If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that Content Marketing will continue to be an important part of any marketing strategy in the future. What’s less certain, however, is that what we can expect to see in the coming years. As technology changes constantly, the demand for different types of content will change too. From the way we create it, to the format we’re distributing, even the slightest change in expectations or regulations can completely shake up the content marketing world.
With this in mind, it can be difficult to determine just what the next big thing might be in content marketing. Authentic and valuable content will always reign in the world of marketing, whether it’s written or visual, but how will this change? We’ve asked our content marketing experts what they think the next big thing in content marketing could be.
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More and more people around the world are expecting easy communication with their brands, but as the demand increases, keeping up isn’t necessarily simple. People expect to be able to connect with businesses via chat, whether that’s a live chat on your website, or via messenger on Facebook, Instagram or another social media platform, and brands that can’t offer this are starting to miss out on valuable customer retention. This is where chatbots come in.
While automated chatbots are currently available online, in most cases the artificial intelligence behind the service is still learning. The accuracy of responses isn’t always perfect, and while different companies and systems will have varied success rates, the general consensus is that chatbots still have quite some way to go. Utilising chatbots as content, however, is where the future could be headed.
One of the core benefits of content marketing is the ability to build up brand reputation and engage your audience. Through chatbots, you can build up a ‘character’ of sorts, securing a solid identity that can serve as a brand ambassador, providing the chatbot answers the needs of your website. But this is all standard chatbot optimisation – what about the future? Well, that’s where augmented reality comes in.
By combining augmented reality and artificial intelligence, you can bring your character to life and offer your customers a more realistic and lifelike experience. Whether it’s for queries in a game or app you offer, or as part of standard live chat services, this augmented experience could very well become a standard part of the content marketing world in the near future.
02. Artificial Intelligence Will Create Content
It’s no secret that we need to start catering to artificial intelligence within our content, but very soon, we could see artificial intelligence actually create the content that we upload onto our sites and social media accounts. Currently, some businesses are trialing utilising artificial intelligence to produce posts and simple stories, typically relating to data like sports results or stock market updates. Sites like Yahoo, Fox and Associated Press have been utilising this kind of automation for quite some time, but could this become a standard part of the future of content?
The answer is, simply put, yes. Of course, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration and not all content will benefit from this kind of production method. For standard updates and news stories, automation can help brands stay ahead of their competitors, but for longer, more in-depth and valuable pieces, the human touch will likely always remain the better choice. Google favours real content that exercises expertise, authority and trustworthiness and with user experience at the forefront of their content marketing guidelines, artificial intelligence still has some way to go before it’s likely to take over completely.
03. The Use Of Influencers As An Ad Hoc Content Source
Influencer marketing is a popular form of advertising online today. You can rarely scroll through Instagram without passing a post featuring some kind of product or service, usually encouraged through sponsorship of some kind. However, one form of influencer marketing that is starting to rear up as a potential future in content, rests in what is essentially the reverse. Rather than paying or partnering with an influencer to promote your brand, you can encourage them to craft content for your own.
Whether it’s a video from a YouTuber, a photo or story from an Instagram influencer or even an article or two from bloggers, businesses can gain attention and engagement from the influencer’s fans or followers, whilst gaining content for their websites or social media accounts in the meantime.
This kind of marketing adds credibility to your brand, increasing a sense of trustworthiness not only for Google, who is looking more at reputation now than ever before but also for potential customers. By showing that you have the trust and approval of an influential force, you’ll appear more trustworthy and respectable within not only your industry but the digital landscape as a whole.
04. Micro Moments
For marketers, there is no moment more valuable than a micro-moment. These small flickers of time refer to short moments in which customers are searching for information or to make specific purchases, and pose an incredible opportunity for any marketing professional. It’s in these moments that you can capture their attention and drive them to that conversion, but it can be notoriously difficult to capture that attention in that short moment.
Consumers will be looking for the most relevant and, most importantly, the fastest answers and responses to their query. If you can offer your users instant purchase, quick information when they need it or offers to make the slightly longer process worthwhile, you can capture these micro-moments and utilise them to your advantage.
In the future, as attention spans drop below 8 seconds on average, being able to market to these moments will become crucial for business success. It’s far too easy to reach for our smartphones or ask Google or Siri for a simple answer to a question and consumers simply don’t have the time or attention to spend reading through pages of content for the answer they need. For this reason, the next big thing in marketing could very well be micro-moment marketing, making the entire process much more competitive.
05. Cross-Team Content Marketing
Within any company, there are different departments and every department will handle clients in different ways. From the sales team dealing with potential leads to the customer service department dealing with queries and concerns on a daily basis, this kind of diversity of insight can help you to produce a more in-depth and insightful content creation process. While having a content team on hand to refine any grammar or syntactical concerns can help to keep everything at the best quality, utilising every team you have for different content types. HR could work on recruitment-related materials, account managers could focus on analytical or service-based content, sales could work on email marketing and presentations, and so on.
Of course, this is already in play across a number of businesses, but the sheer demand for personalised and more tailored content could soon see it become standard practice. Content that matches search intent or a customer’s position in the sales funnel will not only capture their attention and engagement more effectively but will ensure they get the information they need, when they need it. As the industry grows more and more saturated with content, this kind of marketing could soon be a necessity for standing out from the crowd.
06. Deep Learning And Neural Networks
Deep learning and neural networks are relatively common in some industries, particularly agriculture and automobiles, but it’s the marketing industry that could benefit from this considerably. Take GANs, for example – Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) are essentially a deep learning process that can produce what’s known as ‘deep fakes’. From voices to faces, they can implement a different face onto a certain body to a point of precision where you can’t tell the difference. In eCommerce, this can help with trying on products, whether that’s clothes or makeup, and getting a more detailed view of what is being bought.
For content marketing, this can make the sales process both easier, and also more difficult. Descriptive, persuasive language may have been a simple tool a few years ago, but as the markets get more and more competitive, content marketers need to start thinking on their feet. Through the utilisation of GANs and other deep learning technologies to produce the right content at the right times, including these interactive ‘deep fake’ elements, online marketing is about to become a lot more interesting.
As content marketing continually changes, the way we get information across to our clients will change too. Whether we’re leaning towards artificial intelligence technologies to produce the content for us, or we simply change up how we get ideas and which departments write the pieces, the next big thing in content marketing still has yet to be seen.
Heather is one of Absolute Digital Media’s newest members of the team, joining as a Content Account Manager. She has recently achieved her first-class degree in Advertising & Marketing and read more.