Five things content marketers need to get their head around
If you work in the digital space, you’ll know that it’s an ever-evolving, fast-paced world that if you don’t keep up then you will fall very far behind. It doesn’t matter if your field of expertise is in search, social, content, analytics, marketing, strategy or media – the reality is there is always something you’ve not yet heard of, learned, or mastered.
So what are the more recent trends in content that marketers need to be aware of?
Here are five trends that have become an essential part of the content marketing toolkit in 2016
1. Live streaming is the new live tweeting
Last year saw the explosion of live video when both Meerkat and Periscope entered the market, and Periscope’s subsequent acquisition by Twitter. In March this year Periscope turned one, and announced that since birth it’s had 200 million broadcasts, with 110 years of live video watched every day.
Australian sporting clubs and leagues have rapidly adopted the live-streaming phenomenon, including post-match live-streams at the Australia Open, before-the-game AFL moments, and access all areas experiences with the Australian Wallabies.
Think Periscope is just for sport & entertainment and not for your brand? Think again. Australian brands have been leveraging the platform to open up experiences to the public as well as utilise the platform’s Q&A functionality. Myer live-streamed the launch of their Spring 2015 Fashion on Periscope, an event that would normally just be viewed by VIPs and journalists, and Telstra has broadcasted its profit announcement with CEO Andy Penn.
Think about events that you used to live-tweet, and consider whether they will work in live-stream.
2. Content publishing models have been disrupted
Last year we saw the launch of Facebook’s Instant Articles, and this year we’ve seen what’s been dubbed ‘Instant Articles for Brands’, Facebook Canvas as well as Twitter Moments launching in Australia.
Instant Articles meant that publishers who are on board are able to publish long form content to Facebook users without having to take the user off-site. The load time really is instant – meaning that would-be readers are not dropping off while waiting for the page to load. Canvas solves the same problem for Brands, allowing for a deeper, more immersive experience in-app.
Twitter Moments launched locally earlier this year, which allows for hand-curated content to appear in the newsfeeds of users for a limited time whilst the ‘Moment’ is live. The opportunity for brands to put themselves in the middle of the conversation also exists via Promoted Moments, which was launched in APAC with NAB in March.
3. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing certainly isn’t new, but it is a space that has heated up a lot over the past 12 months and the rules of engagement are constantly changing.
Influencer marketing now has a place on the channel plan of many a marketing plan, and understandably so. With many digital influencers having in excess of 100K followers on various social networks, these guys have the clout plus trust to heavily weigh in on buyer behaviour and purchase decision-making.
As a content marketer, it’s important to understand the channels these influencers typically use (think Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc.), their audiences, and how they respond to sponsored content. Working with influencers isn’t going to be right for every product or campaign, but when it’s done right it can be incredibly successful.
Brands also have to learn that working with influencers typically involves giving up some element of control, which can be quite uncomfortable at first. Apps such as Tribe have sprung up, allowing brands to directly connect with digital influencers, allowing for approval of posts and negotiation of fees.
4. Mobile first
Last year Google announced that for the first time more searches took place on mobile than on desktop in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan. Mobile is now not a secondary channel, it’s your primary channel. With that in mind, content needs to be created with a mobile-first mindset, and not treated as an afterthought.
The shift towards mobile means that content marketers need to be increasingly focused on ensuring content destinations (ie. websites + landing pages) are mobile-optimised, and so is your actual content pieces. For example, video is huge but if it’s mostly being consumed on mobile without sound, this would change how you develop that content. Lots of brands are now using motion graphics and captioning to tell the story of their video in order to adapt for a mobile-focused audience.
5. Virtual reality
Once thought of as a distant glimpse of what the future might hold, virtual reality is now, in actual fact, a reality. Last year both Facebook and YouTube launched 360 video which has allowed brands to create content that mimics the VR experience. Tourism Australia is one brand that has stood out from the pack by creating a series of 360 degree video content that puts the user in the driver’s seat by allowing them to explore some of our most iconic locations.
This is just the beginning, with Oculus’ Rift product being one of the leading technology innovations in this space. It’s only a matter of time before brands start creating content that allows for an even more immersive experience and I personally cannot wait.