This article has been contributed by Haley Osborne.
Focusing content on current trends and newsworthy stories keeps you at the forefront of what’s hot as well as at the front of your customer’s requirements. Of course, the trick is being able to produce quality content quickly and be ahead of competitors.
While many content marketing techniques remain unchanged, new trends and approaches to content appear every year, making us test and develop and implement new marketing strategies. See what’s ahead for 2015.
Social Media Mash Up
The year 2014 ushered in the practice of integrating all your social media for both private users and professional businesses. It meant shifting the main focus from Facebook or Twitter, and opting for diversification. Customers, clients and the public want to be able to contact and interact with companies at every appropriate level. However that doesn’t mean that companies with the most social media links automatically win.
Social media is all about connecting with your audience, which means targeting the media outlets where your customers are and avoiding the temptation to jump onto every website. A consulting firm, for example, is right at home connecting with customers on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter but will look out of place (and out of touch) on Bebo or Flickr.
Communicating and connecting with people through videos definitely went off the charts in 2014 and will continue to rise in 2015. YouTube still reigns supreme but viral content from Vine, Gather and Instagram have given the video giant something to watch. Where people used to skim read an article or post, now many would rather have the information delivered via a short video or podcast that they can listen to while they drive or work.
The Rise of Mobile Revenue
This may seem hard to believe, but as recently as 2012 people just weren’t that much into shopping on their phones. While cell phones had become common for communication, games and browsing, actually making purchases via phone was still fairly scarce.
As 2013 dawned, mobile accounts made up about 11% of retail spending. By the end of the year, that number had more than doubled, with mobile spending accounting for a full quarter of retail revenue. Even when users weren’t purchasing directly, their mobile browsing directly influenced how they saw and interacted with a company.
According to xAd, an advertising agency focused on mobile users, mobile browsing drove more than $200 billion in sales in online and offline purchases, with more than 75% of smartphone interactions leading to an in-store purchase.
Mobile spending and interaction impacts word of mouth advertising as well, with one study finding that a full 57% of users wouldn’t recommend a store that didn’t have a clean and easy to use mobile website.
Looking Ahead, Staying Ahead
So what do the experts think these changes will mean for companies in 2015? More of the same, but with an attention to individuals rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Customers are now used to interacting with their favorite companies online, but now they want to know they’re not just another anonymous face in the crowd. As a result, many of the anticipated changes for 2015 are focused around tailoring content and investing in quality.
Knowing Your Audience
Understanding the Buyer/Customer Persona is thought to be the biggest game changer for 2015. Companies that create content based on their customer’s personalities, behavior patterns, personal interests, career and personal goals will emerge as companies seen as a part of a person’s inner circle.
Taking SEO to the Next Level
For years, SEO content creation has focused on links and keywords or phrases to help drive traffic but that’s all about to change. Google’s new algorithms continue to rank content based on quality as opposed to keyword density, backlinks or any of the other tools of trade companies have become used to.
Many companies are actively seeking out journalists, bloggers and writers with strong followings and the ability to write passionately and compellingly in order to increase the quality of their content, even if that means backing off on the quantity.
While the quality of content is important, diversification is also a key element. Finding the right balance between different media outlets and content can be tricky at first, but companies who want to present a well-rounded picture of themselves should consider incorporating some or all of the following media into their content strategy for 2015:
- white papers
- webinars and podcasts
- blogs (including contributions from guest bloggers)
- social media posts
- live presentations
Inside business, creativity and real-time collaboration will become even more important. Using shareable programs via cloud platforms will allow team members and creative consultants to work together in harmony no matter where they are located.
No one can predict the future, but based on the changes of 2014 and the foresight of 2015, many experts agree that dynamic and high-quality content will be a key component for companies that want to succeed in the coming year.
Focusing on customers and connecting with them on a personal level will likely become increasingly important in order to avoid people feeling as though they are just another number. In order to deliver the personalized content customers want and the high-quality content they deserve, companies will need to make the most of their social media outlets, count on creative team members and, in some cases, push themselves out of their own comfort zone.
While these changes may be difficult for some companies to embrace at first, finding a way to work with these new methods comfortably will help companies be more adaptive and more welcoming to a new generation of customers.
Haley Osborne is an experienced copywriter, blogger and currently a writing expert at www.essaytigers.com. She provides consultancy on marketing, business and academic writing. You can follow her on Twitter or Google+.