5 Mins

The Future of Content Marketing from CM World 18

Last week, I had the privilege to represent Reload Media at Content Marketing World 2018 – the biggest (and best!) conference on content marketing in the world, hosted by the Content Marketing Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.

Content Marketing World is in its 8th year, and hosts the industry’s biggest names and brands, to talk about strategy and trends for the year ahead. This year, we had the pleasure of listening to thought leaders such as Robert Rose, Joe Pulizzi, Andrew Davis, Anthony Crestodina, Ann Handley and even Tina Fey!

So what did I learn from all of these amazing people? Read on below for my key learnings from the week.

 

Long Form Content Still Holds Tremendous Value

 

Boy, was this a big one.

Content is everywhere these days, but it’s usually short-form content that doesn’t truly engage your audience. Without engaging your audience, we all know it’s pretty difficult to build a relationship with your brand. Quite simply, you’ve really got to put in the leg work to capture your audience’s attention in today’s cluttered market.

Latest Studies from MarketingProfs show that long-form content of over 2000 words is consistently rated to be the highest performing content in marketing strategies. This is no surprise in terms of SEO visibility, we’ve known long-form content performs better for some time now – however from a nurture perspective, this has now been shown to help lead people through the decision making process extremely well.

So, what’s the answer? The Curiosity Gap. We need to place a much larger focus on storytelling as a way to engage our audience with the message we’re trying to deliver – ultimately, if your audience is telling you that your content is too long, they’re actually trying to say that they’re just not interested (thanks to Andrew Davis for this gem!). We need to structure our stories in a way that keeps them engaged. This was also reinforced in a great talk from Tamsen Webster, where it was discussed that ideas aren’t found, they’re built. It’s our job to create the right conditions for people to change their thoughts, which will, in turn, change their behaviours.

Original Research A Key Opportunity

 

Original research is a key tactic in content marketing that is set to be a sure-fire winner over the next couple of years. It’s hard to say something original without original material – so the key advice from the conference was to make your own!

Not only are there an array of benefits for your SEO, but it also helps to build your brand as an authority in your industry. Tips from Anthony Crestodina around how to go about creating this research include:

Observation
Qualitative-style research that involves pulling out observations from what you see in your industry
Aggregation
Look at an array of already published research, and reorganise to fill a gap in data not currently available
Survey
Conduct your own first party research – this could be surveying your clients, partners, employees, or even just the wider community.

 

“Meaningful Content is the New Content Frontier”

 

We were lucky enough to hear a very special keynote from Kathleen Diamantakis, who heads up T Brand Studio – the brand marketing arm of the New York Times. Her talk described the psychological changes that have happened at a global level over the past 10 years in particular, and how people are drawn more and more toward truly meaningful content.

As a result, we need to be creating content that doesn’t just ‘scratch the surface’ but provides an intrinsic value and utility.

 

AI Will Start Playing a Larger Role in Content

 

AI was another massive focus of the conference. Essentially, AI can be (and in the future, will likely be) used for any repetitive task to enhance efficiency and accuracy, and will free us up for more creative thinking.

The key utility of AI for content moving forward will be to analyse large datasets, engage in attribution analysis of which content has contributed toward your goals, and predict content that will perform well in the future). It’s predicted that AI will be a key driver of change in the industry within the next five years – watch this space!

And that’s the key takeouts from the conference! There’s, of course, a lot more detail on all of these topics (plus many more!), so if you’d like to find out more about these trends, just drop me a line!

Otherwise, can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Sarah Hutcheon

Content Portfolio Manager

Sarah Hutcheon is a Digital Marketing Consultant at Reload, specialising in SEO, Mobile Strategy, Website Usability and Email Automation. She has a passion for trying out new tactics and exploring new, innovative ways to help her clients achieve their digital…