The past year brought significant change to the world of content marketing, and 2014 is poised to be yet another year of advancements. A recent report from Content Marketing Institute highlighting 50 Content Marketing Predictions for 2014 includes projections about the evolution of content strategies, increased emphasis on content analytics, and an upward trend in short-form content just to name a few.
Here are five of our favorite expert predictions about the future of content marketing in 2014 and beyond.
#1. Content will drive sales success.
Jill Rowley (@Jill_rowley), social selling and social business evangelist for Oracle, writes that successful sales professionals will be content connoisseurs:
“Content becomes the currency of the Modern Sales professional. Sales people will use content to be part of the buyer’s learning party (57% of the buying process is done prior to engaging Sales). The modern sales professional is a content connoisseur and an information concierge with a strong personal brand.”
Our take: Quality content has certainly become critical to all phases of sales enablement, from onboarding and training to prospecting and customer communications. But for those efforts to be successful, that content also needs to be easily accessible and organized, and aligned with the conversations reps have with prospects and customers.
#2. Increasing content reach becomes a key area of focus.
Joe Chernov (@jchernov), VP of Content at HubSpot, expects an increased emphasis on smart content distribution:
“The ‘distribution’ slice of the content marketing pie will grow in 2014. As brands begin to create a surfeit of content, the meritocracy (if one even exists) will shift from the ‘best’ content to the smartest distribution. Solutions designed to increase content reach will rise in popularity.”
Our take: Marketers are always looking for new ways extend the reach of their content, and a shift in focus from content creation to distribution makes sense. In addition to new solutions for content sharing, more organizations could also look internally to get more people involved in the process. Salespeople in particular will likely look to further develop their social selling skills, while improving their presence on key social channels like LinkedIn and Twitter.
#3. Analytics become an even more essential piece of the content puzzle.
Andrea Bridges-Smith (@abridgessmith), Content Marketing Manager for Spanning, predicts that as content becomes more shareable, marketers will turn to tools that offer detailed analytics:
“New visual and video tools will make it easier for marketers to create easily viewable content, and social plugins will make it possible to share across multiple channels at once. To really win though, these tools will need to provide detailed analytics.”
Our take: “Big data” was a major buzzword in 2013, but interest in using analytics to make better business decisions is nothing new (and obviously isn’t going away). Video content analytics in particular can provide tons of valuable insight into the behavior, needs and interests of target audiences – something more companies should look to take advantage of in 2014.
#4. Marketers seek to tie content to business results.
Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer), PR 20/20 CEO, writes that marketers will work to identify how and which content produces the best results:
“Content marketers will become more adept at marketing automation and analytics, enhancing their ability to maximize performance and connect content campaigns to business results.”
Our take: Identifying the true ROI of content marketing is hardly a new challenge, but again, marketers today are more sophisticated in drawing the connection between the resources they create and the business benefits they provide. It’s also likely that content goals will continue to spill into sales enablement, with more focus being placed on the ways sales can use content to drive business.
#5. Short, targeted content assets will eclipse long form content in priority.
Melissa Change @mchang16, President and CEO for PureB2B, expects to see greater focus on creating multiple pieces of short-form content rather than a single lengthy report:
“Marketers will begin to be smarter about creating one body of content and distributing it in a variety of short, easily digestible formats. The research, preparation and effort that goes into writing one 16-page white paper will be re-directed into short-form videos, infographics, blog posts, LinkedIn updates, executive quotes, survey snippets and shorter form information bits.”
Our take: As audiences continue to broaden thanks to the flexibility of online marketing, it’s more important than ever that information, data, and messaging be distributed in a variety of content formats. Repurposing is the key, as one resource can be turned into multiple smaller assets for maximum impact. This type of content is also perfect for reaching the growing mobile audience.What are your predictions for the future of content marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!