 — thankfully, the pulse on removing barriers for people who experience disabilities is probably as strong as ever. But making your content accessible is more than a good thing to do. It’s smart.
I’m a blind twitter user. There are a lot of us out there. Increase your ability to reach us and help us interact with your pictures, it’s really simple and makes a huge difference to our twitter experiance allowing us to see your images our way. Thanks for the description ? pic.twitter.com/hCsjoFdmev
— Rob Long (@_Red_Long) January 3, 2018
Marketing and research departments spend hundreds of hours and way more dollars devising methods to increase reach when one answer has been right in front of them. By failing to consider whether people with visual impairments, cognitive disabilities, and other conditions are able to perceive your content correctly, you’re leaving viewers at the door and money on the table.
Tools like those that check visuals for sufficient contrast and copy for comprehensibility will be instrumental as we strive to both extend our influence and consider all users’ experiences.
Want more ways to keep your content marketing game strong in the upcoming year? Hit us up – we’d be happy to help!