In our previous blog about content marketing, we discussed the basics of what it is, why this kind of marketing is needed and how to put a strategy together. After reviewing the optimal ways to research topics and develop a content strategy, it's time to look at some of the interesting trends for content marketing at the start of 2020.

Visual content & podcasts

As content marketing and storytelling continues to grow worldwide, it is essential that marketers use different forms of content to stay relevant and interesting to their audience. The use of infographics, video content and podcasts to attract and retain clients is increasing as marketers seek to differentiate themselves from the competition. In fact, as many as 45% of marketers believe visual content is their most important type of content[1].

Voice search

One exciting digital trend we will likely see more of in the coming year is the rise of voice search. With more people having access to voice-enabled search devices such as a Google Home, Amazon's Alexa or even an iPhone, it is estimated that by the end of 2020, half of all searches will be conducted via voice[2]. This means marketers need to keep abreast of these important trends and ensure that their content is optimised for voice search capabilities. Approximately a fifth of voice search queries are triggered by a combination of only 25 keywords, so it
is imperative that you identify and use common voice search keywords throughout your content[3].

Rich snippets

Rich snippets are an effective way of optimising a company's search performance. This is essentially an extra 'snippet' of information found on the search engine results page (SERP) . Instead of a SERP being just the title, URL and meta description (the snippet that summarises the page's content in search results), rich snippets also provide a quick and easy rundown of the key points within a piece of content.

This is likely to be an important trend for the year ahead with 'no-click' searches steadily increasing as consumers can find all the information they need from the SERP. Content marketers, therefore, need to target specific long tail keywords - those three to four keywords that are pertinent to your term. This has to answer questions such as: 'how do I…' and 'why do I need…' in order to feature in rich snippets and reach the intended audience ahead of the competition.

Personalised content

We know that consumers are constantly being bombarded with personalised content as more and more brands look to find new ways to engage consumers. In 2011 Coca Cola launched their share a Coke campaign which enticed users to buy a drink with their name printed on and share it on their social media. The campaign was extremely successful and resulted in increased sales volume worldwide. Companies can learn from such a successful campaign and adopt a personalisation approach within their content strategy. Instead of releasing the same content for everyone to read, firms can introduce personalised versions of the brand's blog, meaning different people read different articles depending on their preferences. Personalisation is growing within content marketing: some 87% of survey respondents have said that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about a brand[4].

Evidently, content marketing is increasingly relevant in a company's marketing efforts and it has seen growing adoption rates. I believe that content marketing is the way forward in this digital era. It offers unique benefits to the company and its audience that can't be replicated by other mediums, as it's one of the only forms of marketing that actually benefits the end client and pays attention to what they want to receive.

With the added benefit of being much more cost-effective compared to traditional forms of marketing, and evidence suggesting that it generates three times more leads than paid search advertising, surely content marketing is here to stay[5].

Marketers need to be harnessing the power of content marketing today as this will determine which will be the most successful companies of tomorrow.