If the latest content marketing trends show us anything, it's that content is truly here to stay. Research from Content Marketing Institute indicates that fully 89 percent of B2B marketers use content, and 86 percent of B2C marketers do, too.
That's good news because it suggests that the results of content marketing have been effective over the years. There is a downside, however: As more and more brands execute content marketing strategies, that means there's a huge amount of content competing for audience attention, engagement, and loyalty.
It all comes down to your ability to get your content to the right people in your audience when they need it. Obviously, the right content tools can help you here, as can a solid social media plan to distribute content on your various platforms.
But another effective way to improve your ability to reach and engage your audience is by creating content for the media outlets and publications they trust. This approach can help your content cut through the noise because you get to share insights with the members of your audience right on the platforms they're already on.
In order to get there, though, you have to earn your place, and that means sending editors the kind of content they want to publish. To find out what that is, my team recently asked editors what they're looking for, and we published the results of our research in "The State of Digital Media 2018."
Knowing what editors are looking for is crucial for guest posting, but it's usually a good indication of what your audience wants, too. So, to help you create better content and truly engage your audience members wherever they may be, here are three key findings that can influence your strategy:
1. Sixty-seven percent of editors are looking to publish video content this year.
Video is (still) on the rise. Over the years, it's been one of the biggest trends we've seen in content marketing. According to Cisco, video traffic will account for a staggering 82 percent of all internet traffic by 2021, a 9 percent increase from 2016.
Video has its own advantages in terms of branding as well. It's highly effective for storytelling, and a good story is the key ingredient in creating an emotional connection with your audience. Whether it's a how-to video or a behind-the-scenes piece, audiences continue to demand video, which means publication editors -- 67 percent of them, according to our research -- are determined to deliver it.
2. Ninety-three percent of editors use page views as a metric for success.
It's no secret how powerful social media is for spreading a message, so I see a lot of content marketers assuming that social share counts must be the most accurate measure of the success of a particular piece of content.
The reality, though, is that trends in social media engagement are changing how we think about the share count. Having your audience members hit the "Share" button is good, sure, but it's not necessarily the best indicator that they are actually consuming your message. As a result, most editors rely on a combination of metrics to determine guest content success: 93 percent use page views, and 75 percent report using time on site.
3. Seventy-nine percent of editors say content is too promotional.
No one -- not your readers, not publication editors, probably not even your own mom -- wants to spend their time reading all about how great your company is. (OK, maybe your mom still loves to hear about how awesome you are, but is that who your target audience is?)
Content marketing depends on delivering something that your audience members actually want or need. Whether you're entertaining them, educating them, or exposing them to something new, you need to create content that keeps them coming back.
Blatantly selling your products or services will never fit the bill. While you might think that would be obvious, somehow 79 percent of editors are still getting overly promotional pitches for guest content. Consumers are seeking authenticity, and they can smell the opposite from a mile away. It might seem like promotional content will have the biggest impact on your bottom line, but if you focus on providing value, you'll really reap the benefits of your investment.
As you continue to develop your content strategy, keeping these statistics in mind will help direct your efforts and improve the effectiveness of your content. Catering to editors and delivering the types of content they're looking for is the first step. Once you've earned the right to guest post, your job is to deliver something of true value to your audience. If you can pull this off, you'll be able to cut through all the other noise and earn your audience's loyalty.