In today’s modern era of information technology, content marketing is becoming even bigger than ever before, as traditional marketing budgets are re-allocated to content marketing efforts. According to statistics, a whopping 69 percent of brands have recently reported creating more content year-on-year to gain more exposure and expand brand awareness at the same time. Due to search engines putting increasingly more emphasis on quality content that delivers value and creates engagement, companies nowadays are struggling to identify the right type of content that can prominently rank their websites. But as inbound marketing trends are changing, so are content marketing trends.
Read on to find out upcoming content marketing trends in 2015, and how they will impact brands’ content marketing strategy.
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1. Storytelling Will Be the Most Successful Content Marketing Strategy

Several case studies have demonstrated the efficiency of storytelling from a business’ existent-customer perspective. According to Michael Brenner, head of strategy at NewsCred, storytelling will become the best way to catch prospective customers’ attention in 2015, giving brands the excellent opportunity to humanize experiences and interact with their audience on a personal level. The trend has shifted towards listening to other customers’ experience, as potential consumers are willing to listen to how business moves have succeeded or failed to make an impact in the competitive market today.
At the same time, storytelling takes some of the content creation work out of the hands of brands, which will only have to simply clean up the content and then post it.

2. Visual Content Will Dominate

As brands are increasingly competing for customer attention, visual content is set to become an essential supplement to every piece of written content. Videos, photos, and even infographics will give content marketers an advantage over their competition, specifically because they make written content easier to understand. A recent study has shown that nonprofit organizations tend to rank higher than for-profit ones in their content marketing efforts, with 63 percent having reported to integrate visual content as part of their content marketing strategy.
Provided that visual content can be successfully distributed on social media platforms, brands will gain more exposure and outreach their audience as well. They will be able to interact with more potential customers, and provide a more positive overall experience at the same time.

3. Short-Form Mobile Content Will Be a Must

More than 70.1 percent of Internet users are utilizing mobile devices in 2015. That said, the usage of smartphones and tablets is growing rapidly and dominating the marketing sector, which results in brands having to adjust their current content marketing strategy for smaller screens and shorter attention spans. In 2015, content will be specifically designed to be more easily readable on mobile devices, providing a different wording and structure that will keep audience engaged.
Short-form mobile content is expected to outreach companies’ target audiences fairly quickly, and also become an important ranking factor that will influence their websites’ position in search engines. By designing content to catch mobile users’ eyes and deliver value, marketers will see an increase in both their return on investment and revenue.

4. Content Marketing and Social Media Will Be Linked

While content creating is indeed an important part of your content marketing strategy, proper distribution of the content will weigh even more in 2015. As brands are realizing that social media is an amplifier for content, they will embrace social media to aid in its successful distribution across different platforms. Statistics show that 94 percent of companies say that social media is critical to their marketing mix, but we should expect to see even more brands intertwining content marketing and social media in 2015.
A major struggle will be, however, the amount of funds marketers will have to allocate to content distribution via social media platforms, as this content marketing trend will result in increased paid social media advertising. Businesses will increase their spending, particularly on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook ads and promoted posts. Social ads will extend the reach of their content, and will also generate leads through gating the content they advertise.

5. Narrative Science Will Replace White Papers

Stack of vintage books isolated on whiteIn 2014, a great number of companies focused their content marketing efforts on technical documents such as white papers and case studies in an attempt to attract customers. While this could certainly help businesses create a solid reputation as industry experts due to the research-intensive information provided, it could not create engagement or interaction with prospective customers.
In 2015, white papers are expected to be replaced by narrative science, which will tell a story in an engaging manner that will create interest and extend your customer base. Just like article- or blog post-based podcasts, narrative science will provide a more personal approach that makes it easier for customers to understand information, and to possibly become loyal customers in the future.

6. Native Advertising Will Extend Reach and Engagement

Although native advertising has been around for years, only a small percentage of businesses have adopted it as a cost-effective content marketing strategy. While traditional-display ads have decrease from 9 percent to 0.2 percent in 2000 throughout 2012, native ads will see a much higher engagement in 2014. Furthermore, native advertising has been proven to generate up to 82 percent increase in brand lift, not to mention that purchase intent is 53 percent higher for native ads. At the same time, native ads have a huge viral reach potential, as 32 percent of customers have said that they would share native ads with friends and family.
Paid posts and advertorials are both part of native advertising, and they offer marketers the excellent opportunity to outreach a larger, highly-specified audience. Brands will rely on native advertising to scale brand awareness, community building efforts and leads generation in 2015.

Final Thoughts

With the great modifications of content marketing trends in 2015, companies will have to dramatically adjust their content marketing efforts to successfully skyrocket their sales. Consider utilizing data analytics tools to measure the efficiency of your content marketing campaign, as this will give you the chance to see whether you need to further tweak your approach or not. Don’t forget about the importance of personalization when it comes to your content marketing strategy, as consumers are willing to listen to experiences and advice coming from a person, not from a corporate-sounding lingo.