2013 is coming to a close, and the verdict on content marketing is in. This year, according to a recent survey by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, 93% of B2B marketers bought into the content marketing frenzy. Not only that — 42% of those marketers felt that they were more effective at content marketing than they were in the past! If you’ve been looking for proof that content marketing isn’t going anywhere any time soon, then there you have it.
But with visual content on the rise, and an increasing emphasis being placed on stage-based marketing, the 2014 content marketing landscape might look a little different than we’re used to. Let’s take a look at a few possible trends we might see in the upcoming year, and feel free to chime in with any additional thoughts or ideas in the comments!
A Rise in [New] Visual Content
In 2013, infographics experienced the largest year-over-year increase in usage of any content marketing tactic. We’ve been predicting an increase in visual content for a while now, and it seems that content marketers won’t disappoint. In addition to infographics, 73% of B2B marketers are also using video — another tactic that has been on the rise in recent years. With infographics and video surging in popularity, marketers will soon have to start seeking new visual mediums if they want their content to stand out. Think video infographics, interactive microsites, and fun quizzes for starters.
Better Content Strategy
B2B marketers dove into content marketing this year, but not all of them had a strategy to guide them (34%). With a vast majority of B2B marketers using content, having an accompanying strategy will be even more important in 2014; otherwise, your content will just get lost in the clutter. Not only will it be important to decide what types of content you’re creating, but also when you’re creating them, what channels you’ll be using for distribution, who your target audience is, and more. You can also consider content themes (weekly, monthly, or quarterly depending on which best fits your content creation cadence) to organize your content and create a uniform feel to your publishing schedule.
Marketing by Stage of the Sales Cycle
According to the MarketingProfs study, only 43% of content marketers are tailoring their content by stage of the sales cycle. With 77% of buyers now requesting targeted content at each stage of their research (according to our 2013 State of Demand Generation study), it’s important that marketers cater to these preferences before their competitors get there first. In 2014, marketers will have to start creating content specifically for each stage of their funnel, i.e. creating educational blog posts and white papers for the top of the funnel, case studies for middle-of-the funnel prospects, and buyer’s guides and executive value guides for the bottom of the funnel.
What other content marketing trends do you foresee in 2014? Let us know in the comments!