It’s important to take a step back and analyze the previous year, which can give you a better idea on what’s up ahead. You should take a good look at the major marketing trends that will be affecting future of the industry from now on. Here are six major marketing trends that you should be taking into consideration as you plan for your digital marketing budget this upcoming 2018.

1. The need for content marketing distribution has never been greater.

Content marketing is becoming more and more of an integral part of the marketing strategies of big and small brands and marketers alike, which is why they tend to produce more of their own original content as opposed to before. But because of this, it’s getting harder for a company to grab their audience’s attention since there are so many competitors.

Some people may think that the solution to this is to create new original content at an even faster rate, but that is not really the case. What you should focus on is to find a better way to distribute your original content better than all of your opposition. Social shares is one thing, but you should think of other steps since it seems that Facebook’s organic reach isn’t as large as it used to be and is dropping at a significant rate. A comprehensive content distribution strategy that will help you get your message across to your desired audience is a crucial part of any marketing strategy.

2. Public relations and content marketing are aligning.

When we talk about Public Relations and Content Marketing, we wouldn’t really think that they had a lot in common; they’re different departments with needing different budgets for their different goals, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Today, it is becoming clear that Public Relations and Content Marketing actually share some of the same goals that is why brands are making an effort to align the two. Public relations has been evolving in the recent years; before, PR was more brand-focused, and the brands only focused on themselves not thinking about their media partners, but now they have seen the error of their ways and started to build a more mutually beneficial partnership with their media partners and the shared audiences. By doing this, they are now able to build trust with their new audiences a lot faster than before by focusing on the actual value of the audience, and not just their own brand.

3. There’s a rising demand for authenticity in marketing.

Making human connection has always been important in marketing. Building a connection with your audience is crucial for a brand to increase their personalization and be set apart from the herd. We’re not just talking about personalized content, but to connect even further to your audience, it would be a good idea to set up an event where you can meet your audience, or maybe just attend at industry events and conferences. This is a great way for you to connect with your audience.

Building stronger personal relationships and setting up a trusted network of connections is crucial, and a good way to do this is by either doing some face-to-face interactions to make it a more personal level or speaking on stage to a group to get the message across to a wider audience. Then you could maintain this connection by using personalized content.

4. Chatbots are emerging to help brands in all industries.

Chatbots are a great way for marketers to interact with their audience in social platforms where they are already providing them with personalized content, and in turn develop a more personalized relationship so they will make you their go to guy. A lot of brands are already implementing chatbots, in a wide range of industries, so if you still haven’t done this then it would be a good idea to start implementing it yourself. And don’t you worry, since it isn’t that hard to implement, and there are already a lot of free tools that can help you get started.

5. Voice search is on the rise.

With the fast development of technology, things that have become standard for us are starting to become obsolete. Typing a search query on a search engine is actually starting to become old-fashioned, since people are tending to use voice search more and more. Consumers are starting to use more hands-free options and relying on voice-activated personal assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, and Jarvis… okay, the last one is Iron Man’s voice assistant. Analysts have estimated that by 2020, as much as 50% of all search queries will be done with the use of hands-free voice search. So with this in mind, it’s a good idea to get a head of the curve and make a marketing message that is focused on voice search, and this means you should target long-tail keywords and featured snippets.

6. Video content is here to stay.

Video content is becoming more and more important in marketing strategies, and it is even estimated that by 2020, more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic will comprise of online videos. It may seem tedious to bring video content into your marketing strategy, let alone original video content, but it is in fact achievable. You should start one step at a time, and start of small. You don’t have to focus your entire budget on video content, not even most of it, but it is a good idea to invest a suitable amount to get you started.