Content marketing has been slowly maturing over the last few years. In 2015, that progression will continue with some changes thrown into the mix. Marketers are gearing up for new content marketing strategies in the coming months, according to a study from Smart Insights. Respondents ranked content marketing as the most important commercial marketing trend of 2015—beating out mobile, social media, big data, and automation.
New technology and user habits will change how content is created, delivered, and distributed. Of those changes, a few stand out as likely having a major impact on the majority of marketers in 2015:
1. Mobile moves to the forefront
A focus on mobile will make any list about marketing this year, as time spent on mobile devices passed desktop for the first time in 2014. The increase in mobile use means marketers need to develop content that works on smaller screens and mobile connections. Beyond the basics of ensuring sites are mobile responsive and that content is easy to see, marketers should be thinking mobile-first—not the other way around.
The biggest advantage mobile has brought to content marketing is the increase in user-generated content. With a high-quality camera in people’s pockets at all times, mobile users are creating content that brands can leverage for their own campaigns. In just moments, users could be uploading a photo of a product, brand, or event to share with the world. Smart marketers will engage fans to do the leg work for them—a task that many mobile users are happy to do because it involves a real connection.
2. New technology offers new opportunities
Content marketing will see advancement from new technology in 2015, as the new innovations will open up avenues to create interactive content. One example is the introduction of 3D product modeling. The technology has elevated the act of product demos to a new level by providing an interactive element that doesn’t require a physical model of the product. Brands will certainly be using 3D product modeling in 2015 and in the future as a cost-effective and interesting way to show off product capabilities at trade shows, sales meetings, and public events.
Virtual reality could also be a game changer for content marketing in 2015. More brands are creating content for VR platforms, like the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift. As the technology continues to develop, marketers will find it easier and more beneficial to create content for VR platforms.
3. Video will continue to grow
Besides mobile, video could be the biggest focus of content marketing in 2015. Facebook’s video is exploding, while video-centric apps like Meerkat and Periscope are fighting it out for users’ attention. Video posts have even knocked out photo posts on Facebook in terms of engagement—a move that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
Marketers looking to ride the wave of video attention will need to take mobile into account. As described before, mobile is where people spend their time now. Video content that translates well to mobile will be the goal of many content marketers in the coming months. Visual content in general has already overtaken text-centric content in recent years, and 2015 will see video taking center stage. A well-produced video could replace traditional tactics like white papers and blogs as the go-to choice for content marketing.
4. Personalization will improve
Social media has created significant opportunities for content marketing measurement and distribution. That wealth of online data also allows for more precise targeting and personalization. Social media offers information like location, interests, behavior, and more that is useful for content marketers.
Another major change coming this year: Listening will become easier. Social sites are compiling data at rapid rates, and finding ways to assist—aka sell—the knowledge to content marketers is one of social’s many goals. Audiences are now also becoming accustomed to receiving personalized content. That expectation will raise the bar for marketers, creating a higher level of competition. It will no longer be enough to create a blanketed content marketing campaign for all audiences.