Issue #233

Sent to members on December 21, 2018

6 Trends For Bloggers To Know for 2019

5 Trends To Be Aware Of As We Head Into 2019

As we are about to say goodbye to one year and hello to a new one, I thought it only fitting to share what I see as some ongoing trends that I believe will only speed up in 2019. And, as people in the content marketing arena, we should all be aware of these trends.

#1 – An Increase In Site And Content Personalization

When it comes to email, things have been gravitating to personalization for awhile. Using segmentation and marketing automation, it is now much easier to create emails to your subscribers that are much more tailored to them. We no longer have to send the same content to everybody.

That trend, I believe, is coming to our websites, too. Whether it be calls to action that adapt to individual users, or website headlines that change in order to adapt to interests we know our visitor has, I think you’re going to see a growing number of people taking their blog to the next level through personalization.

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Consumers are getting pretty used to personalized content. Look at how Netflix will recommend content based on your interests. Look at how Facebook’s entire algorithm works… showing stuff in your newsfeed that you’re more likely to care about and filtering out the rest. At least in theory. 😉 Point is, with the growing firehose of information out there, people are coming to rely on personalization to curate some of this stuff for them.

Those of us with blogs need to adapt to this, too.

#2 – Increased Use of Chatbots

Along those same lines of personalization, we must also combine the desire for instant gratification. And one of the ways to make both things happen at the same time is using chatbots.

I think we’re going to see an increased usage among blog owners of technologies like Manychat, which allow you to set up personalized chatbots as well as build up broadcast lists on Facebook Messenger. On the whole, I think Messenger is fast becoming a pretty important messaging vehicle. While email will never die, I think we will need to pay attention to other mediums, too.

What could regular bloggers do with chatbots? Well, you could segment readers into interest groups and recommend content on your blog more likely to be relevant to them. You could use it to start conversations with your audience and learn more how you can help them (or sell to them). You could even use it as a broadcast list to notify subscribers of new content.

#3 – Continuing Growth In Video (Especially Short Ones)

It is no secret that online video has been a growing content type for awhile now. And I expect that trend to continue. Furthermore…

I think SHORT videos are coming to dominate. We’re not talking highly produced, Hollywood level content here. We’re talking about real, authentic and short videos that can be viewed in a minute or less. I mean, look at how so many of these social sites are now making a big deal of Stories. Personally, I don’t get these things and have no interest… but there’s no denying the growth in these shortie videos as evidenced in Stories.

More and more, as bloggers, if you’re only doing written content and not doing video, you may find yourself falling behind the curve. Except…

#4 – Continuing Pattern Toward Higher-Value, Longer-form Content

Don’t think that because social media is moving toward those shortie content types that that’s where everything is going. When it comes to ACTUAL content and the kind people really value, the bar keeps raising.

Longer-form blog post that are higher developed are winning. Blogs that produce primarily short-form stuff are going to have a harder time (and already are unless they already had an in-built community).

So, I think moving forward that The Redwood Strategy (as I call it) will be even more important. Perhaps less actual blog content, but more developed. Then, take that time you now have left and do some more shortie content designed to bring people in.

#5 – Being More Conversational

You noticed all these Amazon Echos, Google Homes, etc? These devices people put in their homes where they can ask it to find something and it just does?

That’s all voice-powered search. And it is a trend which cannot be ignored. And the problem with voice-powered search is that, in many cases, the device will just TELL you the answer without taking you to the source. If you are the source (on your blog), then the person never actually comes to your site.

So, to get ahead of this trend of voice search, I think it is important to be searchable in ways people actually TALK. Write in a conversational way. For SEO, look at optimizing for featured snippets. But, as with all things, you optimize for PEOPLE, not search bots. Because, when a person goes to their Google Home and asks to search for something, they’re going to do that in regular, every-day words they can actually SPEAK.

#6 – Focus on Personal Trust And Community

While all the things above are trends that I definitely see happening, one thing to keep in mind about much of this stuff is that it relies on tracking. For instance, if there’s going to be site personalization, it relies on cookie tracking to actually do that.

And throwing a potential, conflicting wrench in the works of some of these trends is the growing concern over user and data privacy. It is a lot harder to segment and personalize if your site can’t even tell who is visiting it. And as I talked about in the previous issue about the Brave browser, I think this trend will continue and bring up whole new advertising and monetization models in the years to come.

But, the way to get around a lot of these concerns with your crowd is to EARN THEIR TRUST. In other words, be a real person, show yourself, and look out for them. When you do that, you develop a tight-knit community that will follow you anywhere and where it won’t really matter what fancy trends are happening, those people are going to be there.

So, underlying all these trends, always be thinking in terms of a person-to-person relationships with our audiences. Be trustworthy. Do right by them. Be personal.

That’s really the secret to all of this, in the end. 🙂

People love to see trends because the intention is to try to get some kind of competitive advantage by being an earlier adopter. I get all that, but in the end… basics are basics.

Treat people well. Help them. And be trustworthy.

My friends… I appreciate every single one of you. You guys are awesome. This will be my last issue of The Edge for this year, as I’m signing off from it to be with my family over the holidays.

So, I’ll see you here again on The Edge in 2019.

– David

Tech Talk

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