2019 will be an exciting year for content marketing. 

Revenue for the industry continues to grow—projected at an all-time high of $313 billion for 2019, and $412 billion by 2021. A third of content marketers say they’ve increased their spend this year relative to 2018. 

With investment increasing and more channels to distribute content on than ever before, it’s clear that marketers of all stripes are recognizing the value of producing content.

To help you create your 2019 content marketing strategy, we’ve compiled a list of trends in the content space that we feel all marketers should be aware of.

Live Video

Consumers today can spot an ad from ten miles away, meaning marketers need to be savvier. Consumers want brands to acknowledge that they are human beings, not numbers. This means intimate and personalized experiences are crucial for brands that want to resonate with their target audience.

Live video provides a way to tap into this personal connection.

Through streaming on Instagram, Facebook, or Periscope, brands can promote a more relatable image of themselves. While traditional ads are meticulously designed, live video can be unpolished, unscripted, and unpredictable. Viewers see the person behind the mask, rather than just another corporate robot. Q&As, events, contests, and product demos are just some of the ways live video offers the opportunity to engage with consumers.

In 2018, people dipped their toes into the water with live video. In 2019 we think it’s poised to take off. Live video is a great tool to build brand loyalty and trust with customers.

Voice Search

The holidays just passed, which means thousands have received a shiny new Amazon Echo or Google Home. In other words, the market for content optimized for voice search has increased. 

Brands already understand the importance of optimizing their content to rank highly in search engine results. With the advent of voice search, marketers also need to consider how their content will sound when prefaced by “Hey, Siri…”. This means having a deep understanding of your target audience’s behavior, and how they want to be spoken to.

Chatbots/AI

Consumers want speed and convenience, which humans can’t always give them. Chatbots, on the other hand, do this exceptionally well. They can facilitate transactions quickly while compiling useful data on your customers.

Using chatbots can save time and money while providing your consumers with a great experience. By making their lives easier, and introducing a human when needed, their positive associations with your brand only increase.

There is also an enormous opportunity to utilize AI to implement more personalized communications with consumers. Analyzing individual behavior and matching people to personas leads to more curated, personal experiences for your customers.

Peer-to-Peer Marketing

People spend a lot of time reading reviews before making a purchase. They want to be positive they’re buying the best of the best. Who better to trust than their own peers?

Influencer endorsements, especially micro-influencers that your target audience follows, can be a powerful form of marketing. Your consumers will think that if they vouch for your product or service, it must be good.

Influencers who endorse your products or services unprompted are essentially doing your marketing for you (keep in mind that you have to have a really good product for others to want to endorse it out of sheer good will). They expose your product or service to an audience that might be unfamiliar with your brand—and they’re trustworthy. 

Ultimately, people trust other people over corporations, and having a steady stream of testimonials and rave reviews from influencers proves your value.

Content Planning Strategy

Throwing up piecemeal articles and videos does not constitute a content marketing strategy. A strategy involves not just making content, but also creating customer personas, planning out your content calendar, and analyzing your content performance using data.

A truly effective strategy aligns a brand and its audience around a common mission and voice, carrying through specific messaging aimed at increasing conversions.

Authenticity

2018 taught us that authenticity matters. Customers are more willing to purchase from brands that are purpose-driven and whose values align with their own. This is especially true as people become less trusting of big data, tech, and advertising.

Promoting your values as a brand, or creating content that is different from your competitors, will help your brand connect with your audience on a deeper level. People are more conscious than ever of what businesses they patronize. Keep that in mind as you create content that is relevant to your audience without deviating from being true to your mission.

Transparency is a huge factor as well. Stripping away obfuscation and being up-front with your audience positions your brand as honest and relatable. It shows your actions align with your words, and that you’re not just virtue signaling.

Conclusion

Keep these trends in mind as you formulate your 2019 content strategy. Being informed of the larger marketing landscape, utilizing new content distribution channels, and staying true to your brand are key for success in the new year. Most importantly, treat your audience with respect. Every time there is potential for an interaction, make it genuine, and make it count.

Knotch can help you optimize your content in 2019. Our Content Intelligence Platform provides unbiased, first-party data and tailored insights into every facet of your content performance. To learn more, sign up for a free demo.