It’s a buzz word that every marketing copywriter is familiar with, but content marketing isn’t new a idea. The John Deere corporation launched one of the first content marketing efforts with a magazine called The Furrow. Published in 1895, the magazine was intended to help farmers become more profitable using the company’s equipment.
Much has changed in content marketing in the intervening 118 years since John Deere targeted farmers as potential customers. The advent of digital technology alone has made it ridiculously easy to publish and share information intended to garner customers. Today, any size business can publish blogs, email newsletters, post podcasts and microvideos or engage with fans via social media.
So what’s on the horizon in content marketing for 2014? Here’s a look at some trends you may see in the coming year.
Prefer Quality Over Quantity
In the past few years, more and more brands have scrambled to engage customers by pushing out tons of messages in various forms. The result is all too often an overload of information that quickly gets lost in the digital crowd. Next year, look for smart companies to focus efforts on quality content that’s meaningful, entertaining and authentic instead of trying to deliver more content than their competitors.
Display Editorial Content Prominently
Brands like Topshop are using their homepages to display editorial content instead of burying it in a blog or sending it via email that may or may not actually be read. By putting content like style tips and trends at the forefront of the site, Topshop gives casual browsers as well as loyal customers a way to easily engage with the brand that goes well beyond window shopping.
Tell a Story
It’s true that brands have to think about the technical aspects of content. How will it look on any number of mobile devices? How will it be shared? But the story told in a brand’s content is much more important than the nuts and bolts of sharing content. In 2014, savvy brands will first seek to tell engaging stories that spark an emotional reaction among potential customers. Without a compelling story to share, content marketing efforts will likely go unnoticed.
Move the Focus
To date, business-to-business content efforts have focused largely on industry news and trends, profiles of company leadership and company characteristics. This might include product reviews, changes in laws and regulations or a profile of a company’s leaders. Next year, successful companies will publish that same information, but they’ll make it relevant to individual business owners. They’ll find ways to tell business owners how the trends, reviews or people in leadership can make their own company more profitable. Case studies and content that shows how and why a company should be trusted will become key.
At the core of these trends is a focus on quality content that resonates with consumers. Don’t go the content marketing path alone in 2014—seek out a professional marketing copywriter to polish your business’s content marketing campaigns.
Chelsea A is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.