Content has been a growing focus for organizations of all sizes and industries for several years. As technology and the demands of your consumers change, so does the approach to content development, marketing, and management.
If your organization is looking to stay up-to-date with the world of content, it will help to keep your finger on the pulse of these five emerging content management trends.
1. Expanding Content Teams
Gone are the days of a singular content expert on a marketing team. Thanks to the big return on investment (ROI) with content marketing efforts — including its often minimal costs, long-term durability, and opportunities to grow your audience — expanding content teams has become a popular trend in the last few years.
These days, most organizations are using content marketing to increase traffic, audience, and conversion opportunities; with around 88% of B2B companies and 76% of B2C companies using content marketing. More astonishingly, 82% of marketers who blog see a positive ROI with inbound opportunities.
Each year, companies plan for the next year with more content efforts, and today, it is expected to be a $300 billion industry by 2019. Hiring and scaling an appropriate sized and skilled content team — including writers, editors, and content strategists — has become a priority for companies investing heavily in content resources for their brand.
From content writing and editing to governance and management, 2018 and beyond is looking friendly for content experts seeking a like-minded team. If you’re curious about investing in a focused content team, read HubSpot’s article that includes 9 stats that make you want to invest in content marketing.
2. Investing in Artificial Intelligence
The rise of chatbots, voice search, and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming normal in our everyday lives, and they’re advancing in their availability and flexibility to meet our needs. Amazon Echo, for example, has seen a sizable increase in its available skills, from around 1,000 skills in late 2015 to over 30,000 skills in 2018, which will surely increase still.
Gartner estimates that by 2020, nearly 50% of businesses will be investing heavily in AI, specifically chatbots. These user experiences still require the expertise of content strategists, writers, and web developers to ensure the chatbots and AI use a friendly, welcoming voice and tone that aligns with brand.
Whether it’s a chatbot directing customer service traffic on a website or making it easier for consumers to quickly order a product, companies are doing their best to respond to the growing AI changes. If you’re thinking about jumping on the AI bandwagon, PC Magazine recommends getting familiar first before diverting resources and investments.
3. Increasing Spending on Personalization
Just like the Echo, Amazon has been investing in personalization for quite some time, offering products to users based on their browsing and buying histories. These days, users expect personalized results based on where they are, what interests them, or other data they provide.
A 2016 report by Accenture found that 75% of survey respondents are more likely to buy from companies that recognize their name or know their history, but users also want the option to control that data as they wish, which GDPR updates gave to users in May of 2018.
Personalization delivers what a user needs based on key factors; whether it’s finding a location nearest them or reading about services available to their specific area. According to Mary Meeker’s emerging internet trends for 2018, personalization in social feeds, like Facebook and Instagram, are also on the move and boosting conversions.
It’s important to remember though, that the industry and users you serve will dictate the level of personalization to apply to your digital experience. For instance, there are ongoing debates about personalization in healthcare. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability, or HIPAA, are regulations that protect patient data.
4. Building Online With Easy-to-Use CMS
An easy-to-use content management system (CMS) can mean a lot of things, but it’s a big deal for companies looking to save costs while maximizing their users’ digital experience. Responsive access to CMS for on-the-go editing, or remote editing if needed, is becoming a growing need for users who are spread across the country or around the world, especially if they’re freelancing.
Cloud-based, headless, and open-source CMS options are on the rise across many industries.
What is a cloud-based CMS?
Cloud-based CMS has become a major trend over the last year and will continue to grow, allowing for a fairly language agnostic development approach, which saves time and resources. They’re also accessible from everywhere, rather than installed on a network-only solution. But don’t be fooled: Cloud-based CMS can also be headless or open-source, like in the examples below.
See why some developers and CEOs recommend cloud-based CMS for clients.
What is a headless CMS?
Headless CMS is defined as, “a back-end only content management system (CMS) built from the ground up as a content repository that makes content accessible via a RESTful API for display on any device.” These are especially valuable for personalization options across multiple channels and destinations in the user journey. They’re also noted for their digital asset management and taxonomy capabilities.
In easier terms, a headless CMS allows for easy distribution of content or digital experiences across not only desktop computers, but smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and more.
Because it allows brands to own all things digital without pivoting, headless CMS is an ideal option for some companies, but they also bring layers of complexity.
What is an open-source CMS?
Open-source CMS, like WordPress, Joomla, Squarespace or Drupal, don’t require a license and often rely on communities of users who create plugins and adaptive functionality that administrators can plug into their development.
WordPress is known as the number 1 content management system online, hosting 25% of the world’s websites, as of 2015. Flexibility to control design and find plug-ins to meet a variety of needed functionality keep costs low, which is appealing for small businesses or low budget needs.
5. Opportunities to Engage Freelance Content
Organizations are finding that connecting with freelancers is becoming easier, and in some cases, more cost efficient for managing content-heavy websites. You’ve no doubt seen growth in freelance outside of content, with companies like Uber and AirBnB, whose employees are considered freelance contractors.
Content freelancing, through platforms like Upwork, are also taking a piece of the pie. Flexibility is becoming a high-demand need for content experts around the world, and freelancing lets them control their schedule, location, and workload.
According to Meeker’s 2018 internet trends report, freelance saw more than an 8% increase in opportunities in 2017, which continues to steadily rise.
Technology appears to be responsible for this, as there are more platforms available for content writers to showcase their talents and experience, as well as connect with opportunities and organizations that best suit their needs.
Keep an Eye Out for Emerging Trends
This isn’t a definitive list. Not by a long shot.
Keep an eye on the content industry for shifts in these trends and new ones that may emerge as technology evolves. One thing feels fairly certain, at least from here: Content continues to be a commodity for businesses and organizations from coast to coast and how we respond to its evolution will dictate popular approaches going forward.
Written By Erin Schroeder
Erin Schroeder is a senior content strategist and writer at Geonetric, where she helps healthcare brands organize user-first websites, content marketing, and brand messaging. As a former journalist, she never lost her love to write. You'll also see her articles on content strategy and user experience around the web, including UX Collective, UX Booth, and Prototypr.