FFW2019: How Content Writing Will Change Next Year
With the current year having less than three months left, now is a good time to take a look at what the future holds for content writing and marketing. What opportunities can you leverage and what changes should you prepare for?
In this article, we’ll take a look at content trends that you can take advantage of to reinforce your online presence in 2019.
Content is Still King But Beware of Content Shock
Content, rather than advertisements, is the consumers’ preferred way of learning about products and making buying decisions. In fact, 47% of buyers consume 3 to 5 pieces of content before speaking to a sales representative. Because content marketing is simultaneously non-invasive and persuasive, investing in it will continue to drive customer acquisition and engagement, provided that an effective content strategy is in place.
Having acknowledged that, more and more businesses are investing in content marketing with each passing year. This raises the issue of content shock, the point where there is more content that audiences can process. Content marketers must take into account this challenge and find ways to overcome content shock, such as:
- Developing a strong brand voice that keeps readers coming back
- Building a loyal, involved community that disregards others sources of content
- Improving the shareability of content to gain massive outreach
In short, drawing the finite attention of customers involves creating content that is useful, has personality, and achieves more visibility than the content of competitors.
SEO Is as Relevant as Ever, But You Should Go Beyond the Basics And Adapt to Trends
Content marketing and SEO go hand in hand. Search engine optimization has been important since the early days of the internet and will continue to do so. But basic SEO isn’t enough to gain online visibility anymore. Here are a few pointers to enhance your SEO efforts:
- To come up with new, effective target keywords, try using the frequently asked questions to make content around them. By targeting keywords your clients are using to find answers to their questions, it’s more likely you’ll meet them half-way on search engines. Sites like Answer the Public do a great job of suggesting common questions around your business.
- Keep voice search in mind while optimizing your content. Voice search is gaining ground, so your content – starting with headlines – should mirror the way people speak.
- Optimize for local searches. Consumers are looking for businesses located near them, so you should include your area of practice within your target keywords. Moreover, if you don’t have a Google My Business page, you should set one up.
Implementing SEO trends will give an extra push to get content in front of your audience. Of course, essential pillars of SEO, like quality content and link building, will remain highly important for your overall SEO strategy.
Make More Valuable, In-Depth Content
With the majority of internet users shifting more and more towards consuming video-based content, how do you make sure your written content still engages and converts your audience?
The answer is simple: by making the best content, both in presentation and usefulness.
Granted, you are competing against different content formats, from videos to social media posts and podcasts, and you have to win over the customers’ limited time.
That said, written content still has a large readership, though it demands more quality. Readers want detailed how-to guides, up-to-date statistics, insightful research findings, inspiring stories, and opinion pieces to mention a few.
While video content is getting more and more popular, this also means the competition around that format will get fiercer. Quality written content will still succeed at finding dedicated audiences – assuming you have a solid promotion plan – with the added benefit of less noise. Of course, you can (and should) dedicate some of your marketing budget to videos, but written content is still alive and well. Readers want content that is:
- Useful: solves a problem, answers a question, teaches a skill
- Informative: provides information that is relevant to the audience’s interests
- Entertaining: delivers value with an enjoyable voice, tells compelling stories
Thus, raising the standards for content writing is a must for any business looking to thrive in 2019 and beyond.
Make Content More Approachable and Mobile-Friendly
If you want your content to be read in 2019, you have to make it a pleasant read, and consider how well it looks and feels on mobile devices. The following guidelines should become a staple of all your content pieces:
- Craft more compelling headlines
- Take time to nail down the introduction – the most important part of a piece of content after the headline
- Offer a summary of your key points to show that your piece is worth the reader’s time
- Break up the content with subheaders, bullet lists, and short paragraphs
- Complement text with pictures, infographics, screenshots, and other forms of visual content
- Offer downloadable PDFs of long-form content
Content pieces that make their consumption challenging will simply be ignored in favor of more comfortable ones.
Write For Your Audience
A critical step of content creation is knowing who you are speaking to. If you can make your audience feel like you understand them, you have their attention. Before writing the first word, you need to know what topics they pay attention to as well as what motivates them to buy. Creating detailed buyer personas will help you come up with content ideas.
Effective content writing is also about publishing your pieces in the places that your readers hang out in. For example, you might want to publish on the blogging platform Medium, which has seen a significant increase in users over the last few years. Chances are your audience is already there, looking for helpful articles. Not only that; it’s not uncommon for SEO-optimized posts to find their way to the first page of Google searches, despite being relatively young. While it’s essential to have your own platform (your blog), you should also meet your audience half-way in the platforms they are using.
Hiring Top Talent Will Make a Difference
All of the above needs to be implemented by one crucial group of collaborators: content writers. Whether they are in-house or contractual, you will have to make sure that they are on the same page with your when it comes to your goals, brand voice, SEO strategy and any other aspect critical to your content strategy.
The supply of content writers is very large, but you have to be careful who you pick: not all writers can produce quality content, especially knowing that audiences are more demanding than ever.
The content writers whose work truly makes a difference know how to research, understand your audience and bring fresh angles that speak to them. They understand the stakes of content marketing and are willing to go the extra mile to craft content that stands out.
While content writing is not expected to change drastically in 2019, it will continue to evolve and marketers will have to hone their edges and diversify their arsenal to get their content found, read, and responded to. Your content strategy may be in need of a slight overhaul to adapt to the changes mentioned above. While content marketing is getting more competitive, it still drives great results for businesses that manage to publish and promote outstanding content.
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