The whirlwind romance is over: Content marketing predictions for 2014

While content marketing has been a buzzword for 2013, King Content’s Cameron Upshall says he thinks the whirlwind romance is over.

There’s no denying that 2013 has been an explosive year for content marketing in Australia. Recent research from the Content Marketing Institute revealed that 93 per cent of for-profit marketers in Australia are now using content marketing and 69 per cent are planning to increase their content marketing budgets in the next 12 months.

But, will Australian marketers’ love affair with content marketing continue in 2014? I’m sorry to say it, but I think the whirlwind romance is over.

Cameron Upshall

Cameron Upshall

As excitement and aspiration give way to the realities of driving ROI from content marketing in the next 12 months, Australian marketers will really need to come to grips with the evolving mechanisms for driving and measuring results – it will no longer be enough to just be seen as ‘doing content marketing’.

So how exactly will content marketing develop in 2014? Here are my predictions.

It’s strategy time

In 2014 content marketers will stop and smell the roses. Not literally of course. But more and more will take a break from the grindstone of content production and consider why they are producing it in the first place.

They will make sure the content they are creating has a refined strategy to back it up – not exactly a crazy notion, I know, but a critical one if they want to generate any results.

Marketers will need to take the time to define their audience more thoroughly, reflect on who their content is directed towards and which actions they intend it to drive. Many will review their social channels for effectiveness, closely considering ROI, and all will make sure they have defined, realistic measures of content success. Here’s to hoping that, in 2014, we will say goodbye to the era of producing content for content’s sake.

Amplification: the perfect storm

Next year the market will see new content amplification techniques and approaches that don’t even exist yet. These will emerge in parallel with a significant uptake in content amplification across the board. Marketers will realise that the old adage “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t necessarily work for digital content marketing and more relevant and technologically sophisticated amplification tactics will start to be employed.

We probably won’t see the end of the “spray and pray” advertising tactics that dominate today’s market, but my prediction is that savvy content marketers will start to use content amplification to target their audience like never before. We will see content amplification strategies that are more personalised, highly relevant and specifically targeted to consumer profiles and customer demographics. This is really exciting. It’s the perfect storm of technology, paid media and targeted relevant content – a storm that will set a new benchmark in content click-throughs, conversions and engagement metrics.

An explosion of video content

Australian marketers will soon work out what consumers have known for years: video is more engaging than the written word. Apologies to all the writers out there, but the stats don’t lie. Multiple studies from the past few years show that video is a far superior medium in terms of engagement metrics when compared to text, especially long-form articles.

The coming year will see savvy brands producing significantly more video content. I’m not talking large-scale TV ads – those days, while not over, are definitely on the decline. What I mean is entertaining, engaging and relevant shorter-form video content. The kind that is made especially for digital channels and the type you watch at work, while you are meant to be “working”.

New, specialist video suppliers will surface, and perhaps a micro industry in its own right will be created.

The dawn of data-driven content marketing

In the coming 12 months, content marketers will look to their own internal customer data sources to unlock key insights. They will use these insights to put highly relevant, engaging content in front of their audiences. Companies will realise that they can take the guesswork out of profiling their ideal consumer by creating real profiles of real customers using data already at their disposal. All that time people spend conceiving their target profile will be better applied to analysing what the data is telling them about who their actual customers are.

Companies that unlock the full potential of their data will see an increase in their key metrics and will have a significant advantage over their competition.

The year of the content-influenced platform

The recent acquisition of the Compendium content marketing platform by mega vendor Oracle has brought validation to the content marketing software industry. We already have an ever-increasing number of players out there and my prediction for 2014 is that we will see significant investment and discussion around the content-influenced software platform.

We will see an increase in the number of pure play content platforms coming to market, and we will also see established marketing platforms making a play at this market as well, releasing functionality around content production, content tracking and content analytics. Standby for an acquisition frenzy in late 2014 when the big names look to add content marketing functionality to their current marketing cloud solutions.

Content, welcome to the boardroom

My final prediction for 2014 is that we are going to see content marketing move up the conversation food chain. This year saw the term move from “buzzword” to “no-brainer-ville”. In 2014 we will see content marketing take its rightful place at the boardroom table.

Hear me loud and clear: the real innovators in 2014 will be the organisations that embrace content marketing as a fundamental part of their brand’s DNA.

Cameron Upshall is commercial director for King Content Melbourne.


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