No matter what digital platform you use to promote your business, continually coming up with fresh content ideas to capture your audience’s attention can be a real challenge.
Popular content comes and goes before you’ve even hit “publish” on your latest post, so how do you plan effectively for your next big marketing campaign?
If you’re feeling stuck and looking for some ideas, take a look at these 11 trends that you can adapt for your retail brand.
1. Provide Value To Stay Relevant
With every piece of content you create, you should always be thinking, “what will a viewer get out of this?”
Fitbit does a great job here, posting tips and advice for their followers to improve their mental and physical health.
Cocokind balances its aesthetic content in the beauty space with informational posts on building a skincare routine and walkthroughs of how to incorporate their products into your existing regime.
There are plenty of other brands to distract your audience with their own content, so focusing on the value you provide will help keep your brand top-of-mind and relevant to your customers.
2. Get Your Customers Involved
No one wants to see a constant barrage of sales content from any brand. But when you have a product you need to push, how do you keep people interested and engaged?
You tap into your existing customer base to harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
And that’s exactly what Vacation Inc. did.
In April 2021, Vacation Inc. launched their now Nordstrom and Ulta-partnered screen with an 80s beach vibe campaign.
Customers could generate honorary job titles and share their new business cards on their own social channels.
Within days of launching the presale, over 10,000 people had “changed careers,” with roles like “Emergency Tequila Shot Salt Secretary” and “Catamaran Fly Fishing Specialist” (my personal role).
Vacation Inc.’s success came from capitalizing on an already-growing fanbase across social media.
The fun, interactive content quickly spread with little effort on the brand’s part post-launch, leaving their customers to do the work and brand evangelizing for them.
3. Double-Down On Short-Form Video
It’s no secret that video content is becoming a major component of any good content marketing campaign.
As of 2021, Wyzowl reports that users spend an average of 18 hours a week watching video content across different platforms and, specifically, shorter videos.
This is hardly surprising given the rapid rise of TikTok.
But if you’re not using this kind of content, now is the time to start thinking about it.
Luxury Italian fashion house Gucci is an excellent example of making video content work as a retail brand.
Balancing behind-the-scenes content for new collections with famous faces wearing their pieces, Gucci has continued to adapt its marketing strategy to fit the needs of a more video-focused audience.
4. Make Content That’s Actually Entertaining
We all know that the purpose of marketing is to sell more products and win more customers.
But nothing is stopping you from having fun while you’re doing that!
With so much competition and audiences looking for instant gratification, entertaining content should be a top priority for any retail brand.
No one does this better than Aviation Gin.
Leaning heavily on the wit of its owner, actor Ryan Reynolds, the company continually uses humor and satire to entertain their audience.
Their “alternative” to the Peloton Girl ad instantly built connections with viewers, thanks to its cheeky overtones and reminders of why the original went viral for all the wrong reasons.
Creating funny marketing content is one of the most difficult approaches to get right.
When you do, it can really pay off.
5. Highlight What Matters Most To Your Brand
In a consumer environment now highly concerned with environmental and social issues, relatability when it comes to brand values has never been more important.
One of the best performers in this space is DTC beauty brand, Jones Road.
Founded by makeup veteran Bobbi Brown, Jones Road has quickly developed a fan base thanks to its cruelty-free products and body-positive content.
The brand’s TikTok account is a good place to look for inspiration if you’re hoping to promote your company values more clearly.
How-to and tutorial videos serve an educational and informative purpose while weaving narratives around self-empowerment to create emotional connections to their audience.
The brand has also grabbed the attention of non-traditional audiences on its social platforms, thanks to videos aimed at customers over 50 on Instagram and TikTok.
By embracing who they are and what they believe in, Jones Road has quickly become a standout brand for successful video content.
6. Use Influencer Partnerships To Educate Your Audience
Partnering with influencers isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Strategically working with people your customers already follow is a good way to get your brand in front of new audiences and remind existing customers about what you offer.
Wine expert and sommelier Amanda McCrossin’s educational TikTok content has quickly seen her become a go-to resource for wine drinkers around the world.
From her product recommendations for different occasions to winery tours to interest vacationers, this channel is a good example of how to partner with influencers to create interesting, educational content that viewers want to see.
7. Hop On The Audio Bandwagon
For video-first channels like TikTok, or even Instagram Reels, finding the right audio to set the tone for your content is essential.
It doesn’t take much for a soundbite to go viral these days.
Having a catalog of video ideas that you can quickly film and publish is a great way to jump on these trends as soon as they appear.
Trending sounds can come up out of nowhere, so you need to be prepared if you want to use these audio clips in your own videos.
Wine bottle brand Partner in Wine does a great job with this, staying up-to-date with all the popular TikTok and Instagram sounds and posting their own content using these.
This makes them searchable within the apps via these sound clips, opening up a whole new potential audience.
8. Build Trust With Subject Matter Experts
It’s one thing to create educational and informative content for your audience.
But if they’re new to your brand, how do they know they can trust what you’re saying?
One of the best ways to build your credibility here is through partnering with subject matter experts.
This is a tactic commonly used in B2B marketing, but retail B2C brands are also starting to see success here.
Interior design brand Studio McGee uses their frequently-updated blog to provide lifestyle and design tips from both their in-house experts and guests.
Whether it’s organizational tips and tricks or design inspiration, the company clearly shows why they’re the people to trust when it comes to home decor.
9. Jump On Pop Culture Moments
Just like trending sounds, you never know when a moment will arrive in the cultural consciousness, you can use to promote your products.
Take beauty company Lemonhead LA.
Already a hit with notable celebrities like Beyonce and Lady Gaga, the brand cemented its place as the go-to glitter makeup company thanks to its products appearing in season one of the HBO show “Euphoria.”
The brand went on to release a limited-edition collection inspired by the show, which quickly became a hit with their customers.
Bloomingdale’s has also been successful with this approach, creating a pop-up collection of Regency-inspired products following the success of Netflix’s Bridgerton.
There’s no telling what pop culture can inspire, so stay on top of what’s happening.
10. Branch Out Of Your Comfort Zone
When you’re working with a limited marketing budget, trying out new platforms or channels is a risky move.
For the most successful brands, though, it can really be worth it.
Whether starting a new social media account or embracing an entirely different content format, experimenting with something a little different can quickly put you ahead of your competitors.
Trader Joe’s gave podcasting a go in 2018, expecting to run a five-part series to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at the brand and its story.
You may not think many people would be interested in an audio deep-dive into a grocery store.
But the podcast became so successful that they’re continuing to put out new episodes to this day.
Thinking outside the box is the tell-tale sign of a great marketer.
But don’t forget to do your research before you pitch any big strategy shifts like this.
11. Think Beyond Single-Platform Silos
With technology so firmly integrated into our daily lives, retail experiences are no longer strictly online or offline experiences.
Customers want and need an omnichannel experience, taking them from their phones to the store and back again.
Plenty of studies have shown the benefits of omnichannel marketing, from greater customer reach and satisfaction to higher profits across all company sectors.
Target is one of the best for this type of marketing, foregoing their individual channel focus and thinking across multiple platforms.
One of their most successful partnerships recently has been with Pinterest, specifically the Pinterest Lens feature.
Within the Pinterest app, users can take a photo on their smartphone of products they like and the Target app will show them similar products in their own collections.
While your retail brand may not have the budget and customer reach of a multi-billion dollar company like Target, the same idea still applies.
Instead of creating content strategies solely around one marketing platform, think about how you can integrate all of your efforts to provide a memorable and unique experience for your customers.
There are hundreds of possible options for creating engaging marketing content.
(And we’re certainly not advocating that you try all these at once!)
But with some strategic thinking, your brand can make any of these trends a success.
Promoting your retail brand effectively through content marketing is possible, so if you feel inspired, it’s time to start working on your new content marketing plan.
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