Online content is changing pretty dramatically and 2018 will be a year of continued change, perhaps in dramatic ways. The problem is this: Consumers are on content overload and no longer want to read long blog posts to get the information they need. Nor do they want to read lots of text on their mobile devices, which they now use most often to search for information, to be entertained, and to stay connected with others.

This "new" consumer behavior has forced marketers to change how they present content. Some of these trends include:

· Far more video – videos to explain products and services (and if they are humorous or a bit weird, all the better); how-to videos to demonstrate use of products/services; videos that feature customers, company teams, and even their participation in socially responsibility activities which demonstrate their "human" side.

· Interactivity – Consumers still like to take quizzes, answer surveys, and participate in the content they receive

· AR/VR – While still in its infancy, this is definitely a strong trend for 2018. Customers can try on clothes, visit resort destinations, "paint" rooms in their homes, put eyeglass frames on their faces, and even use product labels and their I-Phones to access the story behind a product

Obviously, these new trends will require new tools, and developers have not disappointed. As fast as new ideas for content marketing appear, the methods to incorporate them quickly follow.

Here are 5 tools that you might want to consider:

1. YouTubeEditor: One of the best things about this tool is it is free. You can create and edit your video all on YouTube. Transcripts and annotations can also be added, if you are also focusing on SEO. Creating a video can be a challenge, if you have never created one before. If you have any qualms, you can easily find any number of college students who are "experts" and freelance in these types of tech gigs.

2. Apester: With this tool, you can create quizzes, polls, surveys, video quizzes, and even personality tests. Thus, your readers can "create" their own content that they will happily share with their communities. You may have to do a bit of research to come up with the right questions for your polls, surveys and personality tests, so look for the right resources before you put your interactive content in place. Check out the resources that educational sites like Citatior may provide.

3. Snap’s Lens Studio: For beginners in the "world" of augmented reality, this is a free, easy-to-use app that works by overlaying digital images on actual backgrounds. As you become more adept, there are many other more sophisticated tools that are already available.

4. Slidely: This is another tool for video creation. It is simple to use, with stock video clips and music that can result in content that is amazingly professional looking.

5. Creating VR Experiences: You actually need two software tools to create virtual reality content – modeling software that actually creates the content you want to use and then a real-time engine to transform it into a VR experience.

First, the modeling software. This allows you to build your content in 3D, and there is free software out there that will allow you to experiment. One of the best right now is Blender. And one of the biggest draws is that it is open source, very powerful, and comes with an entire community that has developed tutorials found all over the Internet.

Second, you need a real-time engine into which you will drop your content, in order to create the VR experience. Game developers are very familiar and very high on Unreal Engine. It’s free and really versatile, allowing lots of experimentation. There is also a large community and easily understood tutorials.

Trends Dictate Tools

Content marketing trends in 2018 involve some that are carryovers from 2017, specifically video and other visuals. And certainly, interactive content has been around for some time. AR/VR are the "newer kids on the block" for content creators, and already there are some pretty usable tools to create those experiences.

As we roll through 2018, you can expect newer and better tools. And you will want to keep up with them. Your goal is to create the type of content that a newer more demanding consumer wants. With some creativity and a bit of practice, you'll succeed.

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