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!
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.
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.
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 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!” helped Danny to get 7,568 subscribers in a few months.
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.
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.)
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’s webinar.
Here is another example from Inbound Marketing which has a big collection of webinars.
Inbound Marketing offers many webinars in this page.
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.