2016 will be the year for organic, tailored, personal content
With 2015 wrapping up, we know that content is king, but content marketing is expected to play an even bigger role in 2016. The traditional departments of search engine optimization (SEO) management and advertising are now based around a strong strategy of creative, personal, compelling content, which has become increasingly popular for all marketers no matter the size of business.
As we prepare to step into a new year, here are PPA’s predictions for the expanded role of content, as well as our tips for executing a content marketing plan for your business.
The new way to advertise
Many companies still think that you have to dish out half of your budget for paid advertising. This is not the case; especially since keyword rich content can be cheaper and more efficient than most paid ad formats. More and more consumers are becoming “ad blockers” too, as it’s easy to opt-out on your computers and mobile devices. With that in mind, marketers are now realizing that their budget is going toward ads that no one wants. This result has and will continue to drive a stronger need for content marketing and force businesses to develop and publish content their consumers actually want.
Emphasis on personas
With the development of content becoming a must-do in 2016, marketers may wonder how their content can reach the right consumers without a specific paid campaign. This is where the focus on persona development comes into play. Persona development is when a business can put a name and a background to the people reading their content. This will allow a business to meet their needs even more. The same holds for marketing and sales. Building personas for your core audience can help improve the way you solve problems for your customers.
It is recommended that you make three to five personas to represent your audience. This number is big enough to cover the majority of your customers, yet small enough to still carry the value of specificity. You’re probably wondering where you get all the information to make a persona. Although there are several places where you can go to build a persona, the top three avenues to look at first are
- Site analytics
- Social media research
- Teamwork: Get your team together (not just marketing,) but anyone who has an interaction with customers.
Content is the new SEO
With so many algorithm updates to keep track of, it can be confusing and hard to keep up with, even by experts. Google Penguin was launched to better catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results by buying links. This is why Google rewarding high-quality content is fabulous. Content is organic, cost effective and engaging. Many businesses understand that content is effective but staying on top of pushing out consistent content can be deemed as challenging. The goal is and always will be to decipher what you need to communicate, who it needs to be communicated to and how you’re going to communicate it. Essentially, serving the right people at the right time.
Here are some recommendation for a successful content marketing plan for 2016:
Blog/Library of resources
- Not all blogs should be text. Take advantage of visuals to break up the reading as we’re continuously seeing an increase in graphics and video.
- Your blog should be mobile friendly with a responsive design.
- Remember your content can be lighthearted. Drawing in your audience with personal stories, photos and Q&A are effective ways to retain readers.
- Although video isn’t anything new, video is one of the most engaging and popular forms of content.
- 2016 is set to be different because Google is finally getting on board with in-SERP video advertising, which is a sign that users are becoming more accepting of video ads online according to Forbes.
- With Google’s ownership of YouTube, the possibilities really are endless.
- Social marketing is at an all-time high and the increase in video campaigns is offering incredible ROI.
- With Facebook announcing the release date of Oculus in early 2016, social video will offer a significant amount of developments.
- Staying up to date on social developments is key. Example: Pinterest announced their visual search, which functions as a discovery engine that can help users identify things they didn’t know they liked.
- You may know an ebook as a whitepaper, which demonstrates your industry knowledge and expertise on a deeper level.
- Ebooks are typically longer than any other piece of content so it’s important to tell a complete story with embedded images, charts, etc. to keep your readers engaged from start to finish.
- The power of visuals should not be underestimated.
- Graphics have become far more effective than plain text content.
- An important theme to keep in mind for 2016 in regard to graphic design: mobile, accessible and usable.
- Content offers material that audiences want.
- Drives qualified traffic and conversions.
- Content’s role is demanding an increasing share of marketing budgets for 2016.