In the dynamic landscape of communications, marketing, and public relations, the term “creative content” is thrown about frequently. Brainstorms, proposals, digital marketing plans, social media strategies, ESG communications, employee engagement initiatives – you name it, the creative content stamp has touched it. But what is it, really? And how can organisations better optimise their content-based marketing strategies?
Before diving too deeply into the latest content trends, let’s take a step back and recognise that content is an integral part of a larger strategy. Understanding the objectives and intended results of your content strategy – and effectively communicating these with your content team – is absolutely essential. Content should never exist in isolation; it plays a pivotal role in achieving strategic goals.
Purposeful content strategy can enhance reputation, cultivate credibility, establish trust and authority, deepen relationships and build loyalty, educate and inform audiences, improve SEO, grow database subscriptions, attract new customers, and guide them seamlessly up the sales funnel. Content should be more than just ‘filler’ – it should be a powerful tool in achieving your broader brand objectives while resonating with your target audience. After all, content for content’s sake not only fails to contribute positively but can even risk creating a crisis.
So, with all that in mind, we asked two of Sinclair’s seasoned content curators, Cedric Lai, Manager – Creative & Digital, and Lydia Adams, Consultant – Content, to guide us through the ever-evolving world of ‘content’ and present an easy-to-digest guide on the top eight creative content trends for the year ahead.
1. Keep it (ever)green: On the surface, our digital ecosystem is dominated by fleeting social media moments and transient ads. These content formats can be useful, but they are also beholden to sudden trends and seasonality in a way that ‘evergreen’ content just… isn’t. The lasting value and SEO-rich potential of long-form content persists – not only on websites and blogs, but social media, too!
2. Substance over style: Storytelling matters. Content consumers will always value well thought-out messaging over aesthetics. Meaningful and authentic narratives build lasting connections between brands and their audiences, and if that isn’t the ultimate goal of your next content marketing plan, I don’t know what to tell you. (It should be).
3. Hello, hyper-personalisation: At this point in time, everyone who owns a smartphone knows that to some extent, our phones are listening to us. Perhaps not verbally, but in terms of tracking our digital footprints on social media and search engines, absolutely. Brands can now harness the power of data to craft highly-specific social media and ad messages that resonate with individual preferences. This, in turn, can easily boost audience engagement and conversion rates.
4. Proactive user-generated content: UGC is not a passing fad; it’s an extraordinarily valuable asset. Encouraging your audience to create and share brand-related content of their own builds community, arouses interest, and fosters a sense of brand loyalty. This strategy can be implemented internally or externally and, when done effectively, can be a lot of fun.
Wondering how you might incorporate a few of these trends into your own content strategy? If you’re looking to go evergreen, consider crafting a comprehensive ‘how-to’ guide or in-depth industry report that is relevant to your audience. Show authenticity with real-life success stories, or create a branded hashtag to encourage your audience to share their own experiences or creative engagement with your brand/organisation.
5. Continuity is key: Successful global brands have a backlog of brand templates and are experts at maintaining continuity in social storytelling. Whether it’s infographics, animation, or creative influencer content, they bring their brand with them across various platforms and ensure a consistent and recognisable identity. This approach enhances brand visibility and fosters audience engagement.
6. Beyond the ‘flat’ graphic: Motion graphics and dynamic visuals are no longer a wish list item but a must have in the visual storytelling universe, especially in the realms of augmented and virtual reality. Embracing 3D design elements adds depth and an exciting layer of immersion that will captivate your audience like never before.
7. Tailormade precision: Customising content using generative artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and other emerging technologies is becoming commonplace for achieving brand marketing objectives. The fusion of human creativity and data-driven precision these tools create is exciting, but of course, we do recommend you tread with caution. AI will never replace designer work, but it can enhance our workflow and efficiency.
8. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate: Designing is no longer a solo act. Collaborations across different teams, mediums, and forms of design allow us to push creative boundaries and deliver world-class content that exceeds expectations. Experiment with new tools, reach out to network connections, and partner with complementary businesses or influencers to bring a fresh perspective to your audience.
How might your brand bring these design trends to life? Embrace minimalism with a refined brand design strategy and simplified social grid. Create interactive 3D product demonstrations or virtual tours. Try your hand at analysing consumer behaviour with AI-driven algorithms and tailored product recommendations.
Creative content transcends mere words and visuals; it embodies the art and science of storytelling, provoking emotions, inspiring action, and changing opinion. In an era where brand success hinges on shaping #ConversationsThatMatter, creative content emerges as the linchpin for influencing opinions, growing reputations, and creating business impact.
Looking to take your creative content strategy to the next level? Sinclair’s expert consultants would be delighted to meet with you to discuss your objectives. Contact us today.