Content Marketing (CM) has long fought for its place as a considered marketing principle. 2012 seemed to be the year that it was finally accepted. The (third) set of annual research results from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs illustrates this. Businesses who use content as part of their online marketing strategy will continue to evolve their strategies to remain competitive, therefore what can we expect from CM in 2013?
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is an online marketing principle. It is the process of writing and publishing ‘content’ online with the aim of driving internet traffic to a specific website or URL. Therefore the content must be interesting, engaging, appropriate for the site and written with the target audience in mind. The aim is to create relevant content which readers feel the need to ‘share’ across social networks i.e. Facebook, Twitter etc. The ultimate aim is to convert site visits to sales.
How content marketing has evolved
Content marketing is part of the overall online marketing strategy. Therefore this principle has evolved from the late 1900’s, when the Internet was introduced. Gradually, the internet is evolving to meet consumer’s needs. Introducing the ability to make online purchases was the next step of this process, followed by Search Engine Optimisation (identifying keywords that customers are typing into search engines to source you product/ service). True CM evolved in the late 2000’s, as content writers began to incorporate SEO ‘keywords’ into intelligent online copy.
2013 is all about getting clever with CM and using shrewd strategies and techniques to drive and engage consumers to websites, with the ultimate aim of converting this visit to a purchase.
Content marketing key statistics
To give you a flavour of CM strategies and how they influence consumer behaviour, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs have released statistics from their third annual research study. Here is a summary of key results:
- 9 out of 10 marketers are using content marketing
- Content marketers are using more tactics. 2012 on average, B2B content marketers were using 12 tactics, (an increase from 8)
- Social media (excluding blogs) was reported to be the most popular content marketing tactic, with an adoption rate of 87 per cent
- Distribution with social media has increased
- Content marketers have bigger budgets
- Fewer marketers are outsourcing content
What to expect from Content Marketing in 2013
CM as a trend has been growing for several years, and is still gaining momentum. CM is consumer-led, as consumers want information. Therefore CM needs to understand and produce the information that they want. Therefore it is likely that the following sophisticated CM tactics will be used by online marketers to achieve this in 2013.
- Business blogging will continue to be the foundation of all content marketing activities
- Overall objectives for content marketing will be sales and retention
- White papers and e-books will continue to gather momentum as popular methods of content marketing
- Storytelling is becoming increasingly important as real life examples, are the type of content that people want to read and share
- Social media will be the most popular channel to distribute the content
- Measuring results is becoming more important. Content marketers use website-traffic as measurement criteria. Going forward, growing numbers of marketers will start to look at sales and leads as measures
- Content marketing budgets will increase. As CM continues to prove to be an effective tool, businesses will start to invest in, or continue to invest in good content marketing
- Creating enough content will continue to be the greatest challenge for content marketers
- Quality and unique content will continue to be paramount
- Businesses should make the most of a single piece of content. Using a content distribution strategy will enable a single piece of content to be stretched over a long period of time
- Content use on mobile devices will increase. Making content mobile-friendly will give businesses an edge over competitors
- Video content will continue to grow
- Infographics are still one of the fastest growing content formats
- Targeting content to buyers is the most effective method. This is an age old marketing principle however it continues to be relevant. Targeting content to buyers will realise more leads and sales, from the same budget.
2013 is an important year for content marketing. It is imperative that businesses which have an element of online marketing become aware of, and use these more sophisticated content marketing tools, in order to remain competitive.