We know very well how content marketing — and digital marketing, in general — works. While a specific strategy may prove fruitful today, it may be useless tomorrow. It’s a continuously evolving field, which prompts digital marketers to move as fast as it does. We’re at the early part of 2017 and it’s safe to say that content marketing is evolving with the current year. That said, it might be good to see how the year is shaping up.
Time to Experiment
Content marketing seems to be straightforward. In recent years, all that businesses and marketers needed to consider were the following: key performance indicators (KPIs), different content types, distribution mediums, methods for tracking success, and the audience. But according to Forbes contributor AJ Agrawal, it’s time to rethink these strategies and start from scratch.
The reason is that these things may weigh down the effectiveness of a specific strategy under the current online metrics. Agrawal recommends that after throwing away what used to work, it’s time to experiment. There are different content types to try and use. But before working on them, it’s important to still mind the audience. At the end of the day, their preferences and needs dictate how pages rank online.
For 2017, according to Business2Community, it might be good to advocate a brand-to-customer experience. What this means is that companies must focus on the type of experiences customers get from interacting with the brand. A main part of that experience involves relevant content. Surveys indicate that a massive 74 percent of consumers hate seeing irrelevant content. As a countermeasure, there must be a dedicated customization or personalization strategy.
The ‘Perfect’ Content Length
Entrepreneur, on the other hand, cites how word count can make or break content. Regardless of how relevant the piece might be, there is potential for readers to abandon it merely for being too short. According to Entrepreneur contributor John Rampton, ‘perfect’ content length is entirely dependent on various factors. It might be the topic, the type of audience, or the medium used to promote the content itself.
Research from the firm serpIQ reveals that a minimum of 1,500 words is the optimal length for blog posts. Another firm, Searchmetrics, suggests 1,100-1,300 words is the ideal word count. Anything shorter than the suggestions might not rank as well as expected, or not even get enough shares/engagement to be relevant for rankings.
But content creators must always remember that quality still trumps length. It’s just that long content has more than enough opportunity to cover a topic extensively. If a reader or user finds a specific topic interesting, he has the tendency to want to know more. Businesses/content creators must cater to that or risk being ignored.
Writing with a Purpose
For all the aforementioned trends, however, it still pays to go back to content marketing’s roots. Content creators must remember that they ought to craft content with a purpose. Too many content strategies only say, “You must post at least one piece of content to be relevant.” The problem is that content marketing is not heavily reliant on schedule. Don’t post something for the sake of it. Make sure that it serves a purpose in people’s lives.
“What’s the point of my content? Is it meant to help people understand a specific concept? Give them tips on how to do something? Or perhaps relay important tricks that can help them with day-to-day living?” These are the types of questions every content marketer must ask himself. Keep in mind that people surf the web not just to look for funny cat or dog pictures. Many of them are searching for something useful – and together, they have the power to influence a website’s ranking.
Another purpose of content is aiding an existing marketing campaign. For those who don’t have an idea how this works, it will be helpful to look at how competitors do it. See if their content is being used to strengthen their campaigns and further their goals. Are they targeting specific keywords and creating content around it? Are they including good calls-to-action?
2017 is still in its early stage; who knows what the rest of the year holds for content marketing. What businesses and digital marketers can do as early as now is to stay updated on the rapid industry changes. Their success relies on how they adapt and use the changes to their advantage.