7 Digital Media Trends Startups Need to Know

Jul 30, 2018

Starting a business used to be like throwing money into a wishing well. Entrepreneurs could pay exorbitant amounts of money and see little return on investment. Nowadays, wishes cost less and the well tells you if what you’re doing is worth your time, effort, and investment.

The wishing well in our analogy refers to marketing. There’s never been a better time to be a startup because your overhead for marketing–thanks to digital media trends–doesn’t have to bankrupt you. You can also track your marketing efforts with more ease and accuracy so you know early on if a tactic is working or not.

But what are the trends you need to know? In this guide, you’ll find 7 trends to incorporate into your digital marketing strategy so you can grow your business. Keep reading to help turn your wishes into reality.

1. Digital Media Trends: Content Is King

Content marketing involves publishing content of all kinds: text, video, and images. Maybe you’ll run a blog for your brand and publish a weekly article addressing potential customers’ pain points. Perhaps you’ll include a monthly infographic.

This strategy doesn’t have to cost much, and can include a number of tactics. You might publish a blog, white papers, or ebooks. Maybe you’ll allow students to enroll in an online course or host webinars.

All of that falls under the umbrella of content marketing, and as Bill Gates said in 1996, “Content is king.”

2. Current Media Trends: Email Your Way To Conversions

Email marketing is successful because of two reasons. Subscribers opt-in, which means they want to receive messages from your brand, and they don’t have to do anything else to hear from you. On a consistent basis, messages from your brand pop into their inbox.

Another reason email marketing works is people love to be on the inside track. Exclusive deals, VIP information, and engaging one-on-one with your brand all make email marketing attractive.

Even though this trend isn’t new, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. 75% of companies¬†agree: Email marketing offers “excellent” to “good” return on investment, or ROI. Start gathering sign-ups.

3. SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Marketing trends such as search engine optimization means making your online property attractive to search engines, like Google. Thanks to search engines’ attempts to please the end-user more and more, SEO has theoretically become more intuitive. If you’re providing a pleasant and relevant experience to users, you’ll do well in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Of course, there is a technical side to SEO as well. These technical skills require a learning curve, and change constantly as search engines update their algorithms, and demand an understanding of demographics, coding and website design, ideal customer profiling, and more.

In digital media and marketing, there aren’t any other broader or potentially more complicated strategies than SEO. We include it here for two reasons.

First, you don’t have to be an SEO expert to start gaining some traction with search engines. Second, you need to have at least some SEO understanding if your online property and other digital media will have a shot at reaching end-users. Learning about long-tail keywords and website design basics are good places to start.

Social Media Trends

You might wonder why we’ve broken out this section into four separate trends. Social media itself has become so vast a strategy that we wanted to highlight specific trends within it. These are not the be-all, end-all of social media, but they’re some of the most popular social trends that every startup should know about.

4. Live Video

The whole point of digital media and marketing is to get your message out into the world. Videos, especially live video, are a great way to go about it. After all, viewers retain 95% of your message when delivered in a video.

Live video adds some additional perks:

  • Increased authenticity and transparency
  • Viewers can react and comment in real time
  • Live videos can appear in social streams and timelines and are easy to share


5. Influencer Marketing

Top social media influencers can do a lot for your brand by sharing posts featuring your product or service with their millions-strong audience. But current social media trends are developing around what are called micro influencers. These users have audiences ranging in size from 1,000 to 30,000.

A micro influencer may be a great place for your new brand to try out this trend. You can always seek out more expensive partnerships with influencers with larger audiences later.

6. Ephemeral Content

When something’s ephemeral, it’s temporary. Urgency is a driver of engagement, so ephemeral content, like Snapchat posts or Instagram stories, which appear and then disappear within 24 hours, can be a great way to engage a social audience. It’s particularly useful if you have a discount that won’t last longer than a day, for example.

7. Social Listening

Social media trends such as social listening might make you feel at first like you’re eavesdropping. But imagine feeling that way in a concert hall with a member of your audience getting up on stage and speaking into the microphone. When people post on social media, they want to be heard.

So, feel at ease with taking on this particular tactic. Basically, social listening allows you to keep a proverbial ear to the ground for your brand, for trends, or for particular hashtags. You can also listen for products and services.

It’s a powerful tool that can give you insight into what your audience wants.


Different digital media trends and marketing techniques work differently for different brands and different audiences. So don’t be afraid to try new trends, especially since you can try most, if not all, media trends at little to no cost.

You’ll know early on if a particular trend will help your brand or just make ripples and then sink to the bottom of the well. But these wouldn’t be trends if they didn’t work in most cases. What have you got to lose?



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