As children, the most intriguing time was the time spent listening to stories. You would crave for these. It was something you'd look forward to.
Sitting on your grandma’s lap, while eating your favourite piece of mango, you’d focus all your attention on the story she is telling you. Grandma recalled the words as she spoke, ‘The black and white living gave way to a riot of colours. She learned the beauty of colours, when the clouds cracked open a window and the sky painted itself with seven hues.’ Your eyes grew big in wonder looking up to find the seven coloured arc in the pale blue sky. These images stay with us for a lifetime. After all, we all react to the emotions evoked by a story. Emotions are the greatest crowd puller. So, create a beautiful story and I am sure you will be able to grab the right eyeballs.
Every day we create a different story, which makes the art of effective storytelling the crux of content marketing. A large part of the consumer buying process is based on the emotion they are feeling at that point of time. According to a cultural think tank, “It’s very cool to care right now,” and “It matters to the consumer that it matters to you.” The consumer is looking for something that will hook them from the very beginning. That’s why no matter which direction you look in, you will be staring at a story that will appeal to your emotions and in turn, sell you a product. So remember, your marketing strategy is not just a campaign, but the ability to create content products that help you market your brand better. Therefore, it is important to understand the nuances of storytelling to become a better marketer.
The Central Theme
Your campaign revolves around a central theme, after which other multiple avenues are formed to create a successful campaign. Similarly, when you create content for marketing- you will need to map out a detailed plan and create a blueprint that marks each milestone. Giving yourself targets not only allows you to create a detailed write-up but also helps you understand the areas where you can improve. Even after all the effort put in, you may end scrapping an entire campaign because the outcome doesn’t work for you. Even though the story and content you created were remarkable, but the way you marketed it was probably off-base. It takes an eternity to ‘perfect the draft’, but here you don’t need perfection, you only need the right marketing strategy to publish your content.
The content space is an ever-changing landscape and following the rules of the land ensures that your story will always be heard. It is important to understand that your story is also subject to change, but don’t change your story, change how people look at it. Be in vogue and not out of circulation. Adapt and execute. What am I talking about? The trends that govern the content marketing space.
With each passing year the way content is looked at changes and evolves, and new trends emerge. Let’s take a look at what the future brings. We have witnessed how versatile content marketing can be. But, a plan that measures the results for content marketing programs through multi-touch attributions allows you assess your content reach. Studies have shown that almost 86 % of B2B marketers are aiming to increase their sales conversions, followed by lead generation and increased website traffic.
Another emerging trend is content personalization, where marketers assess their demographics, understand their consumption patterns and methods, and identify the content they are consuming. That is why, 1 out of 3 marketers rely on influencer marketing techniques, as 77% of the buyers are most likely to attach themselves to a brand that is endorsed by people they trust. Also, if you show up enough of times in Google, you are bound to get recognition. While influencer marketing is very much a sought-after technique, SEO provides the much-needed push to content marketing. Though it is essential to make your content SEO friendly, it is important to have a long-term plan to drive your internal links to your content. The marriage of SEO and content will lay more emphasis on the importance of off-site content.
This approach will lead to more sourcing or co-creating to reach-out to a wider audience. In addition, there is a huge rural market and with the increased availability of the internet, the number of consumers is likely to increase manifold. The number of smartphone users is said to increase by 500 million by 2020. By that measure, creating content for the regional sector will also become increasingly important. Hence, content personalization will be a key ingredient in mapping out the spread of content. Even though content personalization is a key ingredient is the content marketing mix, but expressing the same content visually is also an effective tool. After all, pictures speak a thousand words. For this reason, 40% marketers are likely to use infographics and visual media to convey a message. The use of pictures has always been an integral part of conveying a message, even though the essence still remains the same. However, the way an image is consumed has transformed radically. It’s not just about seeing a visual, but also about experiencing it.
Reality is changing and studies have shown that, in the next two years, there will be a 92% rise in digital content. By 2020, the digital space is expected to reach a staggering 44 trillion gigabytes. Talking about gigabytes, how can we forget the need to be hyper-connected? With the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting almost 50 billion devices in the next few years, reality as we know it will change rapidly, making everything in the now. Therefore, 53% of marketers believe that augmented reality is the technology of the future. Moreover, there is a growing optimism towards virtual reality as well. Additionally, algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Application Program Interfaces (APIs) also form an essential part of the mix. The use of these technologies is paving way for the emergence of Virtual and Augmented Reality to become a bigger part of brand experiences.
With mobile companies introducing VR headgears, it is easy to assume where companies are putting their money. But a word of advice, before you decide to don the headgear and start swimming in the ocean while standing on land, find the right people to ensure that your marketing budget gets utilized well. After all, you want your images to become memories rather than bookmarks.
Talking about memories, what better way to relive them, then sharing them on social media. Move over static images; live streaming, 6-second videos, spectacles that can capture images and videos on the go, are the new way to express yourself. Today, major social networking tools like Periscope, YouTube Live and Facebook live are opening the floor for brands to create their own identity, while being interactive and generating attention. Even though social media is the place to be, use it wisely.
Plus, no matter what platform you choose to share your content on, it needs to reach the right audience, otherwise, it will become a pointless chore. And nobody likes doing chores! So, instead of holding the wrong end of the stick, find the right end and conquer it. This is your canvas, you paint it the way you like, but make sure you are saying something worthwhile. Even though the success of content is dependent on targeting and measuring, it is very subjective, as the story is interpreted by your audience. Hence, the more strongly you are able to get the message across, the easier it will be to create everlasting connections with your audience.