Five digital content marketing trends to consider in 2017

Happy new year! With the new year comes new communications strategies. With that said, here are some digital content marketing trends to consider when developing your 2017 strategies, courtesy of Jessica Gow writing for the Huffington Post.

1. Dark social

These days, the majority of content is shared through dark social – platforms such as messaging apps (e.g. Whatsapp), email and text. These platforms can’t be measured by traditional analytics programmes. Leverage these platforms to amplify your message.

2. Real-time video

Audiences are increasingly looking to video – particularly, live video – to engage with brands. By providing a raw, spontaneous and unedited look at brands, live video can help establish a real and strong connection with audiences.

3. Micro influencers

Brand advocates, or micro influencers, can help build brand awareness and a community of followers. With anywhere from 500 to 10,000 followers on social networks, Gow points out that micro influencers “have significant influence, and an authenticity that can be tricky to harness with more well-known personalities. Encouraging and leveraging content from micro influencers shows the community that they’re valued, as well as increasing brand reach and, in turn, increasingly the likelihood of conversions”.

4. Augmented reality

This increasingly utilized field of communications includes 360-degree video and virtual activities that blend with the real world. Think Pokémon Go. As Gow points out, these activities “support brand storytelling, and offer consumers new reasons to interact with brands”.

5. Programmatic advertising and promotion

Paid promotion is essential to effective content marketing. Using this approach, more and more brands are focusing on programmatic targeting, that is showing specific content to different people based on their past behaviour. This takes content personalization to the next level, helping to increase brand engagement. Facebook and other social platforms are supporting this approach through a range of functionalities.

Featured image: DaPuglet, Flickr Creative Commons

Augmented reality comic book narrates the resilience of acid attack survivors

The comic book Priya’s Mirror is based on the real-life stories of several acid attack survivors in India. The book is being used to empower other survivors, address the stigma and shame around this type of gendered violence, and boost awareness and action against it.

In the book, Priya is a gang-rape survivor who helps a group of acid attack survivors escape the rule of Ahankar (or ‘Ego’ in Hindi) – the demon king,

The narrative, based on the format of Hindu mythological tales, includes a character inspired by Monica Singh, who survived an acid attack in retaliation for her rejection of a marriage proposal. The attack burned more than half of Singh’s body instantly, altering her appearance permanently.

In a Mashable article, Singh says using a mirror has helped her reclaim love for her reflection, and for herself.

“I became my own strength. I used the mirror as a type of therapy to accept what happened to me — and that story was very much intertwined into the comic book. The mirror is Priya’s Mirror, but it’s also Monica’s Mirror, too.”

The book was co-produced by two nonprofits supporting victims of abuse and acid attacks — Singh’s foundation, the Mahendra Singh Foundation, and Fundacion Natalia Ponce de Leon. It is also the first comic book to be funded by the World Bank.

Readers can read Priya’s Mirror as a standard comic book or experience it in augmented reality. In the latter case, through an app readers can hold their phones or tablets up to the comic’s pages to unlock videos and animated content. Users can also use the app to participate in an awareness campaign inspired by Colombian activist and acid attack survivor Natalia Ponce de León.

But why was a comic book chosen? The book’s creator, Ram Devineni, explains that it is primarily targeting teenage boys, who are the next generation of potential aggressors. They are essential in the fight against gendered violence. The augmented reality component was also included to further engage this audience.

Devineni hopes Priya’s Mirror will have a similar impact to the first comic in the series, Priya’s Shakti, which was created in response to the gang rape of a woman on a bus in Delhi in 2012. Devineni points out that Priya’s Shakti helped create an “alternative narrative” about how society treats rape survivors.

Reaching out to fellow survivors, Singh says: “The worst thing that could happen to a girl has already been done to us. I wish nobody would go through the same thing. But, for us, it has allowed us to become fearless.”

Read the full feature about this powerful project on Mashable

Featured photo: Illustrations of the acid attack survivors who are the inspiration for the heroes in Priya’s Mirror.