A new year always sparks conversations about what’s next? What does the future look like? Here we’re still looking at what is next for our specialisms. In terms of content, this year will not see any dramatic changes, but the channel will build on what has already happened.
How are brands using content?

Brands are currently using content to show expertise in areas relating to their business, and they’re competing with publishers in producing high-quality content. On the note of production, it is now not unusual for brands to produce content using things like drones or even creating white papers and magazines.

How do content and SEO work together?
The way in which SEO is going, content will be more important than ever before. Search intent and the way that the SERPs are constantly evolving means that content without search consideration isn’t worth producing. SEO can drive effective qualified traffic through content and the way that Google updates the SERPs throws up increased opportunity to rank in different ways, through things such as featured snippets and answer boxes.

Optimizing content
Search can reveal a customer’s intent, and it can be used to develop a smarter content strategy. This can be done through many ways but you should consider the following:

Extensive keyword research
Analyzing terms to map them to the user journey
Using micro-moments to understand if people are in pre- or post-purchase
Look at emerging keyword trends to get ahead
Is it query based? 51% of customers purchased based on an answer being solved for them
Content placement
Incredibly important is exactly where the content exists in your ever-evolving, confusing website’s ecosystem. You’d want to make sure all the following is applied:

Effective internal linking
Make the content section is clearly visible
Drive people to your content through CRM, social and give indicators to it on your website where it makes sense
Keep people on your website by making the section appealing, for example giving customers related stories or “if you’d like this, read this…”
Search Enginee’s most recent update
As most of us know Search Enginee such as Baidu and Google moved to a mobile-first index last year which will mean those who adapt a mobile-friendly experience and site will conquer. Mobile isn’t new, mobile is the norm so you’ll need to make sure your website loads quickly, it was reported recently that websites with a page load of a speed of more than 3 seconds lose 40% of consumers. Along with speed, your content needs to look good so think about those who are tabbing content and dual screening, they want content quick, easy to digest and you can do this easily just through things like subheadings and reasonable size images that don’t take forever to load.

The future…
We sat down with the CMA at the end of 2018 to talk through the future of content and a podcast will be coming its way to you very soon. Until then, here are some areas to think about for 2019:

Thin and churn content is dead and quality content will prevail over poor content
With this, things like long-form content, reports, and studies will continue to rise
Technology will continue to develop and change and, come back into fashion (investigative content, podcasts etc.)
Customers’ expectations grow year on year so the stakes are higher than ever
People want more than just a brand, they want a brand with morals and content relating to brand values will be incredibly powerful
The better the content and the more targeted the audience strategy, the more qualified traffic you’ll receive
Devices – crucial this is factored into any content created
Technology – adopting advances in technology will help you stay head
Reactive – being able to adopt your website to the changes in SERPs and industry will help you win
Audiences – you must understand who it is you’re targeting before anything is pushed out
Formats – think about what your audience needs and what the content message requires.