Jan 19, 2015

What is Content Marketing? and How do you get Started?

The Content Marketing Institute, an online resource for information on all things content marketing related, defines content marketing thusly:

"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action."

The key word here is “valuable.” It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing. You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it. So was VW’s 2014 “Game Day” commercial, which has been viewed on YouTube almost 18 million times as of the writing of this post, an ad, or content marketing? The answer is it’s both, depending on how it’s received by each individual who is exposed to it. The same will apply to any piece of content marketing you create, depending on whether the recipient received value from it or not. Of course the goal is to provide as much value from your content marketing to as much of your target audience as possible. At this point, despite this definition and explanation, you’re probably still wondering what exactly content marketing is. We can get more clarity by considering a few examples.



Five Content Marketing Examples

There are as many types of content marketing as there are types of content–far too many to cover here. My intent is to give you an introduction to content marketing and get you thinking like a content marketer so you’ll see the opportunities all around you. Soon you’ll be coming up with 50 content marketing ideas every day. You won’t be able to stop seeing opportunities to create content. Here are five examples to help your mind start percolating.

Infographics. These are generally long, vertical graphics that include statistics, charts, graphs, and other information. If you need some examples, here are 197 infographics on the topic of content marketing curated by Michael Schmitz, head of Content Lab at Publicis, Munich. Infographics can be effective in that if one is good it can be passed around social media and posted on websites for years. You can get a professionally designed infographic by hiring a contractor on a site like oDesk or if you want to remove some of the risk you can go with a company like Visua.ly. A decent infographic will usually cost you at least $1,000 to have designed, but can cost several thousand dollars if you are hiring a contractor or agency to include strategy and planning, research, copywriting, and design. There is also the matter of promoting that infographic to bloggers and the media. Or you could set up a board on Pinterest and curate infographics on a topic related to your business. That is also a form of content marketing, and it costs nothing but your time. Hey, it worked for Michael.

Webpages. What’s the difference between a normal webpage and a webpage that is content marketing? Consider The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz, a provider of SEO related tools and resources. This resource, offered for free, has been viewed millions of times, bringing in countless customers who otherwise might never have stumbled across Moz and the services they offer. Or take a look at a case study from the design firm Teehan+Lax. Most case studies are boring. Their case studies are fascinating. That’s the difference between simply putting content on your website, and content marketing.

Podcasts. Michael Hyatt, author of the best-selling book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, practices what he preaches. His “This is Your Life” podcast is downloaded 250,000 times each month. As Hyatt elaborates on his blog post 4 Reasons You Should Consider Launching Your Own Podcast, “A podcast gives you visibility in a completely different world—primarily iTunes. I have had scores of new people say they had never heard of me until they stumbled onto me in iTunes.” Hyatt gives valuable information and advice in his podcast–all for free. But that podcast leads to more sales of his books, signups for his courses, and requests for him as a speaker.

Videos. Gary Vaynerchuk is a master of content marketing using online video, just take a look at his YouTube channel. He got his start creating videos to promote his family’s wine store and through those videos and other online marketing he eventually grew it to a $45M empire. Videos and podcasts are a largely untapped form of content marketing because people think it’s expensive and hard. But with the falling cost of professional grade equipment creating high quality video and audio content is easier than ever. Amateur video content marketing has been used to sell blenders, launch new dental products, and market Hong Kong visa consulting services. What video could you throw together for your company that might change your fortunes overnight? It might be easier than you think.

Books. Like movies, people often think of books as selling themselves, but savvy marketers don’t sell books just to sell books, they sell books as marketing tools. Michael Port’s sales manual Book Yourself Solid is a great read for entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers, and while I’m sure Port enjoys selling his book, the book is a tool for driving customers to his coaching and speaking services. Although with self-publishing it’s easier than ever to publish a book, there is still the perception that it’s difficult and that only reputable professionals can publish a business book. Publish your own, and even if people don’t read it you can still use it as a form of content marketing every time you’re introduced as “Author of…”

Those are just a few examples of content marketing. I could also have mentioned white papers, ebooks, apps, public speaking, presentations, and blogs. Entire books have been written on using each of these in content marketing efforts.

Why Content Marketing?

Perhaps more important than understand what content marketing is, is understanding why content marketing is important to your business. First we need to understand the four steps of the buying cycle:

Awareness. Prior to awareness a customer may have a need, but they are not aware there is a solution.

Research. Once a customer is aware there is a solution, they will perform research to educate themselves. For example, a car buyer will try to find out what different types of cars exist, and which one will fit their needs.

Consideration. At this point the customer starts comparing different products from different vendors to make sure they’re getting a high quality product at a fair price.

Buy. Finally, the customer makes their decision and moves forward with the transaction.

Traditional advertising and marketing is great when it comes to the second two steps. Content marketing taps into the first two stages of the buying process by raising awareness of solutions and educating consumers about a product they may have never considered before.

At my own company we’ve used content marketing to grow more than 1,000% over the past year. Potential client find our content, find value in it, and by the time they contact us they’re already convinced they want to work with us. We don’t have to engage in any high pressure sales tactics, it’s merely a matter of working out details, signing an agreement, and getting started. The trust that usually needs to be built up during an extensive sales cycle has already been created before we know the potential client exists.

The return on investment for content marketing can be phenomenal if executed correctly. We haven’t spent a dime on our own content marketing, or even that much time. 95% of the success we’ve experienced with content marketing can be traced to a handful of articles I’ve written, adding up to perhaps 20 hours of work.

Content marketing also provides additional benefits in that it supports other digital marketing channels. It provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines. In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.

How Do I Get Started?

There are many firms that offer content marketing services, often paired with SEO or PR. If you’re simply too busy to do it yourself and aren’t ready to manage it in-house, then hiring a firm may be your best option. But if you want to jump in and do your own content marketing the easiest way is to start blogging. It will likely be hard at first, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Following tips from websites like Copyblogger you’ll quickly learn how to craft content for your website or blog that will engage readers and turn them into customers or clients. But while technically good writing and the right headlines can help, it’s not the key to creating great content that is the best form of content marketing.

Great Content

If you’ve ever slogged your way through reading a piece of marketing and only finished reading because you had to, then you’ve experienced bad content marketing. When I speak to companies about content marketing I tell them that content is good if they genuinely want to read it. Content is great if they’re willing to pay to read it. If you want to see great examples of content, just look at what you’ve paid to read, watch, or listen to lately. If you watched The Lego Movie this year, you saw one of the greatest examples of content marketing to date. Oh, you thought they made that movie in order to sell movie tickets? Think again. That was a 100 minute toy commercial, and rather than using a DVR to skip it you paid good money to watch it. Is it any coincidence that Lego recently leapfrogged Mattel, the creators of Barbie, to become the largest toy company in the world? You may not have the budget to make a feature film to promote your company, but you can still give potential customers valuable information.

The #1 Secret of Content Marketing

Add value. That’s the secret. It’s not really a secret at all. We’ve already talked about it throughout this piece. Although when you look at some of the marketing companies engage in you wonder if they’re purposely avoiding the obvious. We skip advertising when it provides little to no value. If you want to learn about advertising that doesn’t get skipped, find a skateboarder and ask him if you can watch him look through a skateboard magazine. You’ll see that he spends as much time looking at the ads as he does looking at the articles and photos. Or check out The Berrics website. Much of the content is advertisements, but skaters don’t skip these videos, they watch them just like they watch the other videos, because they’re getting the value they want–good skating. As a skater I’d like to say skateboard companies pioneered content marketing decades ago, but I know they were only doing what came naturally, and selling more product was secondary to the fun of creating videos and magazines. If you want to hire someone onto your marketing team who understands content marketing intuitively, hiring a skateboarder might not be a bad step.

If you’re not sure how you can add value through content marketing, ask your existing customers what kind of content you can produce that would be helpful to them now, or would have been helpful to them when they were looking for your product or service. They’ll tell you.

How Can I Learn More?

Read Joe Pulizzi’s excellent book Epic Content Marketing. I started reading it after I wrote this post and it confirmed and expanded what I already knew about content marketing, with much more detail than I could ever go into here. Something Pulizzi emphasizes which I originally left out was the importance of focusing on producing mobile-friendly content, since smartphones are becoming the dominant way in which most of our customers access content. Also read Michael Hyatt’s Platform, mentioned above. Frequent websites like those of Content Marketing Institute, Ragan, Copyblogger, Michael Hyatt, and Gary Vaynerchuk and sign up for their email newsletters. It won’t take you long to become not just familiar with content marketing, but an expert.

Most companies are not doing real content marketing…yet. That’s why you’ll have an advantage if you jump in.

Source: Forbes

Jan 14, 2015

7 Lessons From Content Marketing Greatest Hits

Here's a closer look at some of the do’s and don’ts from content marketing’s greatest hits.

1. Don’t Skimp on Design

This may seem obvious, but if you want to be taken seriously by consumers, it’s important to make your content visually compelling. The folks at the General Electric Company have this down. There, issues of innovation and environment have been brought to life with the thoughtful design of their Ecomagination site. Sure, it’s the quality of the content that will keep your visitors coming back, but don’t underestimate the power of a slick, eye-catching site. Using a 16:9 ratio predispositions viewers to think of your site as premium, as does using high-quality images that take up the entire frame. In general the ratio of text to images has slowly been shifting in favor of the latter, with no more than five to six paragraphs of text per page. Magazine-quality content and photography from sale site, Mr. Porter, adheres to this rule nicely.

2. Do Make it Multimedia

This goes hand in hand with investing in design. Varying the type of content you use is essential to providing an engaging, well-rounded user experience that sucks people in and keeps them clicking for more. Fashion maven Tory Burch combines videos, slideshows, photos, and even playlists on her blog, which draws nearly 200,000 unique visitors per month.

3. Don’t Go for the Hard Sell

Although the ultimate purpose of all marketing is to drive sales, content marketing employs a more nuanced, indirect approach. The focus is on educating, entertaining, and delivering value to the consumer, rather than giving a hard pitch for your products or services. For a great example of this, look no further than Unilever’s The Adrenalist. The site’s content includes news and information on adventure, extreme sports, gear, and travel. It basically provides adrenaline junkies and adventurers with a place to convene online. Visitors will see plenty of Bear Grylls, former host of Man vs. Wild, but Degree for Men only makes a handful of appearances.

4. Do Strike a Balance

That balance should be between content that is professional and content that is generated by users. Now, there’s no doubt that enlisting professionals is key to any good content strategy, but incorporating the consumer voice is equally important. Both Kraft and General Mills have done a commendable job of getting readers involved by soliciting user recipes for their respective sites, KraftRecipes.com and Tablespoon.com. Productivity app maker, Evernote, also blends professional with community content through user-submitted tips and tricks on their blog.

5. Don’t Leave Any Dead Ends

When it comes to content marketing, the old adage about “leave ‘em wanting more” most definitely does not apply. The best time to engage your audience is when they’re already in content consumption mode, which is why every page on your site should offer plenty of links to further content. L’Oreal, which many folks don’t realize is behind beauty how-to site Makeup.com, is a master at this. A recent article on sunscreen featured links to videos, a “tip of the day” and trending stories along the left-hand navigation, as well as suggestions for further reading.

6. Do Make Sharing Easy

If you create great content, there’s a good chance that you’ll garner some fans along the way, which is why it’s so important to give them mechanisms to share that content with their friends. Check out a great example from the marketing automation experts at Marketo. Their blog puts Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +1 buttons on posts to encourage sharing. Another “Like” button and a Disqus link at the bottom of the post further enable readers to spread content beyond the bounds of the site, creating a ripple effect of influence.

7. Don’t Forget About Offline

A solid offline strategy can be one of the keys to bringing your online content to life, engaging your audience, and attracting new eyeballs. Red Bull has become an inimitable force in the field of content marketing and has blended online and offline marketing to become synonymous with extreme sports. In addition to a hugely popular website and magazine, Red Bull organizes sporting events from freestyle motocross, to extreme downhill sledding, to chariot racing. These offline events allow it to own the agenda, while engaging with their community in a very natural way.
Source: Mashable

10 Predictions for Content Marketing in 2015

If 2014 was the year content became the connective thread for all marketing, 2015 is poised to be the year that brands actually understand their audiences, and finally prove return on investment. As we enter 2015 in a more mature industry (58% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months), marketers will now focus on measuring their efforts with each individual consumer.
In order to prove ROI, marketers will need to shift from focusing on page views, to focusing on individuals. Brands will need to own long-term relationships with their audience, instead of creating a fleeting interaction. 2015 will be the year of ROI, but also the year that the power shifts, once and for all, to the consumer as people decide what content to engage with and share. Brands need to meet them at the right place with the right content, and should take note while there is still time to strategize.

1. Marketing will become people-focused

In 2015, marketers will gain a deeper understanding of their brand’s audience — going beyond traditional demographics and segmentation to focus on individual people’s interests and preferences. 2015 will be all about creating and delivering the right content, for the right person, at the right time, every time.

2. Big brands will focus intently on content governance

With so much content being created for so many channels, across markets for leading global brands, governance and compliance will become a greater priority and focus. If 2014 was all about creating content at scale, 2015 will see a marked intolerance for mistakes when it comes to content that is off-color or entering a gray area when it comes to compliance. This will particularly be true in industries like insurance and finance.

3. Feeds will force brands to invest in owned versus social

The words “social” and “mobile” were used over and over in 2014. 2015 will see the rise of more owned and offline channels. Brands will rebel against social algorithms continuing to push branded content from organic to paid, and instead, build off-platform content experiences and owned channels to grow their audience on their own terms.

4. Big brands and tech companies will battle over journalists

Journalists will be in high demand as big brands hunt for content editors, and tech platforms from Google to Twitter build out their own content marketing opportunities. You’ll be seeing a lot more requests for “data journalists” and “corporate storytellers” on LinkedIn, and may find yourself seeking out that talent as well.

5. Marketers will become growth engines for their businesses

Now that content marketing has proven it can drive engagement and audience growth, marketers will need to prove how they are increasing revenue. In the new year, marketers will be able to grow their businesses through content, and prove it. They will need to tie value to their content marketing strategy, and prove that the relationships they’re building add revenue over time.

6. The path to millennials will be individualism

Millennials are the independent generation; a generation of wolves, not sheep. Despite popular stereotypes of all millennials being lumped into a single demographic, in 2015, marketers will embrace their individuality. Marketers will start tailoring content to individual cultural interests, location, price ranges and more. This approach will be the only path for marketers to inspire true brand loyalty.

7. Content marketing providers will focus on solutions partners

As content marketing continues to become further aligned with business goals, market integrations will become invaluable. Brands will demand seamless solutions that make it frictionless to connect their content marketing efforts with their CRMs and ESPs. Technology providers will grow their partner ecosystem with exclusive contracts and look for new integration opportunities that will benefit clients.

8. Market consolidation will expand into content marketing

With major acquisitions in the marketing automation industry such as Responsys and Silverpop over the past year, market consolidation doesn’t look to be slowing down. Will content marketing platforms be the next targets for these legacy players looking to build out cross-channel solutions? Maybe. As workflow and editorial calendar products become standard and commoditized, and every content marketing platform starts to look the same, some smaller players in the space may get snatched up. As social and content platforms begin competing as well and marketplace confusion rises, real technology innovation will set apart the leaders and laggards as acquiring companies assess who could be additive or transformative in the long run.

9. Video will play a larger role in content strategy

With more social platforms adopting video and the need for engaging, user-generated content ever-increasing, brands will leverage platforms such as Vine and YouTube more to quickly create video content to reach their audiences in real-time.

10. Content exchanges will become a top priority

Again with so much content being created, global (as well as national) brands will need to create content exchanges. These aren't the digital asset management solutions of yesterday, but centralized platforms where brands can create, collaborate, share and publish content at scale. With these exchanges, marketers will finally be able to measure what content is performing and why.
Source: Mashable

Jan 9, 2015

Social Media Checklist for 2015

Once, clear on your marketing objectives and strategy, an easy solution for consistent implementation is to work with a checklist!
Sensible Social Media Checklist for Business v.3.0 [INFOGRAPHIC]
Source: Marismith

Jan 7, 2015

All About B2B Marketing Trends for 2015

1. Micro-targeting: It’s Time to Really Get to Know Your Customers

Put away your one-to-many playbook and dig deeper into customization and personalization strategies to find the small, yet potentially profitable subsets of your market and niche offerings. Touching these customers will require data parsing to create the kind of one-to-one conversations for successful micro targeting.
shutterstock_145072594

 Where to start: If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you won’t know what to say. Committing to buyer persona development lets you deep dive into needs, lifestyle, and motivations of your buyers. The work is well worth the ability to construct more relevant content strategies throughout the buying cycle, post-purchase efforts, and account-based marketing activities.

2. Paid Placements Are Here to Stay: Spend Your Money on the Right Content and Platform

As social networks and large publishers move away from earned media into paid media, B2B marketing teams will have to spend more time – and money – investing in paid or sponsored placements to engage hard-to-reach business consumers. Changes to the Facebook algorithm in late 2013 have already produced a 44 percent decline in non-sponsored brand content in users’ news feeds. LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Pinterest now offer sponsored content placements and ads that promise specific reach. The days of free reach are over. If you don’t pay, your followers very likely won’t see anything you’re doing in the social realm.
Where to start: Understand which digital properties are performing best for you. Build budgets and relationships around content placement, sponsorship opportunities, syndication services, and content recommendation platforms. As you grow investments, optimize the types of content you’re publishing. On social media, you may have to lose the cute pictures of the office dog or softball game trophy and cater to more educational content: short explainer videos, images from whitepapers and infographics that speak directly to your desired audience.
As always, pair posts with strong calls to action and supporting elements. For example, instead of publishing the whitepaper download link in the post, send interested users to a content landing page to extend the conversation. Crunch the data to determine which of your users will watch a video on Facebook but ignore it on LinkedIn, so you can get the right piece, in the right place, at the right time – without wasting ad dollars.

3. Mobile Will Dominate: Master It

Business users are consumers outside of work and expect the same types of integrated digital experiences that consumer brands like Coca Cola and Red Bull offer.
Your challenge is to create these digital experiences to fit the preferences and needs of your audience. For example, American Express and IBM have successfully walked the path of B2B omnichannel success with highly targeted digital properties that speak to very specific business users. And these efforts aren’t just flashy websites. They fold in mobile-optimized elements, offline activities and dynamic content offers and designs to round out the personalized digital experience.
In exploring omnichannel marketing, B2B marketers will discover what B2C marketers realized a few years ago – mobile is a hotbed of engagement. Forrester predicts that by 2020, 1 in 5 sales will result from data collected from wearable devices.
Where to start: Fine-tune your mobile strategy to encompass the totality of content execution: persona profiling, content theme, design and distribution. Don’t assume the same 8000px-long infographic that did well with your target audience on the blog, theoretically consumed by desktop and laptop users, will have the same impact when viewed on smaller screens that require excessive scrolling and pinching to view, or published on third-party properties that arbitrarily squeeze your images into their specs. Employ dynamic display technology to adjust content offers and image sizes based on users’ screen resolution. Power up your social media channels with micro-content: create thumbnails (Facebook, LinkedIn), crop out images (Pinterest, Instagram), or build a slide deck (Slideshare, Scribd) to draw viewers with bite-sized chunks instead of long, overwhelming images.

4. Marketing Automation Tools Will Change the Way You Play

In the past, marketing direction was set by historical data. When market disruptions appeared, businesses retroactively worked to catch up. Existing marketing automation suites look to make real-time marketing real. These systems combine traditional marketing activities like CRM, email marketing, content management, search engine optimization, lead scoring and analytics into holistic tools to help boost response by delivering relevant and timely messages to prospects.
B2B businesses, particularly in the technology industry, have lead the way in the use of marketing automation tools. However, many businesses have struggled to integrate their existing tools into a single system to take advantage of all of the bells and whistles automation systems offer. For those who have made the leap, according to research from The Aberdeen Group, using marketing automation can increase conversion rates by over 50 percent.
Where to start: Look at your existing marketing tools first. They may even include options extend capabilities, like the app marketplace offered with Saleforce’s CRM suite. Find opportunities to more tightly integrate them, rethink redundancy in tool feature sets (do you really need that landing page builder when your email marketing tool includes a landing page option?), or opt to decommission them all in lieu of a comprehensive marketing automation system.
Technology is only part of the secret sauce. As marketing automation grows, so will the demand for marketing technologists. The ideal marketing technologist possesses both an in-depth knowledge of the plethora of marketing-related technology options available and how to manipulate those technologies to drive results.
Image via Rackspace.

5. The Need for Quality Content Will Spotlight the Importance of Professional Writers

As brands turn into publishers, their content needs will span beyond grammatical accuracy and into the finer points of writing compelling copy adaptable across platforms and written to the tastes of narrowly targeted personas.
The need for well-crafted copy and visuals goes hand-in-hand with one of content marketers’ consistent pain points of not being able to produce enough to fill their content pipelines. In a 2013 copywriting survey by UK-based content marketing firm Sticky Content, two-thirds of respondents reported that product managers and marketing do the majority of the digital writing in the business. They are already juggling so many balls, the time and effort they devote to crafting copy is decreasing. This will lead forward-thinking marketers to seek out either experienced content writers or outsource writing to agencies or marketplaces that specialize in writing or creating content.
Where to start: Where resources are available, stand up an editorial team — backed by style guides, templates, and tools to support consistency — to oversee content quality. Where skills lack in house, reach out to freelancers and firms to do the writing, allowing the content team to focus on strategy, placement and analytics. Be prepared to provide in-depth creative briefs and make internal documentation available to give you writer a complete view of what you’re trying to accomplish and your target audience.
Source: Visual & Uberflip

Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2015

Content marketing is bigger than ever, content creation and publication is at an all-time high, and traditional marketing budgets are being reallocated to content marketing efforts. However, despite its pervasive usage, content marketing isn’t without its struggles.

In this article, I’ll outline some of the significant challenges marketers will face this year when it comes to content marketing, as well as looking at trends we’re likely to see during 2015.


1. Companies will learn that publication is only the small first step, value comes from distribution

Most businesses have gotten the message that content creation and publication are the cornerstones of a content marketing strategy. However, where many are still lagging significantly is in the distribution of that content. According to research by Altimeter, only 26% of marketers are investing in content distribution, even though more than half believe they need to.

Strategic distribution of content is what will set businesses apart in this hyper-competitive landscape. Optimizing for search and mobile, building relationships with branded publications, and reaching out to influencers in your field are just a few ways to make sure your content reaches your target market. For an overview of creating your own content distribution model.

2. Content marketing will become inextricably linked with social media marketing

Perhaps the most important way businesses are distributing their content is through social media sharing. As businesses realize that social media is an amplifier for content, they’ll embrace social media to aid in its distribution. While the vast majority of marketers already know the importance of social media in their marketing (94% say it’s an important part of their marketing mix), in 2015 we’ll see businesses more fully realize its role as the capstone of any distribution model.

This focus on social media distribution will lead not only to increased organic usage, but also to increased paid social media advertising. Businesses will increase their spending, particularly on Twitter TWTR -3.66%, LinkedIn LNKD +0.96%, and Facebook ads and promoted posts. Smart marketers will use these social ads not only to extend the reach of their content, but to generate leads through gating the content they advertise.

3. Advertisements will become less blatant as marketers begin to favor ads integrated with content

We’ve already seen the rise in native advertising among publishers like BuzzFeed, The New York Times, and Forbes. With banner ads being largely ineffective for anything but perhaps brand visibility, native ads like advertorials, sponsored content and branded content have become much more popular and effective.

Just as with product placement in movies, advertisers will embrace advertisements placed strategically within great content rather than being blatant with their advertising. Publishers and advertisers will work together to ensure paid content actually brings value to the user experience, and that it works seamlessly (and transparently) with existing content.

4. Companies who embrace content marketing will achieve higher search engine rankings

SEO and content marketing now go hand-in-hand; better, more frequent content will attract links, shares, and other brand-building signals that will boost rankings.

In looking at the factors that determine search engine rankings, we see that high-quality, long-form content, and content with many social media likes and shares, consistently rank highest. We also know that longer content tends to attract more attention on social media; so whether social signals directly lead to higher search rankings or not, the indirect benefits of in-depth content are clear.

SEO will continue to be an important part of the marketing mix, but it will increasingly become about technical aspects like keyword research, indexing issues, meta tags and penalty recovery. Content marketing, on the other hand, will become the key driver of search engine rankings.

5. The reputation of guest blogging as a content marketing strategy will be repaired

When Matt Cutts pronounced it “done” earlier this year, he triggered a mass exodus away from guest blogging. However, due to misinterpretations of his comments, he later clarified that his declaration against guest blogging was meant to discourage marketers from using it solely as a link building technique: “I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.).”

Smart content marketers know the difference between what Cutts was addressing and real, legitimate, value-adding guest blogging. They know that legitimate guest blogging is not about article marketing or advertorials, but about contributing excellent, relevant content to high-quality publishers. And they understand that there are many benefits of guest blogging other than just inbound links for SEO.

Although guest blogging has taken a lot of flack this year, come 2015, enough time will have passed that it will again rise as a popular strategy.

6. Budgets for content marketing across most industries will reach new record-highs

According to the 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report, 58% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets over the coming year, and of this group, 10% plan to increase it significantly. As marketers and business owners experience the many benefits of content marketing, they’ll be willing to increase their investment in it, dedicating money previously used for SEO campaigns.

This investment will mean increased funds for the creation of diverse types of content: white papers, blog posts, syndicated content, case studies, videos, mobile-specific content and more. However, marketers will also increase their spending on the distribution of this content through paid media and earned media.

7. Content marketers will become more sophisticated when it comes to email marketing

In previous years, email marketing has largely been perceived as a way to distribute existing content such as blog posts and to promote paid products and content to subscribers. However, this model is steadily declining in terms of effectiveness, and smart marketers will need to find new ways of achieving their content marketing goals through email.

A recent survey by Hubspot found that people are less likely than ever to make a purchase from email messages they’ve received. Add to this that many people are frustrated by increased spam and are less likely to actually read all their emails, and the challenge becomes clear: create relevant, compelling email content that your subscribers will actually want to read and engage with.

Conclusion

Content marketing may be bigger than ever, but marketers need to be strategic and adaptive in how they carry out their content strategies. 2015 will be the year when content distribution moves to the forefront, while SEO becomes more about working behind the scenes to ensure technical compliance. Social media and email marketing will need to become more sophisticated to reach an increasingly wary audience, and will come to be seen as amplifiers of distribution for content strategies.

Source: Jayson DeMers (Forbes.com)

The Content Marketing Trends On Social Media In 2015

The year 2014 has witnessed a number of developments and improvements in the domain of social media. Now, a clear cut plan needs to be chalked out for 2015. In 2014, Facebook Inc. has successfully maintained its position and brand value. The Infographic, Social Media Marketing Trends for 2015, focuses on content marketing and social engagement. A lot of changes are expected in the domain of social media this year.

Real-time marketing is always the best method for marketing, but it has chances of either huge gain or a huge loss. Thus, 2015 should be more planned. Right time marketing strategy should be adopted this time. The infographic depicts that sharing of the right content at the right time should be the primary focus. 36% of the real-time marketing should be focused on creating fresh and timely content. 24% of it should be about reaching out to the consumers across digital touchpoints. 18% should be invested in finding a steady stream of relevant content and 17% should be about focusing on the use of social media for content marketing.
Facebook marketing 2015
The second image shows that more money should be invested in advertisements on social media. As Facebook organic reach is bound to decline further, advertisers are left with no other option but to pay for the reach. But the moment an advertiser pays for its advertisements it is certain that the contents are reaching thousands of fans, consequently creating more engagement and interaction. Thus, gradually marketers have started adopting Pay-for-Play strategy to ensure their updates are reaching as many people as possible.
In the third image, content marketing continues to grow; the chart demonstrates the increase that is going to take place in the budget for content creation in 2015. In 2015, the budget for creating content is expected to rise up by 59% in 2015 as the 69% more content would be created this year as compared to 2014. This increase in the budget will also make the marketers lay stress on measuring the ROI and also the effectiveness of the content they have created and published.
social media content marketing trend 2015
The fourth image focuses on the importance of videos on social media. Despite YouTube being the primary site of video sharing it has been outnumbered by Facebook in terms of desktop video views in August, 2014. This is also another sign for the marketers which they need to identify as video content is gaining momentum in the market with the improved internet infrastructure across the globe. Marketers should also come up with good marketing videos and publish them on Facebook and other social networking sites as well.
Social media engagement 2015
The fifth image shows that though Facebook is still the giant, other social networking sites and apps have gained prominence in the last one year, especially when it comes to ‘engagement’. On Instagram, which is owned by Facebook itself, engagement of posts is up by 416%. This phenomenal growth has taken place in just two years. On the other hand, 2014 recorded 10 million visitors each on Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. This is also alarming for Facebook, which needs to come up with better business strategies this year to hold its roots strong on the ground.
Source: Dazeinfo