We can’t do content marketing without technology, especially in the digital world.

Any manual content editorial planning, creation, approval processes, or even promotion should have some level of digital workflows and processes that allow your content marketing to scale to different channels and devices.

Content needs to fit in terms of device forms with tight copywriting and intuitive user experience. It’s a whole package.

It’s so much more than just writing and SEO-friendly requirements.

Think about it: content presented on touch screens, for example, often differs from the content displayed on non-touchable televisions, laptops, and traditional printed media.

Or, the content presented on wearable devices will be completely different from mobile, tablets, PCs, and TV screens. The content displayed on the face of an Apple watch, for example, will be different from how it looks on a device with a bigger screen.

As a content marketer, you need to think through devices and customer usage in addition to simply writing a piece of content, whether it’s a blog post or an email marketing campaign.

The user experience is essential to gaining more potential customers and influencing a purchase decision.

Here are three key elements to consider when you look ahead to the future of content marketing:

Search-friendly text or voice

SEO is still crucial. Google, in particular, is constantly refining its search algorithms, which heavily impacts the content that will be served to audiences.

Whether we realize it or not, AI (artificial intelligence) plays a huge role in anticipating our search efforts and influencing our decisions.

Whenever we type something, Google is already anticipating our needs, trying to complete our search sentences before showing the results. That’s AI at work at a very basic level.

Content consumption is evolving to enable multiple forms of input; it’s not just simple keyboards anymore.

In recent years, we’ve been doing more and more searches using our voices, for example. So that shift needs to be accounted for in our future marketing efforts.

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Impact on the future of content marketing:

Marketers will need to give some thought to how voice commands and hand movements impact content usage; the content that marketers create should try to anticipate how users search for and consume content.

For B2B marketing, content is still likely searched and viewed with mobile phones, tablets, and PCs.

Consumer-centric or transaction-based content tends to be searched or summoned through voice via virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, or Hey Google.

Users use different (more conversational) words or shorter sentences when searching using voice.

To make your content voice-friendly, you need to incorporate shorter sentences and get-to-the-point content.

Speaking of voice search, Google now includes podcast content (audio) as part of search results.

That also brings up a point – does a podcast need to be a part of your overall marketing channels?

Written content is, by default, how we often still seek out information via search engines. However, voice and audio search is not something you can continue to ignore in this day and age.

Wearables

Having one intimate mobile device is not enough anymore. We constantly pursue smaller and more innovative form factors, including smartwatches, VR headsets, and other kinds of wearable technology.

As with any new technology, more and more useful features will be incorporated into such devices until they become indispensable, ultimately changing our behavior as we grow used to certain conveniences.

Check out this Marketplace interview with The Verge’s Victoria Song about what we can expect trend-wise in the realm of wearable technology; fascinating stuff!

Impact on the future of content marketing:

When it comes to smaller form factors, long-form content does not work well.

Form, design, copy, and user interface play much bigger roles in content creation for wearable devices.

It also depends on whether or not an app is used to control the wearables. In that case, your content may be viewed or displayed as part of the app.

You need to work closely with the product team and user designers to determine what content needs to be incorporated into the wearables and the app.

Content takes a backseat to wearables. Focusing on UX, product design, and the wearable usage model first, you can later reject or accept relevant content as needed.

Big Data, Personalization, and Privacy

The proliferation of connected devices and our dependence on technologies and tools has created a mind-boggling amount of data.

Everything we do online with wearables, apps, mobile phones, tablets, or PC is a data point of our digital footprint. Someone is tracking it… Big Brother(s) are watching…

Even offline activities, like shopping at the supermarket, are being monitored and recorded by security cameras; all of this can become data. (Read more about that here.)

Businesses are surrounded by or drowning in the amount of data that users or customers generate on a daily basis.

You can collect customer data and obtain and purchase customer data (check out zero-party, first-party, second-party, and third-party data here).

Impact on the future of content marketing:

If you can make sense of the massive amounts of data you collect for your customers, you can use those insights to customize content for your customers or understand the intent of your customers.

Here is the dilemma of any marketer: Your customers expect you to know them better than they do.

At the same time, they don’t want to feel that their privacy is being invaded or exploited. It’s hard to find that balance. In a way, how and what we say matters.

So, what should we do differently now?

Let’s consider our predicament for a moment and go back to basics.

Why do we create content? Sure, we create content so that we sell our products. But more importantly, it’s about educating our customers about who we offer, what we do, and how we can help them.

Therefore, we need to understand them better than we understand ourselves.

How they search using text or voice will help you determine what types of content to create.

Do they use wearables extensively for the products and services you sell? If not, maybe you don’t need to worry about wearable devices just yet.

Data is important. First, look at the types of customer data you possess within your company. Then, work with analysts to see if they can help you understand your customers better.

Focus on the insights you gather to optimize your content.

No matter how much technologies advance, how sophisticated search algorithms become, or how much big data allows for the personalization of our content needs, everything comes back to the following:

  • Great products and services
  • A mindset of helping your customers
  • Well-planned and strategized content
  • Relevant content that serves your customers
  • Well-promoted and syndicated content that allows customers to find it easily
  • A well-established process to measure and optimize the effectiveness of your content

Some fundamental marketing principles will remain unchanged no matter how the world changes and technologies evolve.

It’s important to stay agile and take advantage of new developments, but you must first have a solid foundation of the basics; this will act as your compass as you explore these brave, new worlds.

How have new technologies impacted your content marketing efforts? I’d love to hear your perspective, so feel free to leave a comment or ping me on social media to share.

What can Pam Didner do for you?

Being in the corporate world for 20+ years and having held various positions from accounting and supply chain management, and marketing to sales enablement, she knows how corporations work. She can make you and your team a rock star by identifying areas to shine and do better. She does that through private coaching, keynote speaking, workshop training, and hands-on consulting. Contact her or find her on LinkedIn and Twitter. A quick note: Check out her new 90-Day Revenue Reboot, if you are struggling with marketing.