If you’re serious about upping your content marketing game, you need to stay ahead of the curve. That means paying attention to the latest trends and deciding which ones are right for you to adopt. This will help you not only become more innovative and effective, but it will help you stand out from your competitors. But don’t be fooled. As important as it is to try new things, taking a haphazard approach to trends is a fool’s errand. You need to be selective about adopting the trends that make the most sense for you and your business.

To help guide you, we’re taking a closer look at four macro content marketing trends

Trend 1: A Growing Appetite for Interactive Content

If you want to foster meaningful engagement with your customers, you should consider creating more interactive content. Quizzes, calculators, tests, and polls are just a few examples of the types of interactive assets more and more content marketers are creating to better engage their customers. That’s because at a time when customers are bombarded with content every single day, they’re much more discerning about what they actually pay attention to. Underscoring the point, according to one study, more than three-quarters of people say they ignore digital advertisements

Meanwhile, the same study found that 90 percent of people want more visual and interactive content. Interactive content works because it’s more engaging, immersive, and, in the best-case scenarios, drives a two-way conversation. Customers can actively participate in something that helps them either share or receive information while interacting with your brand in a way that’s interesting and dynamic. Not only that, if done right, interactive content can go viral. A Buzzfeed quiz on which city people should live in garnered 22 million views, for example.

Trend 2: The Rise of AI-Powered Content Marketing

AI-driven content marketing will be one of the biggest game changers of all time. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably already read content generated by an algorithm. The Associated Press uses AI to write thousands of sports reports, while The Washington Post uses an in-house AI-powered tool to create news articles and social media posts.

Marketers are always looking for effective and innovative ways to create quality content and, as the technology becomes more refined, there’s no doubt we’ll see them using AI to turn it out. While we may be a long way off from AI completely replacing writers, in the short and intermediate term, there’s a real opportunity to use AI to help augment writers. In that way, they can either work faster and more efficiently, or focus their energy on more meaningful content. Surely even the most skeptical of content creators can warm up to the idea of trading some of their grunt work for more interesting assignments.

Trend 3: Hyper-Pesonalized Content Takes Center Stage

With so much content out there, people aren’t going to consume just anything. To capture their attention, they expect brands to offer them highly personalized experiences, rather than blasting them with the same message they send to all of their customers. Personalized content shows consumers that a brand understands them, and has taken the time to offer content that’s actually relevant to them and their specific needs and wants.

The stats bear this out. 72 percent of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging. And while there are rising concerns about privacy and how their personal data is used, 90 percent of people say they’re willing to share behavioral data for a cheaper and easier brand experience

Remember, not all of your customers need, or want, the same information. The more data you have, the more you can deliver dynamic content, such as personalized newsletters, links, and offers. If you’re not already personalizing your content, you should be, because your customers are increasingly going to expect it.

Trend 4: Voice Search Becomes Ubiquitous

The growth of the personal digital assistant in peoples’ everyday lives has been phenomenal and, with that, voice search is truly coming into its own. According to comScore, 50 percent of all searches will be done by voice by 2020.

Marketers who are quick to catch on to this trend will reap the benefits by preparing their content for this format. They’ll have to adapt for voice search because people communicate differently when they’re using it. While you might type “Best Italian restaurants in New York,” you’d be more likely to say “What’s the best Italian restaurant in New York City” or “What Italian restaurants in New York City are open tonight?” This is where the AI that powers voice search is crucial. It’s constantly evolving to better understand natural human communication with every interaction.

There’s no doubt voice search is the future, if not the now. Voice search currently accounts for at least 20 percent of all searching and it’s growing. And when you consider that just over half of smart speaker owners are millennials or younger, it’s clearly going to be a critical way to engage the customers of tomorrow.

Stay Ahead to Get Ahead

There’s no doubt that content marketing is a dynamic industry full of early adopters and innovators. If you don’t keep an eye on the latest trends and engage with them early on, you’re going to lose out. Try to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening and selectively embrace new technologies and strategies if they make sense for supporting the growth of your business. While it’s impossible to be ahead of the curve on every trend, it’s critically important that you embrace some of them to help differentiate your content.

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