Your content marketing strategy's success for 2018 depends on the types of content you create and how you reach your audience. As long as you pay attention to emerging trends, you should find success in reaching your goals over the course of the year. Start by giving attention to these four opportunities for growth.
Publish More Long-Form Content
Long-form content refers to blog posts, white papers and other types of content with at least 1,000 words. Marketing professionals have been pushing this concept for the last few years, but many companies still only publish short posts with 300 to 500 words.
Long-form content provides in-depth information to readers, which in turn encourages people to share articles more often. One study shows that posts with fewer than 1,000 words receive an average of 2,823 shares on Facebook. Articles with 1,000 to 2,000 words get an average of 3,456 shares.
The number of shares continues to grow as posts get longer. According to the study, you can expect an article with 2,000 to 3,000 words to get about 4,254 shares. An article with 3,000 to 10,000 words should receive about 5,883 shares.
Additional benefits of long-form content include:
Long-form content obviously takes more time and money to create. If your company is struggling to stay within a content marketing budget, try publishing one or two long-form pieces per month. Even a couple of long posts should help your brand gain more exposure.
Invest in Video
In 2017, 48 percent of marketers said they planned to add YouTube videos to their marketing strategies. In addition, 46 percent said they planned to start adding Facebook videos. Expect to see this trend become even more important in 2018.
Internet users have become more interested in watching online videos in recent years. In 2012, 171.6 million Americans watching digital videos. By 2016, that number grew to 213.2 million. Experts expect about 227.5 million people to watch digital videos in 2018.
The growing popularity of online videos likely comes from improvements in smartphone technology. Today's smartphones have faster processors than the ones sold in the early 2010s. Faster processors make it easier for people to watch videos without lags or other interruptions.
Video also gives your company a new opportunity to develop a brand personality. The types of videos you make will affect how people view your business. If you want to identify as a fun brand, make sure you ask charismatic, humorous hosts to star in your videos. If you want to concentrate on how-to videos and other types of informational content, craft professional-looking content with logical structures.
Experiment With Live Video
Live video is gaining more attention now that YouTube, Facebook and other platforms allow users to stream videos as well as upload them. Live video often includes events like:
- Question and answer sessions
- Expert reviews
- Weekly recaps
Viewers like live video because it gives them opportunities to interact with people and companies. A lot of people want the chance to communicate with their favorite YouTube celebrities. Live video makes that possible.
From a marketing perspective, it's important to look at how live video affects viewer engagement. When Search Engine Land studied audience reach and viewer engagement during and after its Facebook Live videos, it discovered that the average post reach more than doubled (from about 4,000 to 8,000 viewers). Post engagement for Search Engine Land's Facebook Live videos was 178 percent higher than average.
Although creating live videos often works well because viewers like to participate, you keep benefiting long after the event. After all, the live videos you broadcast stay on your social media platform for future viewing. The Q&A session that doubles your reach on a single day can keep attracting attention for months or years.
Use Diverse Social Media Platforms
Facebook has significantly more users than any other social media platform. With more than 2 billion active users as recently as September 2017, Facebook is impossible for marketers to ignore.
Facebook's dominance, however, has encouraged some marketers to rely on it too heavily. Unfortunately for those marketers, the Facebook page engagement has fallen by about 20 percent since the beginning of 2017. According to some studies, organic reach on Facebook has been on the decline since 2013.
Even though Facebook remains extremely popular, the dip in engagement shows that content marketers need to diversify their approaches by using a wider range of social media platforms.
In 2018, you should develop content for other popular platforms, including YouTube, which has 1.5 billion active users, and WhatsApp, which has 1.3 billion active users. Diversifying often means you can reach new audiences and demographics that prefer certain platforms. It also means your content strategies can thrive even when one social media platform's popularity decreases.
When planning a content marketing strategy, you need to consider how each decision will benefit your specific company. The above content marketing trends show how the overall industry is evolving. If you take that information and apply it to your unique needs, you can create a strategy that should help you reach your goals in the new year.
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