9 Top Content Marketing Trends In 2014 You Need To Know

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“Companies are producing a lot of content, but we’re also consuming a lot more too,” explained Michael Brenner, VP of Global Marketing and Content Strategy for SAP. Michael was the closing keynote speaker for BtoB Magazine’s annual 2013 Digital Edge Virtual Tradeshow.

The topic was Content Marketing: Trends and Predictions for 2014. Michael discussed strategies to increase the success of their content in 2014, as well as future predictions.

There’s no question that the future of business is all about  the customer. It’s crucial for companies to have a strategy for content marketing and put their customers at the CENTER of all their content.

9 Trends in Content Marketing in 2014

Michael shared 9 content marketing trends and predictions for 2014.
Here we go…

1. Become a Destination Site.

Google gives the perfect definition for destination.

A destination is a place that people will make a special trip to visit.

Make your site that special place to visit. Carefully select the best content to serve your visitors with so they come back. Remember that famous quote from Walt Disney…

Disney

Pick the best images and videos, share the best trends, and tell the best stories. Be the place that people go to get their key questions answered in your particular niche.

2. Check your Calls to Action.

Make sure your Calls to Action (CTA) are appropriate for the stage the buyer is in. Many of SAP’s CTA included invitations to their site to learn about their products. But the response was low. Basically, they hadn’t earned the right to introduce their products. So they took a step back and instead offered content that answered their buyers’ questions.

SAP_eBook - FlyingBlind

Their site visitors were now more interested and engaged to get more information on their products once the connection was made and their questions were answered.

Make sure the end goal is to inspire buyers with the information you’ve shared to choose to become your customers.

3. Always be Optimizing.

Continuously optimize your content. This includes search terms and CTA. Changes can occur for many reasons such as new trends, technologies, platforms, the economy, and even different times of the year. Make sure your content changes as needed to get the results you expect.

Be the first to know about 2014 trends by following conversations at SAP’s The Future of Business.

The Future of Business

4.  Be Part of the Movement to Mobile and Social Changes Along the Buyer’s Journey.

Break your content into 3 levels.

Low Level – The focus will be on mobile and social. Low level content requires the least effort and time but has the biggest engagement. Actually 3 times higher than the other levels. It includes content such as short blog posts, comments, social media posts, pins on Pinterest, Vine 6-second videos and short video interviews. Think of this as the snackable and bite-sized content.

Medium Level – Shorter content that requires more effort and information than low level, such as tip sheets, FAQ’s, Top 10, etc. Think of these as the side dishes.

High Level – This content requires the most effort. It’s takes the topic to a deeper level and satisfies more of your buyers questions. Like a longer form white paper, research study or book. This is the meat or main course.

But regardless of the level make sure your content is relevant to the interests of your audience.

5. It’s More Science than Art.

Content Marketing is more Science than Art. Basically have a game plan. Know your audience. What intrigues them, what moves them to action, and what their challenges and desires are that you can help them with. Find out their habits and where they look for information. Are they mobile fanatics and have iPads glued to them? Do they prefer video over reports? When do they opt-in for more in-depth content?

The Top 50 Influencers and Top 20 Blogs are always a big hit at SAP. It attracts attention and can nudge their audience to go deeper with their information.

20 Top Blogs

6. But, Content is Still an Art.

The art is still in the storytelling. People are emotionally moved by stories and companies need to tell them. Taking a risk and being creative can pay off. For instance, Newsjacking  is a popular content strategy. You just have to be creative enough to ride the wave of breaking news by getting in on the action with stories you can wrap the news around.

Here’s a diagram on Newsjacking created by David Meerman Scott. If you’re interested check out his eBook, Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.

Newsjacking: Life of a News Story - David Meerman Scott

7. Become a Publisher With Your Brand.

Set up a newsroom. Constantly create relevant content and be prepared to act off-the-script, and in the moment, when something happens.

When the lights went out at the SuperBowl , Oreo jumped into production and took center stage with this tweet and without paying a dime for Super Bowl ads (which obviously were unavailable when the power was cut.) AdAge reported it was retweeted 10,000 times within one hour.

OreoTweet at the Super Bowl 2013

8. Partner With a Publisher.

SAP works with publishers like Forbes and writes blog posts on their blog. The best posts are about things that are important to executives, posts relating to pop culture, and daily business topics. These get the most exposure and interactions. Talking about their products gets the least amount of views.

SAPs Blog Posts on Forbes.com

9. Make Some of Your Content Entertaining.

Content will pick up momentum going forward that is entertaining. Michael explains “Business professionals are people too.” Who doesn’t like to be entertained, even in business? It’s engaging and it’s memorable. In fact, you can create content that both entertains and educates and is called edutainment.

Start off by telling a story through a compelling video to capture eyeballs and engage people to want more in depth information.

I found this video in a blog post “How I.T. Is Changing: A Story About Beer” written by Ann Handley. It was produced by Cisco Systems.  In this video, Cisco is trying to express how the role of information technology (IT) is changing and evolving. The video’s called CIO Dinner: Customer Analytics and the Perfect Beer. Check it out.


To Wrap Up

Michael Brenner shared 9 key trends for 2014 in content marketing to succeed in any kind of business today. Here’s the recap.

First, content should be a mix of different levels. Mobile is exploding and social is changing. Content needs to be created to fit those mediums. Create bite-sized content that captures attention and gets your audience to stick around. Then create more in-depth content to answer their questions and help buyers make educated decisions.

Another trend for the future will be sharing more content that’s visual, consumable and snackable. This follows the trend towards mobile. Be sure to make content that’s entertaining too. This content works especially well in the early buying stages.

Next combine the science with the art of crafting content. Be creative and take risks to see what works for your company and your specific audience.

But the biggest tip of all is to put your customer at the CENTER of all your content.

Why? Because your customers are expecting it and their voices are just getting louder.

Do you have any other trends or predictions to add? I’d love to hear your comments.

Photos: Cover Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto   | SAP Screenshots at SAP.com, The Future of Business, B2B Marketing Insider, Forbes Blog | Newsjacking at WebInkNow.com | Oreo Tweet at Twitter.com |SlideShare: 50 Great Quotes from Walt Disney | Video: Cisco Video at Youtube

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