By Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner

There’s no doubt that content marketing is an essential part of any business plan. Year after year, its importance only increases when it comes to business growth and positive return on investment (ROI). Content marketing is an authentic way of getting in touch with an audience because you’re essentially bringing them to you instead of the other way around. If the content you’re putting out is quality, it will speak for itself.

The world of content marketing is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up. But with a little bit of research, you can find out what strategies will work best to build traffic and boost your business. Here are three content marketing trends to watch out for in 2019:

1. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t necessarily a brand-new concept, but its influence and engagement rate is only increasing as time goes on. This form of marketing is already turning into one of the fastest-growing channels for business growth.

The game-changer is that it’s more personal to the consumer. Consumers and social media users are more likely to trust recommendations endorsed by influencers. That means they are more likely to spend money if an influencer they like promotes a product because a personal connection exists. 

For example, when Next Games first released its mobile gaming app, “The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land,” they featured internet personalities Lele Pons and Anwar Jibawi in a promotional video. At first, you might not think to include online influencers to increase traffic and engagement for this particular product, but the video was clearly a success; it has earned over 13 million views to date. The video appealed to the millions of followers these popular YouTube influencers already had, even though this audience may not have seen “The Walking Dead” show. 

Taking an influencer approach to its content marketing worked for Next Games. Because it creates a connection of authenticity between consumer and brand, influencer marketing is on the rise and a trend that’s not likely to fade anytime soon.

2. Different Content Formats

2017 Nielson report revealed that millennials and Generation Z make up 48 percent of digital audiences. Content marketing is becoming more and more geared to this specific population, so it’s no surprise that different types of visual and auditory content are on the rise.

It’s been said again and again that video -- whether live or not -- is taking over in the marketing world. And marketers know its value; 35 percent of them use live video in their content marketing, according to a report by Social Media Examiner.

Another content format on the rise is audio, particularly in the form of podcasts. According to Statista, the number of podcast listeners is expected to rise to 132 million per year by 2022, and that number is only going to increase. It’s clear that the popularity of mediums such as podcasts, graphics and images is on the rise.

3. Varying Content Lengths

Long-form content is gaining more popularity as the years go on. It’s known to increase traffic from search engines, boosting your site’s visibility to potential customers. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to suit every audience.

You have to know your audience before you decide that it’s long-form content or nothing. According to data from Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile, 55 percent of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on any given page before abandoning it, so it’s crucial to use short-term content to your advantage, too.

Switching up post lengths and incorporating different mediums could be a great move to drive traffic from different people, each with their own unique preferences. Shorter content doesn’t have to mean fewer readers. It just means being more strategic about how you market to other audiences.

Over to You

Content marketing trends are important to keep track of because they’re constantly changing; nothing is set in stone when it comes to what consumers want next. So, be sure to experiment with your content marketing strategy to figure out what works.

Gathering data and doing research are always the best methods for figuring out which content marketing trends best suit your audience. Don’t be afraid to try new things to see what will drive traffic to your business and create conversions this year.

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site that helps small businesses start their website.