After a year that saw ecommerce grow by a staggering $52 billion while in-store sales were essentially wiped out for many sectors, it is no surprise that this year marketers are placing extra emphasis on their digital strategies.
Source: The Future of E-Commerce
Content marketing, as the phrase is understood today, is an essential component of any digital marketing strategy. For contemporary marketing professionals, it is seen as one of the most effective ways of using the internet to engage in a dialogue with customers and potential customers.
Unlike paid-for advertisements, the magic ingredient of “content” is authenticity. This is the reason why collaborative content marketing strategies that present your brand’s different interests work well.
How often have you unsubscribed from a mailing list because the emails start to feel too much like a sales pitch? If your email content is specifically oriented towards direct sales, try these 41 powerful email subject lines for sales that get clicks. For most mailing lists, a broad variety of content is best.
To make sure they create content that attracts new customers and helps to build sustainable brand loyalty, marketers need to focus on both the usefulness of the content itself and the likelihood of it actually reaching the people who might be interested in it.
As digital media evolve, both on a technical level and in the ways we engage with them, content marketing is inevitably changing too. With each new platform or product that enters our digital ecosystem, be it the growth of project management software or the rise of the digital workforce, a new opportunity for marketing arises. This article aims to help you keep on top of trends and make sure your content is both relevant and hitting its target.
Search Engine Optimization is Becoming More Dynamic
Different outlets will place different demands on their content. Does it need to drive traffic towards social media? Does it need to be fit for translation?
One thing that all content marketers know is that search engines can be the key factor determining a website’s visibility. Ultimately, they can decide whether content of any kind actually gets seen or wastes away on the tenth page of search results.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become a cornerstone of digital content marketing for the simple reason that good SEO maximizes traffic to a site and increases the chance of content being found by the right people.
Changing Search Algorithms
In the last decade, the algorithms that power search engines have become increasingly complex. It was once possible to make generic statements about the algorithms that rank, recommend, and filter content for consumption. These days, search results have become so context-dependent that minor adjustments to the way a search is made can radically affect the results achieved.
Location, previous searches, sites visited, and cookies installed can all impact the results of a given search. In the new landscape of web search, generic keyword ranking fails as a meaningful metric for a piece of content’s success.
Achieving the coveted spot at the top of search engine results pages might be of little value if it is only maintained when the search is made from a “clean” browser. The new, more dynamic search algorithms demand a more dynamic approach to SEO.
Changing Search Habits
The way people search is also changing. As voice search grows in popularity, and advances in natural language processing make more specific searches worthwhile, search terms are becoming more conversational.
Those familiar with current SEO best practice will already have observed the shift in focus from keywords to long-tail key phrases. As we begin to expect specific answers to specific questions from our search engines, this trend is likely to continue. To take advantage of the way people’s search habits are changing, content marketers will need to incorporate more specific key phrases. These will often take the form of a question, as this is how the new conversational search queries tend to be posed.
Another way to gain visibility in the increasingly competitive race for search traffic is to optimize for the chance of appearing as one of Google’s featured snippets. This is a sure-fire way of appearing at the top of their results pages and helps to validate your content as a trustworthy and influential source.
Expertise is an Increasingly Important Factor in the Designation of Authority
With the changing nature of search algorithms and the way people use them, more than ever it pays to create content that directly answers people’s questions. Ultimately, gaining visibility in search results is only half the battle. Once visibility is achieved, usefulness and interest are what will keep visitors on your website and encourage them to return.
Google’s general guidelines for how authority is rated have been interpreted as rewarding depth of expertise. They suggest a shift away from backlinking as the primary factor in search ranking. As Google gets smarter and is able to better understand semantics, websites that cover topics with the most depth will generate the most traffic from searches.
Marketers have doubled down on efforts to drive organic traffic to their websites in recent years. But churning out a never-ending stream of videos, blogs, and social media posts can be labor-intensive and inefficient if the material is too generic. No matter the medium, it is important to stand out from the crowd of average content.
Proving Your Expertise
In a digital environment saturated with content, provable expertise is highly valued. Whatever your business specializes in, make sure your content demonstrates the unique knowledge you can provide.
Compiling lists and statistics, creating explanatory infographics, and carrying out original research will provide a wealth of material that can be used to maximize search-generated traffic and help to build your site’s reputation as a trustworthy source of information.
Original research also has the advantage that it can be repurposed across multiple channels. Sharing the results of research through social media and in various formats increases the chance of it being picked up by other creators, thus adding weight to your brand’s authority.
Content Marketing for Topics Rather than Keywords
To further entrench their position as a source of expertise, companies are increasingly organizing their content around topics. By structuring content into topic clusters, you signal to search engines that your website has a depth of information on a given topic, and make it more likely that visitors will explore the site in greater detail.
The emergence of topic-based SEO is a consequence of the way authority is increasingly framed in terms of expertise. Keywords are nonetheless still the backbone of a good SEO strategy.
Keyword research is still of central importance if you’re looking to maximize your content’s search engine visibility. It is how you determine the kind of material your target audience is actively searching for.
Having identified an important topic around which you wish to structure content, a group of keywords and phrases can be identified. Using these keywords to interlink content helps to move traffic around the site. It can organically funnel visitors from more detailed content optimized for highly specific searches towards more general topic pages.
Content is Getting More Social
Content is king, but no one likes dull content. One way to inject energy into your campaigns is to embrace social content. Three trends to be noted in the world of social content are that it is getting more interactive, it is more concerned with ethical issues, and we are witnessing the rise of personalized content
Certain media are predisposed to greater levels of social interaction. Comments sections under videos and blogs can be a great way to initiate conversation. And it’s easier than ever to utilize a range of Instagram story features to engage with and learn from your audience.
Quizzes, competitions, short videos, and eye-catching infographics can be communicated through multiple channels, meaning each piece of content gets more mileage. Longer-form videos and articles can be complemented by attention-grabbing material designed for easy sharing. Summaries and visual elements are a great way to pique people’s interest and guide them towards more detailed, in-depth content.
Marketing content can also double up as a valuable tool for improving public relations. Using content to showcase a brand’s core values, as well as to sell a product or service, elevates its authenticity by ameliorating bias against overt advertising.
People are more likely to embrace an organization that aligns with their own beliefs. Marketing ethical credentials alongside specialist knowledge and expertise will appeal to a variety of potential customers and cultivate brand loyalty.
With public concern over the environment and social issues such as racial and gender equality remaining high in 2021, values-based initiatives can be used to generate organic interest in a brand. Shouting about your organization’s charitable and community-focused activity is a fun way to catch people’s attention while providing valuable publicity for important causes.
Personalization is integral to a good customer experience. But a 2020 study by Adobe found that many marketers are still missing the mark when it comes to delivering personalized brand experiences that customers find beneficial.
In 2021, marketing plans should include targeted content that delivers relevant information to potential customers. Successful email marketing examples show that personalization leads to more clicks and a greater return on investment.
By collating data from each visitor to your website or social media page, you can build a better picture of their interests and requirements. This can be used to serve them the kind of content they want, and thus increase the chances of sustained engagement.
When used as part of a digital toolbox that includes data analysis and a dynamic sales platform like Shopify ecommerce, customer profiles and targeted content can maximize returns on your investments and enhance the overall customer experience.
Always Remember Who Your Content is for
In the end, whether we talk about customers, readers, or viewers, we make content with a specific end consumer in mind. Quotes about marketing appeal only to a limited pool of professional marketers, but to them, a collection of such quotes is highly valued.
Whether it’s new technologies, like the rise of various Slack competitors, or a change in the way people behave online, the factors that are driving the evolution of content marketing should not obscure this simple fact. Instead, innovation should complement the goal of getting the right content to the right people.
About the Author: Elea Andrea Almazora- RingCentral US. Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade’s worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.