Content marketing is here to stay, but it continues to evolve as marketers discover new strategies to increase its effectiveness. There are several reasons for the rapid increase in content marketing, from improving search engine rankings to enhancing customer engagement. According to one recent study, content marketing increases B2B lead generation by 67%, reduces lead generation costs by half as compared with traditional outbound marketing, and boosts sales.
Given the range of options for improving their content marketing efforts, the challenge for marketers in 2014 is to make judicious and cost-effective choices in the ways they create and distribute content. Consider the five trends which will dominate those choices this year.
1. Marketers Will More Fully Embrace Mobile Content
Most marketers are aware of the need to adopt a comprehensive mobile content strategy, but many have not yet done so. According to one recent survey, almost half of marketers know that email subscribers open emails on smart phones, but about as many confess that they haven’t yet optimized their emails for mobile devices. This lag between theory and practice, especially considering the recent updates to Google’s algorithm, will push more content marketers to ensure that the content they create is mobile-friendly.
2. Expert Content Will Increase, As Will the Number of Companies Which Provide It
With marketing budgets tight, content marketers will be under increased pressure to link outcomes to specific pieces of content. To justify costs, it will be necessary to create content targeted at specific customer segments and tied to measurable results. This will direct more marketers to outsource content creation to writing experts employed by an increasing number of content creation firms.
3. Strategic Content Marketing Plans Will Become the Norm
More than half of B2B marketers are still without a formal content marketing plan, and 84% of content marketers who describe themselves as ineffective attribute their failure to the lack of such a plan. 2014 will witness a sharp increase in the creation of strategic content marketing plans, which include formal processes for establishing and measuring outcomes. This will effectively link content marketing and social media strategy.
4. Automated Content Will Be Used More Judiciously
Content creation is time-consuming, leading many marketers to opt for automated content. Marketers will continue to automate their content, but increasingly will discover that automation requires careful monitoring and massaging.
5. Differentiation will become mission-critical.
The cacophony of content is overwhelming our audiences. To truly engage and drive business results, marketers will have to create content experiences that are significantly differentiated and memorable. Usefulness, value and ‘infotainment’ aren’t optional.
What do you think? What trends did we miss?
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