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How to Find the Mindset for Success with Your Content Marketing Efforts This Year

26

JANUARY 2018

Are you telling yourself that content marketing in 2018 is going to be different from all your efforts in the past? That’s a great resolution and one worth pursuing. To make the most of content marketing, however, you will need a change of mindset.

Many entrepreneurs and marketing experts are asking themselves about the things that the most successful content marketers out there do differently. It’s possible to follow all brand storytelling guidelines without getting the results that you want. The truth of the matter is that you need to be daring and committed to developing a comprehensive approach. Doing content marketing well requires a lot of knowledge and a perfect instinct. Understanding your audience and anticipating its needs will also play a role.

What Will the Content Marketing Landscape Look Like in 2018?

Before moving on to the specifics of the right mindset for success, let’s take a look at some of the ways in which content marketing in 2018 is going to be different.

The reality of the present day will have a powerful impact on content marketing. What did 2017 see in terms of emerging trends? Fake news, numerous scandals that shook an array of industries, virtual reality, voice searches being more prominent than ever and a decrease in the popularity of viral content all came to the limelight. Marketers started focusing more comprehensively on telling the truth and doing effective market segmentation as a part of their brand storytelling efforts in response.

Because of all these new realities, content marketing during 2018 could be expected to have a number of key characteristics based on various trends:

  • Content will no longer be used just for the purpose of establishing a loyal audience. Instead, it will play a more active role in the overall customer experience.
  • Producing tons of content will no longer matter. Instead, brands will focus on longer and deeper texts that come out less frequently.
  • Social issues will have a powerful impact on branding efforts.
  • Advanced forms of multimedia will be among the leading content formats. Companies will start looking from something different from all of the noise already stemming from the use of short and promotional video clips.
  • Wearable technology and virtual/augmented reality will keep on shaping up the content landscape.
  • Content clusters will potentially change the manner in which search engines are being used.
  • In a sense, brands will need to start perceiving themselves as media companies for the purpose of using the content to the maximum.

As you can see, various distinctive approaches can be utilized to build a winning content marketing strategy. Now that you’re aware of the essentials, it will also be important to talk about the right mindset that will turn content marketing into a massive success.

Image concept by Bigstock

Forget What You’ve Learned About Brand Storytelling in the Past

Brand storytelling is a rapidly evolving field.

In the 1980s, branded messages delivered via television channels started changing the rules of the game. The evolution continued in the 1990s with banner advertising on prominent websites. Today, the line between content and ad has been erased altogether. Standard forms of advertising and branding no longer work because the audience has become both discerning and demanding.

To be a successful content marketer in 2018, you have to forget what you already know.

The aggressive promotional mindset has to become extinct once and for all. Every single piece of content has to be created to address the needs of the audience and correspond to today’s trends. One thing you should probably still stick to is the first tenet of copywriting – your product is less important than its ability to fulfill the specific need of a client.

When doing content writing, you still keep the product that you want to sell in mind. Appeal to the needs of the potential clients instead of focusing on the product itself. If you manage to make it about them rather than about you, chances are that you’ll see a massive triumph.

Be Strategic About Your Content Marketing Efforts

We’re not reinventing the wheel here but many companies that complain of the failure of their content marketing efforts lack a strategy.

According to a Content Marketing Institute report, only 37 percent of B2B and 40 percent of B2C marketers have a written content strategy. If you don’t have a strategy already, the time is right to craft one. If you do have such a document, analyze outcomes from the previous years to determine the changes that will need to be introduced in 2018.

One of the adjustments you’ll most definitely have to make is the focus on visual content.

Estimates suggest that visual content will represent 82 percent of global traffic by 2021. If you’re not focusing on video and advanced multimedia, the time is right to begin investing in the creation of such branded content.

Your mobile strategy and optimization for voice searches will also have to change as mobile devices are revolutionizing the way in which we look for and access online content.

There are a few other strategic essentials you need to be ready for. Make sure that your content strategy focuses on:

  • Wearable technology and the manner in which it’s going to increase content personalization
  • The appearance of new digital distribution channels
  • Artificial intelligence and chatbots will also have to be accounted for
  • Some old-school techniques like email marketing could potentially see some revival in 2018
  • Behind the scenes content that presents the human face of the business will also grow

As you can see, strategy development is not a one-time endeavor. It’s a good idea to update your techniques and your goals on an annual basis. The more dynamic and open to innovation you are, the easier you’ll find it to harness new trends and explore their power.

Adopt the Mindset of a Publisher

The publisher mindset is probably one of the most important things that distinguishes successful content marketers from everybody else.

Granted, publisher mindset does sound a bit abstract and pretentious. So what exactly is it?

The simplest explanation is putting oneself in somebody else’s shoes. As a marketer or an entrepreneur, you probably believe that everything created by your company is valuable and worth sharing with the world. How will a publisher, however, perceive the very same content that you deem brilliant?

Publishers usually have strict rules and schedules pertaining to what’s acceptable and what’s not. In a sense, you will need to adopt higher standards and a rigorous publishing schedule to make things happen.

Regularity of features and pieces that seem to perform well is another aspect of successful publishing. You need to have the “eye” for topics and formats that the audience wants more of. Experimenting with different approaches is always great. Eventually focusing on the ones that will get the job done is the tactic that will yield the best results.

The final aspect of thinking like a publisher is having a purpose when creating content or a content strategy. Who is your audience? What do these people want? How are you going to target them and ensure engagement?

As a publisher, you need to ask many questions and you need to find the answers to those before getting creative. Creativity for the sake of creativity isn’t going to get the job done. A virtual reality tour of your facilities may sound very cool but is this something that your audience wants to see?

“Strategy development is not a one-time endeavor. It’s a good idea to update your techniques and your goals on an annual basis. The more dynamic and open to innovation you are, the easier you’ll find it to harness new trends and explore their power.”

Content Marketing Efforts Don’t End When You Publish

The final aspect of the mindset to success is being committed to continuous work and improvement. The best content marketers know that their job isn’t done once an article is published or a video clip is uploaded.

Tracking the right metrics will allow for improvement in the future. After all, a strategy may be executed perfectly and the audience may still respond in a less than enthusiastic way.

Successful content marketers know how to measure performance. If you do a bit of research, you’ll realize there are dozens of relevant metrics out there. Tracking all of them will lead to general confusion rather than a more effective content creation approach.

A general rule of thumb is to focus on the amount of time people spend on your content, the number of interactions (comments being written, Facebook likes, content shares), the number of unique visitors, the bounce rate and the volume of organic leads.

Once you master these basic metrics and get a full understanding of their meaning, you can come up with more complex goals and assessment methodologies that will provide deeper information about the audience and the way in which it perceives every single piece of content.

Content marketing leaders and visionaries aren’t afraid to experiment and invest all of their time in perfecting a strategy. Publishing on a regular basis and keeping track of new trends is just the start. Leaders tell stories, they “flirt” with the audience and even create specific needs.

Content marketing is more than a tool. It’s a key brand establishment tactic. Under-utilizing the power of content will reduce the potential of advertising efforts. Taking into consideration the fact that content marketing is one of the most cost-efficient promotional approaches, you should definitely consider ways to become more proactive and focused in 2018 and the years beyond.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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