It’s Crystal Ball Time. Let’s take a look at the marketer’s year ahead with these five content marketing predictions and tips… I’ll tell you why I think it’s a “Mobile Second” and “Back to Basics kind of year.
1) Back to Basics. As “Content Marketing” comes into sharper focus (I’ve seen the term in titles of sessions at a number of marketing industry events), business leadership are realizing the hard part — creating good content. There’s a school for that — journalism + advertising = Communications Colleges. Ok. Maybe you can’t go back to school right now (hey… there are some great courses online, and I am teaching one on Content Marketing Power with WordPress), but you can go back to basics. Learn why Journalism schools taught about 15-20 different types of leads (yeah… back in the day, “ledes” were called “leads” because they “lead you into the copy” — get it?). Study direct response copy writing. And pick up those dry headlines (ok… still working on that after all these years).
TIP: Sit down and consider writing, video, and photography skills needed by you and your team. Then consider editing, directing, and post production skills. Read a book or two. Take courses online. And consider hiring Webdirexion to extend your virtual marketing effort.
2) SEO Continues to Kaleidoscope into a Broader Marketing Discipline. As I’ve blogged before, it always surprised me that many SEOs didn’t realize what they were doing was a part of Marketing. Many thought that just getting listed on the first page of search engines was what it was all about. Talk about back to basics — it was always about Marketing. And now, SEOs need to factor in emerging Social Media tactics, Schema considerations, plus understand what it means to create good Content… not just because the Panda cares, but because it still makes good sense in marketing. Julie Hume just wrote about how a Google+ business page and even PPC ads are becoming more important. SEO Guru Rand Fishkin has suggested that SEO pros will begin calling themselves “Inbound Marketers”. Not sure about that, but they’re probably come around to realizing that optimizing just for a search engine is not where it’s at.
TIP: Take a good look at how Schema is changing how content is distributed, found, and made visible throughout the web — Schema.org is one place to start.
3) Google+ Becomes Even More Central in Marketing: Note I said “central”. So far, Marketers seem to get it that Google really likes Google+ — so much so, that it is essential for local marketers who want to rank their local B2C businesses well in map returns, and a core tactic for authors who wish to become trusted sources in their industry. But Google+ will not remain just a secondary network on which to build a couple of pages if Google has its way. We’re already seeing tighter integration with Gmail, YouTube and all the Google properties. G+ IS Google… not just a secondary network. Look for it to become more “core” for Marketers in 2013 — and that includes regular posting on G+.
TIP: Use Google+ as a content curation tool — write shorter posts there of one – three paragraphs, then cull them together for a longer article on your blog, later.
4) Mobile Second. Whoa… did I just say that? Ok, I’m going out on a limb here, and this may take a couple of more years to shake out, but I believe we are headed for a show down of “mobile versions” versus “desktop versions” for websites. I mean, is it just me… or does anyone else choose the desktop version of a website even when on a tablet and often even on a smartphone? This is because mobile versions of sites are often boring, and harder to navigate to find what you want. Sure, some apps are great and even better than the web version — but they cost a lot of money to produce. And yes, we believe in responsive design at Webdirexion. But for the majority of sites I visit, I prefer the desktop version and I predict the market will tilt in this direction. How many businesses do you think can support both a main website, and an evolving special app version of same?
TIP: Do ready your main site for “responsive” scaling to all device sizes. GIve your visitors the option of choosing mobile versus desktop versions and study which are picked more often by mobile visitors to your site.
5) Smart B2B Marketers Make Social Media Prove its ROI. I’ve already written about some ways we do this (ok, it was under a boring headline… back to basics for me — Marketing Channel Attribution for ROI Reporting), but there’s more work to be done. Have you looked at your Social Media Analytics in your SRM — Social Relationship Manager? Most managers are just catching up to their website analytics, let-alone reading another set of metrics. The trick is to pull only key custom top level reports first, so you know where and when to take a deeper dive.