Your 2015 Content Marketing Bible
Whether you’re B2B or B2C, the success of your marketing in the New Year pretty much hinges on getting a handle on 2015’s content marketing trends. The first step to doing this involves taking a look at this year’s trends and examining how they have and how they are going to evolve to shape the future of content marketing.
Thankfully, the masterminds at the Content Marketing Institute have done a lot of the research for us and compiled a comprehensive report on upcoming trends. It’s a bit of a read, however, so we’ve done up a compact run-down of the report to give you a taste of what’s to come. Consider this your initial foray into the future, your ground zero, your 10 Commandments for understanding 2015 content marketing trends. Let’s go with that.
The 10 Commandments for Understanding Content Marketing Trends in 2015
Thou Shall Plan. Successful content marketing is built on a clearly identifiable framework, which is why making a plan is one of the big trends marketers are going to be focussing on next year. Planning pans out well even if your plan isn’t working; especially if your plan isn’t working. Hammering out a clarion plan allows you to look back on a floundering strategy to see exactly where it started to go wrong. There’s no second guessing. You know what you did and you can figure out how to fix it. Of course, things could take off, no hiccups, no problems. The point is that laying out a plan creates clarity and accountability.
A large part of your plan should include the commitment to regularly track your ROI to ensure you’re strategy is doing what you want it to do. As it stands, only a small fraction (21% to be exact) of B2B marketers believe they successfully tracked their ROI this past year. The 62% of marketers who did monitor their ROI, however, say their content marketing plan was successful.
Thou Shall Not Exclude. The rock stars of the marketing world are not the solipsistic Don Drapers of Mad Men. Real marketing geniuses have a ton of back up, and not all these people are from the marketing department. Behind every truly successful marketer is a surprising lack of ego. These people dip into the talent pool in their own company. Just consider this: 63% of the best marketers have invested in a dedicated team to help them build a solid spread of content. This doesn’t just include content strategists, but technical engineers, graphic designers and account coordinators as well.
Thou Shall Seek Professional Help. It seems counter-intuitive, but even though content marketing is more important than ever, many B2B marketers report having trouble finding experienced content marketing pros. While 86% of marketers use content marketing, one of the biggest challenges facing content marketers is their ability to consistently create and distribute quality, engaging content. This can pose a problem for brands that want to stand out, especially since the arena is becoming even more saturated. In fact, 70% of online marketers say they’ve raised the bar and are churning out more content than last year.
Thou Shall Get Social. It should probably come as no surprise that social media is one of the best content marketing tools out there. In fact, using social media (as a tool) is one of the most important content marketing trends in 2015. 92% of marketers use social media – and we’re not just talking about the ‘big’ platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Savvy marketers utilize an average of six social platforms to get their messages across, notably LinkedIn, which is not only the most popular, but as the all-mighty report reveals, it’s also the best avenue for B2B marketers.
And don’t forget Google Plus 😉
PRO TIP: The written word is important, but it’s not gospel. Video is gaining serious momentum as a killer strategy and it tops our list as one of the major social content marketing trends to prepare for in 2015.
Thou Shall Not Be an Office Potato. Get out of the office and meet new people. 77% of successful content marketers pimp their brands at in-person events and 69% of marketers say live events are one of the top five most effective B2B marketing tactics.
Thou Shall Not Be Stingy. The world of content marketing is incredibly competitive, and you’re going to have to pay to play. Recommendations, likes and shares are great, but they’re not enough. 80% of marketers pay for at least one method of advertising. You don’t have to blow your bottom line, but a little paid advertising can (and will) go a long way.
Search engine marketing tops the list of preferred (read: effective) paid advertising channels, with 58% of marketing professionals using this method. Print comes in next (52%), followed by online banner ads (49%) and then social ads (48%). No one wants to spend more money if they don’t have to, but if done wisely, it will pay off. (This is probably why over 50% of content marketers are going to increase their budget this coming year.)
Thou Shall Get Graphic. Really graphic. Infographics have proven to be indisputably popular, and as such, they’ve seen the biggest increase in use (51% in 2013 to 62% in 2014). As far as content marketing trends go, infographics are one bandwagon you’re going to want to jump on.
Thou Shall Blog. Here’s the thing: everyone can blog, and sometimes it seems like everyone does, but not everyone can blog well. In fact, even being a good writer is not enough to secure a solid ranking for your blog. (Average bloggers can get as few as 60 views per day and can attract as little as 280 subscribers.) Blogging is an important content marketing tactic. In fact, 60% of marketing professionals use it to attract and engage an audience with quality, informative and relevant articles.
Thou Shall Broadcast. If you don’t like putting your face out there, you’re going to want to find someone who does. Putting a face to a brand not only increases brand recognition, but also brand trust. This is why 64% of successful marketers use the in-your-face, personal appeal of webinars, podcasts and webcasts to promote their brand, making them a highly effective tactic and one of next year’s big content marketing trends.
Thou Shall Get Organized. The experts have spoken and the big organizational goals for B2B and B2C marketers in 2015 are (in order of priority) brand awareness, lead generation, engagement and lead nurturing. Adhering to this last commandment should be fairly simple if you manage to master the first nine, but you should keep it in mind at all times to remind you of why you are fighting the good fight.
You’ll probably have noticed a trend in the trends – namely, the marked move towards planning; detailed, documented, actionable planning. This is where it all starts. You’ve already taken the first step in formulating your plan by reading this, but now you need to move forward and prepare your brand for the upcoming year.