Content marketing, the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage readers, users and customers, became a “do or die” for online marketers in 2012. As audiences began to join more niche networks and demand a higher level of interaction with brands online, creating relevant and valuable content that could be shared and consumed across multiple platforms became the number one objective for brands and businesses.
As we head into the New Year, we can expect to see new content marketing trends emerge – creating an even more dynamic online marketplace. To keep ahead of the game (and our content timely and sharable!) we scoured the web for the thoughts of content marketing’s key influencers and industry greats to bring you the top 10 content marketing trends to watch in 2013.
In both 2010 and 2011, content marketers used an average of eight tactics to reach their target audience. However, in 2012 the average number of tactics employed by content marketers increased to 12 and the experts at Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs only foresee that number going up, with mobile content, video, research reports, and virtual conferences seeing the largest increases.
Like any good relationship, customer-brand online relationships are built on trust. To build trust and loyalty, the social media marketing experts at D Custom say brands will need to focus on smaller stories within their overall content strategy to show value to the customer right up front. Today’s online consumers are inundated with marketing messages and advertising ploys, so can you blame them for being skeptical of branded content? To avoid the spam box, think customer stories and case studies.
3. Increased Budgets
Budget cuts? Not when it comes to content marketing! On average in 2012, 33% of a company’s marketing budget was spent on content marketing (an increase of 7% from 2011) and this year spending is still on the rise. In fact, more than half of all content marketers say their budgets will increase over the next 12 months according to a recent survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
Games aren’t just for kids anymore. According to content strategy experts at D Custom, content marketers are using gamification to create sticky content customers want to engage with. As audiences become more jaded by Internet marketing and need greater incentive to interact with brand online, creative content strategy that provides entertainment, reward and learning qualities will prove to be a vital differentiator.
No matter what industry you’re in, each member of your organization has a role and a set of qualities that are needed to make operations run smoothly and stay ahead of the competition – and each member is a content strategy resource waiting to be tapped. Last year content marketers looked to guest bloggers, thought leaders and collaboration with research firms for content creation, but the marketing pros at Hannon Hill say in 2013 we will begin to see a rise in cross-departmental collaboration. So next time you need an article highlighting how your company’s software is changing the face of your industry be sure to ask an engineer for help!
6. Community-Driven Content
Content marketers produce different types of content creation strategies for a number of reasons, one of which is to address the pain points of customers. Now with near real-time conversations via social media, article comments and forums, it’s easier than ever to know what tough questions need answering. As the demand for interactive, timely and ever-evolving content strategy is on the rise, this year D Custom predicts we’ll see more content marketers taking cues from customers when it comes to drafting their 2013 editorial calendar.
7. More Social Media!
Social networks are expanding by the number of users, as well as the number of individual sites, faster than most can keep up with. In 2012 alone we were to witness some staggering milestones – the total number of people using social networks had increased a whopping 13% in a short six months from late 2011 to mid-2012 and we saw the sky rocketing success of super-social network, Pinterest, which became fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark! According to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, social media will continue to play a vital role in content marketing strategies and act as an invaluable vehicle for content distribution as the demand for real-time content increases among audiences.
8. New Roles Emerge
Content Strategist, Data Scientist, Social Business Manager… does your business have one? If not, clear off the desk next to you and make some room in the company fridge because these new positions will be opening up in marketing departments around the globe. As the need to fill the gap between companies and online consumers grows, B2B Marketing Insider predicts more specialized roles centered around content creation, consumer relations and online marketing will continue to emerge.
9. Employee Branding
Who better to promote your company, product or service online than those who know it best – your employees! Although some corporations are weary of employees expressing connection with their organization online for fear of negative comments and unfavorable brand image, the experts at Blue Focus Marketing say employee branding is poised to be a big player in the social arena this year. Many times employee enthusiasm and loyalty to their company is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered, but to keep your company out of the tabloids in 2013, be sure to first establish guidelines highlighting a few simple do’s and don’ts for social sharing.
10. A New Breed of Predictive Analytics
And what do we think 2013 will do for content marketing? Here’s a quote from InboundWriter CEO, Skip Besthoff:
“For content marketing, 2013 will bring significant advancements in automation and intelligence. New applications will greatly improve the efficiency of creating original content, and a new breed of predictive analytics will emerge to provide publishers deep insights to make their content perform on the web. These innovations will significantly improve the ROI and success of content marketing programs.”
So, is your content marketing team ready to take on 2013? Share your thoughts and content marketing predictions for the year ahead with us on our social networks — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+. We wish you all a happy and successful 2013!
(Image sources: creativecommons.org)