One of the most versatile and important marketing trends for 2014 that has the branding world buzzing is the idea of crafting a marketing mix that’s inclusive of content marketing. Content marketing trends can be used to educate, engage, and entertain. It can provide information while pushing new products. It can capture new leads and seed existing ones.

Content marketing will not just be a marketing trend for 2014 – businesses will build entire strategies around it. They will create a marketing mix chockfull of content objectives. But what is content marketing? What type of content do you use and where do you use it? And what are the content marketing trends for 2014?

5 Content Style Trends that Grab Attention

  1. Blogs and articles. Present yourself as an authority in your field by continually writing blogs on hot topics that interest your customers. Discuss industry news, the latest trends, compare products…the topics are endless. You can keep them short. Blogs don’t need to be novels!
  2. White Papers. Conduct a study on an issue or problem that exists in your industry. Present the facts and figures, Discuss options to solve the problem. Make sure you do your due diligence when writing a white paper – get your facts straight!
  3. Case Studies. What successes have you had with clients? Write case studies on your biggest wins. Explain the client’s needs, and then highlight how you analyzed and fixed the problem. This is your time to brag about yourself and your business!
  4. Infographics. Everyone loves infographics. They are quick, succinct, and easy to read. Infographics are a great way to get out lots of interesting stats without it being a dry read. Use a designer to create a fun look. For more information on how to create infographics that stand out, click here.
  5. Short videos. You don’t have to post a 6-second Vine videos, but now that Facebook allows videos to play right in their application, this opens up a new way of attracting attention. The videos are easier than ever to view – and you should capitalize on this by uploading your own quick vids. Demonstrate your product, create something useful, or even something fun and viral.

Other forms of content marketing can include newsletters, webinars and podcasts, social media posts, and e-books. You should choose several content styles to give your content marketing some diversity.

So now you have the content…where do you put it?

  1. Your website. First and foremost, all content should be uploaded to your website. Post your daily/weekly blogs, case study portfolio, etc. Then, use that content to drive traffic to your site by posting the links throughout your social media networks.
  2. Social media. Use content marketing to engage your followers. Post content that incites discussions and is interesting enough for people to share with their network. You should post content that both drives traffic to your website by sharing links, and also proprietary content to that specific social media network. Meaning? Post an infographic picture directly to your Twitter feed – not just a link to your website. This will allow people to view the graphic right there on the platform instead of linking out. It’s a quicker way to get your information to your followers. Waiting for a link to load on a mobile device may take more time than being able to view a photo directly in a social media app. (See how you can ignite your social media in 2014! Click here.)
  3. Email. Create a newsletter that links to your blog posts and other content on your website. Email this newsletter on a monthly basis to your client-base. Be sure to include content that is unique to your newsletter. Also, emails can be used to keep your customers engaged throughout their lifecycle. It doesn’t always need to be a newsletter – you can send along other interesting facts and news.

Content Marketing Trends to Use to Your Advantage in 2014

Go Mobile. Design content that is easily transferable to a mobile environment. With more people using tablets and smartphones than ever before, this trend will likely continue until mobile usage overtakes desktops. So be sure that your content is capable of being scanned over quickly in a digital format.

Devise a Strategy. Your content marketing objectives should be thoughtfully planned out. Create an editorial calendar based on platforms. For example: Map out the content for each blog, newsletter theme, video, infographic, etc. and when you plan on releasing it. Granted, industry news may dictate your content, but having a good idea of where you want to take it is beneficial when starting the New Year.

Guest blogging. Start building your network of industry peers and influencers. Offer to write blogs for their sites and, in turn, you’ll post some of their writings. Additionally, you could offer up a quote or tidbit of info for one of their upcoming articles.

Content shift from pure information to “how to”. Readers of your content will become more interested in how the information that you’re disseminating can help them. Use industry news and growing trends to support how your business can fill your consumers’ needs.

Now that you know the 2014 trends, above all, the most important thing to remember in content marketing is that you are GIVING information to your clients, not ASKING them for something. You are providing information, not asking for a sale. If you start overtly asking your clients for sales, they will think that your content is nothing more than a sales pitch and you will have lost them for eternity. Be mindful of this and the rest of the trends and you’ll find your content marketing is rockin’ it in the New Year!