I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have a crystal ball. Picked it up at a flea market for seven bucks. It looks like hand-blown glass, with a kind of bluish swirl whooshing through it just as you're picturing in your head. It’s really pretty sitting on my shelf, obediently, until I need it to see into the future.
Then I take it down, pour myself a nice glass of wine, and stare into it. Without fail, after a bit of time, it shows me what’s ahead.
Okay, maybe the Malbec plays a part too.
At any rate, that trusty orb, along with plenty of dogged research, gave me some golden insights about five content trends that can help shape your 2019 marketing strategy. The crystal ball demands that I share, so here you go:
1. The Story is Always King
Let's get retro.
This isn’t a groundbreaking prediction, because a riveting narrative has always been and forever will be the foundation of effective marketing. However, the changing trend in content marketing is “how” a story is told.
Interestingly, the trend is founded upon the same age-old storytelling fundamentals that the great David Ogilvy preached in his best-selling book “Ogilvy on Advertising.” His key fundamentals include:
A display subhead between your headline and your body copy will heighten the reader’s appetite for the feast to come.
After two or three inches of copy, insert your first mini-headline, and thereafter pepper mini-headlines throughout. They keep the reader marching forward. Make some of them interrogative, to excite curiosity in the next run of copy.
An ingenious sequence of boldly displayed mini-headlines can deliver the substance of your entire pitch to glancers who are too lazy to wade through the text.
Insert illustrations from time to time.
If you have a lot of unrelated facts to recite, don’t try to relate them with cumbersome connectives; simply list them, as I am doing here.
Long Form in Small Bites
The big takeaway from Ogilvy is to break up your story into short, easily-digestible morsels. This will help ensure readership, particularly in long-form pieces that can otherwise appear daunting as great-big-chunks-of-content.
With story still in mind, another 2019 content marketing strategy is personalization. If you can achieve a one-to-one connection with your audience/customer, it’ll pay dividends.
Think of it like the famous TV show “Cheers,” where everybody knows your name only we call it contextual marketing. You walk in and you’re greeted on a first-name basis by people who are genuinely happy to see you. That kind of warm reception makes you feel valued. And thanks to the digital marketing tools available today, you can extend the same personal touch to your communications.
An Example …
Let’s say you have a prospect who visits your website to download an eBook on a particular subject. He enters his name and email for the download. Then, the next time he swings around for more information, he’s greeted by name and shown materials relevant to his previous visit. From that single touchpoint, you’ve made a personal connection between your brand and his needs, and have set yourself apart from your competitors. Win-win!
3. Establishing Personalization
Personalization requires up-front information on your customers – and the more you have, the more personalized you can get. The basic data you’ll want to harvest includes:
Company Name and URL
Prospects’ Solution Category
Be patient and realize that you don’t need to get ALL the information right away. Start with the basics (name and email) and let additional personal information trickle in organically. This will help prevent your prospects from feeling “ambushed” for intel.
Harness the Personalized Power
After collecting the basic info, you can launch lead-nurturing campaigns that provide relevant, useful content in exchange for more tidbits of data. Before long, you’ll be greeting prospects with a personal salute, and solidifying your connections with intimate, benefit-based CTAs.
4. Keep Remarketing
Armed with your personalized customer information, you can engage your audience through remarketing campaigns using two powerful engines:
Google Ad Remarketing summarizes their offering as “A way to connect with people who previously interacted with your website or mobile app. It allows you to strategically position your ads in front of these audiences as they browse Google or its partner websites, thus helping you increase your brand awareness or remind those audiences to make a purchase.” Sound good? You can get the full story from Google.
Great video content slays. We all know that. However, to keep pace in 2019 now’s the time to plan your strategy for the indisputable trend toward LIVE video and the power of personal, real-time engagement with your customers. Whether your live streams broadcast on YouTube, Facebook Live or your own channels, there’s no end to the content you can distribute:
Customer Success Stories
Special Offer Announcements
Event & Conference Coverage
Trade Show Broadcasts
Influencer marketing is alive and well and is expected to be a vital part of a successful 2019 marketing plan. The reason? It works!
Making your 2019 content marketing plan a whopping success hinges on the big “D” – Distribution. Even the best-told story is irrelevant if there are no eyes or ears to receive it. So, when planning your content, always dovetail it with your distribution strategy.
Until next time, I raise my wine glass (and crystal ball) to you for a happy and profitable New Year in 2019! If the thought of outlining a content marketing strategy makes you reach for the wine instead of sipping it celebratory, let my team know. We happily do that stuff on purpose and would love to hear your goals, challenges, and resolutions for a new year of business.
My fire is fueled by the relationships I make, build, and cherish. I love hearing people’s stories, what makes them who they are, and where I fit into their lives. As the Content Services Manager at Leighton Interactive, I'm a storyteller. I’m lucky that I can use my natural ability to help people find their voices, tell their stories, and reach their goals so their businesses can get results. Outside the office I get excited to find sunshine, consume iced coffee, work out, or add unique pieces of jewelry to my ever-growing collection. I also tell stories on behalf of AAF and serve as District 8's Second Lt. Governor & NSAC chair.