As professional content marketers, our daily challenge is creating content that helps our clients reach their desired audience with a clear message, and drives a set of defined actions and results.

Of course there are many different ways to do this. The audience, messaging and required results all vary between clients and campaigns, and there’s always a new platform, tool or strategy on the horizon promising to revolutionise the industry.

Staying on top of shifting trends is part of the fun of being a content marketer, but it doesn’t mean we can ignore the basics and simply focus on the ‘next big thing’.

To be successful in this game you need to stay on the edge of the marketing curve, not ahead of it. Just like riding a wave, if you’re too far in front of the crest you’ll only miss the ride… or wipe out.

Focus on what’s happening now

We continually read about the ‘next big thing’ in content marketing, be it big data, adtech, AR, AI or another new development in mobile technology.

But while it is important and exciting to keep an eye on the headlines, it’s even more important to focus on what’s happening in ‘real time’. This means what’s actually working in the marketplace for our customers and competitors (and what’s not).

We can then use these insights to make informed, longer-term strategic decisions for our clients about how we see content marketing trends impacting our strategies and customers.

In content marketing, consistency is key

When you’re focused on the next channel campaign or big marketing push, it’s easy to forget about how effective consistent, valuable content is at building meaningful customer relationships.

Pouring large amounts of capital into a one-off engagements may have a short-term market impact, but may not help you build deeper, longer-term and ultimately more valuable customer relationships.

Know the hype… but don’t believe it

We’ve all been guilty at one time or another of advising a client on the ‘best’ new approach to a digital channel, or a content marketing solution we don’t fully understand.

While it’s ok to take on board the statistics and the stories of success that others have had, don’t believe the hype until you’ve done the work to truly understand a new strategy.

There are many different factors at play when it comes to successful content marketing, and not all of them are based on hyped up headlines.

Put trust in your understanding of human behaviour

At the core of any successful marketing strategy is a solid understanding of human behaviour.

We remember when video calls were going to change the world (they didn’t). And when the next big thing was augmented reality marketing (it wasn’t), and how product placements within videos were a must for 2017 (they weren’t).

This is because human needs and behaviours will always dictate the likelihood of something being adopted, not how cool or new the technology, channel or solution is.

If our aim as content marketers is to provide our clients with the best possible content marketing solutions, we need to stop using industry trends and predictions as a way to prove to ourselves and our clients that we’re doing the right thing.

We need to stay on the edge of the curve, not overrun it. And more then ever we need to truly know our craft, trust the basics and be ready to test and validate every assumption we make about content marketing and our customers.

Paul Gilbert
Paul Gilbert

With in-depth experience spanning advertising, digital production and social media strategy, Paul specialises in content marketing for the business and finance sector. His successful media career includes leadership roles at NetX, OMD, IMG Media and King Content.