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2017 has been quite the year. From a content marketing perspective, several things have changed. Twitter introduced 280 characters and a relevancy algorithim, LinkedIn grew in popularity, and Google has continued to eat into our traffic with ads and quick answers.

Despite that, hopefully the year was overall a healthy one for you and your business. But how can we make 2018 better?

Maybe by starting to think about the things that put you in front of your competition in the marketplace. In today’s video, we share five predictions for where things are going and thereby, what you can do about it.

Audio Version

Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Ross Hudgens, founder of Siege Media. And today I want to give you five predictions for content marketing in 2018.

1. LinkedIn Finally Fixes Its Newsfeed

The first is that LinkedIn will actually finally fix its irritating timeline issue. If you’ve been paying any attention on LinkedIn, you’ll notice that they have this current framework that gets people more engagement on average where they say a leading sentence in step one and have a line break, do a second, and then do it over and over again.

This has caused a problem that has reoccurred where everyone is using this to get more engagement and distribution, and in turn, has made LinkedIn a really irritating marketing platform overall. So I’m hopeful that LinkedIn is aware of this and is doing something about it.

Facebook had the problem in past years of them getting exploited by clickbait. I’m confident LinkedIn will solve their problem in 2018 like Facebook did and that will be better for marketers and everyone that uses the platform overall.

2. EMD Influence Will Drop to <2.75%

My second prediction is actually that exact match domain influence will drop in 2018. Obviously, it’s already dropped a bit, but I think it has further to go.

Everyone knows that Google has gotten stronger in terms of pushing out exact match domains in search results. But I’m confident that just generally, this is something that just increases with time as more brands realize that they need to be a brand and not a keyword to compete on search results. And even if they don’t, the user metrics will make that happen.

So anyone who’s naturally using an exact match domain is, by default, creating a brand disadvantage for themselves. And everyone who has been not using an exact match domain has likely been building a brand advantage that should eat into more EMDs in 2018.

And now that we know that Google obviously prefers brands, there’s slow attrition in EMDs and gains of being a brand that I think will outpace even more exact match domains on a long enough timeline.

And that’s why I believe that as of now, according to MozCast, the number’s around 3.19% for exact match domains, I believe it’ll be around 2.75% at the end of next year.

3. Mobile Infographics Grow in Popularity

My third prediction is actually that mobile infographics will start proliferating and becoming more popular.

It’s actually something we, as a content marketing agency, didn’t really become attuned to until really the end of Q4 of this year. The idea of a mobile infographic is, in essence, creating two infographics, one the desktop version, and then a second version that basically allows the infographic to scale down and still be really legible and engaged with.

This works because you create a framework such that it can be resized and moved down to the second line, and basically be more narrow but still retain the initial idea of that main infographic.

And it can be done if you just have the right coding in place such that if you say, if user is on mobile device instead of desktop, show this image instead of that one.

This will create better engagement because the reality is most infographics for desktop have a really poor mobile experience because you have to pinch and zoom in order to engage with them, and they don’t have a great user experience from that point of view.

It might be a reason why they do worse. So if you create two versions, I think you’ll be perform better overall and I see that becoming more popular in 2018.

4. Differentiation Will be Championed

My next prediction for next year is actually that brand differentiation will be championed more than it ever has from an SEO perspective as it comes to content.

What I mean by brand differentiation is honestly as a content marketing agency, we previously would think about a topic and how to solve for it for a user, then map it to the brand guidelines. Basically, make it look like the brand, and solve for the user… not think as deeply about how our approach should and could be different for that company’s voice.

I’m of the belief that in the next year, a new thing that will be emphasized is content differentiation rather than just making something great on a search result.

What I mean by differentiation is having an opinion, having a voice, having a brand thing about you that makes you stand out independent of exactly how you solve that content topic.

Because I believe if your brand has a voice, maybe it has a personality, maybe a specific communications style, you can add additional leverage. For example I think of Redbubble, which is this really great e-commerce brand, mostly in t-shirts and stickers.

If you go to their pages you see this great, personality-driven copy that solves for SEO, but on the same wavelength also reinforces their brand and differentiates them to the other people that have, yes, have t-shirts too, but don’t have that personality along with it.

So as more and more people do content marketing, the lines are drawn between each and how deep you can really get to solve for that exact same, somewhat basic query. I think it will be that differentiation in 2018 that makes the winners and losers especially as it comes to the end of the year.

5. The Rise of Content A/B Testing

My final thought is that I believe content A/B testing will become more prolific in 2018. And what I mean by content A/B testing is that before, of course, everyone A/B tests bottom funnel pages, the important money driving pages.

But as a more and more budget goes into content marketing in the top and middle funnels, it’s natural that a percentage of that budget can now be thought about to improve engagement, to improve shareability, to improve bounce rate.

I think more tools that will focus on non-bottom funnel content specifically in A/B testing, and lower the friction to do so. They’ll give you some nudges about thinking about engagement, bounce rate, time on site, and will become more prolific and easier to use as more people do that and realize that a percentage, as it comes to content, not everything should just be, “Let’s put out a ton of content.” A percentage of that should be, “Let’s measure, and improve, and iterate on that content.”

Specifically, I think of a company like Winnie who I just read an article from. They did an A/B test where where they actually removed share buttons and improved the sharing on their site.

They did this by having a save functionality that allowed them, the user, to save and then get prompted to share.

You would think think that friction would actually drop sharability, but for their community of parents, apparently the psychology of that event increased shareability about 300%. They would have never known that if they had skipped doing an A/B test on their content areas.

So who knows if these predictions will come true, but at very least, hopefully there were a few tips here you can use. Regardless, I hope you have a happy holidays, a safe new year, and a successful 2018.

If you liked the video, I’d appreciate it if you gave me a Christmas gift of a like, subscribe, and letting me know what you thought in the comments. Thanks for watching.

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