It’s about that time of year when we go into full reflection mode. We reflect on our marketing projects and business goals from this last year. Did we reach our goals? How could we improve in the next year? And most of all, we’re looking ahead to see what the 2020 content marketing trends will be.

If you’re looking for another content marketing trend article, you won’t find it here. As we start to plan our 2020 goals, I know you’ll be looking at marketing trend articles to determine how best to set your strategy in the new year. I’ve seen so many of these types of trend articles over the years, I call most of them superficial.

They sometimes give original thought, but for the most part, they’re regurgitated information spread across multiple blogs. It’s like all these trend articles sit in the breakfast club, have a collective conversation, and then write the same article upon arriving back at home. I’m surprised once in a blue moon by a content marketing expert’s trend expectations, but for the most part, they’re all the same.

2020 content marketing trends — that will not change

I love this time of year. I’m one of those weird founders that enjoy sitting down and crafting my 2020 business plan and goals about four months too early. Planning and goal-setting are fun for me. But I realize it’s not for many. As a small business or startup, you’ve heard of content marketing, and you’re trying to decide if it’s a viable option to incorporate into your business plan in the coming year. I might be biased, but I believe content marketing is one of the best marketing strategies to build a stronger relationship between you and your audience — and to strongly ally your content with the sales team.

Content marketing is not a new phenomenon. Content marketing is rooted in concepts that have been a part of relationship building, business building, and marketing forever. Storytelling is a form of content marketing. How long have we been telling stories?

And despite new content applications coming to the market (yes, TikTok — talking to you) and new tools and technologies emerging, certain points will never change about content marketing. These points below will always be true.

Content is about connecting to people.

Storytelling and giving educational content is about the oldest sales strategy in the playbook. We’ve been telling stories for centuries to teach people, to share information, to make sense of the world, to help people improve, and encourage people towards our point of view. Content like this connects us. It creates a sharing space for a personal exchange of informational helping and supporting. By showing our specific content expertise to the world, we let others know what we’re interested in and what we can offer. We can then connect with others that have similar interests.

Content sparks intimate conversation.

When is the last time you had a debate? Or you searched on Google to find an answer to your question? Content begins the intimate conversation between you and your audience. You share topics on your expertise, and through your content, you help people with obstacles they’re currently experiencing. As we’re striking close to personal emotions, motives, and pains, content is personal. And because the content is personal, it starts the bridge toward an intimate conversation. Intimate conversation builds trust — and people buy from those they trust.

Content is only as good as your distribution.

This point is less philosophical and more practical. Content is only as good as its distribution, plain and simple. You can have an award-winning piece with practical tips and information for your buyer persona. But if your buyer persona isn’t finding that content, how can you connect with them? How can you spark an intimate conversation? As we move into the future, the age-old saying of ‘less is more’ will become more relevant in content marketing. We create less but better content for our audience. And we spend more time distributing it.

Content builds trust — and trust is better built visually.

Are you more likely to trust someone you met in a supermarket or someone you met online? Physical and visual interaction with your audience is the ultimate trust builder. This is why sales works so well. Because you make personal contact with someone and you shake their hand. It’s something about that physical touch. It’s a trust factor being built — and people buy from those they trust. Written content is always a great start, but the video trend will continue to build momentum. It’s because video visually and emotionally builds trust quicker with your audience. Content builds trust — and video content strengthens and accelerates that relationship building.

Content marketing trends that won’t be new

Not a trend, but rather a reality. Because content marketing plays on the oldest principles in the book of relationship building and connection, it’s no surprise that content marketing will continue to be a needed strategy in your small business or startup strategy playbook. It has striking ROI and positive influence over your audience. As it becomes more popular, it will be harder to stand out and make a presence in your target market with its tactics. It’s never been a better time to jump-start your content marketing strategy and use content to build relationships with your audience.