Were you satisfied with your content marketing results in 2014?
Want to improve your investment plans in the second half of this year?
Experts and industry leaders predicted 2015 would be a big year for content marketing. Now that we have surpassed the mid-year hump, it’s time to see if these predictions have come true. If you’re interested in seeing whether your content marketing strategy aligns with their predictions, here is a list of some of the top predicted trends this year.
1. Content marketing to dominate marketing budget
Given its rising popularity, it’s important for companies to invest more capital in content marketing. More money leads to higher-quality content and the higher the quality, the more likely you are to stand out from your competitors.
Forbes states in its article Top 7 Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2015 58% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets this year. Similarly, 2015 B2C Content Marketing Trends – North America notes 59% of B2C marketers also plan to increase their budgets.
So far this prediction has proven accurate, with content marketing becoming the most commercially important trend of 2015. Traditional marketing budgets are now being relocated to content marketing efforts, meaning increased funds for the creation of diverse types of content.
2. Distribution is key to success
While most businesses understand production is at the foundation of a content marketing strategy, they still face challenges when it comes to the distribution of that content. According to Altimeter, only 26% of marketers invest in content distribution, even though more than half believe they need to. As GE’s VP of Branding and Communications Emma Rugge-Price says,
“Distribution shouldn’t be an afterthought. A strong distribution strategy will go a long way in ensuring your content reaches your audience and is impactful beyond the short-term.”
Forbes predicted 2015 would be the year when content distribution would come to the forefront. So far this is proving true. Smart marketers understand strategic distribution ensures content reaches the target market. This is done through optimising search and mobile, building relationships with branded publications, and reaching out to influencers in the field. It also includes paid advertising and pursuing a hybrid distribution model leveraging existing platforms while simultaneously nurturing your own.
3. The demise of medium-sized content
Last year Contently VP Sam Slaughter coined the term ‘snackable content’ to describe the buzz around short-form content in today’s social media society. While short content formats don’t appear to be going anywhere with a 95% preference amongst B2B buyers in a 2014 Content Strategies survey, the same cannot be said about another format. Slaughter and other industry leaders have predicted 2015 will see the end of medium-sized content in favour of lengthy, in-depth content.
Paranjay Singh notes one of the main reasons is for SEO purposes, with Google favouring longer posts on its front page. However, long-form content also improves engagement as it provides readers the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the content and choose the information relevant to them. Marketers who employ this tactic in 2015 were predicted to see greater results with their clients, who associate their positive experience to the brand.
It appears many brands are still hesitant to invest time and money to create long-form content over the more trendy short-form. With companies such as GE leading the way, hopefully more marketers will step out of their short-form comfort zones and embrace the long game too.
4. The rise of visual storytelling and mobile
In 2014, Buzzfeed predicted that video and mobile would be the two factors most likely to control the future of branded content. Edison Research VP Tom Webster says of mobile,
“The continual removal of barriers between message and action that mobile gives us will begin to restore the balance of the Force for attribution.”
In regards to video, in the Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 70% of respondents said they planned to increase their use of original visual assets in the next year. With video content in B2B marketing increasing by 8% to 58% last year, there is a great opportunity for marketers to leverage visual content in 2015.
And that is exactly what they’ve done, with brands aware more than ever of the opportunities visual storytelling presents them. It’s a powerful tool to connect, inspire and engage consumers longer and faster.
Many different experts and industry leaders have weighed in on the discussion. Some predicted trends have jetted off into 2015, while some have yet to take flight. If there is one trend we can all agree has proven true, it’s content marketing will only continue to increase in importance and impact.
Were these trends accurate of your own content marketing strategy? To keep your business in the loop with the latest content marketing trends, contact us at Lush – The Content Agency.
By Brendan Lobo
Image credit: ‘performers on the Mile 1051’ by byronv2 on Flickr.com