The relentless pace with which things change in the content marketing world is remarkable, and unless you have your ear close to the ground you can miss the critical phase of important trends. Here are some issues to watch as we head into spring 2013, which by summer could be well-established. Don’t miss the boat on any of them!
Trend #1: Google Updates Will Get Tougher
Google isn’t going anywhere and with the rate at which it’s taking over the search environment it’s likely to keep increasing its 78% of the market. With almost-daily updates and amendments, it’s going to get tougher on sites that use spammy links, duplicate content and other “black-hat” SEO practices to try and improve their rankings.
Trend #2: Content Will Get Shorter
With the shift to mobile expected to speed up as we get into warmer weather and Americans start spending more time away from their desks, bite-sized content is likely to generate more readership than longer material. Already, users are shying away from clicking through on textual content, preferring to view a short video clip or read a social media post than a long article. Ernest Hemingway once reportedly wrote a story in six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” OK, few content writers are aspiring Hemingways, but the point is you need to find ways of putting the message across as economically as possible.
Trend #3: Visuals Are Everything
Given the current popularity of visual content, users are gravitating more toward video content and imagery. Tablets and smart phones are far more video-friendly, because they are designed to be visual and work less well with text-heavy reading material. Content marketers need to focus on images and video-friendly content and use these formats to tell the story they want to tell—like erectile dysfunction drug Cialis does with this iconic image.
Trend #4: Gamification Gets Users Going
Everybody loves a challenge and gamification of content is proving to be a foolproof method of getting users involved. “Sticky” content that motivates customers to interact with the brand includes contests, entertainment and learning opportunities. When Marriott Hotels needed to train 50,000 new staff each year, it introduced MyMarriott Hotel, an online game that’s as easy to play as Angry Birds. The game lets users “play” a variety of roles, learn the basics of the jobs and apply online. The company saw 25,000 players sign up in the first week!
Trend #5: Curation Is OK
Producing enough original content is listed as one of the biggest challenges for content marketers across the board. Content curation, on the other hand, is a completely acceptable method of repurposing and republishing material created by others for your own uses. We’re likely to see more of this in an effort to satisfy the permanently hungry content machine as the summer slow-down approaches.
Keeping up with content marketing trends will enable you to continue marketing right through the summer, if you put process in place during the next three months to ensure your content survival.