The Opportunities (and Challenges) of the IoT for Content Marketers

Though the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t precisely new, it’s only until recently that people started paying attention. That’s mainly because we are just now seeing more and more devices that can connect themselves to the internet and to each other to provide new and expanded experiences.

From smartphones and headphones to thermostats and laundry machines, it’s getting more probable for you to interact with an IoT device in the future. In fact, research estimates that the number of connected devices will amount to 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025. Such massive growth will definitely change how we interact with the world around us, leaving no field untouched.

A lot of people are already pondering the effects the IoT will have in their industries. Surprisingly enough, content marketers don’t seem to be among them. After years and years of repeating that content is king, it seems like they are well off with the status quo and don’t realize the powerful opportunities the IoT will open up for them. If content wants to keep its reign, then marketers had better start considering what this network means for them.

A Technology for More Robust Campaigns

Data has always been the pillar of sophisticated content marketing campaigns but its importance has become colossal with the advent of data science. Content marketers have been using the ability to gather massive amounts of information to create more customized campaigns based on the insights the collected data sets provide them.

The increasing number of IoT devices will only boost that. Imagine being able to gather detailed data about your customer’s preferences: their preferences while they drive their cars, the moments in which they use their smart speakers the most, even the food they buy through their fridges. All of that information can lead to more personalized campaigns and to serve more tailor-made content.

For instance, people that buy fresh vegetables almost every day might be interested in reading about healthy recipes. Or exercise enthusiasts that track their fitness progress through wearable devices could be very interested in exercise routines or health advice. Under that light, content marketing becomes something more – it becomes an experience that feels custom-made for each user, increasing the possibilities for engagement.

The type of engagement is different, too. Rather than just “being online” waiting for people to find it, the “IoT content” will reach its audience directly. This means that it won’t have to compete with other content or with distractions for the customer’s attention. In other words, the devices will serve content that’s relevant for the user in a specific moment.

There’s more. The customization level can reach levels that content marketers could have only dreamed of. For instance, different car models could receive different content depending not only on their features but also on the connotations built around them. Thus, a sports car owner might be interested in content about speed tests or upcoming races in their area, while owners of SUVs might feel relevant to have information about family activities, such as camping.

The sophistication of content marketing campaigns doesn’t end there. Thanks to the IoT, marketers will be able to send content based on the user’s location and context. This means that the content is relevant in a specific moment, such as when the user is traveling, looking for a parking spot, on a store, or just sitting in a park. The content could lead users to relevant products, time-limited offers, and useful information for their specific situation.

Finally, there’s also the possibility of delivering content in real-time, especially relating news of importance for a certain user segment. The driver of an IoT-connected car will surely feel thankful for notifications of traffic jams or detours in the road they are taking, coupled with content that can help them reroute the car.

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Are Marketers Up to the Challenge?

It’s easy to get blinded by all those opportunities. But for all its potential, reaping the benefits of the IoT for content marketing isn’t going to be easy. Even with a well-devised strategy, content marketers will have to deal with several challenges.

The first and most important is one that we are already getting used to – the need to properly process and analyze data to get relevant insights. Though marketing companies are already offshoring software development to create analytical tools, it’s important to keep the work going to refine them. That’s especially true for AI-based applications that need proper training to provide relevant and precise results.

Then there’s the challenge of knowing how and when to serve the content. Though the idea of sending tailor-made content to the right audience at the precise time seems golden, doing so in practice isn’t easy. IoT devices could suggest the best times to display certain content, but only experience will show if those times are truly appropriate. Besides, it remains to be seen how customers will react to unrequested content popping up in places where they aren’t used to seeing it.

Finally, there’s the matter of how people could interact with the IoT devices in the moments where they do want to consume content. With the rise of voice search, we are growing accustomed to just talking to the devices around us. This means that searches will be “more human” (as in, they’ll sound more similar to how we talk with other people). This will have a tremendous impact on content generation, as SEO rankings will start to ponder the natural language included in the content to display it first. Content marketers that fail to update their strategies to match this will surely be left out.

In Summary

The increasing presence of the IoT won’t just reshape the way we go about our daily lives – it will also influence how we create content for a different kind of internet. That new network will imply massive changes in how content is searched and displayed, as well as introduce new considerations in how it will be produced.

The opportunities are fantastic for brands, as they’ll be able to harness a more direct type of engagement that can potentiate their relationship with their customers. However, they’ll have to find the delicate balance between serving content at the right time and being downright intrusive.

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