What content trends will dominate in 2020?

Christopher Willis, CMO for Acrolinx, explores 2020's content marketing trends and how to evolve marketing strategies accordingly.

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Few can doubt the effectiveness of content marketing – not just because it helps build trust, foster loyalty, and even generate leads, but because it’s become the new normal for consumers.

Content marketing has fundamentally changed what customers expect from the brands they interact with – and neglecting it is a far bigger risk than investing in it.

We also know that the channels, tactics, and tools marketers use to create and distribute content will evolve significantly in 2020 and beyond. We’re headed toward a bright future of more useful, helpful, technically-powered content that aligns with user habits, searches, and preferences. But what exactly is coming down the road? And how do marketers evolve their marketing strategy to keep up with these changes?

Personalisation (but on steroids)

As any marketer will tell you, success comes from drawing customers to you, not pushing your content to them. And you can do this by giving them engaging, useful, and personalised content that’s tailored to their interests and makes them want to know more.

The watchword for next year is dynamic content – or personalisation on steroids. Dynamic content changes for each visitor that views it. It doesn’t just plug a name into a greeting or subject line (though that can be part of it); instead, it’s tailored to the person and what they care about in that moment.

Visual storytelling will continue to grow

Over the last couple of years, video has become a really big deal. With the popularity of YouTube, short form video (gifs), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR), it’s no surprise that video content and visual storytelling will continue to rise in 2020. As consumer habits and preferences trend toward image-heavy content, marketers must embrace the medium or risk getting left behind.

But not all video is created equal. Successful video content strategies begin with research – who are you targeting? What type of content resonates with them, and what channels are they​ most likely to be on? It sounds obvious, but there’s little point in making great video content and paying to play it on websites that your audience doesn’t visit or want to interact with.

Brand consistency is also vital. Video can seem like a departure from other types of marketing, but it’s important that viewers watching your videos – while they might be surprised by the content – know who’s speaking to them and what they’re saying.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to power better content

Using AI to create better, more accurate content, faster and at scale, is already a reality – and this trend is set to continue growing in 2020. But far from computers replacing humans, future AI will enrich what content creators are already achieving.

AI can help streamline the delivery of content – avoiding the scattergun approach that’s inevitable when humans manage the process. What’s more, using data, AI can write social media updates, figure out what image to use, what hashtags to include, and when to publish for maximum results. Today’s AI-powered intelligent software can adjust the send date based on who you’re sending it to, and change the channel to make each post as effective as possible.
Humans will never be able to do this as effectively, especially at scale.

It isn’t just about creating perfect content. We want to be able to predict the content with the highest success. Just a companies like Amazon and Google make data-based recommendations for our searches, we need to be able to create content that appeals to consumers, based on our knowledge of them. But it’s much better for computers to spend time collating and interpreting the relevant data, rather than the content creators who craft the essential message.

The future of content marketing definitely looks bright. There’s plenty to be positive about as we embark on the year ahead – using new technologies, techniques, and integrated strategies to connect with and educate your leads and customers. Use them well and you’ll be able to build trust and relationships, and encourage conversions, by giving consumers the information they need to make an educated buying decision.

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