Are your once stellar content marketing results starting to decline?
Even though you’ve followed “best practice” tactics.
The same ones you used in the past.
The ones based on best results to-date.
Maybe you need to look outside of your organization to understand why.
In the past 6 months, 3 factors have come together to cause a seismic content marketing shift.
As a result, your organization’s marketing and content, in particular, may longer yield the same level of results. Even when you assume that each time you use a promotion without changing it, your results will erode.
While social media platforms provide less visibility, you should have expected that. Especially after Facebook’s traffic fell last year.
Because, like any media entity, at some point, they needed to generate revenue in return for serving your content, ads and promotions to their participants.
BUT the problem goes deeper.
Yes Google continues to change its algorithms. But that’s not a news flash!
Or did you forget Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird?
So let’s examine the 3 changes that together will create a seismic content marketing shift to help you keep your results from declining.
- Voice First
- Marketing AI
- Content Saturation
Why These 3 Changes Will Cause A Seismic Content Marketing Shift
Despite the collective challenge of voice-first, marketing artificial intelligence and content saturation create as a seismic content marketing shift, your core strategy won’t!
Buzzsumo co-founder Steve Rayson said it best:
“What worked last year, won’t work next year.”
Instead you have to adapt and change your tactics so your audience views your content exchange as worthy of their attention and information.
So your content must provide consumers and your audience, in particular, with:
- Information I need
Translated into marketing terms, Bing’s Jason Miller explained it best:
“A genuine content marketing strategy revolves around the carefully considered exchange of valuable content for valuable engagement, with a commitment to identifying and measuring that value.”
Further, these 3 trends extend beyond your firm’s content marketing.
They apply to all content, information and data more broadly.
Seismic Marketing Change 1: Voice-First Marketing
Maybe you weren’t listening but the number of consumers using voice-first search and related activities has passed the tipping point.
For marketers, 3 factors drive your organization’s need to be voice-first (Bing Research):
- Voice recognition software accuracy reached 99% driven by artificial intelligence.
- 25+% of US adult consumers own smart speakers.
- 70+% of US adults use voice search on their smartphones and 50+% use voice commands on smart home speakers.
BTW, Google Assistant added 13 new voice functions in 2018.
Even if this data doesn’t convince your boss to adopt voice-first marketing approach, you can still compete.
So how can you compete for voice-enabled requests?
- Because most people use smartphones to make voice requests.
- Further, their questions focus on “Near Me” and “Micro-Moment” information.
Follow these 3 voice-first marketing tactics:
- Claim your “Google My Business Listing”. By doing this, you get your business on the radar for local search, which most voice search is.
- Make sure your website meets the markup standards set by Schema.org.
- Create a set of FAQ Pages for each major category on your website. Answer every question from your audience, prospects and customers. It’s pure Marcus Sheridan They Ask, You Answer. Then take this process one step further and include the conversational questions you answered.
Actionable Marketing Tips To Reduce Impact of Seismic Shift:
- Extend your brand to voice. Go beyond how your brand sounds and the language it speaks. Use this guide to develop your brand!
Seismic Marketing Change 2: Marketing Artificial Intelligence
Even if your firm doesn’t use artificial intelligence (or AI), you use it since it powers Google Search and Facebook Advertising.
Further Marketing AI technologies give you an exponential advantage over your competitors to:
- Process and analyze large quantities of information and data much faster than humans.
- Predict outcomes since AI-based systems continue to learn based on their results.
The key to Marketing AI success:
Usable and cleaned data for the initial iteration of your analysis.
And your job is safe since marketing AI needs human judgment to make decisions but gets rid of the repetitive work!
While Marketing Automation uses a fixed set of content and communications rules:
- By contrast, Marketing AI starts with a set of data and continues to learn and adapt when you add new information. As a result, marketing AI systems can tailor content and customer experiences for email marketing, content marketing, search and customer service.
According to Cassandra Jowitt of PathFactory:
Marketing AI can transform your content marketing into a Netflix experience for your audience.
At MAICON19, Elle Woulfe showed how to use marketing AI for B2B marketing and sales enablement to
- Predict ratings and targets accounts,
- Provides predictive goal attainment, and
- Offer alternative conversion and qualification.
Further, marketing artificial intelligence reached a tipping point this year:
- Paul Roetzer’s Marketing AI Institute held the first MAICON conference in July, 2019. Over 500 marketers attended.
Actionable Marketing Tips To Compete For Marketing AI
- Use 5Ps Approach to test the use of AI in your marketing. Start small with a cross-organizational team and senior management buy-in. Grant Thorton’s Sara Hocking focused on a specific business problem for her marketing AI experiment.
Seismic Marketing Change 3: Content Saturation continues full steam
In March 2018, Buzzsumo’s Steve Rayson analyzed massive amounts of content. His results confirmed the continued validity of Content Saturation. Further, results per average article continued to decline. (Check our explanation of the Buzzsumo Analysis.)
Further, with the exponential increase in content created by marketing AI and increased data involved in voice-enabled devices, we have an ever-expanding content glut.
Why content attracts less attention NOW?
- Less organic social media.
- Increased topic saturation. With marketing AI powered content, this glut continues.
- Increased dark social and private sharing.
BUT, despite this eroding content trend, some entities break through:
Due to their quality authoritative content, The New York Times, The Economist and The Harvard Business Review show improved results.
Since Facebook usage dropped 5 percentage points in February, 2018, you shouldn’t be surprised by lower social media results.
Further, social media platforms have started to invest in and develop their own content.
So what about search?
Even if you improve your search results, 50+% of Google search yields no-click as of 2Q2019. (Sparktoro)
But look at Google’s mobile search where over half of search takes place.
It reveals a 20% decline in organic search!
Actionable Marketing Tips To Reduce Impact of Seismic Shift:
- Put your content on a diet. Specifically audit your content to update, renovate, consolidate and prune out-of-date and/or no longer-relevant content.
- Organize your content marketing by topic and hierarchical structure aligned with Schema.org. This helps organic and voice search results.
- Create audio content offerings to take advantage of voice-first marketing. For example, 10% of The Economist’s new app users listen to audio and also tend to be loyal.
- Test second tier social media entities such as Flipboard. It had 15% year-over-year growth according to Parse.ly.
Seismic Content Shift Case Study: Netflix
As a marketer:
Your content marketing competes with all forms of content, information and data. This includes professionally created movies, television, music and games.
Further, you compete with information and data consumers care about. For example health and financial information run on and require AI and voice technologies.
The 2019 Academy Awards® or Oscar® competition shows why existing content players need to continually watch for new entrants and unlikely competitors. (Note: I first discussed this in my February 25, 2019 email. To stay ahead of the marketing pack, subscribe here.)
Built on AI software that continues to learn about member preferences, Netflix expanded from content distributor to content creator with binge-worthy series like House of Cards. In 2018, Netflix spent $12 billion on content creation including Roma.
By spending $25+ million to promote Roma for Oscar® Netflix caused a stir. As a result, it received awards for Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film and Best Director.
Variety explains how Netflix challenged the entertainment industry:
“Netflix has also rewritten the rules of TV and movie dealmaking, talent paydays, TV scheduling, film release windows and marketing campaigns. It’s an extraordinary level of influence exerted on a mature industry dominated by long-established stalwarts.”
Further, Netflix, Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple have changed thee entertainment landscape.
Why should you care?
Since the same can happen to your content marketing.
BUT—the key to your business’s survival:
Understand how these firms gained their stronghold.
These new digital competitors use a combination of:
- AI to handle massive amounts of data created by their audience.
- Habit-forming experiences to keep members returning on a regular basis.
- Loyalty built early and at low cost to members causing high switching costs later.
Actionable Marketing Tips:
- Position your business to be a top influencer in your niche.
- Continually test new content marketing opportunities such as audio.
Seismic Content Marketing Shift Conclusion
Whether you like it or not, you have to change your content marketing tactics to meet the combined seismic shift caused by voice-first marketing, marketing artificial intelligence and content saturation needs.
Before you start working on new content marketing tactics, make sure that your organization has its core content marketing strategy is in place.
This means A documented content marketing mission with associated goals and metrics as well as a deep understanding of your core audience. Specifically, you need to know your top 100 raving fans and what motivates them to consume your content.
Then you can develop content marketing tactics to meet these 3 challenges.
Go on—don’t be afraid.
You will find exciting new ways to implement your content marketing.
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