7 content marketing strategies executives will use in 2019 (according to the Zest tribe)

Tonya Parker
Dec 19, 2018 · 20 min read
What content strategies will reign 👑 supreme in 2019?

Content marketing. Contently’s Tallie Gabriel tells us that content marketing got its start all the way back in 1895 with John Deere’s publication of The Furrow. But I bet it was even earlier. It’s human nature to attempt to promote and persuade. From yesterday’s minstrel’s songs and handbills to today’s social media posts, where there are people willing to consume information, there will be marketers trying to give them something to consume.

On behalf of all Zesters, I have to ask, is there any room for innovation in a centuries-old method of marketing? Well, of course, there is! And, I’m glad since I am a content marketer.

But don’t take my word for it.

To find out just what innovations my fellow content marketers are planning for the coming year, I turned to the Zest Content Stream.

What secrets did it reveal?

2019 will be a year of change.

Clever content marketers will expand their skill sets and their content offerings. Consumers suffering from information overload will look for trusted sources to provide them with in-depth information about the products and services they seek.

How will marketers gain their trust and their purchasing dollars? With quality content, a unique perspective, and an appeal to emotions.

Here are seven of the content marketing strategies that will fuel success for marketing executives in 2019.

In a rush? Hop to your favorite:

Content Marketing Strategy 1: Keeping your team on the (cutting) edge through education

The learning curve is the earning curve.

🧠Knowledge-building content: 5 Tools to Help Your Content Marketing Team Be Better written by Ann Smarty for Content Marketing Institute.

Suggested by: Tomer Aharon, co-founder of Poptin.

Image source: Content Marketing Institute

What’s the content about? Despite headlines declaring that the gig economy has arrived, in this article, Ann Smarty reports that most B2B and B2C brands still rely on an in-house content marketing team to produce their assets.

Smarty, the community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas and founder of MyBlogU.com, then tells readers that an exceptional marketing team is the secret of success for many of these brands.

Ongoing training is a critical component of a well-performing content marketing team, Smart writes. Additionally, to create quality content, your team needs to be able to distinguish between good content and bad. She recommends that managers regularly organize and share quality content with their team to guide this learning process. Smarty also says that teams should be encouraged to use tracking and analytics tools to discover for themselves how various pieces of content perform.

🍋Lemony lesson: Every member of your team has something to offer and something to learn. Provide your team members with learning opportunities that fuel their professional growth and call on them to share ideas and collaborate to create a winning content marketing program.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “Everyone knows a good content marketing team shares content with its audience; it also shares content among the members. Are you providing critical knowledge to your team and do your people know where to find it?”

Content Marketing Strategy 2: Dominating your topics with comprehensive information hubs

Create knowledge centers to keep your customers informed and onsite.

🧠Knowledge-building content: Your 3 Top Content Marketing Priorities for 2019 written by Mark Traphagen on the Perficient Digital Labs (f.k.a. Stone Temple Consulting) Digital Marketing Excellence Blog

Suggested by: Baptiste Debever, Feedier Co-founder and head of growth

Image source: Stone Temple’s Digital Marketing Excellence Blog

What’s the content about? In this article, Mark Traphagen shares what he has identified as the top three strategies that content marketers should prioritize in 2019. He cautions readers to not pursue quantity if they can’t maintain high-quality standard while doing so. The world doesn’t need more content noise.

In addition, he recommends that brands create static — hub — pages for their most important content topics. These hub pages are easy for visitors and search engines to find and can feature your best content without regard to its publication date. Hubs also serve as a central location for placing links to other relevant content on the same topic.

Finally, Traphagen reminds his readers that content only serves your purposes if it is consumed by your target audience. So, he advises publishers to build content bridges that join the information they want to share with visitors to something of value to them. Be entertaining, informative and engaging to make a strong connection.

🍋Lemony lesson: Give your best content a proper display. Create a static page content hub which includes all your quality content related to a single topic. Then, supplement the page with updates and additions over time.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “Brands have come to realize that consumers judge them, in part, on the basis of their content, and that they tend to stay more loyal to brands that are more consistently helpful and relevant in their content.”

Comment from the Zest tribe member who shared this lemony 🍋 knowledge 🎓 bomb 💣

This piece on the top 3 content marketing priorities for 2019 is a no-brainer when it comes to understanding the priorities.

My key takeaway? Find a trade-off between quantity and quality, emphasize on quality, yet, don’t underestimate the number of articles. People need fresh-new content that is anything but salesy, yet, you have to strive for keeping your brand top-of-mind.

~Baptiste Debever, Feedier.com

— —

🧠Knowledge-building content: Content Comprehensiveness, a video presentation by Kameron Jenkins on Moz’s Whiteboard Friday

Suggested by: Afshana Diya, a digital marketing and growth strategist who loves analytics

Image source: The Moz.com blog

What’s the content about? Moz SEO Wordsmith, Kameron Jenkins employs the power of video to explain what Google means by “comprehensive, complete content” in this Whiteboard Friday episode. First, Jenkins points out that comprehensive is a subjective term which very much depends on the purpose of a particular webpage. High-quality content for an ecommerce site may look very different from that of an information-sharing site.

Jenkins then walks viewers through an example of a comprehensive, complete page, explaining that when creating content producers should consider web searchers’ intent in conducting the search and what they plan to do with the information obtained. Again, different types of web pages may be held to different standards. Selecting a gif doesn’t require quite the same content depth as purchasing a house.

Finally, Jenkins shows viewers how to use keyword identification tools to help them build out a page that covers the essential subtopics related to their topic. These are tips that may be used whether publishers are creating a static hub, pillar content, or a long-form blog article.

🍋Lemony lesson: Content marketing is a maturing industry. Being present is no longer enough to secure your search position or gain web traffic. Publishers who wish to stay on top must produce content that understands where their users are in their buyer’s journey, answers their questions provides a solution to their problems, and is updated in response to the latest trends.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “Think about the query, think about what your audience wanted based on what they searched, and you’ll be off to a great start building a comprehensive page.

Comment from the Zest tribe member who shared this lemony 🍋 knowledge 🎓 bomb 💣

We, marketers, are always experimenting with content form, length, mode, depth, style and more in order to make it resourceful for our users, and integrate content as part of our long-term marketing strategy.

Content Comprehensiveness and Content Depth are the most important factors if we really want to create quality content that provides value to the reader as well as helps us with SEO.

In this article, you’ll learn about the intent, implications, trends and other factors that can make the content comprehensive.

~Afshana Diya, Digital Marketing Strategist

Content Marketing Strategy 3: Appealing to the heart

Facts tell, but feelings sell.

🧠Knowledge-building content: Emotional Marketing: How to Leverage The Addictive Power of Feelings to Make People Buy written by Salvador Cardenal on Noteworthy — The Journal Blog

Suggested by: 😎 Sam Hurley 😎, Marketing Influencer and Managing Director at OPTIM-EYEZ

Image source: Noteworthy — The Journal Blog

What’s the content about? Author Salvador Cardenal reminds marketers that emotional triggers are the key to conversions. He notes that often the best performing brand is the one that manages to make its product most addictive. Adding little touches to your marketing emails such as an entertaining gif or another short-term reward trigger pleasure chemicals such as dopamine and have consumers coming back for more.

Humanizing your product or service by sharing a story or building a community help stimulate feelings of trust, hope or belonging. These powerful emotions help your brand connect with your customers.

Add to this emotional mix a well-reasoned argument in favor of your solution to the customer’s problem and you are good to go. Providing consumers with information may convince them that your product or service is the solution to their problem, but you’ll increase your conversions if that logical argument is paired with a strong emotional appeal.

🍋Lemony lesson: Human beings seek pleasure and avoid pain. They seek human connections, purpose, and meaning. Purchasing decisions are not just based on logic but on the combination of feelings and experiences that marketers help to create.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “People seek both short term and long term fulfillment. Successful marketing efforts provide at least one type, and often both.”

Comment from the Zest tribe member who shared this lemony 🍋 knowledge 🎓 bomb 💣

This is an absorbing, well-explained and fun read on an essential topic; including actionable pointers…

And it’s content that is very close to our hearts! Psychology and emotion are huge factors in ANY brand’s marketing — plus all other areas of business.

Unmissable for any pro currently planning ‘humanized’ marketing initiatives for 2019.

~Sam Hurley, OPTIM-EYEZ

— —

🧠Knowledge-building content: Using Brand Personality to Delight Customers by Ben Jacobson for Post Funnel

Suggested by: Jonathan Posch, Marketing Manager at Italy-based INFOMINDS AG/SpA

Image source: Postfunnel.com

What’s the content about? In this article, marketing strategist Ben Jacobson cites a 2017 study which found that emotions are the “biggest driver” of brand loyalty. He then exhorts marketers to remember to keep emotion in the mix along with their data-driven and technical marketing strategies. Jacobson says marketers should develop a brand persona and to create guidelines to ensure that every department stays on voice.

What are some of the customer touchpoints where a little personality can go a long way? Jacobson advises marketers to look at their transactional emails, CTAs, and even their web forms for opportunities to show their style.

🍋Lemony lesson: Technological advances haven’t damped consumers’ desire for human interaction. Successful brands are those that combine quality products and services with a distinct and distinctly human personality.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “A personality and relationship approach that your best customers can relate to will be one of your most powerful tools for customer retention.”

Comment from the Zest tribe member who shared this lemony 🍋 knowledge 🎓 bomb 💣

Why did I share this article with the Zest tribe? Sometimes we focus so much on details and advanced strategies that we forget the essentials of our work: communication. We all do, beginners and experienced.

Automation and technology are all well and good but we often overlook the way why and what we communicate. Let’s not forget the best “channel”: Human touch. Having a Brand Personality is no trend, coming and going in 2019. Boy, is this going to stay! And why? Because it has always been there — give it a thought.

Your customers need something they can identify with. It is exactly the way you communicate with them what makes them to the best advocates you have or will have.

My greatest takeaway from the article is: Every customer touchpoint is an opportunity to delight your customer — no detail is too small.

~ Jonathan Posch, INFOMINDS

Content Marketing Strategy 4: Collaborating with co-workers and customers to create awesome content

Continual improvement sometimes requires a little help from your friends.

🧠Knowledge-building content: How 400+ beta readers helped us write our best content (PS: you can do the same) by fio on the Hotjar blog

Suggested by: Louis Grenier, Podcaster in Chief at EveryoneHatesMarketers.com and Content Lead at Hotjar

Image source: The Hotjar blog

What’s the content about? Hotjar content marketer Fio Dossetto walks us through the creation process of a document that began as a conference round-up and ended as a full SaaS start-up guide. Along the way, Dossetto and her fellow Hotjar marketer, Louis Grenier, decided to share a draft of the guide with over 400 beta readers. In the article, Dossetto explains how they selected and recruited their beta readers and collected their responses.

On the use of beta readers for The Essential Guide to Growing Your Early-Stage SaaS Startup, Dossetto writes, “Having hundreds of beta readers who had invested in its creation allows us to increase word of mouth quickly, so the guide made it to #1 on Product Hunt and reached about 15,000 page views over the first two days.”

After this user-engagement experiment, Dossetto reports that the team is committed to including beta readers in its ongoing content strategy, writing that including beta readers “led us to grow the content team from 2 to almost 700 people!” That’s a lot of collaborators!

🍋Lemony lesson: When investing time and effort into creating content, don’t just create something you think readers might enjoy. Develop unique ways to know your audience and listen to their feedback to find out what they want and need. You’ll improve your content and increase engagement.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “Having people help you see what you cannot see and guide you to a solution is both humbling and exhilarating, and that’s a feeling we could all learn to experience and enjoy more often.”

— —

🧠Knowledge-building content: Content Production: It Takes A Marketing Village written by Christine Schrader on the Conductor Spotlight blog

Suggested by: Me, Zest’s Content Growth Manager and a lifelong gatherer of knowledge

Image source: Conductor Spotlight blog

What’s the content about? Conductor’s Christine Schrader reveals that great content is made by many hands. She writes that it is a virtual marketing village that brings a piece from start to finish. Marketing teams often work with executives, SEOs, product specialist and customer-facing teams to create content that wows their audience.

In this article, she explains the who, what and how of each step in the content lifecycle. And reminds readers that every step is an opportunity to collaborate, improve, and learn.

And, don’t forget that creating the content is only part of the process, ensuring that the work is amplified and its impact measured and evaluated are essential parts of a successful content strategy as well.

🍋Lemony lesson: Content production involves a series of interdependent steps from ideation to measurement and iteration. Managing that process well is the key to content marketing success.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “Great marketing takes a lot of teamwork. Be the force on your marketing team that breaks down silos and facilitates collaboration. Those attributes truly represent the future of marketing.”

Comment from the Zest tribe member who shared this lemony 🍋 knowledge 🎓 bomb 💣

If a piece of content is published on the web, but no one views it, does it make an impact? This article emphasizes the importance of having a comprehensive, long-term content strategy — a strategy that includes not just production but also promotion and measurement.

I applaud the call to break down internal silos and involve everyone in an organization in the process of creating and sharing a company’s message.

~Tonya Parker, Zest.is

Content Marketing Strategy 5: Adding that special something called a differentiator

Go ahead, give your content a tilt!

🧠Knowledge-building content: How to Find Your Brand’s Unique Content Differentiation Factor and Use It to Your Advantage written by Julie McCoy for Express Writers

Suggested by: Zest tribe member, Małgorzata Starżykzy

Image source: Express Writers

What’s the content about? In this article, Julie McCoy describes how to distinguish your content by developing a unique content differentiation factor (CDF). With a strong differentiator, your content will stand out from a sea of similar content, she explains. McCoy then shares examples of brands who have managed to add a twist or, as Joe Pulizzi calls it in his book Content, Inc., a content tilt to their work.

McCoy takes care to point out that your CDF is not the same as your USP (unique selling proposition). Your CDF is more closely related to your company persona or brand message. It is the style in which you present information to your audience. To discover your CDF, consider your audience, your why, and what you can do to communicate your why to your audience better.

🍋Lemony lesson: Anyone can share information, it’s how you share information that makes you stand out. Put own special spin on your content — your content tilt — to make an impact on your audience.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “When you have a solid differentiator, you stand out in a great way. Your voice rises to the top and gets heard.

— —

🧠Knowledge-building content: How to define your tone of voice and use it for marketing written by Matthew Stibbard on the Articulate Marketing blog.

Suggested by: Tim Grooms, Co-founder and CEO of University Marketing

Image source: The Articulate Marketing blog

What’s the content about? In this article, Articulate Marketing CEO Matthew Stibbe provides a detailed how-to for creating tone of voice (TOV) guidelines for your brand. As the first step, he advises content managers to invest time in getting to know their company and its customers.

Stibbe reminds readers to observe any company standards when choosing a tone of voice and to remember that tone is not the same as style. Style addresses issues such as sentence construction and grammar, Stibbe writes. Tone, on the other hand, “is the emotional and persuasive content of the writing and the techniques used to do it.”

Finally, Stibbe admonishes readers not to stop after they’ve developed their TOV guidelines, but to follow through with training, communication, and supplemental materials to ensure your content strikes the right tone.

🍋Lemony lesson: Every piece of content associated with your brand represents your brand. To present a professional and cohesive message, create a uniform standard for your brand’s tone of voice or written personality.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “Writing is branding and your tone of voice guidelines are as important as the logo and typeface you choose.”

Content Marketing Strategy 6: Preparing to pivot

Don’t put all your content eggs in someone else’s basket.

🧠Knowledge-building content: Content promotion is changing. My thoughts on where we go from here written by Benji Hyam for Grow and Convert

Suggested by: The article’s author, Benji Hyam, co-founder of Grow and Convert

Image source: Grow and Convert

What’s the content about? In this article, Grow and Convert’s Benji Hyam takes a critical look at how community-driven content promotion has changed since he first introduced the term in 2016. He notes that this type of content promotion can still be effective as it allows marketers to target an audience primed for engagement. However, he adds, changes to the way social media titans such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit handle links to off-platform content have reduced the effectiveness of this strategy. And, Google is referring less traffic to individual websites.

To figure out what the next step should be for content producers seeking to reach niche audiences, Hyam tested several paid and organic strategies and reports the results of his tests in his article. He asks readers to stay tuned as the team at Grow and Convert continues to test new ways to overcome the traffic drain caused by the shifting policies of the major social media platforms. Hyman’s article is a reminder to all that if you can’t control what you don’t own.

🍋Lemony lesson: Previous community-driven content promotion strategies relied heavily on outlinks to drive traffic to promoters’ websites. As major platforms continue their efforts to keep users from clicking out, publishers will have to find new ways to engage these audiences.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “Despite how many people like to report email as old-fashioned, it continues to work, and most importantly, it is not owned by someone else, your list is yours.”

Comment from the Zest tribe member who shared this lemony 🍋 knowledge 🎓 bomb 💣

We wrote an article back in 2016 called community content promotion and outlined our process for doing content promotion through communities. I wrote this new article to share that the technique that we came up with is getting much harder and shared thoughts on how content promotion might change going forward.

The takeaway is that no strategy will stay the same forever and that marketers and companies need to continually test and try new things to stay ahead of the curve.

~Benji Hyam, Grow & Convert

— —

🧠Knowledge-building content: Why We Changed How We Develop Keyword Strategies (& You Should Too) by Stacy Willis for Impact

Suggested by: Stephanie Baiocchi, Director of Audience Engagement and Community at IMPACT

Image source: Impactbnd.com

What’s the content about? In this article, IMPACT strategist Stacy Willis explains how changes in Google’s algorithm made the previous keyword strategy IMPACT used to guide their content production obsolete.

Distinct and disconnected keyword-targeting content pieces no longer attract the levels of traffic it once did. In response to this shift in Google’s algorithms, IMPACT has shifted its focus to pillar content and keyword clusters. Willis then shares a short case study of this new strategy in action featuring IMPACT client, Very.

How did their change in strategy in response to outside influences (Google!) work out? Very well. Willis writes that the results were “nothing short of astonishing.” After sharing the results, Willis provides readers with a step by step process they can follow to modify their own keyword and content strategies to increase their website’s traffic.

🍋Lemony lesson: Once you’ve worked out a reliable process for topic selection and content production, it can be easy to become complacent. Keep an eye on your KPIs and communicate across departments to quickly identify the external changes that mean it’s time for you to update your strategy.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “Google now gives significant credit to websites that show knowledge or evidence of thought leadership on a more general topic area based on the amount of content they have produced related to that topic.”

Comment from the Zest tribe member who shared this lemony 🍋 knowledge 🎓 bomb 💣

I shared this article with the Zest tribe because I know savvy marketers are always thinking about keywords. New things to try are popping up constantly but a strategy that’s been proven to work — now that’s something to share.

I know Zesters are looking for timely, in-depth, actionable content and this article certainly fit the bill! The biggest takeaway from this article is that the old keyword strategies we’ve been relying on for a while just aren’t going to cut it anymore. Fortunately, with a big change, we saw big results!

~Stephanie Baiocchi, IMPACT

— —

🎁 Bonus content: “The Robin Hood of Algorithms”: Why LinkedIn’s New Feed Could Be a Game Changer for Marketers written by Amanda Zantal-Wiener for HubSpot

I suggested this article which details how LinkedIn plans to raise the engagement level of content creators who aren’t LI “power users.” This article offers a look at the level of control social media platforms wield when it comes to who gets seen and who doesn’t.

Content Marketing Strategy 7: Multi-format is the new multi-channel

Repurpose, restyle and reinvent your content.

🧠Knowledge-building content: 32 Types of Content and How to Use Them (With Examples) written by Isaac Justesen for Constant Content

Suggested by: The article’s author, Isaac Justesen, Constant Content’s marketing specialist

Image source: Constant-Content.com

What’s the content about? This comprehensive guide is packed with actionable ways to expand your content toolkit. Justesen offers readers series of ideas for written, visual, interactive and video content.

Each content description explains the best uses for the suggested content type and includes an actionable tip to help you get started creating your own version. Webinars, memes, ebooks, and awards are just a few of the suggested formats you’ll find in this article. Justesen also includes links to performance statistics and examples for each type of content. Any content marketer searching for new ways to present information to their audience will surely find inspiration in this piece.

🍋Lemony lesson: There is no one perfect type of content for every consumer. Once you’ve invested time and effort into creating a piece of content, why not make the most of it? Reach your audience through multiple channels by using multiple formats.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “Text-based content will always play a part in digital marketing, but creating and promoting visual and interactive content can bring huge benefits when you get them right.”

Comment from the Zest tribe member who shared this lemony 🍋 knowledge 🎓 bomb 💣

I shared this article with the Zest tribe because I believe that successful content marketing all starts with having a well thought out strategy.

Knowing your goals, who you’re targeting, and where they spend time online is all going to help you create content that drives meaningful results. Otherwise, you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks.

The biggest takeaway is that content marketing is not advertising your business through content. Great content marketing is about creating and promoting content that attracts and engages a clearly-defined audience.

~Isaac Justesen, Constant Content

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🧠Knowledge-building content: Can You Still Blog Your Way to Visibility and Credibility? written by Rand Fishkin for the Spark Toro blog

Suggested by: Abbas Rajani, Inbound Strategist and SEO Team Lead at Pac and Copy Plus

Image source: The SparkToro blog

What’s the content about? SEO industry veteran Rand Fishkin digs into the data and taps his personal network to assess the status of blog readership in 2018. He also analyzes how easy (or hard) it is for content marketers to amplify their blog content across various platforms and mediums.

Examining the amplification data by content format, Fishkin notes that while blog posts are “ubiquitous” their reach is limited due to the overwhelming number of competitors creating this type of content.

However, despite the decline in reach and usage reflected by the statistics, Fishkin says that blogging is still worthwhile under certain circumstances. Content producers who can consistently create quality content that places in them in the top 5% of their niche or those whose audiences aren’t already inundated with blog content still stand a chance. Having a highly loyal fanbase helps, too, he adds.

Fishkin reminds marketers that there are other ways (and other types of content) to reach their audiences. He then concludes with a list of production and amplification strategies that he says talented content marketers should give a try.

🍋Lemony lesson: Blogging’s reign as the single best way to reach your audience may have come to an end, but there will always be a place for quality content, regardless of format. Employ a multi-channel, multi-format approach to extend your reach and build your audience.

Zestworthy 🥡 takeaway: “When you’re in this business, change is the only constant.”

— —

🎁 Bonus content: How to Reduce, Reuse and Repurpose Top-Performing Content Into Visuals written by Sara McGuire for Marketing Insider Group

Suggested by our lemony leader, Yam Regev and created by Venngage’s Sara McGuire, this brief guide will show you how to take your text and quickly turn it into attractive and engaging visuals. Will 2019 the year that we all have to learn the basics of graphic design?

2019, you, the Zest tribe and content marketing strategies

As I helped distill the most recent batch of content for the Zest Content Stream this weekend, I saw an article recognizing the power of content hubs and more perspectives on adjusting to algorithm changes and shifts in consumer tastes.

Each day on Zest you (and I) can find expert tips and advice from professional marketers. Zest members are spotting trends and sharing their case studies to the benefit of us all. Isn’t technology great?

So, tell me, what will drive your content marketing strategy in 2019? Emotions? Data? Leveraging new avenues such as LinkedIn’s new option to add Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents to a post? (Hat tip to John Espirian for keeping us informed on this one.) Will you upgrade and repurpose existing content or focus on creating something entirely new?

Be sure to keep the Zest tribe posted!

I look forward to reading about your content marketing success all year long on the Zest Content Stream.

Zest.is

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