What will happen to content marketing in 2015? While I don’t have a crystal ball on hand, there are a few basic assumptions that can be made, based on the current industry trends (and on what some of content marketing’s top experts have said recently).
First and foremost, gone will be the days of content creation simply for creation’s sake. Consumers are becoming more and more savvy, particularly when it comes to blocking out the ever-growing landslide of white noise that the internet has become. Consumers are more than happy to cherry pick their favourite bits and pieces from their preferred brands, taking what they need, and leaving behind the mass-produced, low-quality content that still abounds.
So, this year, we may even see companies and brands creating less content, but actually doing more with it. Using it better, using it smarter. Repurposing the same content for multiple uses, across multiple platforms, to target multiple audiences. We might see companies and brands spending more time on creating innovative, thought-provoking content, rather than just churning out drivel. And then, once this brilliant content is created, even more time will go into its promotion, its amplification, its optimisation. Social media channels, and direct content delivery mechanisms (such as email) will not loose their shine in 2015.
The only problem is, with the social media networks continuing to monetise their own platforms, amplification (particularly amplification with cut-through) may become more expensive in 2015. Marketing managers may find that they have to spend some of their budgets on paid promotions on the social media networks.
The production of high quality content will come, in part, from large corporates and companies that operate in the B2B sectors. While B2C companies have long understood the value of content marketing, B2B companies have lagged behind somewhat. No more. 2015 will see the B2B sector embrace the content marketing methodology, making more of their previously for sale content available for free (or for data such as contact details). They will come to understand the new and improved sales funnels in our increasingly digital world, and recognise that while they are selling to other companies, it is really the people working for these companies that they need to impress.
With more widespread adoption of content marketing by the corporate sphere, we will see content marketing budgets swell, perhaps even to challenge the budgets of advertising and more traditional marketing tools. The industry expects that two-thirds of marketing managers will have bigger budgets in 2015.
But, where and how will these budgets be allocated?
It is expected that this newfound funding will be poured into two main areas (apart from content creation and new content marketing team members): marketing technology, and tracking and metrics.
Technology led marketing will become common place this year, as the role of the marketing manager fuses more and more with that of the marketing technologist. With increased budgets, marketing teams will need to show results. They will need to show a greater number of leads, a more streamlined pathway through the sales funnel, and, above all, conversions. To achieve this as efficiently as possible, marketers will need to use technology, software platforms, and apps designed specifically for lead generation and nurturing. Marketing technology will simplify the content marketing process in 2015.
For the marketing managers of the world to prove the worth of their increased content marketing budgets, tracking and metrics will be focused upon like never before. There are literally hundreds of content marketing tracking tools available (some free, and countless paid), all of which will be used much more frequently this year.
And, for those brands and companies that were early adopters of content marketing, 2015 will be the year to regroup, to revise content marketing strategies, to try a new and improved plan of attack. This will only serve to increase the gulf between the early adopters and those companies that were late to the party. It will become increasingly obvious of how, and where, marketing budgets are being spent.
2015 is the year to make sure that all your content marketing efforts are mobile friendly. The number of mobile searches is expected to outstrip desktop searches for the first time this year. More people will access the internet through their phone or tablet than their desktop. That’s why Google changed the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) back in March 2014; mobile friendly websites now get top billing. That means all of your content must display correctly on a mobile device. This year might even see content created specifically for mobile devices, with desktops computers secondary in importance.
Content will continue to influence Search Engine Optimisation tactics this year. While keywords, anchor text, internal linking and meta tags still count, the value of creating unique content on a regular basis is simply undeniable. It is a fairly straightforward equation: the more unique content you create, the better your website will rank. Google does not like static websites. It prefers regularly changing websites, websites that offer new content for crawling at each visit. Plus, by creating engaging, informative, interesting content, it keeps people on your site for longer periods of time (long visits are also a positive sign to Google, and will help your site’s search engine rankings).
Content marketing will finally come into its own in 2015. Content marketing will become synonymous with marketing. After all, can marketing in our digital age really exist without content?
So…don’t just stand there…get moving on your content marketing strategy today.