‘Keep it real’ sets the right conditions for succeeding with content marketing in 2019. But how do you go about telling real stories in the most convincing way? Our Norwegian editor Inger-Marit Sæby investigates and shares her best tips.
Website, blog, podcast. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Newsletters, native ads, Google. There are so many channels, formats and possibilities to choose from. Too many options, according to some marketers, especially if you’re sitting with the marketing budget in front of you.
Do you feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities and somewhat unsure what to prioritise over the coming year? Or are you just starting out and want to get some thoughts and ideas on where to begin? In this article, I share tips that will help you make better decisions for your marketing efforts.
Here are three tips to help you succeed with content marketing in 2019.
1. Write in-depth articles
After decades of websites and digital platforms, we understand why people read. But like everything else in the digital world, reading habits also change. We must therefore analyse visitor behaviour to gain insights about our audience. This newfound knowledge helps us create texts that attract and engage the right people to our business.
Google makes tweaks to their search algorithm regularly. Each new major update causes many marketers to worry. In recent years, Google has begun to rank companies based on the average time visitors spend on the site, after users have clicked through from search. In other words, the longer time visitors spend on your site, the higher it ranks by the search engine.
These updates to Google’s search algorithm have led many actors to create in-depth content to cover a specific topic or niche. The purpose is to position the brand’s expertise and build authority and thought leadership in a relevant area for the business. But how do you go about it in the most effective way?
Five years ago, the largest media organisation in Norway, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian NRK), decided to make changes to their website. Each day, NRK published nearly 200 articles on NRK.no, so they could map what kind of content their readers liked the most and find out how much they read.
The conclusion was that all articles should be written in either a ‘small’ format (up to 350 words) or an ‘extra large’ format (more than 1100 words). The analysis showed that articles between 350 and 1100 words weren’t as widely read.
What does this mean for marketers? The good news: If you have an interesting story to tell, you can keep the reader’s attention for a long time. BUT: there is always a but.
Just because you publish long pieces doesn’t mean you publish great content. You need to know what you’re writing about, who you’re writing for, and what you wish to achieve with the text before you sit down in front of the computer.
Google has been clear that good content and links still outweigh average reading time. Customised SEO titles and meta data help you drive traffic to the site, but if your content isn’t any good, visitors will turn around in the door. The exit is just a click away.
2. Videos provide added value
Video is, and will continue to be, the most popular content format on the internet. And for good reason. Videos have several benefits when used effectively in your marketing:
- Websites using video content receive on average 41 per cent more traffic from search engines compared to other sites (Wirebuzz). Furthermore: Including a video in a newsletter can contribute to more than twice the clicks.
- Videos on social media generate 1200 percent more shares than both texts and images combined (Wordstream).
- According to Insivia, viewers get 95% of the message when they see a video, compared to 10% of the message when they read an article.
So, what should you consider when creating videos? First and foremost, you shouldn’t sell the product. You should sell the story behind or related to the product. Whether it concerns a physical product, an annual report or a recruitment campaign, you need to the find the right story to engage the audience. It’s often not the same story that the sales department had in mind.
Indeed, video offers a range of formats. In Norway, we’ve seen a steady increase in the use of animations over the last year. Only your imagination sets the limits and you can tell stories in an easy-to-understand and effective way.
Most importantly, videos support your business goals. For example, videos could improve your search results, increase conversions or newsletter sign ups, or help amplify an important message in social media. In addition, videos contribute to creating a closer bond between the company and the customers, by showing off a more authentic picture of the brand.
3. Stories reflect reality
A crispbread and an existential question. More than that wasn’t necessary to rake up 3000 clicks from one Instagram Story and send users over to KIWI.no.
500 million stories are posted on Instagram every day. One third of the most seen stories are published by companies, according to Hootsuite.
Everything points to the Story function becoming one of the most important places for brands to be during 2019. You already find the feature in Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Facebook (which also owns Instagram) has said that Stories will become the primary channel of communication between family and friends. The youngest users have already embraced it.
One of the more challenging aspects of Stories is that it disappears after 24 hours. Investing so many resources on making them isn’t a very cost-efficient solution for marketers. An Instagram Story performs the best when it feels real and captures the present moment; the video offers an unpolished look behind the scenes. You can achieve a lot in a short amount of time from simply integrating video and graphics with a simple message.
So, how do you go about telling real stories in the most convincing way?
- Write in-depth articles.
Offer well-researched content in your topic that solves real problems.
- Add value with video.
Take advantage of the benefits of using video. Tell the story behind or related to your product.
- Share stories behind-the-scenes.
Capture the present moment and share content with your audience in real-time.
‘Keeping it real’ suggests that social media should be just that: A social meeting place for sharing stories between each other, not a platform to ‘force’ users to browse sponsored posts with bad content.
Companies that want to keep up with the latest trends in 2019 will focus more on creating an open and meaningful interaction with their audience, rather than maximising the potential reach of each post.
PS. This article is more than 1100 words. Did you make it all the way down? I’m happy that you wanted to spend some time with me to dive deeper into a topic that I also find very interesting.