The age of wearable technology is here, and though some have criticized it as a temporary fad, I believe that the trend is here to stay. The international wearables market is projected to grow at 35 percent annually between now and 2019, and even if tech-enabled smart watches and eyeglasses fall out of style, other forms of similar integrated technology will emerge to take their place.
The bottom line is that wearable technology, in one way or another, will have a dramatic impact in how we communicate and interact with the world over the course of the next few years. That means it’s going to affect how companies use content marketing as well.
Keep watch for these five upcoming wearable-influenced trends in content marketing:
1. Shorter Articles
Smart watches, and most first-generation wearables, tend to have tiny screens with limited functionality. A desktop computer or tablet can easily display the entirety of an article for a person to browse through, but this level of access is simply not possible on a screen the size of a watch face.
As a result, articles are going to become even more concise. Users will demand articles that offer fast, near-instant answers to quick questions. Social media interactions, which naturally lend themselves to short formats, may rise even further in popularity.
2. More Specific Niche Articles
Three factors are going to influence the rise in popularity of niche articles.
First, content marketing competition is going to increase further as more companies get involved. For SEO and general brand visibility, companies will have to cover increasingly specific ground. This isn’t tied specifically to wearable technology, but it’s going to enhance the influence of the other two factors.
Second, users will rely on wearable technology for their on-the-go searches, which have a tendency to rely on specific needs. Rather than searching for something general like “laundry detergent,” searches will include more specific criteria like “cheapest laundry detergent near me.”
Finally, wearable technology’s small screens and new interfaces will allow users to start relying on more voice searches. These searches will require more semantic understanding from digital assistants, but will also favor more semantically-appropriate titles with a niche focus.
3. Real-Life Interactive Elements
One of the biggest impacts wearable technology will have is a further blurred line between technology and reality. Smartphones and other mobile devices gave us the ability to use Internet-enabled devices on the go. The cameras, microphones and apps that we carry in our pockets allow us to interact with our environments, but wearable technology will start to be a part of us.
The aim of Google Glass, despite its failing, was to overlay a technological interface on the real world, and that will continue to be a goal in future iterations of wearable technology. As such, users will begin to demand content and material that somehow “interacts” with the real world.
It could be an article that pops up when a user physically arrives at a certain destination. It could be an in-store map that appears when a user enters a location. How this “interactive” element develops remains to be seen, but content will surely need to adopt it.
4. Geographically Relevant Content
Currently, many businesses are writing what they call “local content” for the purposes of ranking in local searches. By including geographic keywords, such as their city and neighborhood names, they increase their chances of getting seen by someone within the city doing a search relevant to their business.
This strategy makes sense, and by some accounts could be called “geographically relevant content,” but wearable technology will demand that this content be taken to the next level. Content will need to be location specific, possibly down to the level of streets and blocks, to meet user demand. People will crave experiences that are shaped by their current and past positions, and wearable technology will be able to deliver it.
5. Alternative Mediums
The medium-length article has been a mainstay of content marketing since the dawn of the strategy back in the early 2010s. But as users demand more immediate information and screens become more integrated with reality, that format will start to die out in favor of new mediums.
Visual components, like images and videos, have already started to become more popular than the written word and that trend will only continue. But even newer, yet-to-be-created mediums will likely emerge as the true stars. Holograms and virtual reality might seem a little too futuristic, but with the rate at which technology is developing, you never know what’s coming next.
How and exactly when these trends develop is unpredictable. It’s up to you to keep reading marketing news and pay attention to how your core demographics are adopting wearable technology. As with most instances of new technology in the marketplace, the companies that adapt to it the fastest will win out in the competition for audience loyalty early on, so move quickly as wearables become more mainstream.