4 Creative Content Marketing Trends That Will Elevate Your Brand

Christina Content Marketing Leave a Comment

content marketing trendsThe world of content marketing is more exciting and fluid than ever before.

The times, they are a changin’.

Gone are the days of churning out “how to” articles for every topic you can imagine. And then another.

Now is an exciting time to be a content marketer because the data is telling us that we have to be more creative. It’s akin to what people in the military refer to as “mandatory fun.”

If you want your content to help your link building, generate traffic, and boost sales, creativity is definitely not optional. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have actual fun in the process.

Let’s get started…

Although the options are endless, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel just yet. We’ve followed the trends and have found four creative content marketing trends that are sure to take your brand to the next level.

1. Create Episodic Content

Have you ever binge-watched a great show? C’mon… be honest. If you have, then you understand the value of episodic content. Even if you don’t quite know what it is just yet.

Episodic content builds anticipation for the next thing. It may be a blog post, video or email. Whatever it is, your audience is waiting for it.

We love episodic content because it has a lasting impact and increases engagement. It’s also a blast to produce.

Who Else is Doing This?

Coca Cola’s Crossroads series is one of our favorites because it makes an impact and is socially responsible. The series encourages kids to stand up for their friends against bullies. More importantly, it keeps viewers wondering what will happen next.

Toyota’s Appetite for Life web series is a scaled-down version of many popular TV shows. Would you binge watch it?

Toshiba’s Beauty Inside surprises and sparks curiosity. By the end of the first episode, you need to know where this story is going.

What This Trend Means for Your Brand

With episodic content, you should expect two major benefits:

  1. You will become more organized – Episodic content forces you to plan content in advance, so you will have to organize your team. But this change can also help clarify your vision.
  2. You will build anticipation – Over time, your audience will come to expect content from you. Close a cliffhanger on Wednesday every week, and they will expect content every Wednesday. They will even look forward to it.

Why This Works

It’s just two minutes until the end of the episode.

And the bomb drops. Someone is about to expose the main character’s biggest secret. This could change everything.

…Roll credits.

You know the writers did this on purpose. But you don’t care about that.

You only care about getting answers. You NEED to know what happens next.

According to psychologist Jerome Kagan, we are hardwired to resolve uncertainties. In fact, resolving uncertainties may be the driving force behind everything we do.

Think of each story as a loop. When you complete a story, you’re closing the loop. Readers are happy and can file it away in their memories. When you leave the loop open, your readers are subconsciously obsessed with closing it. Closing the loop is added as a task on their subconscious to-do list.

Now that you know a little about episodic content…

Do you want to learn a secret method for creating content that will have readers hanging on every word. That’s exactly what I plan to cover in my next post, so stay tuned!

See what I did there?

2. Put A New Spin on Newsjacking

Newsjacking isn’t a new concept, but it has evolved a great deal in recent years. Social media and live feeds make it easier than ever to get involved in the conversation.

Company news is great, but it’s better when news is relevant to people’s lives.

Follow the lead of major PR agencies and ride on the coattails of a bigger story, event or trend.

Just read the news to find your opportunity. Some topic ideas:

  • Presidential elections
  • Game of Thrones season finale
  • Latest viral sensation

Just be sure that what you choose resonates with your audience.

Who Else is Doing This?

Animal shelters are encouraging people to pick up a dog to walk while they are hunting Pokémon. And people are talking about it. Why? Because everyone seems to be looking for any excuse to talk about Pokémon Go, whether they play the game or not.

Every agency seems to have their own “Lessons we from Game of Thrones” post. This concept works for almost any hot topic or personality. It’s usually not as powerful as an offer or creative ad, but it can definitely garner some attention.

Boston Market brilliantly leveraged the last presidential campaign, pinning “Left Wing” against “Right Wing.”

What This Trend Means for Your Brand

The key to success with this trend is to be among the first and most creative.

Just be sure you’re latching on to a story that is a good fit for your audience or you may do more harm than good.

Why This Works

Everyone wants to be a part of the conversation. Social media just fuels the obsession. Offer a funny or interesting spin on an issue that people are already talking about. They will notice.

3. Become More Socially Responsible

Your company is in business to make money. Every company is in the same boat. But people show more interest in brands that seem to care about people.

It’s about action over lip service. And there are many major brands that are leveraging their power to change lives.

Who Else is Doing This?

TOMS built its business model around social responsibility. It all started with shoes. TOMS pledged to donate one pair of shoes for every pair purchased. Then they expanded social outreach to include things like improving water access and sight.

American Express‘s Small Business Saturday encourages small business owners to succeed. It has been a great asset for small business owners and has drawn them closer to American Express.

Levi’s Water<Less manufacturing has saved over 1 billion liters of water. Levi’s expects Water<Less to account for 80% of their product manufacturing by 2020. This shows how responsible manufacturing can garner attention.

What This Trend Means for Your Brand

When done right, brands can use these programs to tell emotionally motivating stories. Brands like TOMS and American Express have proven that this is a successful path. This paves the way for companies like yours to connect with customers through social causes.

Why This Works

We all want to believe that we’re doing good. Companies aren’t excluded from this. But corporations have a bad rep. If you want to distance yours from the pack, give people a reason to believe that your company is different. Give people a reason to side with your brand.

4. Connect Emotionally with Video Marketing

Marketers have been buzzing about video marketing since the early days of YouTube. So what’s new? Technology, expectations and competition have all changed. And it’s a whole new ball game.

Today, people expect video. They’d even prefer it over text. It has taken over content marketing and the stats cannot be ignored.

This simple exercise should illustrate the importance of video in your marketing efforts:

Take a minute to scroll through your Facebook newsfeed. In that 60 seconds, how many videos did you see?

Who Else is Doing This?

Reebok’s Calculate your Days campaign sends a powerful message that should resonate with everyone. Our days are numbered. Make the most of them. And with a call-to-action at the end, you can bet Reebok is getting more than just views.

Dove’s video marketing campaigns are always on point. With Choose Beautiful, Dove reaches their target customer with such power that they leave a lasting impact.

American Greetings World’s Toughest Job – This well-known video does exactly what greeting cards do, bring a tear to your eye. Watch below …and just try not to shed a tear.

What This Trend Means for Your Brand

Videos touch people on a deeper level. A video can make you laugh or cry in just a few short minutes. Once you touch their hearts, they will remember you. And they are more likely to buy from you.

Include video in your marketing and you will reach viewers on an emotional level.

Why This Works

Have you ever been watching TV and found yourself caught up in the moment? How about when you’re watching a horror movie and realize the monster is in the house?

It’s a normal, quiet day at home. Yet your entire body is in a state of panic. You’re sitting there with clenched teeth, tight muscles and a racing heart.

The reaction seems almost silly, but it’s completely natural.

Here’s why it happens…

A collection of brain cells called motor neurons spring into action when you see or do something. They just can’t tell the difference between seeing or doing.

So your body acts as if what you’re seeing is being done to you.

You can’t recreate this type of connection with text alone. That’s why video is and always will be a valuable marketing tool.

A Note on Following Trends

Have you ever followed a fashion trend because it was “cool,” even though you knew in your heart it wasn’t right for you?

“But that fedora looked so cute on Sally…”

Marketing trends are similar. Before jumping on any bandwagon, take a good hard look at your brand and audience. If something doesn’t seem to fit, consider why.

These four trends can work for any brand in a broad sense, but it’s up to you to know where to take them creatively.

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