2013 will probably go down as the year that content marketing really started its hockey stick trajectory. Content marketing became part of the marketing mainstream as brands and publications alike utilized it to strengthen their overall marketing strategies.
The importance placed on content marketing and the momentum the strategy gained in 2013 should continue to grow in 2014. But in order for that to happen, it is important to make sure the lessons of the past year are heeded.
Here are 5 trends from 2013 to help you build your content marketing plan and strategy in 2014:
1. Curation is necessary
The most common frustration I hear from content marketers is that it’s difficult to constantly come up with new content while maintaining a high level of quality. Content curation, i.e. collecting or sharing content in a strategic manner, solves that challenge.
2013 saw a rise in popularity of content curation tools, such as Curata, Storify, Pearltrees. This trend will only continue in 2014, as more companies look to save time, while still delivering top quality content.
2. Build a content mix
You cannot expect to achieve success with one type of content. Implementing several types of content will help you appeal to a larger audience, as well as various segments within your target audience.
Both Vine and Instagram Video were introduced in 2013 and you can bet new content tools will be unveiled this upcoming year. Continue to add new tools to your content toolbox to help keep your content fresh and appealing to your audience.
3. Quality trumps quantity
Despite the increased access to content curation tools, please do not pump out content simply for the sake of frequency. Not only did search engines get smarter in 2013 (read: Google’s Penguin Update), but consumers did as well. You run a serious risk of losing your audience if your content does not have real, tangible value.
Less frequent posts that deliver real value will generate more overall engagement than numerous haphazard posts. In 2014, remember: quality over quantity.
4. Headlines matter
One downside in the rise of content marketing is that there is quite simply a lot more branded content today than there was a year ago, so it’s more difficult for your content to stand out. I just finished saying quality trumps quality, but that quality is irrelevant if you can’t get your audience’s attention.
Catchy and creative headlines are critical to get readers interested in your content. I see this on a regular basis with News360’s branded content clients– when a story has lower engagement results than other content, I can almost always point to a corresponding headline that is downright boring to readers. A good headline will boost your SEO as well.
5. Utilize social media
Content marketing wasn’t the only tool that had a blockbuster year. Social media influenced events and campaigns like never before. By not utilizing social media, you will miss a huge opportunity to have your content reach its true potential.
Figure out the social channels that have captured your target audience and make them part of your mix. And please don’t be lazy… don’t just treat all social channels the same! Experiment to find which type of content works best on each platform and don’t just put the same content everywhere.
Bonus trend: Content Marketing World – it’s quickly become the event on the content marketing calendar. Don’t miss it!
(Image via: chrislema.com)