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As we plunge into December, marketers minds are preoccupied with executing their Christmas retail campaigns, riding the momentum of the Black Friday madness and finally, putting their feet up and enjoying the upcoming Christmas festivities.

However digital marketing does not rest, even for Christmas. So as we fight over the last of the quality street chocolates and watch yet another Christmas TV special, digital keeps on evolving.

And as the old adage says, fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

But fear not, we have put together what we believe are the biggest content marketing trends for 2018. Our three predictions for the upcoming year will help you get a headstart on the competition and plan your content marketing strategy so you can get your campaigns off to a successful start in the New Year.

 

  1. Scrap Keywords in Favour of Search Intent

Now don’t get me wrong, keyword research is still a vital research tool and should be used as the foundation for much of your SEO and paid digital strategy.

However, for blog posts, informative guides and other detailed content online, keyword research will not hold the same value in 2018.

Why?

Well, “google just doesn’t work that way anymore”. Neil Patel hits the nail on the head in his own analysis of how content is being revalued. “It’s about producing the best content with a dynamic range of terms and context on the topic”.

Essentially, it is the right context that helps you climb the ranks, not a couple of loosely relevant keywords slotted into the content in the hope google will spot them.

Google and users are smarter so following a generic process is just not the smart way to create content anymore. According to Demand Metric, “70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles than an advert”.

Ok, what’s new?

Digital marketers have known for a while now that the vast majority of users don’t like being directly sold to online, not initially anyway. But as Google becomes increasingly aware of how search intent is changing, it’s using more powerful algorithms to deliver the best and most valuable results for its users.

That means Google is not just looking for keywords but a comprehensive piece on a particular topic, approaching a question differently and offering new insight that goes above and beyond that singular keyword.

Digging deeper into the intent behind a user’s search query and creating useful content which holds a unique value is what will get you noticed.

Don’t become fixated on a couple of buzzwords (always hated that term anyway) because you will lose sight of why you are writing about a particular topic.

Answer the public is a great resource for researching search intent but there are many useful platforms that can be used in conjunction with one another to help you write the content that your users are really searching for.

 

  1. Don’t Hit Publish and Assume Your Work is Done

You’ve spent the time researching and creating a great piece of content for your  blog and now all that’s left to is hit publish and wait for the hoards of traffic to filter in and read it. Right?

Wrong.

There are millions of blog posts published online every single day. So hitting publish and hoping for the best just isn’t enough anymore.

Content promotion is going to be vital in 2018 to help you get your content found by the people that matter to your business.

And that doesn’t end with a quick social media post telling your followers there’s a new blog post which has gone live. Although that’s good practice, if you have a smaller-than-you-would-like social media following, who are already loyal to your brand, you’re preaching to the converted and realistically, that doesn’t have much impact.

One of the most common frustrations digital marketers face is writing dynamite content that doesn’t blow up in the way it deserves.

You can spend hours on keyword research, choosing the right links and analysing search intent but if you aren’t doing anything once it is has been published, it will soon be buried under the deluge of content being created every second.

One of the best and most cost-effective ways to promote content is through Facebook Ads. Social ads are generally much cheaper than other forms of paid advertisement such as sponsored content and using a carousel post in Facebook Ads Manager ensures you get the most bang for your buck.

Carousel posts allow you to showcase multiple pieces of content to a user, without spending money on a number of different ads.

You can experiment with old and new blog posts, click-inducing titles and eye-catching visuals and use Facebook insights to monitor the results.

With the option to create multiple content advertisements within one carousel, you have more opportunity for conversion and getting that all important click.

Facebook explores seven ways businesses are using carousel ads, highlighting the level of creativity that can be executed within a carousel ad campaign and the results that can be achieved. Who doesn’t want a “50% decrease in cost per lead and a 50% increase in clickthrough rate”?

 

  1. Content is Becoming Even More Strategic

A common assumption amongst many is that a content executive simply has to know how to write well – and fundamentally that is true.

However, a content executive role within a digital marketing agency goes beyond being a capable wordsmith, its about being able to “tie content strategically to other marketing activities and addressing the changing formats of content,” as Salesforce puts it.

A successful content writer must have a creative and analytical mind with a talent for not only creating the content, but optimising and distributing it as well. And of course, content doesn’t just end with the written word.

Digital demands different ways to digest content in order to have a targeted content strategy that delivers results.

Social media promotion, paid advertisement, video and infographics are just some of the other forms of content that works in conjunction with written content and knowing how to utilise every opportunity in order to reach and engage the right audiences is crucial to its success.

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