As new marketing tactics, channels and formats pop up almost every day, marketers must constantly choose between sticking with the strategies that have been working for them already, or trying the new approaches that everyone’s raving about.
Since none of us can do every new thing that comes along, what’s the one thing you shouldn’t ignore?
Why? Among other things, this trend has been aided by increased video support from social media platforms, and accessible instant recording tools like Wistia’s Soapbox and Vidyard’s GoVideo. But, like many new marketing tactics, video requires a completely different production process and promotion strategy compared to legacy content strategies. And those content marketers that you’ve hired may not be experts with video, so you may need to decide whether you will hire additional team members or invest in re-training your existing team.
But before you do, video isn’t the only option and as our respondents shared, there’s plenty of reasons to consider other formats. Especially with the rise of easy-to-use and lower-priced SaaS tools, other marketing strategies have become much more accessible too. This has eliminated the need to work with a developer or designer for every premium piece of content.
For instance, want to create a course for your prospects? It can be hosted on Teachable. Want to create an interactive eBook? You can do it on Ceros. Need to release an infographic? It can be done on Canva.
To help you consider all your options, we asked our community of digital marketers to share the strategies that have worked for them in the recent past, and what their top priorities will be in 2018. Here is how they decided what to focus on in 2018 and why…
PRO TIP: Measure Your Website Content Marketing Performance Like a Pro
To optimize your website’s content for conversion, you probably use Google Analytics to learn how many people are interacting with your site, which pages brought them to the site in the first place, which pages they engage with the most, and more.
You may have to navigate multiple areas and reports within Google Analytics to get the data you want though. Now you can quickly assess your content performance in a single dashboard that monitors fundamental metrics, such as:
Pageviews by page, city and country. Where are your visitors located?
Goal completions by landing page. Which pages receive the most traffic and convert the best?
Bounce rate by page title. Which pages encourage visitors to read further?
Sessions by landing page. Which pages do new visitors view first?
Exits and pageviews by page. Which pages do visitors last view before leaving your website?
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing the most important metrics for measuring your website content marketing performance. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in marketing reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Google Analytics account with Databox.
We asked the participants to rank the content formats based on what has been most productive for their business, from 1-16. Here is what they said.
The traditional combination of blogging, email and ebooks/whitepapers occupy the top three positions. So, the trendy new topics- video, interactive content etc. – still seem to lag way behind business blogging.
One reason for this is that most companies use a reliable formula to ensure that they get a return from blog content.
Write the post and include the keywords you are targeting
Share on social media
Share with your newsletter, or a segment of it
Keep in mind, the blog post might take a day or less to produce. In comparison, a well-produced video or piece of interactive content can take longer, and may not have the same potential to rank organically on Google. But, as the interactive content makers get better at making their content “crawlable” (visible to Google), and YouTube explodes in popularity, that ROI equation is changing.
Read on to hear what individual respondents had to say about each of these tactics…
Blogging produces compounding returns. Whether you build your reputation through an email list, social media following or domain authority on Google, it gets easier to grow your audience once you have already created some momentum. Since I joined Databox, we’ve grown from roughly 10k monthly website sessions to 50k and our email list has doubled to 32k subscribers in just the last 6 months.
So, I wasn’t surprised to see blogging as the number one response. That is why I spend 90% of my time on.
Content Priority for 2018: I have been blogging for over 5 years and many of my posts hold a high rank in Google. Therefore, I will continue to write helpful, informative posts!
I’ve added video creation to my marketing plan, too. I have found that it is best to first do a LIVE Facebook video, then convert it and upload it to YouTube. Once that is done, I can share it across all social media channels, link to it, and embed it in blog posts.
Content Priority for 2018: Consumers still research online prior to making a purchase. That’s why quality blogging is my favorite content marketing format. It drives traffic and makes everything else easier.
With a documented strategy and a good analysis, you can diversify your content marketing efforts and effectiveness, like recycling top posts into infographics, webinars, or lead magnets. This allows you to create awesome newsletters, increase online visibility when sharing your own posts on social media and convert more lead.
The right content, to the right prospect at the right time is invaluable.
Content Priority for 2018: We will continue to invest in blogging as it is one of the best approaches we have found to help educate our target audience on specific topics that are important to them. Additionally, blogging is a great resource to help attract organic traffic to our site and also allows us to have our content easily syndicated across multiple sites that republish our blog posts.
Content Priority for 2018: Blogging is my bread and butter, and judging by the way marketing trends are playing out, I’ll be blogging a lot more in the year ahead.
While the web is saturated with bland articles, that just means it’s easier to differentiate by delivering amazing value with a great one. Today’s audiences are sick of being “talked at” with blog posts, and you can always tell when someone is trying to actually be helpful with content, as opposed to all the other, less noble motivations for blogging.
Stuff your keywords, tout your product features, bait a few clicks and build your links somewhere else. The professionals are coming for you.
Content Priority for 2018: For me, expert roundups work like a charm. The more experts and influencers that I feature, and the bigger their follower base, the more visitors and links I get. It works so well, that I will be investing more time into it in 2018.
Content Priority for 2018: My main investment in 2018 will be in improving the contents of the blog. I want to increase my readers and subscribers and thus strengthen my brand. The subscribers are a very important part of my business, with a good email marketing strategy you can turn part of them into clients. To improve my content, I will work on the visual part of the publications with quality images, infographics and videos. Also to get more subscribers, I will offer downloadable resources and free ebooks. This type of content works very well if you combine it with well-made email marketing campaigns.
Content Priority for 2018: I have experienced tremendous success with blogging.
Blogging has enabled me to be recognized as a blogging influencer. I’ve carved out a name for myself in the blogging/SEO tips niche.
Blogging has helped me monetize. I didn’t even have to spend money to make money! By increasing my Domain Authority ranking, people offered me financial opportunities. I would never have been offered those opportunities if I didn’t blog.
Blogging has enabled me to empower others.
Due to these successes, I plan on publishing blog posts more often than I used to.
Content Priority for 2018: Blogging after all these years is still the best format to invest in. As long as you write evergreen content, blog posts continue to provide ROI year after year. The one thing with blogging is that promoting your content is equally as important as writing awesome content. We’ve spent a lot of time and money to engage with our community and to drive traffic to our blog.
Content Priority for 2018: We believe a community is the most powerful form of content creation. We would love to use video, but people are still very shy (me included). So in 2018, we’ll go heavy on empowering professionals to create awesome written content on our platform.
I always start with text and then see if there’s a possibility to go any further or wider. A huge multi-section guide with lots of screenshots may then be re-packaged into a video tutorial (with voice-over taken from the article) or several video tutorials.
Each video can become a podcast episode (with voice-over being based on the actual article, it may make perfect sense without the visual component). Several videos can become a mini video course. And of course a large guide can be turned into a PDF eBook for your readers to take home and for you to keep their email. That’s the strategy I am going to invest in this year.
Content Priority for 2018: Long-form, in-depth content is our way to go in 2018.
It’s the kind of content that will bring the highest return on investment in the medium and long-term.
First thing, long-form content is loved by search engines and can help you rank for medium-tail keywords. When you create something that is better than any other search result on the same topic, and you take the time to generate backlinks for your page, you have a higher probability of reaching the first page of Google. Compare it to a gated ebook that won’t generate any organic traffic.
Also, long-form content is easy to repurpose. When you publish your article, you can create:
A pdf version (accessible if you subscribe to my list),
A video (great to get cheap views with ads on Facebook and Youtube),
An infographic (that I can pitch to other bloggers to get it published),
More articles (that go more in-depth on specific sub-topics that I only briefly covered in my longer content)
In-depth content helps you to create more connections. When you write long content, you’ll probably quote several sources: this is the perfect excuse to reach out to them pitching your guide – after all, they have been featured in your page, and some of them will help you to promote it.
Finally, long-form content positions you as a leader in your industry. Your page will be the first resource where clients and people interested in your topic will come to get more knowledge.
By going deeper on one particular topic, you can help your prospects by giving them all the information they need in one place. This can set you apart from the endless number of blog articles or video on any given topic.
Content Priority for 2018: One of the most effective techniques I’ve seen, both from personal experience and observing other colleagues, is to have a free course or webinar that leads directly into a paid course. That fits very well into my own business model so it’s a technique I’m going to work to implement and then expand this year.
Although Ebooks may not generate an avalanche of leads like they used to, they do still help you gather emails of middle and bottom of the funnel prospects. As long as you are not contributing to the phenomena of YAEB (“Yet Another EBook“), you have a great chance to build a reputation among a qualified audience.
Content Priority for 2018: Ebooks have and will continue to be where I spend the vast majority of my content marketing time, energy and effort. They’re the main gateway for Relevance to grow its audience. Once a solid ebook is complete, we then go and write copious amounts of bylines on other blogs citing the ebook landing page. We create owned media to earn media.
“Interactive content” is content that engages the visitor by reacting to your site visitor’s input. By requiring participation from the viewer, you can increase the time on page, get more conversions and create a dynamic experience that changes based on the needs of each visitor.
Content Priority for 2018: I am investing in interactive content (it will actually include several components, including video, webinars and free courses).
I’ll use it to teach inbound marketing and sales strategy with stories featuring my fictional entrepreneur Clyde. I invented him to provide a creative, engaging way to help show, rather than tell, how to implement the right strategy to the multitude of tactics that are commonly used by businesses for scalable growth.
There are two ways to develop data-driven reports: you can mine your own customer data for anonymized insights, or work with members of your industry to learn about the challenges your potential customers face on a daily basis. Either way, data-driven content allows you to share actual data on industry trends, which can then be cited over and over by others in your industry.
Content Priority for 2018: We are pushing very hard to build more reports from Mention data. Compared with strategy guides and advice blog posts – which can be great, but there are so many of them – this content is likely more interesting to our core audience.
The research needs to be original, based on the huge amounts of social media and web data we have in our tool. When it’s new and different to what’s already out there, it can break through more profoundly than simple blog posts and ebooks.
Alongside video, podcasting is one of the hottest content marketing trends of 2018. After a few years of slow [er than video] adoption, everyone seems to be jumping onboard. We have one too, of course. 🙂
Content Priority for 2018: Podcasting. We heard from the VP of Marketing at Libsyn that less than one percent of podcasters are women. Less than one percent. And, because the Spin Sucks brand is 95% women, we heard that loud and clear. We’re investing in it this year.
Content Priority for 2018: Without a doubt, it’s podcasting. We feel like podcasts are really taking over (I know, what is this 2015?), and getting recognized among the hundreds of sales and marketing related podcasts is going to take a ton of work. It’s worth it based on how impactful podcasts can be, and it allows us to re-purpose older pieces of content and give them a new medium to thrive in.
This does not mean blog or video content that is later shared on social media. It means content that is native to that particular platform. For example, Facebook has live video (Facebook Live) and Linkedin has adjusted its algorithm to encourage new participation in its news feed.
Content Priority for 2018: Publishing more content on LinkedIn. It seems to have the best engagement of all of the content marketing platforms that are currently available. Additionally, those who are actively engaged on LinkedIn are better aligned with my target market.
Video, alongside podcasting, are the two most trendy topics in 2018. Three major reasons are:
Facebook’s algorithm promotes video content from Facebook Live
YouTube is exploding in popularity, especially among younger audiences. There is now a big enough audience to search optimize your YouTube videos and see returns from ongoing organic views.
Linkedin Video seems to be doing really well too, based on our tests.
Content Priority for 2018: This year I’m focussing heavily on live video, particularly Facebook and YouTube Live. It’s an amazing place to increase my personal brand and give my audience access to me in a very transparent way. It’s also great for engagement and building community.
Content Priority for 2018: No one wants to read on the internet anymore. Everyone wants to watch content.
In 2018, Cisco predicts video will compose 84% of internet traffic data consumption. That being said, I am gearing much of my focus towards video marketing this year, as a part of digital marketing strategies. Companies in general should think of all the opportunities that video can provide for marketing, as well as training and recruiting purposes.
While video has more serious aspects to it, like YouTube optimization, it can also be used for casual and personal occasions, like Facebook Live. There’s really a great use for video marketing everywhere, for anyone!
Content Priority for 2018: As we look for more ways to engage with our buyers in real time, webinars will become a prominent feature of our 2018 marketing efforts. We have found great success with presenting topics in live, conference settings, so we’d like to make that information available to potential clients who don’t attend those conferences.
Content Marketing Plans For 2018
We asked each participant about the strategies they plan on using in 2018. They could say “yes” for up to 16 choices. Here is what they said.
Blogging still retained the top spot at 82%, and newsletter and Ebooks were still popular choices. But, visual media like video, infographics and webinars showed a big jump compared to what had been working for these marketers in the past. Video now holds second place.
That also means that 47% of customers are happy with the current amount of video. Although this may be the content format that customers demand most often, it barely crosses 50%. So, dropping everything else you’re doing so you can do video might not be the best strategy.
Instead, augment what you’re already doing. Repurpose your top written content into video (or podcasts). With this approach, you won’t need to put in extra time to brainstorm new ideas, and you should be able to get higher returns re-purposing content that’s already performing. For example, if you have a landing page for an Ebook with a high conversion rate, make a video that summarizes the content of the Ebook, and put it on that page. If you have a high-performing blog post, turn it into a video, put in on YouTube and embed it in the post. This approach will take the least amount of effort, and will allow you to start building a reputation among those in your audience that prefer visual content.
No matter what you do, though, according to these experts, investing in content is always a good investment. Clearly, they’re getting an ROI on what they’re already doing and they’re putting more resources into even more content formats.
So, whatever you do, don’t get left behind, invest in content marketing and measure your efforts overtime with content marketing dashboards to identify improvement opportunities.
What content marketing investments are you making in 2018?
About the author
Kevin Kononenko Growth Marketer @ Databox. Making it easy for marketers to tell the story of their success. Everton FC supporter. Startup guy.
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