Despite an average of 29 percent of a company’s marketing efforts being spent on digital content marketing, only one-third polled by the Content Marketing Institute rated their content marketing efforts “very effective.” Much of this is due to a lack of strategy as opposed to a lack of content.
In the old days of SEO, having more content was better. However, with new updates to Google taking effect, the quality of the material matters more and more. There is a higher impact from targeted, well-thought-out content as opposed to a ton of content that has the keyword multiple times.
So, what is a content strategist to do? The first step is good planning. It takes far more resources, time, and headaches to create content on the drop of a dime. Instead, having a thoughtful editorial calendar will help boost the effectiveness of a content strategy by streamlining the content creation process. This can free up time to take information off the blogosphere and into a much more interesting medium, such as infographics and other visual aids.
Because of this, it isn’t too surprising that 35.5 percent of United States digital marketers plan to spend over one-third of their budget on visual content this year. In December 2016, 35 percent of visual content was stock photos with 5.4 percent consisting of memes, 14 percent charts, 15.2 percent videos and presentations, and 30.4 percent original graphics such as infographics.
Creating infographics can pose a huge challenge. At the end of last year, 36.7 percent of US digital marketers found their biggest challenge in creating visual content was consistently producing engaging visual, with 29.1 percent reporting producing well-designed visuals as their biggest challenge. However, only 10 percent found finding reliable information as a challenge. This implies there is information to be communicated but engaging the audience properly and finding the budget to pay graphic design professionals is the biggest consideration and hold-back.
Despite the hurdles, 60.8 percent of marketers feel it is necessary to implement visual content into their marketing strategies this year, with 31.7 percent finding it very important. A poll in India revealed 69 percent of the marketing professionals in 2016 found content marketing increased brand awareness, while 62 percent felt they could engage a new audience. In a different poll, 40 percent of users accessed branded content because they found it informative, while 28 percent were interested in being educated. Only 17 percent were interested in branded content for entertainment, 11 percent for inspiration, and 4 percent for other reasons.
This year will be an important year for visual content in marketing strategies. Users are looking to be informed on new topics and have a trend of following branded materials for the purpose. Internationally, 65 percent of all internet users seriously considered purchasing a product they found through content marketing efforts, with 60 percent following through with the purchase. In fact, 50 percent of customers wound up switching to the new brand for the long term.
These figures are far more encouraging than traditional or even digital ads, keeping content as king in this year’s digital marketing world.
Predictions for the Future of Content Marketing
The length of content is currently in a wide range and seems to continue to polarize. The attention span of the average internet user is short, but longer, more rich content still gets a lot of attention. With these two types of internet users, it is likely that medium length articles and blogs will go out of season. Content is likely to stay in very short form for the quick readers that want a simple answer, with other content becoming much longer and better researched for the long form readers.
With the new results that have been showing up on search engine results pages (SERPs), there has been a definite reshaping of SEO that is sure to continue as time passes. The importance of website-specific optimization has already slightly declined. With app content rising in relevance, app SEO and optimization for rich answers is slowly becoming the forerunner in SERPs.
Live videos have seen a bit of a surge with the options in live video such as on Facebook and Instagram. They attract a lot of attention but currently are hard to plan, with Wi-Fi reliability and mobile data plans factoring into the equation. However, with technological advances, there will be a lot more demand for live streaming to be easier to access, which includes in search results.
Content is becoming higher quality, both in information and visual appeal. Content writers and producers need to start looking at the bigger picture and adopt strategies over having a lot of content. There should also be room for content budgets to increase as the need for better designed, more appealing, and more informative information becomes increasingly popular. Despite taking on new forms, content as certainly remained king in SEO.
Lauren Wainwright is a content writer for Commexis with a passion for effective communication in the digital world.
Lauren Wainwright - April 18, 2017