According to a recent study by Curata Inc., more than 70 percent of marketers planned to increase their investments in content marketing in 2014 over what they spent in 2013. This seems about right to me; to anyone who follows our industry, the reasons why this level of growth would take place are pretty evident. It’s simple: in order to properly enable sales efforts in today’s business climate, and adequately populate all of the marketing channels we have at our disposal these days, many varied content assets are needed.
But this increase in spending begs several questions. What’s really driving the increase in content marketing spend? What are the top items to be watching out for in content marketing these days? Let’s take this conversation to another level…here are some of my thoughts on the subject:
- The “Why.” It’s harder to reach target customers today than ever before. There are more communications channels, more competition for eyeballs and mindshare, etc. Good content assets are necessary because good pieces snag and engage their targets. Video is especially hot – it taps upon at least two of the senses, and usually is done with some humor. There’s also the chance that any piece could go viral at any time. But it’s very often not cheap/easy to produce good videos – it takes some planning and effort. So spending increases on content marketing are necessary and justified based on the needs to draw in and engage people as well as the table stakes required to produce quality assets.
- Who’s Creating All That Content? More and more, I’m noticing outside agencies being tasked with asset generation. Marketing departments have been trying to do more with less for years, and it’s not often that I see an in-house team with the skills/capabilities to produce video, or write a white paper, or produce a case study. Furthermore, when the assets are produced, teams need someone to use them properly to stimulate leads and demand – a whole other skill set in huge demand these days. Not coincidentally, this is a central component of many of the programs that we at Game Changer develop and execute for our clients.
- What to Watch For. Going forward, I’m especially interested in the following:
- Regulation. As of right now, the world of content marketing is a lot like the game of baseball – lots of best practices and unwritten “codes” that govern how people act and react, but not a lot of hard and fast rules. As such, it’s still a Wild West mentality for many marketers. Will this change at all, and will that change require more oversight to keep the playing field safe and level for everyone?
- Asset types. Video has skyrocketed in recent months/years with the growth of social media. What’s going to be the hot asset type in another year or two? While I think video isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I think case studies are going to emerge even more. There’s just nothing quite like it to generate confidence and back up your story.
- Buzz factor. Content marketing right now is what social media was three to five years ago – it’s the cool, shiny toy that everyone’s gravitating toward and investing a ton of time and money in. One of the surest signs of this is how much casual conversation you see about this on Twitter. Businesses need content, and that won’t change – but will content marketing still be all the rage in another year or two, or will the world move on to the next thing?
What do you think? Do you see more parallels for PR pros around this? Leave a comment…I’d love to hear your thoughts.