The rapid growth of content marketing is expected to continue in 2018 – but with a twist. The proven content marketing principles that have worked in recent years still apply: it must be targeted, compelling and relevant to each audience persona at each stage of their consideration cycle.

That said, how we distribute content to consumers is changing. The old “if you write it, they will come” SEO strategies are no longer effective. Consumers are pulled in more directions than ever, and even the most cleverly crafted thought leadership piece must fight for attention with about a million other marketing strategies.

Preparing an effective campaign for how users consume content is a topic that’s at the forefront of 2018 marketing strategies. Here are just a couple of examples of how marketers will need to focus their investments in 2018 toward making sure people read their content:

Traditional digital display: Advertisers effectively using digital display creative to drive traffic toward well-crafted, informative articles, as opposed to driving toward a quick call-to-action, has become an enduring trend in digital display advertising. In fact, research shows that because today’s consumers want advertisers to educate and nurture them before they act, digital display ads that link specifically to articles or infographics like those sponsored on OregonLive.com drive almost twice as many clicks as those linking directly to an advertiser’s landing page.

Sponsored content: Advertisers can purchase sponsored content to reach audiences literally anywhere on the internet, and the quality of media outlets available varies widely. Advertisers who benefit the most from sponsored content are elevating their performance further by promoting that content on premium news publishers’ sites, where there’s a “halo effect,” by which advertising within trusted news environments produces added brand engagement and lift.

Facebook advertising: The ability to advertise content on Facebook is attractive for many reasons. With more than 214 million users in the U.S., the potential audience is undeniably huge. And the platform’s many different demographic targeting capabilities ensure that advertisers can place content in front of virtually anyone. Yet tracking and optimizing social media campaigns requires a high degree of hands-on management that many advertisers find daunting—only true social media experts can make running these campaigns effectively look easy.

Content recommendation engines: Content discovery platforms like Taboola and Outbrain partner with news publishers and use predictive technology to recommend content they think readers will find useful. Advertising within these third-party tools is mainly CPM based, enabling content advertisers to essentially bid on contextual consumption. This enables, for example, readers of an article about a damaging local windstorm to also receive “suggested” sponsored articles about roof maintenance or tree pruning. However, like social media advertising, this needs hands-on management to ensure adequate campaign delivery and performance.

When it comes to both producing and distributing marketing content, there are significant advantages to partnering with content experts like us, whose experience with all of the above strategies can make all the difference in a campaign’s success.