If you’ve not yet taken to using voice search in your day to day life, it may come as a surprise to learn just how popular it actually is, and how many people use it on a regular basis. Chances are that with the increasing popularity of devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, in conjunction with services like Apple’s Siri, voice search will only continue to grow at a rapid rate – potentially even becoming the new normal for the general masses. Many even believe that almost half of all online searches will be voice searches by 2020. We are on arguably on the cusp of a new era in voice technologies.
So what does this mean for digital content marketing? It means that marketers need to start optimizing their content for the future. At least, some of their content that is. However, before that trend becomes a reality there is an obstacle to overcome because each device seems to be pulling data from different sources, and offering vastly different results. Regardless, there are still tactics you can deploy to get ahead of the competition and ensure your content is the one that voice assistants will recommend.
You need to get your content to be the featured snippet – the short blurb or meta description that sometimes appears at the top of your Google search result – and know which searches result in featured snippets. Analyze your industry's keyword relevancy, and tailor your descriptions to populate with those keyword combinations. Getting your content to be prominently featured on Google search results gives you instant ability to become top of mind for a potential consumer who will be served your content directly from their voice command.
Control the conversation around your brand on social media
Speaking of voice, there is another crucial element of your strategy that cannot be overlooked. And that is controlling the conversation around your brand on social media. It goes without saying that selling a product - especially online - becomes substantially easier when your customer is looking for what you sell. In today's age, consumers have put an increased focus and importance on researching their potential purchases. So selling someone on a product in 2019 isn't like selling a couch in a furniture store. The haggle and the 'sell' is slowly being taken out of the consumer buying process.
But think about it like this; What if you could talk to that person while they were researching couches? What if you could talk to them about the value of paying a premium for quality before they made up their mind about how much they were going to spend? Essentially, what if you could reincarnate some of the traditional elements of sales in a modern environment? This idea is at the core of your brand voice and controlling that conversation in order to steer it in your desired direction.
Controlling the conversation while your potential customers are educating themselves is an invaluable practice for your brand marketing efforts. It's a universal truth with everything from car insurance to CRM software. When your consumers are discussing your brand on social, why not write about these conversation points? Why not take control of the conversation when your customers are deciding what they need, and direct them to your products or services first-hand?
Invest in new ways to utilize influencers and influencer marketing
In many situations, we view influencer collaboration as simply having the influencer promote a brand or its products/services on their own channels. And while there's no debating this is still an ample strategy, there is a new approach that is beginning to trend right now: having the influencer create content for your very own brand channels (your company blog, your brand's social networks, etc.)
This approach has many advantages for brands, from boosting credibility with your target demographic, to increasing traffic and followers on your networks as you attract that influencers’ audience. But how exactly do these types of campaigns work, you ask? To put it simply, they work by having known and respected influencers from your niche create content for your channels. They can then promote this content on their channels and help drive traffic to your desired platform.
For example, if you sell gaming products, you could have popular gamers share exclusive product drops and reviews on your blog – that will likely attract a large audience of gamers to your blog. Additionally, you can take things a step further and even have run a 'takeover' campaign, in which you have an influencer take over your social channel for an entire 24 hour period – similar to those that take place on platforms like Snapchat.
As mentioned above, tactics like influencer takeovers build huge credibility with your target audience by promoting your brand through the voice a relatable personality that inspires their audience to value their opinions and, in turn, take action.
In order to reach a wider audience, cast a larger net by incorporating more types of content into your strategy
Content marketing isn’t just blogging or deploying the occasional influencer campaign. It’s also creating consistent social media content like marketing videos, podcasting, email marketing, and so much more. Creating content for every platform or digital medium is essential in widening the net you cast with your marketing efforts.
It's evident that we all consume many different types of content every day, in large volumes, all while using various devices. So in order to reach all these segmented audiences, it’s imperative to not only have a presence on multiple social channels but also to create different types of content for each segment and faction of your audience:
- It goes without saying that video is one of the most popular forms of content in the world today. In fact, people watch as many as 5 billion videos on YouTube every day and 100 million hours of video on Facebook – and these are just 2 of the many, many platforms for streaming video. Put that into context for the sheer volume of media consumption that takes place in the world today.
- Podcasting is rapidly increasing in popularity as well, with 44% of the US population having listened to at least one podcast in the past few years. Experts like Gary Vaynerchuk predict a massive growth in voice content over the next few years.
- Creating interactive content like AR lenses can also help you reach a massive audience; for example, Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo Snapchat Lens generated an impressive 224 million views back in 2016. And with the growth seen in the interactive content market in the past 3 years, this tactic is likely to see an increase in usage for many companies moving forward.
Speaking of creating content...GOOGLE ABSOLUTELY LOVES CONTENT
Yep, the Google gods are all about quality content. Don’t believe me? Just head over to YouTube and look up any interview with Experts like Matt Cutts (the former head of webspam at Google) are huge advocates for feeding the content machine. His likely response to any question about how to rank higher in Google search rankings will likely always generate the response “write great content.”
Basically, Google is obsessed with providing users with the search experiences that deliver what they’re looking for. Some may argue at any cost. Informative content is often the best way to both provide that experience and attain online authority in Google search ranking.
Speaking of audience, scale your retargeting audience as well
One of the most effective marketing strategies - particularly for e-commerce companies - is to set up display ads of their products or services to those who visit their product pages, yet leave the site before purchasing anything. Content marketers can mirror this approach.
Let's circle back to our couch analogy from earlier in the article. Let’s say you write an article about the top 10 questions to ask before purchasing your next couch. Those who take the time to read that article are very likely to buy a new couch in the upcoming months. Perhaps this is an ideal opportunity to set up display ads of some of your top couches for those readers? This concept is highly effective for scaling your retargeted audience.
As many as 91% of B2B marketers claim to use content marketing to reach customers, as this study from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs found. So it's a strategy that has already been widely adopted by some of the biggest and most powerful brands in the business. That's a substantial amount of content for any company to compete with and, unfortunately, it’s easy to feel the burden of this competition when your content isn’t populating in search results or in your audiences’ newsfeeds. It can be downright demoralizing if you aren't proactively growing your brand online.
As a reminder, Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be fluff but can be a sales channel and an imperative part of every marketing strategy. Our influencer marketing agency caters to all of our clients’ needs, we aren’t simply an influencer marketing company.
In order to perform well this year and beyond, and generate amazing results from digital content marketing, incorporate these strategies and stay on top of these trends. Use them to inform yourselves and shape your strategy.