For the past several years, the practice of “content marketing” has been all the rage. Many businesses are using content like blogs, infographics, videos or white papers to generate quality leads through their websites and social media pages.

However, the way online audiences seek out and digest content is always changing. To stay competitive in 2019, content needs to be produced more frequently and posted across more channels than ever before.

Plus, the rapid development of technology is continuously providing new, more-effective ways to engage customers.

So, what is the future of content marketing? How can a business stay ahead of the curve? Below are five emerging technologies and con- tent marketing trends of which you should be aware.

Shorter, more-visual content

Much of the online marketing content current- ly being produced by companies is text heavy: blog posts, whitepapers, etc. In the coming years, published content will likely become shorter — still high quality and educational, but more succinct. You can expect to see more infographics, video, animations and dynamic content that further engage a targeted audience.

Live content

Live streaming is a powerful tool to promote your business' products or services while build- ing a larger audience. This tactic also sees higher levels of engagement than other content posted through social media.

On Facebook, for example, live videos are watched three times longer than regular videos, and 80 percent of people would prefer to watch a live video than read a blog post.

Audiences like the freshness or timeliness of live video content. The videos often project a special sense of urgency that makes them more compelling and engaging to view.

Consider “going live” during an upcoming event or use live video to educate customers about a new product or service.

Narrowly-targeted content

Niche content will likely become a necessary ingredient of a successful content marketing strategy. Businesses are producing more blogs and videos than ever before.

To combat this “content saturation,” you and your development team will need to focus on creating content that is more creative, in-depth and narrowly targeted.

For example, if you’re an organization offer- ing fitness boot camps, instead of creating con- tent speaking broadly to adult men and women, target your messaging to niche groups, like working moms or “nerds” who are tech-focused and sometimes intimidated by fitness programs. Or, if you’re a tech company, instead of writing about “the benefits of XYZ software,” consider focusing in on “the benefits of XYZ software for startups.”

Content repackaging and distribution

In the future, you can expect creatively repurposing old content to become just as important as the development of new content. By repackaging old content, you can extend its reach with less effort and a smaller investment than what new content would require. There will always be trial and error in determining how your customers prefer to consume content, but there are numerous easy ways to repackage content you’re proud of:

Repurpose articles focused on employee milestones into video Q&As.

Turn a service or process-focused article into an infographic.

Take a series of related blog posts, and deliver them as an eBook.

Old content doesn’t even necessarily have to be repackaged. Reach can be improved by identifying and developing relationships with relevant influencers to assist with the content’s distribution.

AI-generated content

AI (artificial intelligence) software is already being embraced by many business sectors,such as financial services, to automate report writing. As the technology becomes more sophisticated, it will likely take much of the grunt work out of marketing content writing.

With search algorithms continuously changing, businesses need to approach content market- ing with more “inbound marketing” goals and less of a narrow focus on SEO. Content should be created for people, not robots, and as such, it needs to be visually engaging and provide value to a targeted audience.

Molly Behnke is director of client services with Baer Performance Marketing.