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LinkedIn has released a report on seven trends that will shape content marketing in India in 2018. In 2017, content marketing took centre-stage and the Indian marketers got a flavour of what new-age marketing looks like, powered by data and presented in video format. As we enter 2018, Indian marketers are now faced with the challenge of using these tools to maximise ROI and gain a strategic edge over competitors.

LinkedIn Content Marketing Trends are based on technological advances and driven by the rising class of astute content marketers. The people behind the report include Virginia Sharma, Director, Marketing Solutions, India LinkedIn and Mohit Pawar, Content Marketing Evangelist, India LinkedIn.

  1. Brands will move towards intelligent content marketing

The focus will be on quality and not quantity. B2B brands will particularly employ greater creativity and storytelling techniques to get their messages across their customers. Points to be remembered here are that too much visibility is as bad as too little. One should not follow the crowd but chart his own course. One should be using social media with much care.

  1. Content marketing will be guided by an evaluated data-driven metrics

Globally, only 19% of marketers rate their organisation as ‘excellent or very good’ at aligning metrics to their content marketing goals. Marketers will now use intelligent algorithms to introduce new variables to measure and map the buyer’s journey and move beyond the cost-per-click or cost-per-thousand models. Instead, they will adopt a cost-per-action or performance-based advertising model, where the advertisers pay for certain outcome or acquisition.

  1. There will be a greater adoption of native video by B2B marketers

Video content will help B2B brands break through the clutter. Marketers will focus on enriching the video experience by experimenting with new formats, offering testimonials and tutorials and building thought leadership. Each brand will need to figure out what serves their marketing goals better – short, snackable videos or the longer ones. Meanwhile, all the major platforms that offer native video capabilities continue to improve their rendering technology.

  1. Visionary brands will create content franchises and become “content brands’’

A content brand focuses on the needs of the audience first as opposed to putting out ‘branded content’. Its objective is to build loyalty among its audiences and use it to drive a business goal. A content franchise helps to build the credibility of the brand and offers different entry points based on the content consumption habits of the audience. An important point to be kept in mind is that one must build his brand’s editorial authority. Defining the brand idea first is very important. One must understand how and where the brand culture overlaps with the consumer culture. Brands must try and solve consumer problems before consumers even know they have them.

  1. Companies will use the power of employee advocacy to grow their own brand

The cumulative value of the personal brand of employees is a lot more than what brands can achieve on their own, particularly in the B2B space. Brands will create plans and processes to employ their employees in content creation and distribution. More organisations will use tools like ‘LinkedIn Elevate’ to gauge ‘employee sharing behaviour’. Companies will increasingly use high-quality video content to gain and strengthen the trust of their customers. For this, they will provide their employees with assets and video-producing kits to build their share of voice in their industry. Empowering employees to be thought leaders will create big wins for the brands.

  1. B2B brands will use content marketing to unlock the true value of thought leadership and improve the impact

B2B brands will see that content marketing for audience-acquisition-and-nurturing makes their advertising more efficient and gives better returns on investment. B2B audiences rarely engage with ads without previously having read or seen something from that brand, which inspired or informed them. These buyers are fundamentally risk-averse. Thought leadership is invaluable because it removes risk from the buying process.

  1. Voice will make itself heard in the content marketing space

Assistants like Apple HomePod, Amazon Alexa and Google home will drive this trend. Voice search queries are increasing YoY. Going forward, search engine algorithms may prioritise audio content over other formats. In any case, marketers who use voice content will find themselves ahead of the curve.