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10 Top Content Marketing Predictions: 2014

By The Wishpond Blog | Small Business

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With 2014 just around the corner, what will be the trends in content marketing? What new social media marketing tactics will you need to implement? What does your business need to plan for and act on now?

We all have so many questions about what the future will hold, particularly at this time of year.

In this article, I outline my top ten predictions for content marketing in 2014.

1. Increased Content Marketing Budgets

Businesses are waking up to the fact that content marketing is the new marketing. People want to know who you are as a company. They want to learn from you. They want to develop a relationship with you.

Only then will they buy from you.

Without taking the time and money to nurture relationships through online content, businesses will lose profits. In 2014, we’ll see more businesses follow the lead of socially savvy pioneers like Starbucks, The North Face, Kraft, Coke and Intel.

Content marketing will get a bigger budget from smart companies. We may even see the first few Chief Content Marketing Officers replacing the CMO.

What this means for your business:

  • Rethink your marketing strategies and budget spends
  • Your marketing, advertising and public relations are merging
  • Spend the time, money and effort to nurture your customers through online content

2. Visual Marketing

Visuals will be big in 2014. If you don’t believe me, check out these 10 reasons why visual content will dominate in 2014.

Why Visual Content will Dominate 2014 from Wishpond

With so much content being produced and published online, you need to be able to connect quickly to grab the attention of your market.

It’s been said that 67% of consumers actually put more weight in clear, detailed images than written product information.

Social media posts with visuals have a 94% increase in engagement than those without.

What this means for your business:

  • Use infographics, videos and Slideshares in your content
  • If you’re a content marketer – learn Photoshop, Gimp, Paint.net, or other image making programs
  • Share moving visual content, like cool gif’s, vine videos and Instagram videos

3. Bite-Sized Quality

We’re reading so much information online, and – let’s face it – our attention spans are continuing to decrease.

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To catch that limited attention of your demographic, you’ll need to condense your blog articles and tell your story in bite-size pieces.

But, just because the long-form content is dwindling, the quality of your content shouldn’t. You still need to publish good, well researched pieces to make your business trustworthy, read by your market, and shared.

What this means for your business:

  • Write well-researched blog articles that connect with your niche, loyal market
  • Use bullet points, visuals and bolded words in your content
  • Make your content skimmable and easy to digest

4. SEO, Search and Social

SEO and SERP will continue to be one of the most valuable currencies in your content. However, what search engine you’re optimizing for, and how you get found, will change in the new year.

Social sharing is already gaining in importance through Google’s Hummingbird algorithms.

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source: Moz.com

Look for continued emphasis on social sharing in Google. And maybe even Bing (well, we’ll see).

Additionally, more of your consumers are searching (and finding) you directly on social sites.

With Facebook’s newly rejigged algorithms, people are getting highly targeted information directly into their NewsFeeds. Facebook Ads are also showing your customers what they want. In the past, your prospect likely would have searched for your keywords in Google; now you (or your social savvy competitor) are showing up in their Feeds – and get traffic directly from Facebook.

Millions of people are searching on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ etc, too. So, make sure you’re using your keywords and hashtags on your social updates. (Here’s 3 key hashtags strategies you’ll need to know).

If you want to be found, you need good social sites.

What this means for your business:

  • Include easy-to-click social sharing buttons on all your product pages and blog articles
  • Keep writing great content that’s relevant to your market (and less stuffed with keywords)
  • Use your niche keywords and hashtags to get found on social sites

5. Influence Marketing

Marketing your business as trustworthy, extending your market reach and driving traffic to your website – these are all goals of any good marketer. Done well, influence marketing can get you achieving these goals.

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source: Influence Marketing: How to Amplify Your Content with Social Leaders

In 2014, we’ll see a rising trend in marketing to influencers. We’ll also see brands connecting with middle influencers and socially active customers to spread their marketing efforts.

What this means for your business:

6. Gamification

Content marketing will continue to focus on interactive content. In 2014, you’ll get even more engagement by incentivizing your interactive content, and giving consumers an opportunity to ‘win’.

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Gamification is a way to leverage your customer’s natural desire to compete – and win. Hey, we all like to compete at some level, right?

A simple way to appease your prospects desire for gamification? Host a Facebook contest. Your prize could be as simple as the pride of winning within the online community you’ve created. (You could give out monetary prizes too, to increase participation.)

What this means for your business:

  • Use gamification methods in your content marketing
  • Post interactive content, that’s relevant to your market and gives people a ‘win’
  • Make Facebook contests, or website contests, part of your content strategy

7. Email is Not Dead – Again

Every year for the past decade or so, there have been predictions that email is dead.

It hasn’t been the case then. And it’s not the case this year, either.

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Even with all the communication we are doing everyday on our myriad of social sites – we still use email. It’s also still the most effective method for marketers to directly speak to their prospects.

How marketers write email is changing. You’re competing with more messages, and you need to make sure your email stands out. You need to engage with personalized, segmented email campaigns. You’re also going to have to use email automation to nurture your leads.

How your customer reads their email is changing – we’ll get to this in the next section though.

What this means for your business:

8. Mobile

We’ll see an increase in consumers both accessing product information via mobile, and actually making purchases through their phones and tablets.

We’ve seen this trend already. Mobile sales on Black Friday increased a whopping 43% from 2012 to 2013.

Consumers are checking their email through mobile devices too. When you’re crafting your email messages, make sure they’re easy to read on a smaller screen.

For online store owners, make sure your sales funnel is mobile optimized. A customized app allows you to connect with your consumers and makes it easy to keep the relationship open and constant.

What this means for you business:

9. Online Advertising

It may just be that the days of free social marketing are over.

2014 will see an increase in online ad innovations, and results – particularly within social media platforms.

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Facebook has recently made significant changes to include video ads in their sponsored posts. Their highly targeted ads will undoubtedly achieve higher click through rates. Watch for a massive explosion in ad spend on the site.

Twitter rolled out their ads in 2013, and they’re continuously developing increased targeting features. You can even target Twitter Ads now by what keywords your customers use in their tweets. Watch for massive developments in their TV ad targeting, too.

Instagram has started to roll out ads.

Pinterest is experimenting with Promoted Pins.

Watch for innovations from Google ads, to keep up with the competition and a declining market share.

What this means for your business:

  • Take advantage of highly targeted advertising opportunities online
  • Use conversion pixels, tracking codes, and a/b testing to gain conversion success
  • If online advertising leaves you feeling lost, use an ad tool, like Wishpond

10. Law of Sharing

If you haven’t heard of it yet, let me share it with you now. Check out Mark Zuckerberg’s Law of Sharing.

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In the video (which bizarrely cuts out part way through), Zuckerberg explains his theory of our exponential growth of sharing, and how we’ve been doubling our online content every year.

His theory applies to more than just Facebook. We’re sharing everywhere, we’re publishing our thoughts, we’re reaching out to others to solve problems – big and small.

In 2014 I’d watch for:

  • More collaboration with individuals, groups and businesses around the world
  • More innovation – the likes of which we’ve never seen before – in 2014
  • An increase in mergers and acquisitions – particularly in the tech sector

Check out our case study of the pioneering company, Stitch Collective. Their entire product development is based on interactive consumer input. They share product choices, and only manufacture the fashions that their customers have asked for. (Watch for more of these consumer-centric business models in 2014.)

What this means for your business:

  • Bring your customers together by creating online social hubs
  • Develop loyalty by sharing more of your business. Post videos of your CEO, staff and behind the scenes looks of your company
  • Get customers involved in product development, such as through vote contests

Conclusion

2014 is going to be an exciting year, filled with innovations we can’t even have imagined in 2013. We’ll definitely be more social, communicative and globally connected as people.

What do you think? What will 2014 bring for your business? What marketing tactics will you be engaging?

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