Every year, we are treated to an avalanche of content marketing predictions.
“X content marketing trends that will matter in 2020”
“X biggest content marketing trends, that will dominate 2020”
“These x content marketing trends will define the future of your business”
Those articles are literal mines of data and statistics that anyone, who loves to dig deeper into the why and how’s of marketing, will enjoy.
But, and it is quite a sizeable “but”, the majority of these trend compilations are directed at marketers! Also known as “people, whose full-time job is to market”.
Not people, who juggle every aspect of their business on their own because they just started. Not solopreneurs. Not small business owners. Not fresh freelancers.
This why I created this article.
In this post, you will find out the answer to some of the most common content marketing questions I get asked in 2020.
“Should I have a Business page on Facebook in 2020?”
In 2020, the universe of social media continues to suffer from the repercussions of data misuse news. The biggest earthquake, Cambridge Analytica, is still pretty much alive and well in Mark’s memory – Facebook’s newsroom is full of examples of how actively the brand engages in crisis management decisions.
Does this mistrust towards Facebook & Co impact your content marketing plan?
Facebook continues to be the social media platform of choice for the majority of business owners. Buffer’s State of Social Media 2019 Report stated that 93.7% of businesses use and are currently active on Facebook — the most among any other social media network.
Why? Moral aspect aside, Facebook’s active userbase is continuously climbing, making Facebook the biggest social medium worldwide.
Facebook is also one of the most cost-effective online advertising platforms available to business owners. It’s ad targeting options for Facebook business pages are fantastic.
However, the positive upwards user trend also translates to message oversaturation. The 2020 SEMrush survey, which reached 1200 marketers throughout 39 countries, revealed that 94% of surveyed marketers considered social media as their best channel for content distribution.
To break through the clutter, your brand has to get better at providing valuable content to your communities of followers on each platform.
There is also one part of Facebook efforts that opens a new channel of communications and content marketing distribution with your customers. A channel within a channel, if you will.
Enter private social media. Facebook Messenger. Whatsapp. Instagram Threads, and Close Friends list.
Each of those has different features, but they all can be extremely useful for your brand’s customer service management efforts. From my experience, customers are very keen on contacting brands directly and many small business owners develop very close relationships with their customers. This offers a unique opportunity, the kind that corporations do not have, to build really close-knitted communities.
“Speaking of which… which online channels should I select in 2020?”
Answer: Decide based on two factors: 1) where your customers are, and 2) the content creation skills, that you have.
In general, whenever this conversation starter drops in my lap, I answer: focus on two social media channels. Two channels, maximum. Please note, that this means two channels on top of your website and potential mailing list.
If you are on your own, there is no way you have time for managing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, your website and your newsletter, all at the same time.
Given, each of the mentioned channels does not require the same level of work, but your business social media definitely have to be updated daily.
As per the previous point, Facebook really is a universal platform in terms of its demographics, so it should always be part of your social media mix. Even if you neglect it – a Facebook business page will still give you access to the advertising features.
What the other platform of choice should be is really up to where your customers are and what your capabilities are. Sprout Social continuously publishes reliable demographic splits for social media – I recommend that you check their website out.
Depending on your resources, make sure that you are able to produce good quality content for the second platform.
(This entire section is for those, who insist on having multiple channels. My constant advice for business owners is to cultivate their website and Facebook page first, before exploring new distribution channels. Perhaps you will achieve great results on Facebook and will be satisfied with that level of interest in the beginning?)
“What form of content performs well in 2020?”
Answer: Whatever your industry, candid content wins.
According to every flower, bird and rock on this planet, video content is having its high time.
It is true that interactive content is universally loved.
We have TikTok, we have Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories that get more engagement than regular feed posts.
There are Whatsapp stories. There are talks of LinkedIn doing stories.
And we have podcasts! Everyone, who can, is currently developing podcasts series.
However, the secret to posts getting high engagement rates is not the format but the topic of the post.
Content, which is real, relatable, emphasizes the human side of brands, the cause behind each logo, the people behind the screens, wins.
What do podcasts do? They dive into the reality of someone’s career, with its ups and downs, to create an honest and inspiring conversation.
Digging deeper – talking about insecurities, climate anxiety, the grit of being a small business owner, the issues they have to overcome.
Teenagers creating dance routines, while talking about their hearts being broken. And even if they are not talking, they are dancing in their bathrooms, living their regular lives.
Celebrities sharing snaps from their homes or movie sets to their social media channels, without photographers or professional video cameras.
TrendWatching 2020 briefing (TW reports on major consumer trends globally – I have been reading their briefings since 2010 and they are always spot-on), published in December 2019, names the following trends that will be dominating the commercial space: brand avatars (“Human brands take powerful new form“), metamorphic design (“Consumers demand relevance as a service“), the burnout (“Smart brands rush to help those burned by the pressures of modern life“), and civil media (“Why the future of social is meaningful connections“).
As you can see, these are topics that are not sexy – they are human. They are not aspirational – they are relatable. They are candid.
“Does it mean that I can continue to post the same plain product shots, just maybe mention my struggle with depression once in a while? “
(I am not making fun of depression – I have lived with it as long as I can remember. I am making fun of people, who are obviously milking the illness for their benefit.)
In 2020, we haven’t magically travelled to an alternative reality.
Research about your audience’s likes and dislikes still matters.
Creating content, that is aligned with your brand, still matters.
Being creative and producing content, that stands out still matters.
In 2020, just like every previous year, business owners have to realize that they cannot put their content plans through a gut-feeling check – they have to strategise it.
You have to know what posts your audience likes, what they disliked in the past and what they want to see more of. You have to establish a process, an efficient workflow, for content creation.
There are SO MANY existing resources for you to learn how to approach content marketing strategy. Start googling. Or, if you are short on time, contact me for a free consultation.
“I have the strategy pinned down and now I want to produce more cool content – video, gifs and so on. What tools would you recommend?”
Luckily for you, producing videos on a budget in 2020 is easier than ever.
Canva is currently beta-testing videos in their free in-browser editor.
Instagram Stories is one of the best free video-making tools.
Your phone is probably good enough to record a video to use on your channels.
To create simple GIFs, I recommend using Instagram Boomerang or this free tool.
There are hundreds of apps for every skill level.
You have my permission to go and experiment.
“I love what I am reading here but it still doesn’t give me any tips on what I should prioritise in 2020 to make my content strategy better? And I work on my own.”
Let’s take a step back.
Whatever recommendations you are given, be realistic with yourself.
How much time is your business already consuming each week?
How many hours do you have to willingly contribute to content marketing?
You have to market your business. There is absolutely no question about it.
Without promoting your service or product, you are not making money.
If you are not making money, this spells financial difficulties.
How much time each week are you willing to spend on content marketing?
Write the number of hours down and immediately block them off in your calendar.
Then, you will start with research. Then you will move to drafting a plan, based on your research. Then you will produce content.
Take your time. Observe what your competitors are doing. Apply what you learnt and start posting. Nobody’s first social media post was perfect. Nobody’s first blog article was shared 100k times.
You will get there, I promise. Just start doing.