10 Content Marketing Trends Every Leader Needs to Know for 2015

CMO CMO
December 15, 2014

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by John Hall, CEO and co-founder of Influence & Co.

You know the importance of diversifying your financial portfolio, but do you apply that same concept to your network of advisors?

Just as you cover your bases financially, you need to consult experts from a variety of backgrounds before making large-scale marketing decisions.

As you start planning for the New Year, accessing this network is crucial. Right now, I’m having conversations with experts, media outlets, brands, organizations, and others who have insight into what the content marketing landscape for 2015 will look like.

I compiled a list of the top 10 content marketing trends these experts revealed to help guide my planning for 2015. Here’s what they had to say:

1. We’ll See a Rise in Niche Media Platforms

As more brands launch content platforms, Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, has identified two key trends that will emerge in 2015.

Because marketers aren’t traditionally great storytellers, “the largest non-media companies on the planet will continue to fleece successful media companies of their journalists, editors, and broadcasters,” he says. “Second, some brands will look at buying versus building content platforms.”

2. Employees and Customers Will Get Involved in Content Creation

Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, dubs 2015 “the year of cooperative content” as more brands involve their staff and customers in content creation.

“[Next year] will bring decentralized content creation programs with participants across the company (not just marketing), as well as content initiatives that rely on user-generated content in expanded and highly strategic ways,” he says. “The best source of content in most companies may be right under your nose: your employees and customers.”

3. Vertical Channels Will Present Lucrative Opportunities

By building high-value vertical content channels, brands will be able to own a particular topic or subject, says Newell Thompson, vice president of content marketing and strategies at Time Inc.

“A curated, consistent, trusted voice that sits inside this tsunami of commoditized content will be where consumers will turn to satiate their passion or need for business information,” he says. “And advertisers who want to have meaningful and engaging conversations with their most important customers will follow them.”

4. There Will Be a Fundamental Shift in Thought Leadership

From tweets to blog posts to whitepapers, companies need to stick to a well-defined strategy to engage an audience, says Tim Williams, founder of Ignition Consulting Group.

“The point isn’t just to be present, but to be useful,” he says. “For companies that sell to other businesses (like professional services), the litmus test of an effective content marketing program is always to ask the question, ‘Will our customers and prospects find this to be useful?'”

5Content Creators Will Need to Keep It Brief

Nadine Dietz, creator of The CMO Solutions Clubhouse, knows that, like CMOs, most people are pressed for time. Content creators will need to distill interesting content down to its essentials to engage readers.

“It’s not OK to simply push out anything that contains a relevant keyword,” she says. “As the content landscape continues to experience exponential growth, the future will be about piecing together solutions for time-starved individuals and helping them consume and apply the insights.”

6. Content Marketing Is Going Multimedia 

With the continued growth of content marketing, Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media, believes we’ll see more rich media–including video, audio, and slideshows–as individuals try to stand out in the crowded online space.

“The success of Serial will help podcasting finally go mainstream, and Facebook and LinkedIn’s increased emphasis on video will motivate more companies to create and distribute videos in their content marketing,” he says.

7. Hyperlocal Content Will Gain Momentum

For car dealerships, restaurants, and other companies that rely on local business, Ryan Buckley, co-founder of Scripted, says hyperlocal content will become a popular and effective tool.

“The idea is to produce content written by an author who lives in a specific geographical area,” he says. “It’s a difficult type of content marketing campaign to pull off because of the large number of writers required, but the results can be tremendous; Google loves original, hyperlocal content that offers a new perspective.”

8. Brands Will Need to Cut Through the Clutter

Although articles and long-form blog posts will remain important, Rene Warren, president and CEO of Onboardly, believes more companies will start to emphasize visual and audio content.

“As far as getting attention and cutting through the clutter, creative videos, interesting podcasts, and variations of visually appealing data representation like infographics and SlideShare presentations will be the big winners,” she says. “Repurposing content will be at an all-time high in 2015.”

9. Visuals Will Come Alive

Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, says content marketers should prepare for visualizations beyond basic infographics in 2015.

To give your content a “wow” effect and boost shares, Patel suggests using effects like parallax, 3D infographics, or animated infographics.

10. “Storymonials” Will Emerge

To create the ultimate brand experience, Oscar Garcia, CEO of Chamber of Commerce Mountain View, believes short videos and customer “storymonials” will be powerful tools brands can employ to help tell their story.

“With the continued evolution of technology, like wearables, companies including Chambers of Commerce need to adapt our content marketing so we can better tell our story, engage customers, and create a unique experience for them.”

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John Hall is the CEO and co-founder of Influence & Co. His clients range from startups to fast-growing companies on the Inc. 500 to Fortune 500 companies. Full bio

Originally published on Inc.com

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