It’s been played out, that content is king. It can be the court jester, the prince, the queen, or even that weird uncle that no one knows what his title is. This year, we think that content needs to be more strategic. It’s no longer a post it, wait, and then hope for it to go viral. Now, the royal highness is strategy, incorporating content into a fully integrated campaign strategy that incorporates many different sections of the royal court. This is a sneak peek into where we think content and strategy are headed for 2015.
Native Content Marketing
This may seem like it’s an oxymoron “Native” and “Marketing”, how can that be done? It’s being done more and more, and sometimes without even our knowing. In the past, they may have been called advertorials or sponsored editorial, or a sponsored placement. Now, it’s the crux of content marketing. We are seeing more brands try to subtly put their name, and product into our everyday reading.
What readers like about this is they get to enjoy a piece of content without the content trying to sell them something, or convince them of something. Good native content reads effortlessly, and is written in the same tone and voice as the publisher it is featured on. It’s just good content that happens to be sponsored by an extremely relevant brand. And the more we get used to it, the more we can spot it out. Buzzfeed may not have been the first, but they definitely are pros with the native advertising. Here is this really funny gif-related listicle and look, it’s promoted by Discover. You still enjoy reading the content, and you can relate to it and then right there at the end, for your own enjoying pleasure – a Discover card commercial.
More than Just Publish
While in the past, you could just publish and let your content live, it no longer works that way. You have to have a promotion strategy in place that includes social promotion, paid promotion, and even organic promotion. Do you have a plan in place to promote the content before it goes live? What about the day you launch that content? Are you sending out an email blast, or a press release? Are you being featured on a publisher that day? How can you make the most of the content? It’s a lot to consider, but as long as you have a plan in place prior to publishing, you should be able to leverage the content to its max. (Hint: we’ll explain HOW to plan this strategy at a later date)
Pay to Play
More content marketers are leveraging native marketing, and paid promotion platforms to increase their audience reach. Why is that? Unfortunately, we live in a world where publishers own the content world and they own the right to charge a pretty penny when it comes to showcasing your content on their site. The 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark report shows that 58% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets this year, and it makes sense. In order to get your content in front of people, whether it’s on a publisher, or even on a social platform – it definitely needs a budget behind it. Readers are overwhelmed with content and advertisements and in order to break through that clutter, you need to put a budget behind your content.
Social & Content, Content & Social
When you create content, think about what role social will play, if any. It can be the simple fact that you are going to use the content to create smaller images, or facts to be used in social pieces. Or, you can even poll your social audience to help provide insight into your content resource. Thinking of content and social as interchangeable pieces can help you build an integrated campaign to engage your audience while also providing useful information them.
Here’s an example of how to leverage social media to promote your content. And, it’s also designed to fit for social media. The quotes are all individually designed with the Contently logo and individual sharing buttons, so that anyone can share directly to the social platform of their choosing. Pretty nifty way to leverage one piece of content MULTIPLE ways.
Creative Is Crucial
If your content isn’t visually appealing, then you might as well pack it up. Content creation is upping its game and you need to be on top of yours in order to just stay afloat. There is a ton of ways to get design help, whether it’s platforms like Canva or even Piktochart to help step up your content creation if you’re not fortunate to have a designer in-house. Words are great, but the design ultimately catches your eye and that’s what is going to get people to start reading. If you can, find and hire an amazing designer. The ROI on great design is incalculable; however let us just say that the needle will always sway in your direction. See how we transformed the Definition of Beauty from a few numbers and words to this:
Personalization & Smarketing
We have smart phones, smart cars, and smart houses and now it’s imperative that we follow suit and have smart marketing. That means, consumers expect you to know what they want. What they want to read, what they want to buy, and when to deliver that to them. It requires a lot of time, analysis and testing to figure out just how to accomplish smart marketing (smarketing?). Email marketing is one way to test it out. A/B test personalizing your emails and even changing the content within the email to the needs or likes of each individual recipient. It’s my opinion, that this segment will see the greatest growth over the next year, with the barrier to entry being the lowest out of all aforementioned trends. Nonetheless, more and more people will be expecting you (the brand) to know what they want and hand-deliver it via content.
So, what did you learn from this? That content marketing is not just simply adding a whitepaper to your resources page, or a post to your blog. With a little bit of creativity, a lot of planning, and a strategy to guide you, you can do this! (Still overwhelmed, it’s okay – let us help!)