(Updated: March 12, 2019)
[Psst...would you like to have this post as an infographic? Scroll down to the bottom to see all of these trends in our latest infographic!]
Has your content marketing strategy been on the decline, figuratively dwindling to embers? If so, we can help. We've collected content marketing trends designed to blow new life into your strategy and rekindle it into the roaring blaze it once was.
Want to boost your brand's content marketing lead generation strategy, while avoiding common content marketing mistakes? Then it's absolutely vital that you keep up with the most recent trends in content marketing.
With that in mind, we've gathered the top content marketing trends of 2019 from across the industry. We've scoured studies from such brands as Content Marketing Institute, Hubspot, and Salesforce -- all leaders in content marketing strategies -- with the goal of showcasing the very best advice to frame your strategy.
We've also updated this post since its initial publication with data from Content Marketing Institute's Technology Content Marketing 2019 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends. This report adds even more value and depth to our B2B marketing trends, since tech marketers are often ahead of the curve in their marketing.
Let's dive into these must-know B2B PR and content marketing trends 2019 to see how you can fuel your marketing strategy for the coming year.
10 Powerful Content Marketing Trends That Will Impact Your 2019 Strategy
1. Email Effectively Nurtures Audiences
When asked In a recent Content Marketing Institute survey about the top ways to nurture audiences, 87% chose emails and email campaigns, trailed closely by educational content with 77%.
Just how important is email in reaching and nurturing your audience? A study from Hubspot reveals that 86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes. But that does not mean that you should email simply for email's sake? No. Consider 78% who unsubscribed from an email list complained about receiving too many emails.
These figures are backed up by Content Marketing Institute's Technology Content Marketing 2019 report, which found that 92% of tech companies placed an emphasis on email as a leading tactic to nurture their audience.
When done right, email marketing campaigns can feed and nurture interest in your brand. Such tactics as email automation, personalization, segmentation, and designing for mobile are all part of an effective email marketing strategy.
Bottom Line for 2019: If you don't already have one, it's important to develop a strong email strategy that nurtures your audience.
2. Personalization is Key
Generalizations are, well...boring. Your audience is made up of many different individuals who don't want to be just another potential buyer. They want to be seen individually, especially by the brands in which they plan to invest.
With the creation of personalization technology, we as businesses have no excuse not to personalize each person's experience. This technology allows us to refer to each person by name and to provide content that is tailored to their interests.
In one study from Salesforce, 57% said that they would be willing to give their personal information in exchanged for personalized offers and discounts. In the same study, 53% said that they would be willing to part with personal data for a more personalized shopping experience.
Bottom Line for 2019: Ditch generalities and tailor your strategy to give a more personal experience to your audience.
3. Conversational Search Takes Over
With virtual assistants like Okay Google, Siri, and even Hey Alexa, the way we search for things has changed. No longer are audiences typing out their search queries. Now, most people speak into their devices and search engines, which has led many to ditch individual search terms in favor of full sentences and questions.
One study shows that this trend is especially popular in younger generations -- with 71% of those between the ages of 18 and 28 using voice-activated devices. This number drops considerably to 39% when we shift to audiences between the ages of 44 and 53. As years go by, however, this trend will expand and impact a broader age range.
Bottom Line for 2019: Within your SEO strategy, focus on voice search with phrases that mimic natural language and syntax.
4. Audience Research Is Vital
Who are your audience? What are their interests and goals? What do they need from you? No company can pull the answers to these questions out of thin air. It takes research and the careful development of audience personas to get a good feel for the makeup of your audience.
The Technology Content Marketing 2019 report from Content Marketing Institute sheds some light on the condition of audience research. It found that among tech companies, there are 65% who have developed personas for their audience, with another 20% who plan to create them in the future.
How do they develop personas? The same report found that 80% use data from their sales team, 71% use data from their website analytics, and another 55% communicate directly with their customers (more on this last one later). These first two methods are tactics that you can implement right now!
Bottom Line for 2019: Have a sit down with your sales team and dig up some data from your website that gives you a clear picture of who your audience is -- and write it down!
5. Live Video Becomes a Priority
It's no surprise that video marketing is a top priority for content marketers in 2019 -- with 63% having increased their use of video. But this past year, we've witnessed this trend moving away from traditional, scripted video, and racing toward more relaxed, natural live streaming videos.
Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram have all witnessed an increase in their live streaming services this past year. In fact, another study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau showed that 47% of live video audiences watched more video this past year than previously.
Bottom Line for 2019: Prioritize live streaming video as part of your strategy and make it unscripted and natural.
6. B2B PR Belongs in Your Strategy
A growing strategy for improving content marketing is through B2B PR. While PR and content marketing have long been viewed as completely separate entities, professionals from both sides have realized that they often battle many of the same enemies. These enemies include the challenges of proving ROI, link building for SEO, and amplifying content.
When you realize the similarities that exist between PR and content marketing -- PR does, after all, create a lot of content for brands -- it becomes self evident that these strategies are intertwined. Whether you tap into PR strategies to build more links back to your brand or to promote your brand's content, there are many ways that public relations can boost the power of your brand's strategy.
Bottom Line for 2019: Incorporate PR tactics into your strategy to make it more powerful.
7. Longer Content Takes a Back Seat
Research a few years ago showed that long-form content (blog posts over 1600 words) ranked higher in search engines than shorter content. Since then, we've seen a humungous jump in long form content over the past few years. Has this skyrocketed strategies? Not really.
Now we're faced with a dilemma. As content marketers, we need to temper our approach and create a balance of content -- both short and long form. Why is this important? Audiences need content of all sorts.
Long-form content still has its place -- it is a great way to establish thought leadership and provide deeper information to hungry audiences. But what about audiences on the go or who are just looking for simple answers? You need to give them snackable content that won't overwhelm them.
Bottom Line for 2019: You need to balance your strategy with enough long and short content for every stage of the buyer's journey.
8. Content Creation Increases Budget
When asked where they expect to increase spending over the next 12 months, 56% of respondents in the CMI study pointed to content creation.
Even if content creation is not part of your 2019 plan, this trend shows that it might be the plan for many of your competitors. Whether it's the creation of an ebook, video, or webinar, content is a building block of success for your brand. To get the most out of it, though, be prepared to invest time and money into creating the most attractive content for your audience.
However, better content creation doesn't have to break the bank. There are many free and affordable content creation tools that will help you to create better content. The trick, however, is to invest in across-the-board better content creation for your brand.
Bottom Line for 2019: Look into ways to expand your content creation to keep up with at minimum and aim to surpass competitors.
9. Content Marketing Tools Are a Must
Want to know how your audience is engaging with your content? Want to organize your content strategy for success? Create professional-quality content? Tools can help you accomplish all of this and more.
Today, tools have become essential for B2B content marketers. And the majority of tech companies agree -- with the vast majority using such tools to make their content marketing strategies more successful and relatable.
What tools have tech companies invest in? These include:
- Analytics tools (77%)
- Marketing automation (68%)
- Workflow/project management/calendar tools (60%)
- Content creation tools (56%)
- Content management tools (56%)
The Content Marketing Institute's technology study also revealed that while many brands invest in content marketing tools, only a small percentage (36%) view themselves as expert/advanced with those tools. What does this tell us? That there's still room for improvement across the board with how we use such tools in our B2B marketing strategies.
It's true that you can create and promote your B2B content and thought leadership campaigns without tools -- but it would leave you at a disadvantage. Not only do such tools give you more control over and insight into your content marketing strategies, but they also keep you on par or ahead of your competitors.
Bottom Line for 2019: Do your research and invest in tools that meet your needs and energize your strategy.
10. Each Stage Needs Its Own Content
According to the technology study, when asked what goals they've achieved in the past 12 months, only 53% of respondents noted customer loyalty. This leaves an opportunity for brands to fill the need.
How do you create content that builds customer loyalty? It starts with content that addresses each stage of the buyer's journey, from awareness to decision. Customer loyalty fits nicely into the decision stage. When people make the decision to purchase your product or service, you want them to feel a link to your brand.
How can your content accomplish this? It boils down to your choice of topics. You want to create content around topics that interest your audience. Use keyword research tools to discover what people are searching for online. Some free ones I like are Google Trends and Serpstat, which also has paid versions. Ask your customers one-on-one or with a short survey what they are struggling with. Go to sites like Quora and Twitter to see what topics are trending in your industry.
Once you create a regular stream of content that addresses audience needs at each stage of the buyer's journey, your brand will become the go-to for anything industry-related. You will be the first brand to come to mind when an important question arises.. And that is the kind of loyalty you want.
Our Content Marketing Trends Infographic
Note: Feel free to click on the infographic to be able to enlarge it.
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These content marketing trends are taken from the most recent studies and the input from today's most successful B2B content marketers. More importantly, implementing these trends will take your content marketing from a dwindling flame to a roaring fire of a strategy.
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