Top Content Marketing Trends You Need to Know for 2019

The job of a content marketer is tough enough as it is – you’re expected to not only create something worthy of your consumer’s attention on a consistent basis, but also adapt to a media landscape perpetually in flux.

In short, no one would blame you for hitting a metaphorical wall when it comes to your online engagement (be that across your website traffic numbers or social media interactions). With 2019 upon us, now is the time to step back and plan how you’re going to position your brand in the coming year.

And with that in mind, we partnered with Ogilvy & Mather South Africa’s Creative Director, Melissa Attree, for an online webinar unpacking How to Evolve Your Content Marketing Strategy for 2019.

They say those that fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Here, we discuss not only how to succeed, but soar.

Back to Basics with Content Strategy

Before we get started, there are three components of a content strategy that you should use to determine your brand’s approach:

  1. What topics can the brand comment on with ease – what sectors does it play in, and what would it ordinarily comment on? Should it comment now or would this be a case of putting out content for the sake of it?
  2. How does that translate into things people actually want to read, watch or listen to? Remember that different people consume content in different ways on different platforms. Some prefer a long read, while others prefer a podcast version.
  3. Literacy may also be a barrier, so factor in various ways to consume the content you produce, like adding subtitles to videos with subtitles and also offering a long-form read – the TED Talks do this well.

Now that you know what you want to say and how to say it, you can figure out where the content should go, through internal channel mapping and ecosystems.

Self-Make it or Co-Create it? Either Way, Plan it.

“Sourcing content can be a big source of anxiety, so plan both where you will find it and where it will live.”

Attree says that smoother production and distribution of content comes from effective planning upfront, in briefing how and when the content you need is created. It’s best to also cost it upfront, making for efficient budgeting and easier mapping upfront of which content pieces will live on which channels, making for more robust reporting after the project is complete. Attree shared that the content strategy at Ogilvy includes an ecosystem upfront. It may seem obvious to those in the industry, but including it helps clients understand where the resulting content will lie, both online and offline.

They also map out where the assets live across the brand’s consumer touchpoints, ranging from social media to radio, TV, print, live activations, and even in-house communications. Once that’s done, you can also map out how the content will be distributed, from a paid, owned and earned basis. Attree says to also keep in mind both social media posting times and frequency of posting, especially as consumers face an ever-growing deluge of content, so “less is more,” and quality content is the way to go.

A handy tip: When scheduling content across social media, it makes sense to not do so on the exact hour, half-hour or quarter-past mark. We default to those times, which means so does everyone else. Schedule yours in-between so that you cut through the clutter.

For more on when to schedule and to which platforms, read this article on Social Media Management to Improve Engagement.

The Spontaneous Tactics of Tactical Content

Unsure what counts as tactical content? Attree says it’s anything you can plan – around holidays or events – while spontaneous content would be the moments, events or opportunities your brand can comment on in a credible way. You need to make sure you can create that content quickly, in order to resonate in the social space.

To illustrate this, Attree showed content created in the Ogilvy Cape Town office for Coca-Cola Schweppes when the #OhSchweppes hashtag arose, based on the recent ‘consumer holiday disaster’ where similar packaging of Coca-Cola’s branded tonic water and soda water led to unexpected tastes.

This is an example of tactical content with quick turnaround and low production cost that went beyond the brief and had an exceptional impact, as it’s still gaining unplanned or earned exposure. In addition to the planning and mapping of the content, another important factor is the journey the content takes. You can often repurpose it as a podcast or image essay, a full written write-up, or even the ever-popular listicle.

Remember that you can also curate existing content, and that you don’t have to do it alone.

Curation, Collaboration and Community

Many brands are collaborating with artists and influencers at the moment, to make the content as accessible as possible. As a result, influencers are at the height of their hype cycle.

Don’t latch onto the first big name, though – a good influencer collaboration depends on the brand setting its ROI needs, which means micro- or nano-influencers, with a smaller following but more credibility in a specific niche, often lead to better engagement than collaborating with overextended macro-influencers who don’t necessarily live the brand. Either way, Attree says to be clear in briefing process upfront on what is contracted and what will be delivered. Often the influencer knows their market better than the brand does, so tap into that and explore it together.

In addition, great tactical work relies on a switched-on community manager, using social listening tools.

Many companies have access to extensive databases that they just don’t use effectively. Don’t fall into that trap. Think of creative ways to share your brand information with consumers. There’s a plethora of fancy tech out there, but email is still one of the most powerful digital tools in the marketer’s arsenal, to share information both ways. Attree says another big trend is to “do less, better,” as so many brands are fighting for consumer attention.

As a result, she predicts we will see brands producing less content at better quality, as they strive for better understanding of the market.

Bonus: For more insights on this booming industry and to determine whether your business should invest in influencer marketing or not, watch Twitter’s (ex-Reebok) Kanika Mittal break down an Influencer Marketing Strategy That Works.

influencer marketing - content marketing trends for 2019

How to do Better, While Creating Less Content

That entails reaching the right consumers at the right time on your social platforms, while understanding that there’s more opportunity for personalisation than ever before, greater pressure on brands to demonstrate a clear understanding of those different audience segments. Doing so means you can also simplify your content creation as you’ll be producing iterative, sequential content that speaks to those niches. Shifting focus to distribution, Attree said Facebook remains one of the most popular channels for distributing content, despite now being seen as a 100% paid-media network – organic reach on Facebook is becoming more and more elusive.

So you need to put money behind your post to cut through to the right audience. That said, closed or secret groups on Facebook also seem to be gaining personal reach, so Attree mentions this as a potential ‘hack’.

facebook as a content marketing tool in 2019

Wash, Rinse, Repeat? Not Quite.

Once it’s all said and done, it’s time to assess the campaign’s success. Attree said this may seem obvious again, but you’ll need to specify how you’ll measure success upfront with the client, being honest and objective upfront about what you want to achieve and detailing the metrics you’ll report on so there are no surprises.

As with any planning, make sure the end result offers a seamless experience. Ask questions before you put any content out there, in terms of what you want consumers to do with it.

Attree ended with the quote by Kristina Halvorson that as much as it’s about automation today, humans are critically important:

“Quality, relevant content can’t be spotted by an algorithm. You can’t subscribe to it. You need people – actual human beings – to create or curate it.”

This was followed by a quickfire Q&A recap session with the webinar attendees.

Q: Can brands succeed on social without paying for reach?
A: At the moment, it’s about doing less but also doing better. If you’re looking for high aspects of engagement, that’s no longer something Facebook actively measures. Maximise your spend by making sure you’re reaching the right people at right times of day by releasing tactical and simple content, based on your KPIs.

Q: Will voice search impact on content visibility?
A: Yes, brands need to optimise for voice search. Things have been samey for a while, but voice means results will start indexing differently.

Brands would do well to understand how it’s used to search for relevant utility content in particular.

Q: Explain GDPR in terms of local markets dealing with the EU.
A: The more the man on the street educates himself, the more it forces brands to align with those regulations, as we ultimately work in a global village.

GDPR will definitely impact on email marketing, and influencers do need to declare when posts are sponsored. Any global trend will definitely trickle down to Africa, so get ahead of GDPR and aim to be transparent right now.

Q: Community management is often seen as a junior or outsourced role – discuss.
A: That’s one of the saddest things, says Attree, as her own career started in social. Teams should be led by a senior in touch with how to speak to customers, as there is an aspect of PR, writing content and identifying opportunities for the brand. If much of that is outsourced to those who don’t have experience with the brand strategy, that’s a mistake.

There’s also a customer-service focus, often involving large volumes. The brands winning on social tend to be those with ‘switched on’ community managers who can spot an opportunity and quickly turn it around.

Q: Are influencers worth the spend for brands?
A: Brands need to select influencers carefully, as the days of pure celebrities promoting any brand are over. It’s now about picking specialists with real clout and engaged followers. Attree still believes the power is in the niche.

Q: Is brand storytelling the new content marketing? 
A: Storytelling has been around since the dawn of time. We like to use jargon and labels, but brands have been telling stories for years and it’s great to see a return to basics. Content marketing is a bucket for all the forms of brand storytelling.

Q: How can brands use AI to better engage?
A: Bigger brands are already doing so, in basic format you can start with chatbots. As with voice, remember that people can tell brands what they think, feel and need, making it easier and more intuitive.

Just don’t completely take the humans out of the equation, or the robots will take over, joked Attree. At least, we hope she was joking…

This blog post was originally published on BizCommunity by Leigh Andrews. Read it here and follow Andrews on Twitter here

How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar in 7 Steps

If you want to implement a concrete social media content strategy, there’s one tool you can’t do without – your social media content calendar. Preparing and following a set editorial plan has many benefits, including:

Organise and Create your Social Media Content Calendar in 7 Steps

So, what should you include in your social media content calendar? Here are our top 7 suggestions to get you started!

1. Days of the Week

For organisational purposes, this may seem a bit too obvious, but the days of the week can also directly inspire your social media content calendar. Certain days of the week even inspired their own hashtags on social media. Think about #TBT (Throwback Thursday), #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) and, of course, #TGIT!

Here are a few suggestions for hashtags centred around the days of the week.

Sunday

  • #Selfiesunday – People make brands so don’t be afraid to put a face to your brand name as this can help humanise your company
  • #SundayBlues – Share something uplifting like a motivational quote or a competition you’re running to start the week
  • #Sinfulsunday – Similar to beaches and cats, everybody loves to indulge now and then. Share a post of your sweet spot and ask your community to comment on theirs

Monday

  • #ManicMonday – Share a time-saving tip
  • #Men2Follow – Mention a top male influencer in your industry found through a social media monitoring tool
  • #MondayFunday – Share a behind the scenes clip of your office”

Tuesday

  • #TravelTuesday – Everybody loves a holiday, so this hashtag is relevant to most companies. Ask your followers which beach they’d rather be lying on or city they’d rather be exploring
  • #TuesdayTreat – Share a competition
  • #TipTuesday – Share a thought leadership blog post
  • #GoodNewsTues – Use a social media monitoring tool to spot trending keywords around a particular subject in order to monitor industry trends.


Wednesday

  • #WellnessWednesday – Working within the Comms industry can be stressful. Post a stress-relieving/unwinding tip.
  • #WisdomWednesday – Share a quote from an industry thought leader. Use a social media monitoring tool to make sense of the real-time conversation online, and then rank posters by their influence.
  • #Women2Follow – Mention a top female influencer in your industry to follow

Thursday

  • #ThrowbackThursday – Share a fact about how far your company has come in X amount of years
  • #ThankfulThursday – Share something around a thought leader who has significantly changed your industry
  • #ThursdayThoughts– Ask your community a question

Friday

  • #FollowFriday – Mention an expert/ top brand you’d like to collaborate with
  • #FridayReads – Recommend a good blog to follow
  • #FeatureFriday – Profile your employees/top customers in a “10 questions with..” post
  • #FridayFact –Share a fact about your company/industry/influencer and ask your community, “True or false?”

Social Media Content Calendar

Saturday

  • #Caturday – Cats on social are kind of a big deal. Whilst our furry felines may not directly relate to our company, they’re an easy way to connect with our audience on an emotional level
  • #SaturdayShenanigans – Show the fact that you promote a good work-life balance with images of what your employees get up to on the weekend, for example, hiking

2. Date and Time

When planning your content, organise it chronologically by date and time of publication. This may seem intuitive, but many professionals forget to do this and lose sight of their weekly, monthly and daily routines. Planning your social media content calendar chronologically ensures you see the frequency of your posts at a glance and identify the times that work best for your audience.

You can’t do this alone. Use tools like monday.com, Meltwater, an excel worksheet or even Google Calendar to plan content together with your team. This way you make sure your plan is clear for yourself and everyone else who needs to be in the loop.

3. Define your Objectives

Ask yourself, “What’s my goal with this post?” Do you want to generate traffic, engagement or share important information with your followers?

Make sure that you note the specific purpose of your post directly on your social media content calendar. This will help you to understand which metrics you should be using to measure whether or not you’ve successfully met your objective.

Don’t forget to add a note detailing what type of content the post is. Having this visible ensures you plan for a good balance. For example, only pushing promotional content will soon make you feel like you’re shouting into a black hole!

Try to alternate between posts about your products, sneak peeks behind the scenes, industry news, posts from third parties etc. As rule of thumb, aim for 20% of the content you share to focus on your company and 80% from third parties. When the content is promoting your brand, use engaging CTA’s so that your followers don’t get bored.

Bonus: For extra insight into how to create a compelling content strategy, watch this free on-demand Webinar on How to Evolve Your Content Marketing Strategy for 2019 with Ogilvy’s Creative Director, Melissa Attree.

4. Subject of the Post

Following that same logic as the point mentioned above, both you and your audience will soon get bored if you constantly post about the same subject. Include the subject in your social media content calendar for an easy overview of your key topics. This will act as a reminder to keep things fresh and interesting for your audience! To help you choose subjects, take a look at Google Keyword Planner to understand what your audience is googling, then engage around the topics via social, preferably answering their questions.

You can also use a media intelligence tool like Meltwater to uncover trending themes in your industry that you can then jump on and become a thought leader by doing so.

Trending Themes: Word Cloud

social media listening
Understand which topics are dominating the conversations online. Use the trending themes as inspo when creating your content calendar.

Make sure the subject of your post is clear to your followers, particularly when it comes to the title and caption. Not all headlines are created equal. “10 easy tricks for irresistible headlines” is already more exciting to the reader than “How to write a headline.” Keep this in mind when titling your content and drafting your tweets and captions. Don’t get too “click baity” however. The content you link to must reflect the caption you’ve used or people will bounce off the page very quickly and you’ll lose the trust of your audience too.

5. Specific Messages for Each Channel

Each social media channel has its own characteristics. Some users favour one platform over another because of this. Twitter people engage little and often with the content leaning more towards real-time updates. When we compare this to Facebook, the content tends to be more evergreen. Because of this, you need to adapt the copy of your posts to the different platforms. For example, a food brand would use Facebook to post a recipe, but Twitter to make a PR crisis comms announcement.

We also need to take note of the different image sizes per channel, we’ve included them for you below!

Social Media Content Calendar

6. Reserve Spaces for Recurring Content Activities

Your editorial line will definitely contain recurring elements. For example, you might share a new blog post each Wednesday and an inspiring image each Friday. Create placeholders in your social media content calendar for these recurring activities so that you can effectively plan around them.

If you know you have a new blog post every Wednesday, you can plan a lot of content around it each week. Here’s an example of what we mean:

Weekly blog post content workflow

  1. Post on blog
  2. Shares of post on
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • LinkedIn
    • Instagram
  3. Add blog post to Friday’s newsletter
  4. Plan recurring shares, switching up the text that accompanies the blog link

Setting recurring content that you can easily integrate into your workflow saves time and takes a lot of uncertainty out of your schedule. Consistent content helps your followers know what to expect and the chances of them unfollowing you are reduced if you consistently post content that sparked their interest in following you in the first place.

7. Returning Hashtags

Manually copying/ pasting the hashtags for all of your posts can be a tedious task and you run the risk of getting lazy and using the same (less relevant) hashtags for all your posts. Creating a space in your content calendar to save the hashtags you’d like to use for important subjects ensures a consistent/ varied use of hashtags and of course, saves you time!

Getting Started

To create your editorial calendar, you can start with a simple spreadsheet. However, using a community management tool such as Meltwater’s engagement platform will allow you to create a more visible, practical and actionable calendar through which you can plan and publish your posts.


Ready to get started with your content calendar?

Get in touch with us to find out more about our social media management tool.  Plan, edit and publish your posts in a collaborative environment, and maintain an overview of your upcoming content.

How to Create a Content-Driven PR Campaign

A content-driven PR campaign is all about telling the story of your brand. While you have many tools at your disposal during the creation of a PR campaign, focusing your attention on producing engaging content will allow you to really connect with your audience.

The creation of high-quality and interesting content will capture your audience, and allow you to position your brand as an expert source of information within your particular industry or sector. There are some key stages to bear in mind when creating a successful content-driven PR campaign.

Bonus: For some extra insight on how to effectively measure your PR efforts, watch this free on-demand Webinar on How to Prove Your PR Works: Measuring the Metrics that Matter

Always begin with a plan

The first stage in creating your campaign is to develop a clear plan of action. There is no point producing content when you have no aims or objectives, as you may not end up reaching the right people. It is essential to consider your audience. Who are your customers? What do they love? What inspires them and what will resonate with them? If you can’t answer these questions, now’s the time to do some market research. Once you have identified your target audience, this will allow you to develop a strategy and tone of voice which will appeal, as well as choosing topics of interest for the content plan.

You can brainstorm topic ideas in advance and put these into a calendar so that you have a simple content-creation process. Of course, you may need to adapt your plan according to any industry news or changes, but it’s a good idea to have a basis for your content so you’re not starting from scratch each time.