Have you ever looked into how many websites there are online? It’s impossible to nail down a number, but just to give you an idea, check out Internet Live Stats. As of this writing, the number of sites on the World Wide Web is hovering at just over 1 billion, give or take a couple tens of thousands. As The Atlantic notes, fewer than 3,000 websites existed in 1994, making that a mind-blowing 33 million percent increase in 22 years.
So where does that leave you and your brand? Maybe you’ve already got an established blog, or maybe you’re just starting out. How do you compete for users’ attention in a world filled with content?
Don’t lose hope just yet. Here’s the thing about content marketing: The landscape is always changing. New technologies and trends keep emerging and, if you ride them early, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the competition. These are the top five content marketing tactics that will help.
1. Skyscraper content
The Skyscraper Technique was first conceptualized by SEO expert Brian Dean as a strategy to outrank other blogs and build quality backlinks. Here’s the gist of it: You start by finding good content, then you create content that updates and improves upon the original piece, and then you reach out to people for links.
Why does it work? Because in-depth, high-quality content will always beat fluff. It’s not enough just to create good content. You need to create something epic that will make people stop what they’re doing and read.
While this has always been an obvious tactic, more companies are starting to take notice. In fact, many blogs have started reducing the number of articles they publish in an effort to create higher-quality content.
So now, instead of seeing six 500-word articles from a company, you might just see one 3,000-word article. And it’s not just the length of these pieces that makes them better — it’s how detailed they get. You’ll see posts that take you through a process step by step, with images, case studies, examples and data to back up their points.
This is the type of content that gets bookmarked and read over and over again, for weeks and months after it’s been published. It’s your diamond in a sea of average content.
2. Online courses
Going a step further, many brands are offering online courses as part of their content marketing strategy. Where a blog post can educate potential customers about a single topic, an online course can tie multiple topics together and give them a better overview of the subject. These courses can range from a simple email series all the way to advanced courses with videos, quizzes and certifications.
Drip, an email automation tool, has a 7-day email course on marketing automation. The course is closely tied to their product, but it’s also educational in its own right and attracts people who are simply interested in learning more about the subject.
Hootsuite, on the other hand, created a collection of six social media marketing video courses called Podium. The courses are free, and after completing them students can pay $199 to take Hootsuite’s test to get certified in social media marketing.
Both are examples of powerful pieces of long-form content broken out into a course. High-quality courses like these don’t just draw in traffic; they also convert that traffic into subscribers and customers.
As more people look to the internet to grow and add new skills, online courses are becoming increasingly important. If you can position yourself as an educator in your niche, you’ll build your audience as this trend grows.
3. Content sub-site
The publication is back! Companies are starting to create their own online publications and magazines, collecting and curating content into one central resource. By doing this, they’re creating authoritative assets that in turn lend credibility to their brand or product.
Hustle Con, a conference for non-techie startup founders, recently adopted this strategy. According to Sam Parr, one of the organizers of the event, the 2014 event was a success purely through their content marketing efforts. Late last year, they decided to double down on content and created a brand new publication called The Hustle.
The idea behind The Hustle is simply to create high-quality content, period — not just content about the conference or startups. This enables them to produce evergreen posts all year round, building a fan base that loves and shares their content.
Another example is GrowthLab by Ramit Sethi. While “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” is his main blog, where he talks about everything from personal finance to business, he spawned GrowthLab as a separate publication just to cater to online entrepreneurs. This allows his audience to find the content they are looking for and for him to dominate this particular niche.
4. Video content
If you needed a sign that video content is on an uptrend, look no further than Facebook Live, the new video streaming feature on Facebook. That’s assuming you weren’t tipped off by Twitter’s Periscope and Snapchat’s native video posts.
While video content/YouTube have been around for a long time, we’re starting to see more content marketers publish using the plethora of new video sharing and streaming tools. Red Bull is one brand that jumped into video early on, and as Facebook started rolling out video publishing tools, we saw media organizations like Time and Buzzfeed start using it, too.
What’s interesting about this trend: Now individuals can start leveraging video without having a large budget like the aforementioned companies have.
Take Gary Vaynerchuk, for example. He’s been relentlessly creating videos on Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, and it’s paying off. His two shows on YouTube — AskGaryVee and DailyVee — are huge successes and even spawned a book. In fact, DailyVee is just a video compilation of him going about his business every day.
If you haven’t entered the video content game, it’s not too late. We’re just at the beginning of the trend and, by capitalizing on Facebook Live, you can still get in on it. All you need is a smartphone, the Facebook app and these tips.
5. Cross-platform content
While you can build an audience on just video content alone, it would be better to create content around a certain topic and then repurpose it for different mediums.
Let’s go back to Gary Vaynerchuk and break down what he does. His primary content pieces are his YouTube videos. Along the way, smaller pieces of his videos are broken off and shared on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. His video content is also converted into text content, which gets posted on his blog, and it all finally gets published as a book once there’s enough of it.
So in reality, his original piece of content gets disseminated across multiple mediums and platforms — the video going to the visual learners and the blog posts going to the ones who prefer to read. By doing this, Gary is able to get his message across to various types of people on the platforms and mediums of their choice.
You can adopt a similar strategy. Take a popular blog post and turn it into a Slideshare, an infographic, a podcast, etc. For more detailed information on repurposing your content, check out this eight-step guide from Quick Sprout.
Which trend excites you most?
Content marketing is evolving, and these five trends are shaping how we will create and consume content in the future. Which ones are you most excited about and how are you planning on capitalizing on them? Let us know on social media using #ClearVoice.