As we say goodbye to another outstanding year here at Catalyst Canada, I can’t help but look forward to 2014. This year we built out our Content Marketing product, ConsumerConnect, and on-boarded a number of premier clients. We are excited to continue helping our clients reach their business goals and objectives in 2014.
As I look forward, I see 5 content marketing trends that will dominate how successful brands and agencies tackle content marketing in 2014 and beyond.
1. Who are you competing against?
As personal publishing continues to grow (think tweets, status updates, blog posts, SnapChat, Instagram and more) consumers’ choice of who they read and consume will also grow. And as smartphones, tablets and “phablets” continue to grow in popularity and use so will our consumption of information.
And brands will need to keep this in mind. No longer is Sports Illustrated competing with Sportsnet. Both are now competing with international sports news sites. And all global brands are now competing with sports fans with their own (and sometimes highly researched) blogs, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels.
Take a look at your Facebook news feed to see an example of this. Chances are there will be updates from friends, family members and brands all interspersed amongst each other.
We are now all publishers competing for the same eyeballs as brands. Obviously, engaging content that is relevant, timely and shareable will rise to the top.
2. Informed by Data
Monthly, quarterly, and year end reporting are the norm these days in the marketing world. Everyone, from the CMO down to the content creator, wants to understand the numbers and what the return on investment is. And rightly so. However, how many professionals, agencies and brands take a data-informed approach to content creation?
Brands need to stop creating content in a vacuum. With all the data available to us (such as analytics, search and social) they need to be creating content inspired by data.
- How can content make my paid campaigns more effective and efficient?
- How can content address the needs of my consumer’s inquiries?
- How can content increase the positive sentiment of my brand?
- How can content help drive sales of my product?
- How can content identify my brand as the thought leader in my industry?
The data from the sources mentioned earlier should help address these answers and then help to formulate the type of content you produce.
3. Understand Personas
Google’s Hummingbird update has forced marketers to create content that “speaks” to the intent of the user. This means that successful content (successful here meaning that Google looks favourably on the content) will have to address the needs of the consumer. And as we now know, a brand does not have one average consumer. They have many consumers or personas. (See Malcolm Gladwell’s TED talk on Happiness and the Perfect Spaghetti Sauce to further understand this idea.)
As brands continue to understand these different personas (who are the types of people who buy and use their product) they will better understand how to answer and address their inquiries.
4. The Growing Use of Wearable Technologies
The Pebble smartwatch brought the term “wearable technology” to the masses. Today, no less than a dozen companies are offering these new products.
The past couple of years, brands started to understand that the content they produced had to be accessible to the mobile behaviours of the marketplace and their consumers. This is what gave rise to the “responsive designed” website. Moving forward, the types of screens will be vastly different. In both size and functionality.
It is still early days, however, brands have already started making applications for Google Glasses and even the Pebble. What type of content will these devices deliver to the consumer and how will your brand be an early adopter and leader?
5. Think Like A Publisher
Oreo may have made real time marketing the most popular marketing phrase of 2013. However, RedBull, McDonalds and Coca-Cola have taken real time marketing to another level. Companies such as these understand the value of creating compelling, relevant, timely and shareable content. So much so that this is the only type of content they are now creating. McDonalds Canada answers questions from their consumers; RedBull creates their own branded events (from community initiatives to global events); and Coke now has their own Journey.
Brands are now starting to behave more like publishers when it comes to creating content. In 2014 and beyond, brands that win at content marketing are going to be brands that capture not just the pocketbooks and attention of consumers; they will capture their imagination and emotions too.