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Content Marketing Blog

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Content marketers need to work harder to gain traction on social networks as the number of articles is increasing, but brands can cut through the noise by creating “evergreen” content that continues to pay dividends months after its publication date.

That is one of the primary takeaways from the Content Trends Report 2018 published by BuzzSumo earlier this week. The 36-page study found that the number of shares per post on social platforms has seen a marked decline since 2015 due to more competition for engagement, a decline in organic reach on Facebook, and a rise in “dark social” sharing away from bigger, public platforms.

BuzzSumo Director Steve Rayson believes brands can still achieve success with their campaigns by adopting a different mindset. Rather than jumping on trends when they blow up and creating viral content with clickbait titles, they should move towards a more organic, evergreen strategy which can really pay off in the long term.

Evergreen content can continue to perform years down the line, as it will always remain relevant in search and social media. Rayson says evergreen content usually features one of four characteristics that are well suited to gaining shares and clicks over time:

  • It focuses on long-life topics that don’t go out of style
  • It is research-based
  • It is composed with a reference style that acts as a benchmark for a subject
  • It is regularly updated

It appears that content saturation is more common when a brand attempts to focus on a hot trend as the number of articles for this trend often explodes. The recent craze about bitcoin is an example of this. It is impossible for readers to wade through every piece of content published, so they veer towards pages and sites that have an authority on the subject prior to the boom.

Rayson says marketers must, therefore, build authority before a trend hits and look at “sub-trends” proactively to create a hub of high-quality content that may later become more popular if the trend goes mainstream. Working on direct distribution networks, including email subscribers and customer lists, can help to increase private audiences where social algorithms cannot impact reach.

Econtent also recently published its State of Content Marketing report for 2018, where it looked back on how the landscape changed last year and outlined several key trends for the coming months. MGID content strategist Megan James believes infographics and other high-end media formats will be popular this year.

Furthermore, the Pedowtiz Group’s Revenue Marketing Coach Pamela Muldoon claimed content supports a more flexible and scalable consumer experience. She said: “As content marketers become more savvy around the strategy of content, we will see smarter content ideation happening in all stages of the buying journey or customer experience. Instead of deciding that certain types of content are good for certain stages of the marketing and sales funnel, a more holistic approach to how an audience intakes information will be considered as content development takes place.”


Content marketing is a complex topic for even the most expert of strategists. Conducted incorrectly, this form of marketing can easily fall far from the mark when it comes to satisfying audience needs, instead just adding noise to an already cluttered space. It is, therefore, essential to get marketing strategies right from the outset. Although brands and strategists will continue to learn throughout the process and evolve their plans constantly, staying away from these common pitfalls can help position organisations for success.

Internal reorganisation can be a challenge

One thing that can be problematic, especially for larger firms, is implementing internal changes to facilitate the real-time content creative process. For example, Rachel Hawkes, the group social head for travel and holiday brand, TUI, said that working with international teams can result in duplicate work. As a result, the firm is focussing on trying to gain a more centralised approach to creating content. At TUI in the UK, there are 70 employees creating social, web and print content. Meanwhile, 30 creators are doing the same in Germany, whilst other locations have fewer.

By centralising all content creation, Ms Hawkes says that local content can be created more quickly and duplication can be avoided. “If we have 3,000 beds in New York, we can send internal teams out to create social content that can be disseminated through the group,” she explained.

Culling platforms shouldn’t be dismissed

Another aspect of modern content marketing that many strategists struggle with is trying to cover the multitude of social media platforms available. Creating content for all of these can be challenging, especially when each piece needs to be tailored to where it will be broadcast. In some cases, brands might simply become overwhelmed by the amount of work required. However, it’s important to recognise that platforms can, and should, be culled if needed.

As a case in point, oil firm BP previously identified seven key audience areas and began developing content for them. They quickly realised that simply picking the fastest growing platform, the largest one, or the place where competitors were found didn’t necessarily guarantee success.

Ben Jefferies, BP’s global head of digital publishing, concluded: “I’m not afraid of killing a platform.” In fact, despite their Facebook platform having around 250,000 followers, they’ve noticed some stagnation since its heyday in 2010. As a result, BP now produces more content for LinkedIn instead. “Map your content to the right audience, and build a framework around it,” Mr Jefferies said. “Take the relevance of your content and what the audience wants to figure out, and put the platform at the centre of that.”

Watching market trends is essential 

Finally, experts suggest that watching market trends is essential. This is particularly true for identifying emerging innovations for content marketing. Ogilivy & Mather’s head of innovation, James Whatley, suggests that bots are fast becoming the next brand experience. Instead of spending money on developing brand applications that fans then have to download, using bots in Facebook Messenger can offer high returns. The company, which helped develop campaigns like Stoptober, has noticed success here.

By taking an informed approach to content marketing, the most common mistakes can be avoided. And this can help brands achieve success far faster, whilst providing their audiences with the right material.