Less push, more purpose
At this time of year, we all reflect on how quickly the last 12 months have passed and set goals for the year ahead.
The same can be said for all of us here at infogr8 and I decided this year to write a personal message to share my vision for the agency and the future of content.
Loosen up in 2017
Firstly, I think this will be the year that content ‘loosens up’ with the more traditional brands choosing to refresh their brand and take a more inventive content approach as they try to remain in touch and credible. You only need to cast your eye on the recent Rightmove, Natwest and Addison Lee reinventions to get a sense the disruptive Deliveroos of the World are making for others take note. Natwest is adding colour to the banking industry with their playful new content, welcoming the new year with fireworks. Similarly, Addison Lee has taken a page out of Uber’s book, their new less corporate approach aims to wins hearts before business accounts. This brings about a very exciting and innovative year ahead for the industry.
So what does 2017 have in store for our clients, our team and how we shape the content industry?
In 12 months we’ve grown into a larger studio allowing our data, design, interactive and distribution teams to be under one roof. Year on year growth is forecasted to be at a 61.11% increase by the end of this financial year.
Our product offering has evolved into a comprehensive range of products to meet our clients changing needs. There’s a clear appetite for our products overseas too with sales to EU and US territories having increased by 246% during the year ending 30 June 2016 and by a further 262% during the second six months of 2016.
We’re also thrilled to have recently won two coveted awards from CMI in the U.S and the Drum here in the UK. It’s a great honour and a brilliant motivation for our growing team to look to and follow for an exciting year ahead.
Our core offering of providing succinct, data led content continues to be our driving force, however we’re blazing new trails in the space investing heavily in two key areas:
A strategic focus ensuring our brands can deliver a central message through documented workflows. You may have heard me use the word ‘get to work’ documents last year. As audiences expect sustained engagement, a documented strategy that can be developed quickly and iterated with ease is crucial whether you’re a colossal brand or a pocket rocket emerging player. Our approach will remain true, poised yet with more talented strategic players ensuring rapid delivery is met with rigour.
Content strategy will continue to be be met hand in hand with the visual content standards we’re renowned for – ensuring marketing and product teams ‘see’ the strategy, align and engage with its demands. Some of our clients take this one step further, The Institute of IT for example, scaled their content strategy as a mural onto main view office walls to stress its importance.
We’ve created ‘content co-ordinates’, a refined map showing how to navigate the breadth of the ever evolving content space. The map keeps to the forefront of digital trends including new ways of telling stories through branded content and technologies including wearables and VR. Buying decisions (especially in B2B) take form through multiple formats, here you can make use of the visual to communicate the right topic in the right format to the right audience at the right time.
Interactivity and the 4th wave of content
We’re investing in technology, with an acute focus on interactivity as we put innovation front and centre of our agencys initiative. Martech Guru Scott Brinker has talked about the 4th Wave of Content Marketing, immmersive experiences are the next logical step in the content paradigm. With increased competition for audience attention, a shift towards mobile use and high expectations for purposeful content, brands need to focus more energy on immersive experiences to gain a competitive advantage.
Formats and channels may have developed but the rules haven’t changed over the last decade with a clear distinction between one way and push and pull content. Delight your audience by meeting their needs. Don’t push content out for content sake. A guiding principle of ours is ‘less push, more purpose’, something I stand behind whether it be through the content we produce or the principles all of our team follow.
Different channels, different opportunities
On the subject of channels, the big Social media networks have received their fair share of criticism of recent as brands become frustrated with the consistent change in algorithms. Instead of focusing on quick and costly wins, brands should make moves investing more pounds into owned media to take back control of spend and bring in more value and purpose to its audience base. If you don’t have a content hub brimming with useful content, now is the time to start investing in it to reap the rewards in the not too distant future.
That being said, we can’t simply ignore social media and as it evolves we need to evolve with it to stay relevant and make the most of it as an enabler. Example, live streaming is becoming the norm and with Facebook live, YouTube live and snapchat taking centre stage think about how your brand can leverage this avenue, it should be a consideration across most content strategies. There’s opportunity to grow a regular series, add value to relevant current events within your niche or present new product offerings. People demand instant personalised info so join the two way conversation and build it into your content strategy. Video use continues to grow, with all of its benefits it has also become a basic checklist need for your brand to be visible as Google search further takes precedence over its Sister YouTube content results.
e-CRM is another area that anticipates high growth and a welcome opportunity for you to leverage owned channels to ensure your existing content works harder. You don’t need to resource like The Washington Post and have 75 different newsletters, get to work, streamline your process and deliver targeted mailing lists based on a few select audience personas,preferences alongside some clever behavioural targeting. Our data led approach ensures you deliver highly relevant and dynamic content to your audience in a cost effect manner.
As covered last year, branded content is set to continue to rise and interestingly with a big emphasis on print. I can anticipate a lot of traditional designers, purists and newcomers very excited by this prospect. Red Bull lead the way with Red Bulletin, now we’re seeing other industries get in on the publishing act with expert lead editorial delivered through niche distribution. The CMA presented several awards with best in class examples from multi-award winning food chain Waitrose whose editor William Sitwell won Editor of the Year, to travel with British Airway’s BA Portfolio taking gold.
Native advertising has been bandied around for a while now, you may remember the infographic we designed for Huffington Post presenting an overview on the very subject. With ad blocking permeating across our devices, native ads are beginning to be taken more seriously as publishers are innovating to ensure the brand delivers the most tailored offering to its user base.
So here’s to the brand experts, product managers, marketing teams and content heads crafting useful content in 2017, more importantly to the audience who enlighten us to improve their experience, after all it’s this that helps shape the industry’s standards and services for the future. A new year, a year for less push, and even more purpose.
Thanks for reading,