These times they are a-changing. In the marketing world, conventional methods that once attracted sales and inquiries are being left in the past due to generational differences. Millennial and Gen Z consumers just don’t connect with brands in the same way anymore. That’s why content marketers are having to be increasingly agile to adapt and form new kinds of relationships with people, turning prospects into customers and customers into brand advocates. What are the trends that are beginning to dominate the digital world in 2020?
User-generated content can improve a brand’s authenticity
The reality for online brands big and small is that it’s becoming harder than ever to build trust with consumers. The growing issue of fake or manufactured content means that some users simply don’t know who to put their faith in anymore. User-generated content (UGC) is one way that brands can give shoppers peace of mind. A recent survey on BusinessWire revealed that almost four-fifths (79%) of online consumers found UGC helpful throughout their user journeys through e-commerce platforms. UGC manifests itself in all manner of formats. It could be product reviews from previous customers, testimonial videos from genuine clients, or blog posts provided by customers based on their experience with the product or service. This is about so much more than slapping five-star images around your goods and hoping for the best.
The push for Google snippets
A growing number of brands are looking to use their on-page content to answer questions and solve issues for their target demographic. Google snippets are increasingly providing more web traffic to brands. These snippets are served as the most relevant answer to a consumer’s question. The SEM Post recently revealed that Boots’ high-quality landing page content on a unique product resulted in the brand becoming the featured Google snippet for its product name. Increasingly, landing page content is being written in Q&A format to target common questions that target users will ask in Google. Paddy Power is another good example where users are given answers to questions before they’ve even asked. In blackjack the table rules may differ, which is why they have jumped the gun and created a ‘rule variations in blackjack’ section.
Optimization for voice search
There can be no questioning the rise in popularity of voice-activated ‘smart’ devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. As of last year, some 3.25 billion voice assistant devices were being utilized worldwide and that figure is sure to rise with the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT). That’s why more digital brands are seeking to redefine their content specifically for voice searchers. Time-poor consumers increasingly use voice search rather than spending time typing for more definitive search engine requests. Using question-based keywords helps sites to talk in the same conversational manner as those asking questions of their voice assistants.
Live-streamed content and real-time interactions
As more digital brands rarely interact physically with their customers, it’s more important than ever for businesses to have real-time connections online instead. Live video content is a great way of reaching out to prospects. Video streaming is becoming one of the most influential forms of content marking in the early start of the 2020s, as brands want to demonstrate their human nature and personality on-screen. After Google, YouTube is the second most visited website on the planet right now and when you consider the rise of short-form video content platforms like TikTok too it’s clear that video content is here to stay.
Reactive content campaigns
It’s not easy for brands to determine what’s current and relevant in the eyes of their demographics. The 24/7 nature of the internet means that topics and trends can change by the hour. This makes planning and executing content marketing campaigns a challenge. Subsequently, more brands are resorting to reactive content campaigns that piggyback off trending conversations and topics when the debates are at their peak. Burger King’s tongue-in-cheek reactive content in the build-up to December’s General Election in the UK certainly raised a smile among consumers.
Continued growth of industry podcasts
Another burgeoning content marketing path that many brands are starting to tread is broadcasting their own podcasts. Like blogs in the late 2000s and early 2010s, podcasts have created an exciting new platform for people to consume content. Podcasts are inherently more digestible than blog posts too. They can be listened to when walking, driving, or even exercising. There are absolutely no limits to what can be discussed too; brands have carte blanche to go down whichever rabbit holes they desire. Ultimately, the key is for brands to use podcasts to be entertaining yet educational. When paired with other techniques such as UGC, it’s still possible for digital brands to be personable today.