December 11, 2018 By Heather Serdoz,
Content marketing is gearing up for yet another shift, we’ll see marketers move away from conversations surrounding ROI and instead focus on standing out in a crowded sea. Original ideas and fresh concepts will reign supreme. With the shift already in motion, what can brands do to stand out in a crowded space? Here’s what the industry is saying.  
Video content has been on the rise for a minute now, but things are just heating up. Inc. quotes a Cisco report stating, “In 2019, video will represent over 80 percent of all Internet traffic, and for the U.S. alone it will be over 85 percent.” Those stats are HUGE and should not be overlooked. The content team here at Digital Operative works to conceptualize creative campaigns that drive revenue, build brand awareness and most importantly- differentiate you from the pack. If you’re just getting started with video, the best approach is going to be to start small, today all it really takes is a smartphone and an internet connection. Just make sure you’ve established how video will play into your larger content strategy and don’t forget to think big and move quickly. You can always scale back, ramping up after production is costly and sometimes even impossible.  
Driven by the penchant millennials have for an experience-first lifestyle, experiential marketing is taking a larger piece of the content strategy pie with 77% of brands viewing experiential marketing as essential for their marketing strategy. On an even broader scale, we’re seeing a cultural shift towards experiences as a driving force across all demographics. Humans are no longer defining themselves by what they have but rather what they have experienced. It is the content marketers who can see this change taking shape that will end up strongly positioned to engage with audiences moving forward. Google is a prime example of experiential marketing gone right. With the understanding that an experiential marketing campaign is just as likely to promote art, culture, and innovation as it is to educate, network and inspire, Google set out to create one of their most experiential campaigns yet. Late last year, to build interest in their personal assistant, the Home Mini, Google opened pop-up donut shops across the U.S. The concept revolved around the idea that the Home Mini is about the same size as a donut and thus the campaign began. Google Donut Shop Image via Rando Group   What was the experience like? Great Q. People walked into a converted, Google-branded donut shop, where there were donuts and donuts carrying Home Mini’s moving along a conveyor belt. A customer rings a bell, asks a question from the Google Home Mini Donut Shop Menu and out comes a pink Google box. The boxes had either a donut or a Home Mini inside. If that wasn’t already fun enough, Google set up a lifesized sprinkle booth where customers jumped around inside as confetti rained down on them, because why not? They really hit it out of the park, and it was a win-win for the customer too -- a donut or a new virtual assistant. This was a memorable way to experience how their device works and if we’re being honest 99.99% of those donut shop customers shared their experience with their social networks and at the very least they told their friends about it. It was really an ingenious way to boost customer interest and also position the brand as a strong competitor to the Amazon Echo. Well done, Googs.  
Speaking of Google
With so many companies investing in content marketing year after year, getting onto page one of Google has become just a little more challenging. Here’s the kicker, the best way to drive new customer acquisition using content marketing is still going to be through Google search results. This new wave of content marketing will require some serious, ongoing investments in search engine optimization (SEO). At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good your content is, if you’re not investing in the promotional piece how is anyone going to see it? It’s physically impossible to get results from content that prospects, customers, or an audience never sees. SEO I recently came across a fantastic analogy that explained SEO and its contribution to marketing ROI using the stock market and it went something like this... You make educated decisions about what to invest in (keywords and topics), then wait. Over time, the market (web traffic) will fluctuate, but ultimately return with positive gains when you do your homework upfront. Content marketing is a long game, don’t forget that.  
Wrapping Up
Above all creativity and enthusiasm are paramount! It is imperative marketers stay true to the strategies they set forth, remembering content marketing is a long game and consistency is key. Digital Operative is constantly working to engage, refine, and rework content that will entice your customers. Need help with your content marketing strategy? Get in touch here and we’ll talk to you very soon. Happy Holidays.

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