As business owners and marketers, it often feels like we’re playing catch-up. We spin our tires keeping up with the news in our industries, posting to social media and engaging with key influencers. While we might be building brand awareness, it sometimes feels like we’re not getting anywhere at the end of the day.
Creative content marketing puts a stop to that by focusing on our long-term business goals and building actual engagement with our communities.
Focusing on creative content marketing earned Marriott’s David Beebe a Content Engagement Award from The CMO Club Awards. He shared some thoughts on why creative content marketing matters with AdAge.
“Now that consumers are in charge,” says Beebe, “we have to shift to not talking about ourselves, but what does that consumer want? How do I entertain them? How do I solve their problems? How do I build a relationship with them and provide value? Then, they’re more likely to pay attention to what I’m actually trying to sell.”
Why Creative Content Marketing Matters
Creative content marketing helps companies take advantage of the customer-centric approach to eCommerce and digital marketing. It places an emphasis on storytelling, which helps customers relate to our brands. It also helps to build brand loyalty and customer trust.
Content marketing is a quickly-evolving discipline. There are no by-the-book formulas for what constitutes ‘creative content marketing,’ as it changes annually.
To help you make the most of your content marketing, here are some of the creative content marketing trends that will be important in 2018.
Creative Content Marketing Trends For 2018
Some of 2018’s creative content marketing trends are entirely futuristic, taking advantage of emerging technologies like augmented reality. Other trends reflect the changing face of established marketing best practices, like influencer marketing or SEO.
Either way, these trends will shape the way we all think about creative content marketing and how we go about it in the new year.
Integrate Augmented Reality Into Content Marketing
Creative content marketing requires making the most of the tools and technology at our disposal while adhering to time-honored marketing strategies.
Augmented reality offers an exciting opportunity for creative content marketers. Consider the case of Pokemon Go, early pioneers of augmented reality as marketing principle.
To integrate augmented reality into your creative content marketing strategy, business owners might team up with brands to offer location-specific rewards.
Work With Influencers On Content Marketing Campaigns
Consumers are spoiled for choice. Everywhere we turn, we are faced with traditional marketing and branded visuals. Brands are turning to content marketing and working with key influencers to cut through the line noise and establish an actual relationship with their audience and customers.
Although some have been predicting the bottom to fall out of influencer marketing as the market becomes saturated, the Association Of National Advertisers still names influencer marketing as one of the fastest-growing marketing disciplines.
86% of digital marketers feel influencer marketing to still be an important part of their content marketing strategy.
Tips For Working With Influencers On Creative Content Marketing Campaigns
- Define your budget: Influencers have been found to be 2.6 times less expensive than professionals of a similar caliber. This essentially means you can get three times the amount of custom content for the same price as a pro.
- Focus on quality: Influencers are often talented amateurs or emerging creative professionals. Not all influencer-created content is created equal, as a result. Make sure to work with influencers who’s quality and aesthetic line up with your brand’s vision.
- Create ongoing campaigns: Influencers can create extensive amounts of content. It’s best to have a steady drip-feed of content from your influencers over the course of time to see what’s working and what’s not.
- Reuse content: Influencer-created content can be used more than once. 84% of marketers re-use influencer-generated content on their social media channels. 40 – 50% use influencer marketing to increase the authenticity of their websites or email marketing.
Create Content For Different Stages Of The Buying Cycle
Digital marketing offers unparalleled access to buyer’s specific needs. While the buyer’s cycle has grown more complex, we’re also able to leverage that knowledge into our creative content marketing strategies.
Content Marketing For The Buyer’s Cycle
The Buyer’s Cycle is anywhere from four to seven steps, depending on who you ask. We’ll be looking at the four-stage buyer’s cycle and how it integrates with your content marketing strategies.
The four stages of the buyer’s cycle are:
Creating Content For The Discovery Stage
The discovery stage is when your customers learn that you exist.
To capture your customer’s interest at the discovery stage, focus on making your content:
- Search Engine Optimized
Creative content marketing allows an opportunity to put your brand forward as a trusted thought leader in your industry. 56% of consumers claim trust to be the most important emotion for establishing a connection with a brand.
Once the connection has been established, often times they don’t even mind paying more. 13% of consumers would pay 31 – 50% more for a product or service if they felt like they were making a positive impact on the world.
11% more would pay more than 51% more for an item if they felt like they were protecting the environment.
Types of content that increase brand trust include:
- Informative Articles
- Downloadable Guides And Reports
- White Papers
During the discovery phase, it’s important to not come across as sales-y or biased. You should not be focusing on conversions during the first stage of the buyer’s cycle. That will come later.
Creating Content For The Consideration Stage
The consideration state is where you address your buyer personas’ problems and pain points with your creative content marketing.
Content for the consideration of the buyer’s cycle should be subtly persuasive. One way you might convince customers to select your product or service during the consideration stage is by posting articles and blog posts about specific problems they might be facing. You can give them the tools to help themselves, while also letting them know you could easily solve those problems for them.
Case studies and testimonials are also effective ways to persuade your customers during the consideration state.
Good content for the consideration stage includes:
- In-depth Guides
- Case Studies
- Analysis reports
- Buyer’s guides
- Comparison articles
During the consideration stage, customers become potential leads. At this point, it’s okay to slowly introduce offers and promotions in a subtle way.
The calls-to-action should become more pronounced and active during the consideration stage. You should focus on steering your customers into the decision-making stage with more in-depth persuasive content.
Some good CTAs for the consider stage include:
- Watch a demo video
- Get a free trial
- Download an asset
- Attend a webinar
Creative Content Marketing For The Decision Stage
Buying products or services on the Internet always involves going out on a limb. It takes some subtle persuasion to get customers to trust you enough to buy what you’re selling, sight unseen.
The decision stage is where the rubber meets the road of your content marketing. It’s where you help your customers decide why they should choose your product over another.
Advanced educational materials, tutorials, testimonials, and comparisons all make useful content for the decision stage of the buyer’s cycle.
Types of Content for the decision stage include:
- Pricing guides
- ROI calculators
- In-depth tutorials, especially on your product
- Tools for your product
- Technical support documentation
- Special offers
- Direct emails
- Case studies
The best content marketing in the world can be derailed with a tacky CTA.
Useful CTAs for the decision stage that won’t send your customers running for the hills:
- Redeem your special offer
- Reserve a spot at our special event
- Contact a representative
- Order today!
- Call now
Creating Content For The Reconversion Stage
The reconversion stage is when you cement your customer’s loyalty, encouraging them to do business with your company again and help raise brand awareness to their network.
The content you create for the reconversion stage should mostly focus on the customer experience.
Examples of content for the reconversion stage include:
- Feedback forms
- Contests and giveaways
- Direct emails
To help prime the pump on your customer’s good graces, you might frame your CTAs as a social or moral imperative.
Some good CTA headers for the reconversion cycle include:
- Want to find out how your business is helping the Galapagos Island?
- Do you have people in your life who struggle with stress?
- Did you know that 49% of small businesses donate to charities?
Integrate Video Into Your Creative Content Marketing
Video marketing has gone from a buzzword to a full-blown discipline, as audiences are overwhelmed and inundated with unsolicited ads everywhere they look.
To give you an idea of where you need to incorporate video marketing into your content marketing strategy, here are some relevant stats.
Video marketing stats for 2018:
- 82% of Twitter users report watching video marketing.
- YouTube has over 1 billion users. That’s almost 1/3 of all Internet users.
- 45% of people report watching more than an hour of video on Facebook or YouTube each week.
- More than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube every day.
- 87% of online marketers create video content.
Integrating video into creative content marketing is easier said than done, however. It takes a bit of know-how to create sharp, striking visuals that add to your brand’s storytelling.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of video in your content marketing strategy.
Create a video for each stage of the buyer’s cycle
Video offers the powerful possibility of combining images and text to tell your brand’s story and leave an impression on your audience. Show your customers who you are as well as telling them.
Keep Page Load Time in Mind
The one downside of video content is it can be hard on bandwidth.
Considering that customers will often bounce if a page takes longer than 4 seconds to load, your video marketing may do more harm than good. Simply compressing the video for the web almost completely negates this problem.
Schedule Your Video Content
Creating high-quality content is only the first part of a creative content marketing strategy.
Your audience also needs to know to look forward to your creations. Instead of creating one lengthy video on a particular topic, consider breaking that video up into multiple installments. Schedule those installments to post at a consistent time throughout a week or month, and watch your engagement rates soar!
Create High-Quality Videos
Your video marketing is essentially your de facto brand ambassador.
Unprofessional, unbecoming video is not a good look for a brand broadcasting authority and trust. Shaky footage, poor lighting, and bad acting are only a few of the things that can go wrong in a video production. Poor audio can also turn a good video into a shoddy, lackluster film.
Integrate Chatbots Into Your Content Marketing
Like it or not, marketing automation is here to stay. As digital marketers, it’s our job to figure out how to make all of our duties and activities scalable, repeatable, and affordable. It’s our duty to master every tool at our disposal, to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Customer Service AI, known as ‘chatbots’, would be hard-pressed to replace human representatives at this stage in their development. They are invaluable for very basic interactions and services.
Chatbots also offer a clever opportunity to gather data and insights from your customers and users. Imagine if your phone reps were able to keep a detailed log of every single conversation or interaction? That file would offer deep marketing insights, no doubt about it.
Chatbots can also be useful for personalizing and customizing marketing efforts, which are two of the fastest growing areas of digital marketing.
These are just the content marketing trends in 2018 that we’ve noticed so far. There’s no telling what other industries will be disrupted, what technologies will emerge, or how current events will shape the world in the coming year.
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