By this point, you’ve probably read at least 10 articles, blog posts, and insider reports on the hottest content marketing trends for 2020. (And if you haven’t yet, the Content Marketing Institute will give you a pretty good overview of everything under the sun with their 90 Content Marketing Predictions for 2020.)
New ideas always sound fantastic, and all the buzz has you thinking that you need to adopt all of these new strategies if you don’t want to be left in the dust.
Hold on, there.
To create the perfect content strategy, the focus needs to be on your customers. New marketing techniques may be the right move for many companies, but your business and your customers may require something different. For instance, many people respond well to humor, but injecting some funny quips into the marketing of a funeral home can seem inappropriate at best.
Content Marketing Trends That Could Ruin Your Business
Let’s take a look at some of the trending content strategies to see where they might work — and where they could go horribly wrong.
In my opinion, video is probably the most hyped-up form of content creation. Hubspot tells us that 54 percent of people would like to see more video content from their favorite brands, so everyone is scrambling to get those videos out there.
That statistic might seem pretty impressive, but you also need to note the flip side: that 46 percent of people are not looking for additional video content from their favorite brands. I’m part of that 46 percent. I hate video content. For me, an article or an infographic is a far more effective way to digest information.
I can definitely see how video content could work well for some brands. If you’re an all-inclusive resort, a series of videos can show all the great things your company has to offer far better than mere pictures or words. If you sell a product, videos can show current and potential customers how to best use the product.
But you also have to recognize that video can be a slow way to get information. When people are looking for quick answers to their questions, you want them to be able to access the information without the hassle of sitting through a video.
User-generated content is cost-effective (sometimes free!) and it’s an excellent way to get the social proof that you so often need these days to attract customers. It’s done through things like Instagram contests, Twitter hashtags, and sponsored blog posts.
It can work really well when it’s fun, such as the “Share a Coke” campaign by Coca Cola. And I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the success of Instant Pot has to do with the way that food bloggers and vloggers have highlighted its benefits.
Of course, if you want to be successful with user-generated content, you need to make sure that people are going to talk about your brand in a positive light. The thing about user-generated content is that you have no control over it. If your business has a lot of haters, they could easily tarnish your efforts. This is a tactic that’s best to avoid unless you’re confident about what the outcome will look like.
Many brands are also seeing the value of creating personalized content. This is no longer simply injecting their name into your email mailings, but rather paying attention to their buying behavior and personal characteristics (such as age, gender, or life stage), then delivering content that meets their needs.
What exactly does this look like? Let’s say that you’re a toy company that’s about to have a big sale. You have a list of customers, and you know the ages of their kids. Instead of sending the same email to everyone, you customize it for various subsets of parents. For parents of toddlers and preschoolers, your email subject might be something like, “Get Them Ready for School with 50% Off Educational Toys.” For parents of tweens, the email subject might be “50% Off Craft Projects So Fun They’ll Want to Turn Off the Video Games”. In each case, you’re identifying the parents’ needs and then linking to the products that they are most likely to be interested in.
This works really great for companies who have customers that have very distinct needs. However, it takes a lot of work to make this happen. You have to take the time to segment your groups according to various data, and you have to create separate content for each group. Depending on the number of groups you have and your content plan, this might mean hundreds of hours of work. If you offer a fairly standard product or service — a men’s suit store or a family law attorney, for instance — this additional work will probably not pay off. Test segmentation before you invest a lot of hours into it.
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