To quote Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi “content marketing currently sits at the head of the marketing table.” After a bumper year in which the use of content soared in both B2B and B2C marketing, what are the lessons for marketers going into 2013? We identified six key recurring themes that brand owners and their teams need to get to grips with, if they are to really push forward with their content marketing strategies this year.
Producing enough content remains the biggest challenge for marketers. Pulizzi says this is because one of the main mistakes companies make is to jump headlong into the process without knowing what they are doing or how to generate content. Many still talk about themselves, showing that they remain confused about the difference between content marketing and advertising.
He believes a stronger focus on strategy is finally coming to the fore, with marketers using tactics such as curation and repurposing with different media to help feed hungry content machines. Improved planning will also give companies better staying power. Given that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, this is lesson companies need to learn to benefit from it.
Mobile is Mandatory
It’s a mobile world, no question of that! Back in 2010, Gartner predicted that mobile users would outnumber PC users by 2013. Well, we’re here, and although statistics don’t support the prediction just yet, it’s clear from a recent Google study that mobile is becoming the preferred method of accessing the world wide web. With mobile users in first world countries just 5 percent behind PC users, its time for content marketing to be mobile-friendly or die. Since various surveys seem to indicate that only 33 percent of companies have mobile websites, marketers who want to succeed in the next 12 months need to take serious notice of this trend.
The creation of quality content is rapidly gaining recognition as a specialized field, and while marketers are using in-house teams more to generate ideas, they are outsourcing more of the actual production. This includes work such as:
- Content writing
- Podcast production
- Infographic design
- Social media management
These are no longer jobs for an intern with nothing else to do. Large companies are appointing content marketing agencies to do this work, while small businesses hire freelance writers by the hour or by the piece to create the materials they need.
It’s long been a trick in the PR industry to use current news and affairs as a “hook” for publicity, but in 2012 the publication of a book on the topic resulted in an increase in its use in content marketing. Not all marketers are getting it right yet, but this is definitely a theme we can expect to see lots of in the coming year.
How to do it? The secret is to align it with your brand in some way. Take the election, for example. It wasn’t a tech story, but the way people reacted to it on Twitter was and that it gave every digital marketer something to talk about.
For years marketers have enjoyed the fact that digital content marketing is largely free. Then along came search engine marketing, social media advertising and intuitive targeting. Suddenly, the word “free” no longer applies to small companies that want to play in the same sandbox as the large corporates. The latter are increasingly diverting more of their advertising budgets away from traditional media to spend on content, and all indications are that this trend is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
With the Internet becoming an extremely competitive environment, few players are likely to see results without allocating some adspend to disseminating their content. Although the use of social media to distribute content has also increased, sponsored Tweets and promoted Facebook statuses require a daily budget to really get seen.
More Agile Marketing
A new trend that began to emerge in 2012, agile marketing really just means tracking and monitoring of your content marketing efforts and adjusting your strategy based on the results. With platforms across the board offering increased and better statistics and reporting options, marketers have greater control over the results generated by their adspend. The intelligence gleaned from this opportunity means you can target your content even more closely than before, to ensure the results you want.
So, if you want your content marketing to succeed in the new year, it’s vital that you adapt to these key trends and make them yours. They're here to stay!