The Future of Content Marketing Revealed

It’s important to know the future of content marketing so that you can anticipate the upcoming trends. When you anticipate and prepare, you have an advantage over your competitors.

Most of the top blogs were early adopters back in the days when almost no one was blogging. They anticipated a trend, and as a result, they became very successful. The reason? There was little competition. Almost no one was blogging, so it was quite easy to stand out and be noticed.

These days, in every industry, you have lots of competitors. Many of your competitors are engaged in content marketing, even though many of them are not accomplishing it in a great way.

Anticipating the content marketing trend will give you the chance to be a few steps ahead of your competitors.

In this post we are going to go over a few things you can do to stand out from the crowd…

Content Marketing is Becoming “Heavy”

Small articles, and light content in general, have no future (unless you’re Seth Godin). Look around the web, and you’ll notice that all the major websites in each industry are producing big content, such as:

1. Long Blog Posts

Long blog posts will be the future of content marketing. In a world where we are overloaded with poor content, you want to give high quality, detailed information.

I’m talking about long and detailed blog posts. You don’t want to publish a 2,000-word post that doesn’t give useful information. Don’t waste people’s time filling your articles with empty words. They may hate you for that and then never read another one of your blog posts.

Not only do people love exhaustive content, but search engines rank long blog posts higher, too, as shown by Neil Patel. Since January 27, I’ve published 6 posts of 2,000+ words each, and the result in search engine traffic is pretty astonishing – 1122% growth!

graph

A 1122% increase in search engine traffic in less than 2 months and with just 6 blog posts.

Many successful bloggers are used to writing very long posts. An excellent example is Glen Allsop, who writes very long posts at ViperChill. It’s not a surprise that his posts move people to action. In fact, his posts usually have more than 100 comments.

ViperChill post

There are 500 comments on this post…it seems to be worth the 2,800+ words in it.

Additional proof of the effectiveness of long blog posts comes from Gregory Ciotti, who writes truly exhaustive blog posts at Sparring Mind. Considering that Ciotti doesn’t have a huge following on Twitter (just 6,000+ followers), his posts get an enormous number of tweets.

Sparring Mind

675 tweets on this post. Making exhaustive content is a game worth playing.

2. Free Ebooks

The trend of creating exhaustive content is not limited to blog posts. A great example comes from HubSpot which has been producing free ebooks for years. Currently, it’s giving away 75 ebooks.

Hubspot ebooks

Hubspot offers many free ebook to its audience.

HubSpot is well known for generating a huge amount of quality content, and its strategy seems to work perfectly, given that it has a global Alexa rank of 880 and more than 8,000 customers.

Even though companies have the most accessible resources to develop ebooks, they are not the only ones. Marketers and entrepreneurs are publishing ebooks as well.

For example, Danny Iny published the Naked Marketing Manifesto and the book “Engagement from Scratch!” Even though the latter is a product sold on Amazon, Iny is using it in his content marketing strategy, too: he gives it free to people who subscribe to his list. Did I mention that Iny got 7,568 subscribers thanks to his book?

Engagement from Scratch

“Engagement from Scratch!” helped Danny to get 7,568 subscribers in a few months.

Naked Marketing Manifesto

Naked Marketing Manifesto has been everywhere since its launch.

3. Multiple Lead Magnets

This trend also will show in the lead magnets that websites offer to their audiences. Nowadays almost everyone offers an ebook to their subscribers (or another kind of lead magnet), so it’s important to stand out from the crowd by offering more than one lead magnet.

Corbett Barr is giving away a Traffic Toolbox to his subscribers. It includes a couple of PDFs and some videos. As a result, he has tripled his subscription rate.

Traffic Toolbox

Think Traffic gives away some videos and a couple of PDFs to its subscribers.

Jonathan Mead is offering 3 lead magnets to his subscribers at Paid to Exist. It’s going pretty well, judging by the tweets of its landing page. (Getting a landing page tweeted is really hard because people usually don’t share them.)

Paid-to-Exist---Backpack-Shares

Jonathan Mead figure out an effective way to increase tweets on his landing page.

In the future, many more businesses will embrace heavy content production in the form of long blog posts, many ebooks, and multiple lead magnets.

Content Marketing is Becoming More Visual than Ever

Recently, images have become very important online. Just think about the rise of Instagram and Pinterest. Images draw attention, and in an online world full of background noise (poor ugly content), they are crucial.

1. Images in Posts

Images are becoming an essential part of quality articles. An example comes from Social Media Examiner that puts many images in its posts to have a bigger impact with their audience.

Social Media Examiner

Social Media Examiner uses many images in their blog posts.

In some cases, an image may even be the core of an entire post, which is a strategy used by Copyblogger with its shareables. It has been quite successful, as shown by the number of social shares, and because Copyblogger has published other shareables.

Copyblogger Shareable

This shareable went viral and brought a lot of traffic and links to Copyblogger.

2. Infographics and Instructographics

Infographics have a key role in a highly successful content marketing strategy. They exploded a couple of years ago and will be more important in the future. Marketo has published 45 infographics. Judging by the frequency of its infographic production, it will stay the course. And if people at Marketo are publishing infographics, it means that the strategy is working.

Neil Patel explained that infographics were crucial for growing KISSmetrics from 0 to 350,000 readers a month.

Other than using infographics to present your stats in a visual way, you can use instructographics. It seems that 97th Floor has invented this concept. In the past, I’ve seen some instructographics defined as infographics, so it’s not really a new concept. But the fact that this new category is growing is a sign that visual content is getting more important.

Even though making infographics (or instructographics) requires certain skills or a sizeable budget, their production is increasing by 1% every day. So the web will be full of infographics quickly…and each day, the competition in infographics increases. This means that what we define as quality infographics now will be the norm in the future, which means that you’ll need to spend more to make an infographic that stands out.

9 Awesome Reasons to Use Infographics in your Content Marketing

Infographics, in the near future, will be a core element of a successful content marketing strategy. And I’m not talking about publishing just one infographic, I’m talking about publishing infographics on a regular basis.

3. Presentations

There’s a visual type of content that has been online (and offline) for quite a long time, but now it’s becoming more important than ever – presentations. SlideShare, which is the leading social media website where you can upload presentations, is growing, as shown by its Alexa stats.

SlideShare Alexa Rank

SlideShare is growing, and we can expect that there will be more competition on their website in the future.

Some successful companies on the cutting edge of content marketing are on SlideShare. For example HubSpot has published 408 presentations on SlideShare. Apparently, the strategy is working for them.

HubSpot on SlideShare

408 presentations are lots of presentations! Congratulations HubSpot!

A trend you would notice if you had been on SlideShare for a couple of months is that the presentations are getting more visual. The quality of the presentations has risen a lot lately, and there are many more appealing presentations now than there were a few months ago. You can still use SlideShare for marketing and get good results pretty easily, but if you wait too long to take advantage of it, you’ll have to fight against strong competition.

Content Marketing is Going Beyond Text

1. Podcast

Have you noticed that MANY sites currently are providing podcasts? Just a couple of years ago, there were only a few people who were podcasting.

Podcasting is enjoying big success due to its benefits:

  • More exposure for your content
  • A warmer contact between you and your audience than text
  • Available for listening anywhere and anytime

Some influencers, like Pat Flynn, have contributed to podcast diffusion, too.

Smart Passive Income Podcast

The Smart Passive Income Podcast has surely contributed to podcasting diffusion – together with many other famous podcast series.

A few months ago, Flynn even made a podcasting tutorial, giving an extra boost to podcasting diffusion.

Recently, Chris Brogan started his new podcast series Human Business Way, and he has published over 60 podcasts in a few months. It’s a sign that his podcasting is working very well.

The Human Business Way

Chris Brogan’s new podcasting series.

You can see another example by Caleb Wojcik, who recently focused on his Cubicle Renegade Podcast. Also, most of his latest blog posts include a podcast.

Cubicle Renegade Podcast

The Cubicle Renegade Podcast.

2. Videos in Blog Posts

Videos have been popular since the birth of YouTube, but now they are key elements in content marketing. Videos improve the learning experience over reading a post. The more senses involved in the learning process, the better the learning.

More people are starting to use videos to empower their content marketing strategy. A great example comes from Derek Halpern, who started Social Triggers TV about 6 months ago. Since then, he has put videos in most of his blog posts.

Derek Halpern YouTube Channel

I guess that Derek Halpern loves videos :)

Another sign that videos are becoming really common in content marketing? The rise of many video services. For example, Splasheo is a company that makes cheap and quality video intros, lower thirds, and video outros. A couple of years ago, the only way you could have a quality video intro was by paying a lot of money to a professional.

Splasheo

Some interesting video services by Splasheo.

In addition, progress in mobile video has made it possible to watch videos everywhere, so your video can be accessed by your audience anytime and anywhere. This means that more and more people will start using videos to get a jump on this extra advantage.

3. Webinars

You may have noticed a huge increase in the number of webinars, too. One year ago, I could count the number of people who were creating webinars with my left hand. Now, in the internet marketing niche, there are several webinars every week.

Again, people want more quality content, and webinars are a great solution. Usually, a webinar lasts one hour, and it’s full of information that you cannot find on the site of the presenter. You can easily understand why it works well.

Many people who run webinars record them. In this way, they can publish the webinars and keep receiving benefits from the recording. An example comes from Amy Porterfield who offers her webinar to people who subscribe to her list.

Amy Porterfield Webinar

Amy Porterfield’s webinar.

Here is another example from Inbound Marketing which has a big collection of webinars.

Inbound Marketing Webinars

Inbound Marketing offers many webinars in this page.

Conclusion

Content marketing is requiring more exhaustive and higher quality content than ever, and this trend will continue. Anticipate the trend so you can take advantage of it before it becomes the standard in your industry.

About the Author: Mauro D’Andrea is the founder of Blog Growth, the blog where he helps people reach their internet marketing goals. If you want to succeed online, take his 14-part email course “Online Income from A to Z” for FREE.

  1. Another great insight from @kissmetrics. I couldn’t agree more. Shallow, valueless, fluffy blogs are a thing of the past. As went the way of press releases. Without meat in a press release, no one picks it up and writes about it, there is simply too much other good news to choose from. So too for blogging. In fact shallow blogs may become the kiss of death, to both readership and eventually the SEs will be able to figure out “value” too, if not already.

  2. Fantastic article. It really is on the mark for the most part. But, I’d actually argue that “1. Long Blog Posts” isn’t the exact strategy. Instead, it should be “1. Maximize engagement on your site, thus maximizing “dwell” time which Google/Bing use to determine how engaging your content for this part of their algorithms. Very important for the Panda algorithm, in regards to Google. Long content is just one of those ways. Content that has high conversion leading to another page view on your site (rather than a click back to Google or Bing) is one such alternative situation. An example of this could be a 500 word landing page (targeting a highly searched topic) that gives away a free download via newsletter signup, etc. Doing some quick content promotion to building a few links, and sharing on social media, can help with ranking the content. Long content (i.e. – Neil’s 2,000+ word blog posts) achieves this as well…but they do have one advantage: long-tail keyword traffic. The decision on which content type is needed for which strategy is up to the user.

    • Thank you Dan!

      Yours is an interesting point of view. Of course, the optimized landing page is a must for a serious online business.

      Anyway, what I’m talking about in my post is to provide tons of value with your content – and you can really do it only with long blog posts.
      Obviously, you can provide value with short blog posts, but long blog posts will always overtake them: with 4,000 words you can express more concepts than with 500 words.

      • I think we’re just mixing up “strategy” and “objectives”.

        Cash Paying Customers, Optins, traffic and rankings are all objectives. Long, Heavy, tasty post like this one are excellent strategies/means.

  3. I get that long posts will rank high but is this really a lasting trend though? The more competitive it is the less time and attention readers have… and at the end of the day it’s the readers that count. How many of them really have time for long haul articles? After all, we’re writing for readers and not bots aren’t we?

    Just a though:)

    • Hi Shelly, I completely understand your doubts.

      When you have a little time and you, searching on the web, find a really lond post which seems really interesting, the chances are that you are going to save that post to come back later when you have more times.
      Why? Because a really long post with images and compelling headings seems too interesting to forget about it.

      The online world has several trends, but proving value (which means writing long, detailed and useful posts) is not a trend, is a constant.

      • Mauro, thanks for this awesome post.
        @Shelly: i record seeing data from the huffington post actually showing that longer articles tended to be read and shared more frequently. Personally, i do not consider it a mere trend.

  4. Awesome Mauro great post.

  5. And that is the future how? I thought this was “the present” of content marketing… just teasing ;-) Great article. I would add that story telling is going to be the future. Everybody loves a good story.

    • Hi Chris, you are right in a certain way: many people are already applying what I described in the post, even though we’re in a beginning stage.

      Story telling is surely a crucial kind of content to master, both in the present and in the future.

  6. Wow! So many great resources here. I’d never heard of Splasheo, Sparring Mind, or PTE and am really glad to have found them. Thanks Mauro!

  7. I think Webinars might be the future of content marketing. Like blogger might set 1 Webinars/week and then we will visit him for that. And then the text version will be published as content for those who missed Webinars.

    Thanks

  8. Long blog post, so you have done this. It sounds good. Love your predicts, the trends like Ebook, Webinars, and they all raised reasonable.

  9. There is just one matter of concern though: any and every infographic is published these days. Just does not matter if the design is shabby or the content is thin, if it is an infograph, it has to be there!

  10. Video is king nowadays! Thanks for the post.

  11. Great tips as always!

    We’re trying to do more long posts with images, presentations, infographics, and videos. Anything we can do to increase engagement amongst our readers and build our online community.

    We also just put our first eBook out there and so far it has been a success. We’re already thinking about what our next one will be on.

    Keep up the great work!

  12. Hey, can you put your post date on your blog posts? With information changing so rapidly its so important to have a publish date! Thanks!

    • Hi Ellen, even if a post hasn’t a publish date, you can see it by comments date – it’s quite complex to remove the comments date, so most of the blogs have it.

  13. Seems like the actual next step for infographs is actually video or interactive infographics. We got a nice infograph made by Killer-infographics.com and then VideoIgniter.com turned it into a video.

  14. Long posts are serious content marketing tool, use of images in posts and offering free eBooks are great ways to market your content. However, I am still not convinced with videos and podcast.

    • Hi Madha, it really depends on how you use them, but both videos and podcast have their advantages.

      For example, I think that videos are perfect to build relationships with your audience because when you appear on the screen it’s almost like you’re having a live conversation.

      The same is right for podcasts: if you only read my stuff, you’ll only imagine my voice, but if I speak in a podcast, you’ll know my real voice; after that, everytime you read my articles, you’ll imagine my real voice speaking.

  15. Mauro, I agree with whatever you mentioned in this post. In fact, this post is an example of Long and Useful content :)! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Great post Mauro. Fuckin’ brilliant! Credit to Kissmetrics for finding amazing writers. I totally agree with you on all the points. It’s also worth adding that a lot of people will start implementing what you have advised on this post without any strategy or overview and we’ll see even more worthless content (only difference, it’s longer).

    Understanding your target audience should be the first thing. Create epic 2000 word posts, but make sure you know your audience. For example, a plumber or an engineers might not be as web savvy and may only have the capacity for a short and straight to the point article.

    • Thank you, Neil!

      I completely agree with you: not having a content strategy and not understanding your audience will waste your efforts, no matter how good is your work.

  17. I agree completely on the point concerning the “heaviness” of the content and it is the trend that I enjoy the most. But the part about the visuals was also captivating, cheers!

  18. In this competitive blogging and marketing age, long blog post helps to top ranking the content on search engine and drive search engine referral traffic. Quality content is the king of a blog.

  19. We have been beating the drums for the value of audio and video podcasting for more than eight years now. Nothing is better for raising visibility in a Google search than adding great quality audio and video to your content publishing strategy on a consistent, regular basis. You can read more about our approach to a content strategy that involves video and audio at http://bit.ly/BeingTheMedia.

    Then let us help you make it happen.

  20. Great Blog, Content Marketing is a winner for publishing platforms and websites- it’s a must for the future of digital marketers

  21. Hi, I just saw today an article about new Google glasses which will allow contents to be displayed on it. I don’t really know how it’s going to play out – not even Google :) – but this might change the way how we distribute contents. Maybe that’s the future!!! Here’s the link for those who are curious: http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/15/4228962/google-glass-mirror-api-documentation?goback=%2Egde_4325487_member_232989833

  22. Articolo fantastico, Mauro! Beyond the debate about blog post length — and I remember that the NYT released some data recently showing that their most-shared articles were the longer, magazine-style ones — I loved the webinar reference. People definitely respond better to rich media, which also goes along with the section about including video in blog posts.

  23. Content marketing is will get more difficult in the future. Like you said, long post is the ultimate way to get noticed. Imagine 5 years from now, there will be so much content that only the most quality out of hundreds of even quality content will find their way to Google. Blog marketing will be much more difficult.

    But posts like what you have shared will always win. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Thank you for this article, there’s a few things that I learned and that I’m not currently doing. Since I started blogging for business I’ve hit page 1 in Google for several key words such as Los Angeles web design company. Our inbound traffic is up 400% and now I’m jumping into new strategies such as what are listed here to get us to the top of page 1.

    Again thank you for the valuable information I’m going to put to good use right away.

  25. Google is rewarding high authority sites by providing free traffic and top ranking and it is the remarkable content that build brand, attract natural share, links, traffic, leads and trust.

    Every marketers need to focus on building compelling content and outreach strategies. Moreover, if webmaster or online marketer know how to encourage user-generated content such YouTube or Warrior Forum, an automated online empire will be built.

  26. Everyone’s known about infographics for a while, but how many people actually get one made? I would think a low percentage. Interesting and engaging content is always going to work best.

  27. This hits a nail on the head. So many times I search for long tail queries and the top results are filled with poorly written content that add no value whatsoever. It is good to see that search engines are now taking engagement and quality content into ranking algorithms.

    Thanks for the great post btw :)

  28. Seems like there’s so much to do to get ahead of the competition… Where do I start? Long blog posts? Write an ebook? Offer a webinar?

  29. We’ve been heavily focused on building our blog at my company, but we’ve been so far been working with shorter content and image heavy posts, thinking that people would gravitate towards the lower word counts and visual aspect, but this post is definitely making me rethink that strategy. Thank!

  30. This is going to really help my marketing team get on the same page. We’ve thrown a lot of idea’s around lately, but i think this guide will help us narrow our focus!

    Thanks

  31. Awesome, very well written article all the information and steps are simply amazing and thank you very much for sharing it with your readers. Thanks again

  32. nice tips thanks, really nice blog

  33. Thank you for such a nice blog. It has described the important points which are required to make an attractive longer blog post.Yeah, contents and presentation must be unique to create a valuable blog post.

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