In 2018, at Starberry we’ve written over 100,000 lines of copy for our content marketing clients (not that we’re counting!).
That's an incredible inventory of fresh content, the benefits of which our clients are reaping every single day in the form of new users drawn to their websites and turned into paying customers. It’s not uncommon to see growth of 30% in traffic and 20% in revenue year-on-year when running content marketing consistently.
Is (content) format the king?
With such an amazing performance, we began wondering what, exactly, made our content so powerful. Is it the formats and the distribution channels we used as part of our campaigns? Is it the emotional connection the content created with target audiences? Could we find a way to predict what content formats are going to be the most engaging in 2019?
You might be surprised to hear what we found with the help of a little magic trick called data analysis.
When we analyzed all our clients’ content performance reports, we were able to identify a common thread. It was the way content was being consumed by the end user and how we delivered it to them in the format they wanted, on the platform of their choice.
For example, we converted one of our well-received infographics into a series of Instagram stories for one of our clients. The trick was to turn each section of the infographic into an image that was then tweaked for Instagram stories. Adding a little bit of motion worked wonders in boosting the engagement level.
Improved engagement led to brand awareness, which in turn resulted in more traffic to the website and finally in more and better quality leads for the business.
Content Formats - the lowdown
Now, before we get into content trends and what content formats we are planning to focus on in 2019, let's quickly go through the basics.
What are the popular content formats used in Content Marketing?
1. Blogs - Crucial for your SEO, blogs help drive the right audience from search engines to your website. Popular blog post types include Lists (Listicles), how-to guides and Why/What explainers.
2. Videos - The fastest growing content format in 2018, the video is massively influenced by social media trends. The focus now is on creating videos that are self-explanatory even when on mute. That’s because social media networks predominantly have video muted so we can no longer rely on audio to make sense of the story. Popular video types are interviews, live streaming and explainer videos.
3. Infographics - They make information look great visually while explaining a large amount of data or complex concepts in an engaging manner. Popular infographic types include timelines, maps, interactive graphs, and charts.
4. Data insights/reports - In-depth research reports, white papers, and survey results make up this long-form content format.
5. Interactive content - Quizzes and calculators are the highest performing interactive content formats and bring incredible engagement to web pages. Games and contests can also help to create user-generated content that brands can reuse to get more mileage.
6. Immersive content - With investment from Google and Facebook, virtual reality and augmented reality are two relatively new content formats. They belong to experiential marketing and will soon have more and more usage in content marketing.
7. Audio - Podcasts are ruling the world of listeners, joggers and even voracious book readers are turning to them. Blog posts too can be made into audio narratives that could appeal to those who don’t want to spend time reading.
8. Imagery - People love memes, GIFs, cinemagraphs and illustrations. Visuals and animated transitions in content help retain website visitors and generate leads. Photography will never go out of trend!
9. Presentations - Ebooks, webinars and PDF presentations/guides have also been a favourite for Millennials for many years.
Content Formats - the key to an efficient content marketing campaign
The above may seem like a lot right now, but producing a variety of content formats is relatively easy. That’s because you don’t need to come up with new ideas and marketing messages every time. Instead, make the most of what you already have by repurposing and playing around with different formats. Let us explain how.
Step 1: Start with a blog. Content format 1.
Step 2: Record the blog as an audio story. Content format 2.
Step 3: Make imagery that would connect with the audience on a visual level. A GIF, an illustration or some beautiful photography with quotes from the blog. Content format 3.
Step 4: Make a PDF presentation version of the blog. Content format 4.
Step 5: Make a quiz on the blog to be shared as a contest on Social Media. Content format 5.
Et Voila! We now have 5 pieces of content that cater to different audiences and can be used optimally in different channels to drive engagement and traffic back to the website.
Top Trending Content Formats for 2019
Finally, here are our top picks for content formats you should really explore and experiment with in your content marketing next year:
1. Video - There is no way to avoid it, video is the king of content formats and will continue to rise. All kinds of video, ranging from 360° to live streaming and from animated motion videos without sound to customer onboarding, will see a massive consumption in 2019 and beyond. Mobile-first and vertical videos will finally gain importance.
2. Immersive content - There is still some room for Virtual Reality videos to pick up and augmented reality videos may become the game changers in the next year. It’s time for businesses and brands to start thinking immersive user experiences instead of plain old sales pitches.
3. Micro animations / transitions - With Material design ruling the Internet, small transitions and subtle animations are going to be very effective conversion rate optimisers on websites. They are highly engaging for Millennials who now make up the the biggest chunk of consumers and online spenders.
4. Interactive content & podcasts - Writing stereotypical blogs and landing pages is no longer going to work. Your content has to engage readers in conversations and other practical ways, give them actionable insights & tools and finally be “listenable” and offer the same information in formats they feel comfortable using, such as audio.
We hope you enjoyed our round-up of content formats and content trends to watch out in 2019. Interested in knowing more about content marketing? Let’s chat!