Digital marketing is predicted to change a lot in the coming years and it’s moving fast. Technology is disrupting the way people discover your brand and consume your content, and now is the perfect time to prepare.
At the beginning of this year, Sujan Patel did a great article looking at the biggest and most exciting marketing trends to adapt to. Feeling inspired, I decided to follow up giving actionable tips on how we can actually embrace those trends using emerging marketing software that is there to help content marketers to innovate.
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Voice Search Becomes More Prominent
With the ever-growing market of smartphones, as well as with the fast adoption of smart speaker assistants, voice search is quickly making it way into the online marketing world.
Voice search growth presents a few challenges to content marketers, including:
- Organic search discoverability: Being #1 is the only way to get any exposure from voice search.
- New content consumption journey: On-the-go voice searchers need solutions immediately, right now.
- Performance tracking: Too much is going on to be able to effectively analyze what helps and what hurts your organic search visibility.
Luckily, there are tools for all three challenges:
Competing for #1 on Voice Search
By default, there's only one search result being presented to a voice search user.
While we were previously competing for top 5 positions, we are now going to compete for one.
The good news, where there's a challenge, there's an opportunity.
The searching behavior is changing: Search queries are getting longer, more varied and less predictable.
We previously knew pretty well what we were optimizing our content for (and so did our competitors).
Nowadays marketers are dealing with a much wider variety of ways our content can be discovered via search.
Spoken speech is less standardized than written text. When speaking a search query to a machine, we are less confined by the rules of grammar and we are less influenced by popular search suggestions.
Thanks to voice search, SEO relies more on natural language and less on SERPs design and algorithmic matching.
With that in mind, what can really be done?
Unlike what you may have heard, SEO is not going to die any time soon, neither is keyword research. You still need to research keyword queries people use when searching. The difference is:
- (Even) more attention to long-tail, less popular queries (Those are more likely to be generated by voice search users).
- A wider variety of keyword research sources allowing you to aggregate data and dig deeper into possible searching behaviors. These should include both standard keyword research tools ( Spyfu, Majestic, Ahrefs, Wordstream, etc.) and non-SEO sources, like Twitter monitoring and customer support emails.
The Most Massive SEO Copywriting Guide That Will Make Your Traffic Soar
So with a wider variety of queries and more keyword data sources, how to make sense of those lists and turn them into actual content plans?
Keyword clustering (i.e. grouping) is the answer.
Keyword clustering means grouping your keywords by relevance.
The logic is as follows: The more overlapping results (i.e. pages) Google returns for two queries, the more related those queries (i.e. keywords) are, so there's no reason to create two separate landing pages to catch each of those.
Put simply, clustering helps you optimize one content asset for a wider variety of keywords making it possible to cater to a wider variety of voice-search-driven queries.
What Are Topic Clusters (And How Can They Boost Your Traffic)?
Optimizing for the Immediate Need
Google claims that more than 90% of their users turn to mobile devices and voice search for inspiration while in the middle of the task.
New consumers need information "right here" and "right now". Those brands that optimize their content for these searching "micro-moments" satisfying an immediate need at any given moment will win the organic search game.
Micro-moment content optimization involves:
- Optimizing for featured snippets (news outlets can also use Google Speakable to record an audio which Google will read in response to a voice query).
- Optimizing for questions, lots of them (this includes using "People Also Ask" boxes for inspiration).
- Optimizing for search intent.
All of the three tactics above are not isolated: There's no need to create a separate strategy to hit each of them.
Featured rankings depend on your overall organic rankings, answering questions helps you get featured, and whether your content is satisfying the query search intent determines how high you show up in Google.
In other words, it's all inter-connected and luckily today's SEO software can help you on all those fronts.
Text Optimizer is one of my recent discoveries that uses semantic analysis to help you create content that:
- Matches the search intent
- Includes related and neighboring terms
- Answers popular questions on each topic
Using TextOptimizer is easy:
- Run your core query you are creating content around (TextOptimizer runs your query in Google, extracts search result snippet and comes up with related terms to help you match Google's expectations better).
- Select 20-25 of the suggested terms you feel will fit your future content best and include them in your copy naturally.
- Use suggested questions to cover in your copy and structure it better (using subheads).
Run the tool again, this time using your written content, to see how well you did optimizing your copy.
Monitoring Your Efforts Closely
Finally, with mobile and voice search on the rise, it has become much more challenging to monitor all your content marketing assets and, more importantly, identify the actual impact of each new (optimization) tactic you have experimented with.
I am still trying to figure that part out (content analytics is never a finished task really), but what I started doing differently recently is recording all my content and website updates on a micro-level to see a bigger picture over time.
Rankedy is an interesting tool allowing you to create a micro-journal for each of your important queries allowing you to track if any of your content marketing tactics is bringing the desired ranking growth. I am using it to record everything I am doing to the site to later see the impact.
Rankedy tracks both mobile and desktop rankings helping you understand the impact of your content marketing efforts.
Video Marketing is Still on the Rise
Video content has been on the rise for a few years now bringing in new customers' expectations. Your audience expects to find your brand on Youtube and for many queries they expect to engage with the video rather than text content.
Youtube being the second biggest search engine in the world and Google giving more and more organic search visibility to videos (through video carousels and video featured snippets), failing to embrace video marketing means failing to get found online.
There are a few reasons why many brands still shy away from video marketing:
- Video production is hard to scale.
- Video market seems already over-cluttered.
- Video marketing requires solid investment (either in time or money or both).
Last year I did a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to overcome all those challenges using content re-packaging tactics. The video creation tools that I listed there include:
- Blue Jeans to put together video interviews with influencers and customers.
- Filmora to create screencasts and how-to videos.
- Animatron to create professional entertaining or instructional videos.
All in all, there are many more video creation tools (as well as both video footage and free image resources) allowing you to launch your video marketing strategy on a low budget and helping you find your style and voice in this fast-growing industry.
Video SEO Tool (Disclaimer: This tool has been developed by the company I work for) grabs your domain’s most important queries and returns the list of videos that rank for each of them stealing your clicks from organic search results.
Simply enter your domain and see video opportunities for each high-performing page of your site:
Now use the tools above to create better, more up-to-date, videos than those currently ranking in Google and you are in the video marketing game.
Finally, another big marketing trend that is disrupting digital marketing in general and content marketing, in particular, is advanced personalization.
While there's a lot being said about personalized marketing, not many businesses clearly understand the concept.
Personalized marketing is often confused with these two older (but still valid) marketing tactics:
- Persona building
If you are doing either (or both) of the above (which you probably should), it doesn't mean you are embracing personalized marketing just yet.
To help you out:
Personalized marketing is not making other “customization-based” marketing obsolete. You still need to segment your optin lists to send more engaging emails. And persona building is still a valid way to better understand your target audience and create more relatable and engaging content.
But what about personalized marketing?
Is there any way to adopt this more complicated trend?
While personalized marketing seems a bit intimidating, it's what your target customer may be expecting from you.
With the biggest digital marketing players (e.g. Amazon and Netflix) already offering artificial-intelligence-driven personalized shopping experience and many digital brands offering on-demand and over-the-top content, more and more customers are willing to see the same level of personalization from other (smaller) publishers.
The good news is, marketing technology is catching up: With tools like Alter you can offer personalized marketing experience to your audience on a small budget, with no in-house technology investment needed.
To use Alter:
- Register a free trial account and grab their code to add it to your site header (Just like you'd do with Google Analytics code).
- Create your custom audiences using the huge variety of criteria they offer.
- Create personalized experiences to match the expectation of your customers better using a handy visual editor, for each of your content asset separately.
- Watch the stats and remove personalizations that seem to hurt your customer experience while using better-performing personalizations to inform your future settings.
Imaging your site dynamically changing depending on how your customer is navigating it? That’s exactly what Alter is helping you to achieve.
Go Forth + Be Awesome
Technology-driven marketing disruption is already happening, whether you are seeing its impact or not. It may seem intimidating but innovation is your key to success in 2019 and beyond.
Luckily, there are tools to help research new opportunities and tools to adopt new marketing techniques.
Good luck innovating!