Social Media and Content Marketing Trends for 2013
Consumers want information! They want to feel in control and make their own decisions. This means that companies need to provide people with valuable content to build trust instead of marketing hype. Content marketing has been a growing trend for several years and it’s not going away. Following are the major trends in content marketing for 2013 and beyond.
Case studies are one of the growing areas of content marketing. Case studies are specially important for complex products and services. Case studies help people understand what problem does a product or service solve and let’s them come to an understanding that “this is exactly what I need”.
White papers and e-books are the second important tactic to use in content marketing. White papers work mostly in the B2B content marketing sector. E-books and videos fill similar niche of market education for B2C content marketing. This content aims to provide answer questions how to get most out of the product or service. Create content that buyers need to feel comfortable about their purchase decisions and provide stories from existing customers.
Business blogging has become so mainstream that it hardly needs mentioning but it will continue to be the foundation of all content marketing activities. Blog is the hub that combines all your content from plain text posts to interactive e-books and courses. This hub is your link magnet and getting links to content stored on your blog is one of the most effective tactics for some time to come. Why Businesses Need to Blog?
Storytelling becomes more important. The reason for this is that when content marketing matures and the volume of available content explodes then great stories get the edge. Write about personal experience and spice theory up with real life examples and you’ll get content that people want to read and share.
Content marketing budgets increase. In B2B sector marketing budgets will move from other areas to content marketing as it proves to be a more effective tool. Content marketing will generate results long after the initial investments are made. This may create a situation where marketing budgets decrease as money spent on in-house content marketing will be payroll expense.
Creating enough content will be the greatest challenge for content marketing. As the need for quality, originality and storytelling increases marketers are hard pressed to come up with enough new content. This may lead to more content creation being outsourced as in-house resources become exhausted or do not meet the quality standard.
Social media will be the most popular channel to distribute the content. Channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others work best for the content that make people want to share what they have found. Store the content on your self hosted blog and distribute it through social networks.
Top goals for content marketing will be sales and retention. B2B content marketing is more oriented towards generating leads and sales. In the case of B2C brands the goals are retention and creating word of mouth.
Measuring results gets more important and more real. Most content marketers continue to use traffic as a measurement criteria. However, growing numbers of marketers turn more tangible results like sales and leads.
Create once use everywhere! Marketers will use more formats, tactics and channels to distribute their content trying to maximize the value they get from each piece of content. Using a content distribution strategy like Social Media Bomb will stretch a single piece of content over a long period of time. Similarly, refurbishing old content and finding periodically repeatable topics will lighten your content creation load.
Content use on mobile devices is exploding. Making your content mobile-friendly will give you an edge over you more old-fashioned competitors. Create mobile layouts for your blog and website, make them location aware if appropriate, add click to call. Make sure your e-books, case studies, videos and other content is usable on mobiles. Hint: try to read a letter sized PDF on your smartphone. [MOBILE LAYOUT LINK]
Content curation as an alternative or addition to actually creating your own content. Marketers who lack the resources to create continuous stream of original and engaging content turn to curation. Collecting important pieces of valuable content and distributing it through your own social media channels or newsletters. You will lose the value of people visiting your site for the content but you will get the image of “being in the know”. The best strategy would be to find a balanced mix of your own material with curated content from partner and even competitors.
Video content will grow. It’s easier than ever to create video content but it’s still under used compared to video consumption by the consumer. When we have asked different audiences what kind of content they would like to have video is an overwhelming winner every time. Tip: create easy to follow videos (max 2 minutes) long to engage people and make them take next step or share your content. For longer videos you need really compelling content to make people sit through you 10-30 minute production.
Infographics are one of the fastest growing content format. Infographics have visual appeal and easily digestible information that makes them fun to consume and easy to share. At the same time infographics are relatively easy to create as the main effort goes into graphic design and the research part is modest compared to other forms of content. Infographic: The Content Grid: Content Marketing in a Blink
Shortening attention span. Short videos and infographics point in the direction of ever increasing information overload. Short concentrated pieces of content should be used to engage audiences in the initial stages of interaction. This will lead them to more demanding content and ultimately to converting to leads and customers.
Targeting content to buyer personas. Understanding the motivation of potential customers will help you create stories that connect and engage. Interview your target audiences and find out why they buy. Targeting content will get you a lot more results form the same budget.
In 2012 every dollar spent on email is projected to bring in $39.40 — US Direct Marketing Association
Email. The most effective marketing channel. Whatever the goals of your marketing strategy one of the most important step is to get the permission of the potential buyer to continue the dialog. This way you can influence them during their path to conversion. Use all tools available to build an opt-in house list of prospects and then convert them. 20 Tips to Grow Your Mailing List.
Let us know in the comments how content marketing will evolve in 2013.