2012 has been a huge year for content marketing. Brands are finally starting to catch up with their media-savvy and knowledge-hungry customers, becoming online publishers and engaging through content marketing. According to a recent Content Marketing Institute report, 86 per cent of North American B2C marketers are now utilising content marketing.
Reflecting on such an explosive year for the industry, we’ve asked our team to share their content marketing predictions for the coming year.
Craig Hodges – CEO
If we were to rewind 12 months, the landscape has moved substantially from a perspective of spend and knowledge of content marketing. The merging of social, search and content has been strengthened by Google’s tightening of low-quality content and dodgy SEO tactics.
Moving forward, I suspect it will be more of the same. Brands will continue to develop their owned assets with an “always on” mentality of continually maintaining their messaging and content. We’ll see quality journalism jumping the fences to brands as media organisations continue to blame them for their lack of business model.
Finally we’ll see the range of content becoming more diversified with the growth of visual content. I’m also tipping that Hong Kong and Singapore will be the hotbeds of content marketing in the region next year – you heard it here first!
Tracy Fitzgerald – Senior Content Strategist
When any technology or new form of media arises, it comes with a cloud of mystery. Take web development for example – 10 years ago a business owner couldn’t get a website built without being bamboozled by coding jargon. When content marketing arose, the mystery was less around what it was and more about how owned assets could realistically be maintained.
Brands were aware that if they jumped into content marketing, they would need to formulate an ongoing plan of attack, yet most didn’t have the resources. 2012 has seen a rise of brands bringing in content producers and working alongside agencies on strategy and production. In 2013 I see this as being an absolute given for big businesses. Content will be an integral part of all internal marketing and it will be an essential way to engage with consumers online.
The upside of this, however, is that while the need to form a branded content strategy will become extremely apparent, the rise in low-cost mobile and video technology will open up opportunities that were not available even a couple of years ago.
We are all becoming content producers, whether we like to or not. With high-street technology becoming more and more professional by the day, 2013 will be less about how much content we can produce and more around the strategy behind how we achieve clearly defined marketing goals.
Elmo Stoop – Key Account Manager
If we relate content marketing to a life stage, we can say that 2012 was the year that content marketing graduated from university and now needs to find its own feet. As marketers we have had three years now of learning the ins and outs of content marketing. The time has now come to use that knowledge and take the next step.
Innovation – as more and more brands begin to implement successful content marketing strategies, how will they begin to differentiate themselves and stand out from the crowd? This can only be done through innovative strategies and new platforms to engage customers. 2013 is the year this will happen!
Aidan Sheerin – SEO Manager
I think next year will see an overall increase in a) the use of Google+ and b) the weight Google puts on its use to aid in search results. This will mostly affect large brands using Google+ business pages. So if you want to be prepared for the uptake of Google+, it’s important to make sure you’re using Google authorship on your website or personal profile.
Something that has had a bit of a second wind this year is guest blogging. This is basically curating content that is used on other similar niche blogs in order to gain links from the host site. I can see this being less effective at the end of 2013.
Michael Buckley – Advisor
The biggest change I see next year is again in the owned space. Brands will focus on customer experience with the aim of increasing the conversion rate. A statistic from Econsultancy on Dec 10 showed that 40 per cent of shoppers would spend more if offered a better customer experience.
Marketers have become very smart at acquiring customers online and providing great sales experience through checkout, but there is arguably a big job for most marketers to create a much better customer experience, focus on great content and therefore increase sales to existing customers.
Brands are therefore becoming – and going to become – publishers. It is also not hard to see that the search engines are also becoming publishers. Google has purchased Zagat and Frommer’s in the past 12 months. Newspapers might be struggling to make a profit and letting go of journalists, but a journalist that can write great content will be a marketer’s best investment in 2013. Bring on owned media.
Todd Pendergast – Social Media Community Manager
Justin Timberlake and Specific Media have bought MySpace and redesigned it, and it is ready to relaunch really soon. It looks all super creative-like with fancy ways to view and share photos and videos and to listen to music, and with a super-exciting promo video getting a lot of people hyped up for the go date.
MySpace, I predict, will cause some huge ripples in the online social-verse, with a fair chunk of the Facebook audience going across (and in many cases, back) to MySpace. Businesses will instantly want to capture the attention of these migrators and will scramble (with very differing results) to decipher the best way to tempt people into following their business.[cf]tracking[/cf]