Content Marketing Trends for 2013
Thursday, November 29th, 2012 at 9:00am -- Kat Liendgens
We certainly weren’t the only ones who proclaimed that 2012 would be the year of content and content strategy, but it’s always nice to see your predictions confirmed, especially when they relate to something that you care as much about as we care about quality content. One of the most positive trends we’ve seen over the past year was that the SEO game has changed. While in the past, the focus had primarily been on HTML (for instance, adding anchor text or using keywords in title tags and headings), search engines have continued to update their algorithms, placing an increasing amount of importance on the freshness factor and engagement. Why is this good news? Because it brings the attention back to substance, innovation, and thought leadership.
So what are the emerging trends for the rest of 2012 and for the upcoming year?
More specialized jobs
We are already seeing more organizations hire for more specialized marketing positions, such as content marketers. The reason is simple: creating, curating, and promoting content is becoming the centerpiece of today’s marketing and communications strategies. I think that moving forward, there will be a surge in even more specialized jobs within content marketing itself, such as video producers, infographic specialists, researchers, and bloggers, to name but a few.
More content curation tools and modules
Creating fresh, high-caliber content is key, but that doesn’t mean that all it has to be original. Whatever your industry or field may be, there is a plethora of great content out there just waiting to be shared. Curating content can be a job in itself, so it’s no surprise that there has been a significant emergence of curation tools, such as Scoop.it, Scribit, and Bundlr. I believe that we will see new content curation tools enter the market, as well as connectors from content management and content marketing systems to those curation tools.
As high quality content and thought leadership continue to be pivotal in the world of marketing and communications, many organizations are actively exploring new partnerships with research firms, subject matter experts, and other industry leaders. In addition, we are certain to see more cross-departmental collaboration when it comes to creating content. As those of you who read our blog on a regular basis know, we have always been proponents of collaboration and engagement, which is why we have team members from all departments contribute content. Last quarter alone, 17 Hannon Hillers wrote one or more blog posts. Our VP of Engineering, Bradley Wagner, said it best when he pointed out that “everybody is a marketer”. He is right, content is everybody’s business. Everybody in your organization has a different perspective, a unique voice, and a separate area of expertise. It’s time to feature and take advantage of the diversity of your team.
COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere)
As mentioned above, content is at the very heart of your marketing and communications strategy. Therefore, you want to be able to leverage it to its full extent. This is where the concept of COPE comes into play: Create Once, Publish Everywhere. In other words, the ability to output a single piece of content in multiple formats (such as mobile, text, PDF, etc.) and to many different destinations (multiple pages, sites, and even web servers) is more important than ever. As a result, one of the most crucial considerations when selecting a content management system will be how easy the CMS makes it to share assets across multiple sites.
Different versions of the same content
Speaking of having multiple outputs for a single piece of content, I think that we will see an increasing number of sites having multiple versions of the same content tailored to specific audiences. The reason for this trend is that communication professionals strive to hit just the right tone to ensure that it resonates with different segments of their target audience. For example, Emory University’s News Center has two versions of each story: one for the general public and one for the press. Once again, if an organization is considering a similar setup in order to maximize the effectiveness of their content, it may affect the CMS selection process.
In addition to content marketing, one of the big buzzwords of 2012 has been “agile marketing”. In fact, we first talked about it almost a year and a half ago. We’ve presented on the topic at various conferences over the past two years, including at Interlab, HighedWeb (two years in a row), the Elucian Summit, and our own User Conference. In addition, we published multiple blog posts on the subject and hosted several webinars as well. In a nutshell, agile marketing means that you track and measure all of your efforts, analyze the results to determine what works and what doesn’t, and then adjust your strategy based on your findings. There’s no doubt that in the marketing realm of 2013, there will be an increased emphasis on agile methodologies, which means more metrics. Organizations of all sizes will want to measure how well their content is performing. One aspect of this is to A/B test your content so that you can detect trends and your target audience’s preferences, which empowers you to create even more targeted content. In addition, the ability to associate all of your marketing efforts with one or more campaigns allows marketers, communication professionals, and content contributors to measure the success of their content and to continue to produce even more targeted and effective content. As you know, that’s why we make Spectate, our content marketing tool, available to all of our Cascade Server customers free of charge. I think it’s safe to predict that other CMS vendors will follow suit by providing tools to help their customers be more agile.
An even stronger focus on content strategy
While most organizations have acknowledged that content marketing needs to be at the forefront of their marketing strategy, the majority of them have not yet implemented a content strategy. The good news is that most of them are at least considering developing one. We’ve been evangelists of content strategy for a long time, and are convinced that more companies will either develop internal tools or look at external solutions that will help them develop a strategy. After all, as organizations continue to invest in both the technical resources (CMS, Analytics, Social Media) and human resources (web teams, content managers and contributors) in order to manage their content, it only makes sense to put resources towards the essence of it all: the actual content.
I know that it’s a little early in the year to start talking about 2013, but it’s never too early to start planning for what’s ahead. What are your predictions?
- Why Agile Marketing Can No Longer Be Ignored
- The Year of Content and Content Strategy
- Viewing Content as an Asset Rather than an Expense
- Content Marketing Lessons from The Hunger Games Trilogy
- Using Your Editorial Calendar to Re-use and Re-purpose Content