Top Content Marketing Trends for 2019

Top Content Marketing Trends for 2019

Every year, different trends come and go in marketing. But classic methods don’t go away, and that includes content marketing. In fact, content marketing is growing at such a pace that experts estimate its worth will exceed $400 billion by 2021.

If you’re finally joining the content marketing bandwagon, here are some trends that you should anticipate for the coming year:

Content Marketing is Now Mainstream

It wasn’t that long ago when content marketing was considered a side project. It was something marketing pros tried out after first dealing with the more important marketing tasks.

Today, content marketing is considered one of those crucial tasks that you have to deal with. It’s now part of mainstream marketing because ignoring this facet of your marketing strategy will doom your enterprise. It’s that integral to your success.

Documented Strategies

Since content marketing has now been recognized as crucial to a marketing strategy, it will no longer suffice for marketing officials to launch content marketing strategies on the fly. This can’t be a “fly by the seat of your pants” project. It has to be carefully thought out and planned.

This is why 65% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy. Such a carefully planned campaign can identify a key marketing goal and set up a plan to achieve that goal.

Greater Focus on Customer Success

In the old days, companies focused on making the sale and then moving onto the next sale. They dealt with complaints as they arose afterward. But today, services are much more personalized. Marketers have realized that if they wanted to forge deeper relationships with their customers and encourage them to spread news of their brand, they have to make sure that customers get full value from their money.

That’s the essence of customer success. This means that with your content, you can help customers take care of their bought products. The content can also suggest new ways of using the products.

Brands Change from Vendors to Partners

Traditional marketing has always been at the core a way to sell stuff. Modern marketing, especially content marketing, is instead about forging a partnership with customers. That’s what the content you offer should focus on. It’s not about convincing people to buy stuff from you. Instead, it’s about engaging with customers and forging a lasting and trusting relationship.

Again, this means more focus on content that covers post-sale topics. What do your customers need after buying what you’re selling? Your content should provide info that can help them with those needs so that these customers will buy from you again. They’ll also be much more likely to recommend your brand to their social circles. After all, you don’t just view them as sources of profit—you act like they’re you’re partners.

Content Distribution is Key

The best content doesn’t help your cause if no one gets to see it. That means you need to find efficient ways of spreading the word and your content. These methods include social networks, email marketing, and other distribution channels that can best reach your audience.

Also, check out 2018 Internet Trends Report From Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins

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Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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Day of the Dead Playing Cards Made in LA by Local Artist Steve Minty

Day of the Dead Playing Cards Made in LA by Local Artist Steve Minty

The Day of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos in Spanish, is a widely celebrated holiday in Mexico and the United States. The holiday actually spans several days when family and friends gather to remember and pray for their deceased loved ones. Most people also visit the graves of their loved ones, and light candles and place flowers on them, as well as enjoy a picnic with their family.

In modern times, it’s celebrated from October 31 to November 2.

The Day of the Dead is the inspiration behind the Muertos Playing Cards. Steve Minty designed the deck of cards while the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) manufactured them.

Every card is designed with the theme of celebrating life and death in the tradition of Dia de Muertos. The history of the Day of the Dead tradition in particular and Mexican culture, in general, is reflected in the design, while the social classes present in the past are also depicted. The deck has a contemporary feel complemented by an elegant look with its gold-on-black design.

Each deck comes with 54 custom playing cards and two gaff cards. The characters and numbers are printed with gold ink on a black background, a combination that makes them pop out. The deck is packaged in a gold foil and embossed tuck box, too, for added luxury.  

Steve Minty drew inspiration for his designs from the message of the Day of the Dead. He was also influenced by Aztec art, the Mexico-American Wars, and the works of Jose Posada.

The cards are then creatively named to reflect characters although the usual card characters – spade, hearts, clubs, and diamonds – are still used. The card characters include El Padre, La Hermana, El Soldado, El Catrin, La Viuda, El Bandito, El Caudillo, La Bailarina, El Campesino, El Azteca, La Catrina, and El Caballero. The Joker cards have the Muertos insignia and the sugar skull (i.e., Calaveras).

Author Details
Editor-In-Chief
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

john@lastartups.com
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Editor-In-Chief
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

john@lastartups.com

The Evolution of IoT—and Where It Should Be Heading

LA Startups - The Evolution of IoT—and Where It Should Be Heading

Do you have the right idea about IoT (Internet of Things)? It may not mean what you think it means!

If you’ve been monitoring news about the Internet and modern technology, it’s a fair guess that you have encountered the phrase Internet of Things. Usually, people just call it IoT. While it does seem to represent an exciting new stage in high tech, there’s a problem: what the heck is it?

What we have with IoT is something nebulous, like the concept of justice. It seems like people have different ideas in what it means. Never mind how people disagree on which direction it should take. Like politics, you can’t get everyone to agree on how technology should evolve in the future. But the problem with IoT is that people can’t even agree on what it means now.

It’s probably understandable. It’s called the “Internet of Things”. Sure, people do have the same basic idea of what the Internet is. It’s just that people tend to disagree on exactly what those “things” are.

Origins

It’s only recently that the phrase became a hyped-up byword in tech articles in mainstream publications. Some people even believe that it’s a new concept. But the reality is that it’s actually an old idea. Tech entrepreneur Peter Lewis coined the phrase “Internet of Things” way back in 1985 when he gave a speech in D.C. That was a long time ago, and the Internet wasn’t even a true reality yet.

Lewis defined IoT as “the integration of people, processes and technology with connectable devices and sensors to enable remote monitoring, status, manipulation, and evaluation of trends of such devices.”

IoT and Home Automation

Over the years, people seem to believe that the “things” in the Internet of Things refers to the interconnected gadgets we use. Admittedly, it’s easy enough to understand why so much media attention has been focused on these gadgets. These devices are evolving at a rapid rate, and they keep on improving and developing. As each year passes, they become more sophisticated.

One simple illustration of what the public sees as IoT is the use of the smart bulb. In the old days, you need to manually flick a switch to turn on the light. Now that’s no longer the case.

Instead of walking to the wall switch to turn on the light, you can use your smartphone instead. A smart light bulb has tech features that allow it to connect to your Wi-Fi so it’s also connected to the Internet. Your smartphone also connects to the Internet through Wi-Fi. This setup allows you to control your smart light bulb through an app.

Now with this setup, you have more sophisticated means of turning off the light. You can use your smartphone as a TV remote, and turn the light on or off with the smartphone. You don’t have to be there in the room either. The app can tell you if the light bulb is on while you’re in the office, and you can turn the light off from there. The app can give you a virtual switch and you can use it to turn off the light.

In fact, with the app, you can even program the light bulb to turn on and off at programmed times. You can do this to keep the light turning on and off to make it seem like you’re at home. You can even connect the light bulb to a sensor or a security camera, and have it turn automatically on when the sensors detect someone’s presence.

So now we have a smart light bulb, a smartphone, and an app, your Wi-Fi, and maybe even your security camera interconnected through Wi-Fi. You have lots of gadgets working together.

But is this the Internet of Things? Are the gadgets and the “things” the same thing? People seem to think so, but that may not be the best interpretation.

User POV

When you have a light bulb and a switch, it’s easy enough to understand how to operate the light bulb. You can flick the switch to a certain direction, and it can turn on. Flick the switch the other way, and it turns off. It’s so simple. You don’t have to read a manual or watch YouTube videos online for you to understand how it works.

The same thing goes with a good smart light bulb and an app in a smartphone. As the user, you don’t even have to understand the details on how it works. You don’t need to know the science on how your app and your smart light bulb work and how they transmit data through the Wi-Fi. You just need to use the app properly and then you can activate or program the smart light bulb to turn on and off whenever you want.

Developer POV

The developer needs to understand the user’s perspective. That means they have to acknowledge that the user has no real need to understand the complex science required for the smart light bulb or an app.

Instead, the developer has to keep things simple. Using the app must be as intuitive and easy to understand as the wall switch of a regular light bulb.

This is the usability factor, and it’s crucial for the light bulb and the app to gain mainstream success. People will tend to reject gadgets and features that they don’t understand. It doesn’t matter if the people understand how it works. They just have to understand what to do to make it work. That’s the crucial difference.

Changing Your Mindset

Basically, you have a light bulb and a smart version of it, and they’re the same thing. You have a wall switch, and now you have an app. They’re the same thing too, as they both work as the switch.

Thus, the Internet of Things isn’t really about interconnected gadgets. They’re about interconnected concepts.  That’s how people and developers need to see IoT for it to become more prevalent.

You can’t focus on the advancement of technology. These advances must be out of sight. For users, it’s about how easy things are to use. Focusing on easy UX is also how developers must see IoT. So even while IoT devices keep on getting more sophisticated, the real challenge is to keep it simple!

Also, check out these 9 Biggest Trends in the tech at this moment

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

How to Sell Online Without Being Scammed

How to Sell Online Without Being Scammed

The world would be much better off if there weren’t any scammers, but like cockroaches, these dirty creatures will never go extinct. These scammers are problematic for everyone, but they’re especially a threat for those who just want to earn some money selling stuff online.

There are several basic scams that sellers need to be wary of when you use services like PayPal, Zelle, and Venmo. The irony here is that these services are supposed to make it easy for buyers to send money and for sellers to receive the money. Yet these services also enable scammers to play their dirty tricks more easily.

So what can you do to make sure that you’re not scammed when you try to sell old stuff from your garage or with the results of your arts and crafts hobby? Here are some tips that should help:

It’s Better If You Only Accept Credit Card or Cash Payments

This is especially true when you’re selling items to people whom you don’t really know. When buyers use checks or money orders, there’s a chance that the money won’t clear and you won’t see the money in your account. When that happens, there’s really not much you can do about it, and you have a snowball’s chance in hell of seeing that money ever again.

Hand the Purchased Item Over Only When You’re Sure You’ve Got the Payment

Always confirm that the buyer has actually paid first before you give them what they want to buy. Remember what Ronald Reagan used to say about Soviet nuclear disarmament? Trust, but verify.

So if the buyer says that they’ve sent a check, wait until it clears and the money is in your account before you have the item sent to the buyer. If the buyers ask that you take their word that they’re good for it, just tell them that confirmation of the payment is SOP. Even if they buyers say that they’ve sent a PayPal transfer and you even see an email confirmation, hold on to your product. You have to really confirm that the right amount of money was sent to and received by your account.

Say No to Overpayments

It doesn’t matter what kind of convincing take that the purchaser tells you. Never take payments that are more than your actual sales price. That can be just another scam. They’ll tell you that they overpaid and then they’ll request that you wire them back the difference. This scam fools you twice, as you give them stuff for free and then you also give them free money as well.

Don’t Cater to Buyers Overseas

Even if everything’s legit, overseas buyers can make things complicated and sending them the stuff can be costly. But claiming to be overseas is one of the more common ways for scam artists to avoid face-to-face contact.

Meet in Public Places

You certainly shouldn’t use an out of the way place to have your transfer of goods. You shouldn’t give out your address at all, unless the transaction involves picking up a large piece of furniture. Try the mall or right beside a bank with security guards. You can even try your local police department with a safe lot program where your meetings have little chance of anyone getting mugged.

Just remember, safety first!

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.