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Content Marketing Predictions for 2015

By E Abraham Mathew

It is that time of the year, when pundits, experts and gurus crank their thoughts and write predictions for the coming year. When I read the 60 predictions for 2015 made by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) three thoughts struck me.

  1. CMI had done a good job of getting its audience to participate in putting predictions together. Last year they had 50 predictions.
  2. Some of the predictions have been predicted before.
  3. Realized that rather than add more predictions, it would make sense to give a view on some of the predictions.

Let me start with three predictions made by Joe Pulizzi of CMI. My comment will be below each of the predictions.

a) "We will see a surge in print magazines from brands in 2015. As most brands continue to focus heavily on digital, the smart ones will realize that it is much easier to cut through the clutter by leveraging "the post" - where there isn't much competition at all, comparatively speaking."

Abey: This will happen. It all depends on what is the definition of "surge."

b) "Medium-sized and large businesses will begin to purchase niche media companies because they thirst for creating real relationships with their target audiences."

Abey: Last year, Joe had predicted that a particular company would buy 1-2 media companies but that did not happen. The prediction for 2015 should happen now that he has gone wide.

c)."We will begin to see well-known B2B publishers and editors at media companies getting recruited by and joining large B2B brands, with technology companies leading the charge."

Abey: This one is related to the previous prediction. The essential point is that B2B brands have realized two things. One that content marketing is important and secondly doing it well is not easy.

And now the predictions from others

"2015 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. The best source of content in most companies may be right under your nose: your employees and customers." -Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert

Abey: Customers and customer facing employees are indeed the best source for story ideas. While companies have tapped customers to an extent, getting their own employees to contribute has surprisingly been a difficult task. Departmental silos and politics have proved to be a barrier.

"'Fat' content will become the focus of marketers everywhere. This includes content types like white papers, videos, eBooks, infographics... content that can be broken up and used as the fuel for multi-channel campaigns." -Jesse Noyes, Senior Director of Content Marketing, Kapost

Abey: Content types should be selected based on what the target audience is likely to consume. The types mentioned by Jesse are relevant for some while alternate types will be needed by others. I agree that "fat" content can be used in smaller units for increasing the chances of discovery.

"Now is the time to have content marketers really step up and lead a centralized organization that directs, creates (or supports the creation of), and distributes content. 2015 will see the end of fractured programs and tactics." -Amanda Maksymiw, Content Marketing Manager, Lattice Engines

Abey: Having a structured program is important for content marketing. It can be centralized provided the central team has a collaborative approach for creating content. Like Jay said, customers and employees need to be involved and that at times becomes difficult if the team is too central.

"Content marketing slides down from heightened expectations to disillusionment as brands begin to realize "content marketing" isn't the same thing as merely producing content." -Frank Strong, Director of Communications, Lexis

Abey: Absolutely. Content that tells stories and strikes a chord amongst prospects and customer is effective content marketing. The rest, which unfortunately is the larger bucket, is mere content as Frank says. Very often, the connection to the customer does not happen as the content is created only from the perspective of the company creating it.

"Brands will recognize the role of editor as the missing link to true content marketing effectiveness." -Sarah Mitchell, Director of Content Strategy, Lush Digital Media

Abey: Editors are important for creating quality content. However editors need to step down from pulpits and sit in the pews to understand what the customer wants to hear. The fact that businesses need editors is good news as these folks discover that jobs in the publishing industry can be quite uncertain.

If you have some predictions to make on content marketing trends, write to us. Send us your comments on these predictions and my comments on them.