Every year, content marketing takes another leap forward in terms of what it is possible to do when reaching out to your target audience. Brands of all types spend so much time trying to figure out where it’s all headed that they ignore the most obvious aspect of all:
That the future of content marketing will ALWAYS be born out of the design best practices of today.
Why Authenticity Will Become More Important Than Ever
According to one recent study, about 86% of current consumers say that authenticity is one of the key differentiators they look at among brands before they commit to any type of purchasing decision. Likewise, 73% of consumers say that they would gladly pay more for a product if the company behind it offered a greater degree of transparency than others.
But maybe the most important statistic of all is the following: an amazing 94% of consumers say that they would gladly remain loyal to a brand that promises to provide COMPLETE transparency moving forward.
These are the statistics that show where brands are in their relationships with their consumers today. If you think that these numbers are going to go down over time, you’re really only kidding yourself.
This is why one of today’s most important design best practices is clearly illustrating the shape that the future of content marketing will take. Yes, it’s always important to rely heavily on visuals and you want all of your content to have a beautiful, sleek and sophisticated appearance.
But if your design doesn’t accurately reflect your brand’s voice, or the mission that your company was founded on, or the ultimate value that you hope to bring to your audience members, you won’t be able to come anywhere near the objectives you’re trying to achieve.
This is something you’ve always practiced in many small ways, like when you use a business card maker. Obviously, that business card needs to give someone an impression of not only how to contact you, but who you are and what the business you’re a part of represents. Now, it’s time to extend that idea into the rest of your collateral, too.
In other words, as important as that visual element is, you really need to resist the urge to lean into “style over substance.” In the best of both worlds, you’ll be able to achieve both – something that looks great AND that makes the lives of your target audience members better in some way.
So the next time you open up an Infographic maker like Visme (which I founded), try to hit both of these targets at the same time. Start with what you’re trying to say – that key point that will bring value to an ongoing conversation – and THEN move onto the visual design part of your content. Don’t start with the design and hope that authenticity finds its way into the finished product, because that is almost always a recipe for disaster.
The Era of Brand Collaboration is Here
Another major design trend that can help shed light on where content marketing is heading has to do less with an increased sense of competition among brands and more about a deeper sense of collaboration between them.
Case in point: a few years ago, Red Bull and GoPro teamed up to send Felix Baumgartner on a 24 mile journey from a pod in the high levels of Earth’s atmosphere down to the ground. It’s difficult to think of this event as a piece of content marketing, but that’s exactly what it was. Not only was it visual and inherently compelling, but it was a major, major win for both brands.
This is why you need to be using a service like Respona to not only research important topics in your industry but to find other influencers and notable brands that you could potentially collaborate with on a piece of content. As you do, however, make sure the design of the finished product falls in line with BOTH of your brand personas. You’re not trying to help someone make the most out of their audience – in the perfect scenario, both of you are trying to help each other.
Content marketing doesn’t change suddenly so much as it evolves slowly over time. Therefore, what is gaining steam in the present will likely become a hard-and-firm “rule” in the future. Because of that, it’s absolutely in your best interests to pay attention to where we are right now so that you can use that information to learn more about where we’re headed… thus allowing you to get there before anyone else.
About the Author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience, and web app development.