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What Will Content Marketing Look Like in 2018?

Short of the fortune tellers who spend their days hovering their hands over crystal balls, it can be hard to tell exactly what a new year will have in store.

But, when it comes to the future of content marketing – including social media, email, SEO, and video – we can look at the data, gauge the state of the industry, and make a few even-handed predictions. So, as we head into 2018, is the outlook bright, or cloudy?

What will content marketing look like in 2018? With our thanks to Forbes for pointing us in the right direction, here are a few educated guesses…

1.) Social Media Will Become More Important as a Publishing Platform

There can be no denying that our major social media networks are in a bit of an odd place right now, with their pasts looking increasingly checkered and their futures less rosy than they were, even a year ago.

All things considered, what role with social media play in content marketing in 2018 and beyond? Broadly, there are two big approaches that brands should consider heading into the new year, according to tech experts; ultimately, both revolve around thinking of social media as more of a discrete publishing platform, and less of a distribution channel.

With that in mind, look for paid social marketing to become even more important in the year ahead; with organic reach continuing to decline, Facebook and Twitter are both leaning on brands to pony up in order to reach their ideal audience. Many brands will continue to invest heavily in paid social promotion next year - will you be able to keep up?

For brands that do want to carry on with organic social media marketing (which we would advise), 2018 could be a good time to refocus on creating social media-specific content. Don’t necessarily expect users to click through to your site from social media anymore; instead, create longform written content, videos, images, and other multimedia that will garner an audience within the social platforms themselves, using the tools that they have laid out.

It’s an all-new way to play the game… But it could be the secret to maintaining engagement and promoting your brand narrative in 2018.

2.) VR and AR Will Continue to Rise in Prominence and Accessibility

Remember Pokemon Go, the flash-in-the-pan mobile game that nonetheless set the internet on fire for a few months?

While that app may have lost steam, it was a portent of major things on the horizon; namely, the increased importance of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in our digital landscape.

According to a report in Fortune, AR and VR are projected to generate $150 billion in revenue by 2020, and it’s been well-documented that Facebook and Snap have both been stepping up their VR/AR development efforts in recent months.

While local businesses won’t be expected to keep up just yet, the reality is that an all-VR content marketing strategy isn’t just a pipe dream anymore; indeed, some brands are already beginning to develop VR and AR experiences, leveraging them over more traditional forms of content marketing, like articles or videos.

And as virtual reality technology becomes more widespread and affordable in the years ahead, 2018 could one day be looked back upon as a turning point, when this technology, once relegated to the realm of science fiction, went mainstream forever.

3.) Mobile Marketing Strategies Will Become Essential

Mobile optimization has been a key content marketing pillar for years now – but 2018 seems poised to be the turning point, in which mobile devices finally, decisively supersede all other types of tech, for once and for all.

Consider, if you will, that 41 million people in the U.S. access content exclusively from their mobile devices, or that 69% of digital media engagement happens on mobile platforms.

The time has come to take mobile optimization off the backburner, if you haven’t already. In many ways, redesigning your website and adjusting your content marketing strategy for the needs of mobile users should be your top priority in 2018. Here’s where to get started.

4.) Video Content Will Become More Important (and Diverse)

Not too long ago, a Facebook executive predicted that we would see that social networking behemoth become an “all-video” platform within just five years.

And while we’re not so sure that her timeline checks out, we are certain that video is a vital component of content marketing today – and will only grow more important for reaching users and promoting engagements in 2018 and beyond.

Consider the stats: As of 2017, 78% of people watched videos online every week, and 55% of people watched videos online every single day. Up to one-third of all time spent online may be used watching videos; on Facebook alone, users account for 8 billion video views every day.

So, what types of video content should marketers be most concerned with heading into 2018? Some experts would say that live video is the next, most important frontier; in a recent study, 82% of consumers would rather see a live-streaming video than any other type of social post. Similarly, Instagram’s Stories feature was ascendant in 2017, suggesting that Story-based posts could become a marketing must-have in 2018.

The good news? Getting started with streaming video and Stories is even easier than you may have heard – meaning that you have no excuse to put it off for one minute longer!

5.) The Big Swings? Personalization and AI Could Make Big Leaps

While personalization has been a key aspect of content marketing strategies for some time now, industry experts believe that 2018 could see it take another step into the future – with full content personalization.

Thanks to advances in technology, including precision analytics and the rise of machine learning-powered bots, marketers may soon be able to create and target incredibly sophisticated buyer personas with individualized content. What this means is that two individuals may both be targeted for content marketing from your company – yet they may get two completely different user experiences, all based on their location, age, personal history with your product, or any other number of factors.

Imagine how effective this level of targeting and customization could be at securing leads! Indeed, research firm Gartner predicts that businesses that invest in personalized marketing could outsell those that haven’t by as much as 20% in 2018.

The other major, tide-turning development that could be on the horizon? The singularity. Man and machine becoming one. OK, well maybe it won’t get that extreme. But, with that said, experts do anticipate that 2018 could see major advances in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

For marketers, next year may simply see an increased role for AI tools like chatbots, data analysis algorithms, and individualized recommendation systems. Within a decade, though, some experts predict that as much as half of all content will be developed by machines.

To that, your friendly neighborhood Geeks say… bring it on!

If you’re looking for content marketing assistance with a human touch (before the bot uprising), you’ve come to the right place. Geek Chicago knows what it takes to produce high quality, lead-generating content for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Whether you’re curious about email marketing, social media, ebooks, or website design and development, we’re here and ready to set you down the path to success. Drop us a line, day or night, to get the conversation started!

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).