Much like everything in the digital world, content marketing is always evolving, and if you’re not prepared for what’s coming next, you risk being left behind.
Over the last few years, successful content marketing has involved a handful of major changes including the prioritisation of mobile-friendly content, along with the rise of video and live streaming, but there have been few major disruptions.
Now, as we settle into the new year, it’s possible that content marketing as we know it may all be about to change, thanks to wearable technology. With sales expected to reach 130 million units by 2018 and a projected growth of 35 percent annually until 2019, the wearables market, is expanding like nobody’s business.
Even though in many cases, wearables are just more compact versions of our beloved mobile devices, there are some critical differences that may have the power to reshape how we think about content marketing;
As marketers, we’re familiar with the process of taking a lengthy message and adapting it to suit various platforms, and this will become more important in the age of wearables. Whilst a desktop computer or tablet can display an entire article at length for readers to navigate, this level of access is something that cannot be achieved with the tiny screens and limited functionality of a wearable device.
This doesn’t mean written articles are going away anytime soon, but rather that the ROI on such content may begin to weaken as more and more users come into conflict with smaller interfaces. Users will instead seek more micro content that offers them instant gratification to their requirements. As a result, articles need to be even more concise.
The 500ish word article has been the bread and butter of content marketing since the dawn of its time, but as the wearable technology market grows and users demand more immediate outcomes, content marketing in the wearable world will likely go beyond the written word to include include more graphic, video, hologram and AR content, enabling the communication of complex messages in bite-sized chunks.
Content creation and consumption will have to evolve to accommodate the multiple forms of input and output interactions. We’ve already started to see this happen with video and image content across mobile devices, and although holograms and VR may all seem a little too futuristic right now, technology does move fast, and we never truly know exactly what is coming our way.
How and when these trends might emerge is unknown, but now more than ever, it’s vital to stay on top of industry news and updates, paying particular attention to the adoption of wearables within your core demographics. When it comes to technology, those who adapt the fastest will typically wade through the competition to gain loyalty first, so acting early on will put you in a favourable position, especially as wearables are gradually becoming more mainstream.
Last year, podcasts saw a major resurgence in popularity. It appears that people are increasingly listening to podcasts rather than music while commuting or out and about, binging hours of them at a time, as they do on Netflix.
This, combined with the fact an interface isn’t needed to engage with audio content, suggests that this is a bandwagon marketers might want to jump on, in order to broaden their strategy and engage with those who are using wearables.
Local SEO played a big part in 2016 strategies, and this isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Wearable tech, however, will take this localised content to the next level, specifically to include individual streets, landmarks, and buildings (rather than focusing on an entire town or city).
How this develops in the future remains to be seen, but there will no doubt be a craze for content that pops up and springs to life when a user enters a specific physical location. Users will covet more immediate experiences that are shaped by their current and past location, and wearable technology enables content marketers to deliver them. Imagine a bricks and mortar shop providing an interactive map to help customers find specific products as soon as they walk in the door. This is the sort of thing savvy consumers will come to expect as wearable tech grows in popularity.
Whilst smartphones and tablets allow users to interact with the surrounding environment on the go, wearables actually serve to be an extension of the user, blurring the lines between tech and reality. A marketing goal in the era of wearable tech is going to be prioritising content that has a seamless interactive element.
The existing distinction between physical and digital realities is inevitably going to become even more muddled, especially with the growing adoption of AR and VR. Future interfaces may allow users to consume content in exciting new ways that marry with the real world, and the demand for more interactive content experiences will gain traction at an alarming rate.
The wearable world is certainly fascinating, albeit a little terrifying, too. The good news is, content marketing as we know it isn’t going to fall off the face of the earth entirely. Our strategies will of course continue to evolve, but our tactics will not become redundant. The future of wearable tech isn’t exactly predictable, so it would be smart to have a few ideas in the bag, but it’s absolutely not going to be the be all and end all.