We just headed into the New Year and I’m already thinking about strategies for 2018…
Have you been thinking about your marketing strategy for 2018, yet?
Or thought about getting started in your business in 2018?
Sorry…I don’t mean to stress you out if you haven’t thought about it.
However, it’s about time you started thinking about it.
Therefore, to start you off here’s the top 6 content marketing trends from 2017 to consider for your plan in 2018.
1. Scaling Back On Content Marketing
So…let’s talk about the first trend I’ve been noticing that I would like to debunk for you.
Is Content Marketing Sustainable?
I was sitting back at the local Starbucks, slurping my Americano, the other day, when I seen this article from the director of BuzzSumo, Steve Rayson “New Research Answers: Is Content Marketing Sustainable?”
Sustainable, I thought? Of course it is.
I then decided to draft up an email to the author, Steve Rayson in my usual rebellious tone stating that in-fact content marketing is indeed sustainable.
He responded and agreed, to a point. He did however mention that there’s still competition.
Barrier To Entry To Develop Content
The article goes on to say that the barrier to entry to develop content is near zero which means that more advertisers are paying to get content in front of their audiences like on Facebook. ( This is the part I agree with…)
However, before you start saying something like “I told you Shaun, I knew this posting on Facebook stuff wasn’t doing much to get me new customers” let me first show you a way that you can still beat out the competition without spending another dime on Facebook. ( This is the part that makes content marketing sustainable, the part I’m going to show you later in the article. )
2. Businesses Are Getting Better At Content Marketing
Before I tell you about this trick to beat out the competition with content marketing, let me first talk about why you need to look at different ways to market content in 2018.
According to this Forbes article from last year on the “8 Trends That Will Shape Content Marketing in 2017” they said that:
“62% of B2B content marketers are “much more” or “somewhat more” successful with their content marketing than they were last year.”
When these same businesses were asked how their content marketing was doing last year only 30% said that they where “much more” or “somewhat more” successful.
3. Bigger Budgets On Content Marketing
Facebook Ad Revenues Have Increased In 2017
What this means for content marketing your business is that you need to fork out more money to get in front of customers on platforms like Facebook, and companies have been doing that according to Adweek.
Facebook’s ad revenue from the second quarter of 2017 increased by 47% compared to last year.
Also, in this Adstage report “Facebook CPMs Increase 171% In 2017” the cost of getting to your customers just got a whole lot more expensive in 2017!
Analyzing Facebook Ad Budgets
After analyzing 8.8 billion Facebook ad impressions this is what they found:
“The CPCs of Facebook Ads went from $0.42 to $0.99 during the first six months of 2017″ that’s an increase of 136% to get someone to click on your content and ads.”
“Great Shaun” you might be thinking.
“However, what’s that thing you said you would show us where we don’t need to spend more money to get content in front of our customers?”
4. Focus On Influencer Marketing
I’m getting to the magic sauce here in a moment, I just needed a moment to explain to you about how competitive content marketing is and what it means to your wallet.
Thinking Differently About Content Marketing
So you can get a better idea on why you want to do things a little bit differently with content marketing in 2018.
So…just hold on a minute, I’ll get to the tricks a little later in the article. Just keep reading.
So…where was I?
Ah yes, in 2017 there are more budgets being spent on influencer marketing.
According to eMarketer 48% of marketers said they will increase their influencer Marketing budgets in 2017.
On Instagram there’s over 570 million that was spent on influencer marketing in 2016, alone.
Promoting with no followers, in a competitive market, is tough for company growth online.
This is why influencers are handy.
So…”Shaun, how do I get new customers right away with content marketing and beat out my competition even without a following online?”
If you guessed it, you’re a genius. What is it…
Let’s everybody say it now…
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Great…what the heck is it, really?
Influencer marketing is contacting a well known celebrity or person in your industry and getting them to promote your content to their following.
It’s simple stuff, really…if you can send someone an email or if you could ask mom for lunch money, you can do this.
Why Is Influencer Marketing So Powerful?
If influencer marketing is done properly you can basically get new customers immediately without necessarily having a following or a list.
A lot faster then say writing 3 – 5 blogs a week for the next 6 – 12 months with SEO, or spending thousands of dollars on Facebook to build a fan following, etc.
5. Micro-influencer Marketing
The key with influencer marketing is to focus on micro-influencers.
I realize this is not really another trend, however, it needs it’s own explanation.
You are probably saying “Now, now, Shaun…you’ve gone too far with this influencer stuff!
What is a micro-influencer?”
Micro-influencer Versus An Influencer
What’s the difference between micro-influencers versus a traditional online influencer?
A company called Markerly studied 800,000 Instagram accounts, each one had over a 1,000 followers.
They looked at engagement of their audiences compared to major celebrity influencers.
They found out that as followers increase, likes decrease. What!!
A Client Example
I’ll give you a recent example from a client of mine, something from the real world not just stats and jargon.
This client was looking to generate buyer leads for a luxury real estate development in Florida, selling homes over a million dollars.
They where looking to attract philanthropists, high net worth individuals, and golf enthusiasts primarily from the eastern seaboard.
Influencer With Millions Of Followers
The client himself was a retired PGA tour player, a world-renowned golf course builder, and a celebrity with millions of fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook.
Yes folks, this is an example of an influencer.
A lot of his fans are within the target audience he’s looking to market too as well.
However, he wasn’t getting results with his fans online. Hence, why I was hired.
Why wasn’t he getting results from his fan base of millions? His fan base was too big! He was too influential.
“Too Influential Shaun, now you must be losing your marbles” you might be thinking again.
Let me explain…
He’s got millions of fans, but when you get this big, it’s simply harder to connect with everyone on a personal level through posting content on social media.
When you influence it’s just as much about action as it is about being visible.
It’s about adding value to people’s lives and it’s much harder delivering value with your messaging, branding, and your mission to a million followers versus 20,000 as the data confirms that I mentioned above.
I Recommended A Micro-influencer Strategy
My recommendation instead for this client was for them to use micro-influencers.
One recommendation I made to the client which is also a great example of a micro-influencer, was to reach out to PGA golfer Stephanie Wei with her modest following of 36,000 fans as you can see here.
The thing with Stephanie is she’s just as much of a fan as she is a golfer and she resonates more with her fan base then this client with millions of followers.
What Is The Right Influencer For Your Brand?
Stephanie Wei is a model micro-influencer because she’s:
- online and posting everyday;
- retweeting and others are retweeting her;
- she writes original content as a contributor on her own blog;
- she’s got around 35,000 followers ( under 25,000 is usually what I go for… );
Keep this in mind when you search for micro-influencers.
How To Find The Right Micro-influencer
There are influencers and thought leaders in every industry.
You can probably think of a few right now in your industry, however how do you find influencers that have a great following and are willing to work with you?
Reality check, not everyone will.
However the key is to reach out to many.
How do you find the right micro-influencers?
You could use a platform like buzzsumo.com.
1. Open it up, you don’t even need a paid account to do this, however, you may want to look at paying for an account as you can only do a few searches a day for free.
2. Search for a specific topic like “golf.”
3. Once the results come up click the “influencers” tab near the top of the screen.
3. This will then provide you an influencer list for the keyword “golf” select these two options only:
4. Scroll down and select your micro-influencers, pay attention to the “links shared” tab and the “followers” tab for each influencer. Remember you want to focus on around 25,000 followers or less.
What’s next? Time to connect.
3 Step Process To Connect With Influencers
Neil Patel, renowned digital marketing influencer mentions the next step after this is to connect as he talks about a 3 step process on his blog here.
1. Follow the person on Twitter.
Easy enough, you can do that right on the buzzsumo.com platform, as you can see here.
2. Provide value in some way
Going back to my client example and the fact that he is a well renowned PGA golfer, he could have added value to Stephanie Wei by maybe inviting her to a VIP golf event of some kind where she could mingle with senior PGA tour players?
I’m also going to talk about another way to create value…however, I want that to be the next trend.
Therefore, let me finish these three points up and we can talk about the next trend…keep reading.
3. Message them on Twitter, Facebook (or somewhere else)
Social media may work best, state your value and make your request.
Ok, so you know how to contact potential micro-influencers.
Great. So..let me just go back to part 2 of the connection process with micro-influencers – adding value.
Which gets me into the next trend.
Becoming An Influencer
The goal of connecting with micro-influencers is that you can leverage your business, brand, website, and yourself very quickly so you can generate customers right away!
How To Add Value To Micro-Influencers
The big question you might have in connecting with your influencer is what value can I add online?
You might be recognized in your industry offline, for example, but how do you add value online to micro-influencers?
This is the problem that the majority of my clients face.
The key to this is guest blogging. Why? A big reason is because not that many of your competitors are running comprehensive guest blogging strategies, according to Source:
Only 6% of bloggers publish the majority of their original content as guest posts. (source)
Also, micro-influencers have influence because they are contributing original content like through their own blog or affiliate companies.
Therefore, you want to provide them value by producing content for their website.
Remember, you are doing this to gain as much influence as quickly as possible by connecting with those who are already influencers in your industry and then promoting to their following.
This is a great way to leverage your business through content marketing in 2018. So, let’s get into how you can find a website that your prospective micro-influencer contributes too.
So one note on the actually blogs themselves, you might be thinking “but how do I get visitors to my website through guest blogging?”
You are going to actually link to your website from the influencer guest blog that you write.
Read this article to get a step-by-step on how you can link to your website from the guest blogs your write.
However, lets find some good guest blog opportunities.
1. Open up Google and use the following format, of course using the keywords for your industry.
I’ll use “fitness” as an example:
- keyword “submit a guest post”
- keyword “guest post”
- keyword “guest post by”
- keyword “accepting guest posts”
- keyword “guest post guidelines”
If I click on the second result down “The Ultimate Health Blogs That Accept Guest Posts” you’ll find the website fourhourworkweek.com.
2. Make sure the blog is getting traffic by opening up Spyfu, as you can see in this example and type in the URL.
In thinking about your businesses content marketing in 2018 you need to be creative and do things a little differently then what 9 out of 10 businesses are doing.
The fact that every other company is paying to get content in front of customers through Facebook, means it’s getting less effective and more expensive to do the same.
Influencer marketing as in the form of micro-influencers and guest blogging is a way to beat the “market” where you won’t be bound by the increasing cost of ad platforms like Facebook.
Remember, it’s going to be a numbers game in the beginning, use the step-by-step guide I mentioned in this blog to connect with micro-influencers, and to find guest blogs to write for, and good luck.