Where will content marketing trends take the industry in 2015?
As this new marketing discipline takes center stage, businesses need to stay abreast of ongoing industry changes in order to stay ahead of curve and the competition.
Why Content Marketing?
Content marketing serves several functions:
- Building Authority – Content marketing demonstrates thought leadership within your industry. By creating value-adding content that informs, educates, and entertains, your business shows prospects and leads that you know what you’re doing.
- Creating Visibility – In the past, SEO was the focus. But search engines are focusing on quality, so you should too. Useful content is what keeps people engaged and keeps a company in the spotlight of search engines and social media.
- Acquiring Customers – A primary function of content marketing is customer acquisition. Content, whether it is video, writing, audio, or something else, keeps you visible. And when that content engages customers, you build brand awareness, trust, and authority in the minds of your audience. Over time, they become customers.
Sounds simple enough.
So what specifically does content marketing involve?
To simplify the production pipeline a bit, we can look at it as involving two parts: production and distribution.
- Content Production – Every business needs to publish and produce content for their online channels, from social media to websites and apps. Not all of this content has to be original, however. In fact, much of it can be curated. But it does have to effectively engage your audience on the target platform, such as YouTube, Facebook, your website, email, etc.
- Content Distribution – Part of the function of content marketing is distribution: how do you best connect with your target audience and measure those results? Efficient automation is another key goal, since the more your content network expands, the more time and resources it consumes.
Though this two-part production pipeline may seem simple, it can get pretty complex pretty quickly.
And things are about to get more complex in 2015…
Content Marketing Strategies for 2015
To deal with all the moving parts mentioned above, businesses are setting aside in-house positions dedicated to this role. The Director of Content, for instance, will increase as one of the most in-demand positions of 2015. This person will be responsible for coordinating all of the content marketing functions, from marketing and distribution to sales, content production, analytics, strategies, and so on.
So if your business doesn’t yet have a Director of Content, it may be time to get one. Here are a few other trends to watch for:
- Mobile is already king, and it’s getting stronger every day. Almost 60% of Americans had cell phones at the beginning of 2014, and that number will keep going up. And since nearly 90% of smartphone time is spent on the internet (as of March 2014), it’s no wonder that most companies are pushing mobile content optimization. In 2015, the vast majority of content marketing will be sticking to a mobile-first game plan.
- Video is getting cheaper, easier to distribute, and it is as effective as ever. Mobile video will become one of the most important outlets for content marketing in the coming years. Currently, around 40% of YouTube’s traffic comes from mobile devices. Advertising is also investing heavily in mobile video, and content marketers will soon follow.
- Businesses should be ready for new technology. 2015 may be known as the year of wearable technology. Apple Watch will introduce a new, highly personalized way to connect with people, push notifications to the watch, and lead people back to your content programs.
- Social media is key, but not all social media is created equal. Google+ does have an excellent interface and design, but its demographics – and its future – are still somewhat of a mystery.
Twitter has been introducing new ad formats and features to keep up with the changing social media world, but it is losing ground to sites such as LinkedIn and Instagram. Facebook is still going strong, and should be a staple social media platform for every business, especially with Facebook at Work.
Effective content marketers will match up their marketing programs with the right social networks and distribution platforms.
- To outsource or stay in-house? In-house can be more expensive, but it also offers you more control over your content. Outsourcing, on the other hand, can give your business access to creative production experts who can produce content above and beyond what your business might be able to.
- Turn your business into the ultimate resource. The more you are able to establish your business as an authoritative one-stop information shop, the more people will trust you and turn to you. Developing a blog is just the first step – in 2015, the most cutting edge businesses will push the envelope by offering online courses, educational resources, and so on.
Regardless of whether your business is B2B or B2C, and regardless of what industry you’re in or what service you offer, you will need a content marketing program. And the most innovative programs will be those that exploit new mobile technology as it arrives.