Content marketing is booming -- many businesses are seeing great ROI from capitalizing on content. But like any other marketing trend, what works best is constantly evolving.
To find out where you should next put your efforts, we asked 10 successful entrepreneurs what content marketing trends they were most excited about and why.
1) Branded Content Sketch Videos
I really admire companies like Funny or Die and JASH who have transitioned into creating comedy sketch videos for branded content. Companies like Captain Morgan are coming up with some truly creative stuff that not only pumps up their celebrity status, but shows how playful and fun they can be as a brand.
2) Guest Contributed Content
More publications are opening up their contributor platforms to invite experts to write non-promotional op-eds for online publications. Since this is the space that we operate in, it's really exciting for us to see the publishing industry moving in this direction.
3) Niche Publishing Houses
The world is convinced of content marketing, but many have only taken baby steps. They might have a blog, but the content is not as robust or targeted as it could be. A few companies though have either purchased or built vast publishing houses to target a highly specific audience. Not only is this great marketing, it's also great content. I'm excited to see how brands approach this strategy in 2015.
4) Interactive Content
Interactive content is growing, and it's going to be great. People LOVE this stuff, and it's getting more sophisticated on a daily basis. People want to interact with their content and have more ownership of it.
5) Brands as Publishers
The explosion of content marketing means that brands are increasingly seeing themselves as publishers. They are beginning to realize that to best connect with their customers, they must express empathy and attempt to really understand what motivates these people as an audience. In doing so, their content marketing is becoming less promotional and more value-additive. That excites me.
6) Visual Storytelling
Visual storytelling across several platforms -- social, YouTube/Vimeo, blogs -- is going to become important not just for standing out, but also for creating vibrant, engaged communities of loyal brand advocates. Companies will shift away from pitching features and focus more on telling stories of how people use what they offer, or even just heartwarming or funny stories, to attract customers.
7) Personalized Content Experiences
The trend of personalizing content to the individual user is perhaps one of the largest breakthroughs in our modern marketing efforts. The ability to help visitors individually obtain the content they seek while offering access to tertiary data creates a definitively better experience. By leveraging this model, companies are able to create new content that continues to serve those repeat visitors.
8) Leveraging the Blogosphere
Having a direct link on relevant sites that point back to your website is a great way to attract new visitors. Today’s blogging community provides a whole new way of social interaction. And if done correctly, you’ll drive additional eyeballs to your site and boost SEO. It’s also a chance to brand yourself and establish credibility among other experts within your industry.
Micro-content, which is optimized for social media, is very effective for brands because it’s easy for their target market to consume these messages. They are short, cost-effective, easily sharable and, if done right, extremely memorable. We will continue to see a rise in micro-content because of the popularity of sites such as Vine, Instagram and Twitter.
We’ve seen massive growth in video across all of our networks, as Facebook has given high quality video an edge with its new autoplay feature. In 2015, I’m excited to see content producers focus on acquiring and retaining audiences through high-emotion, attention-grabbing video -- maximizing a video’s first few seconds to draw in new audiences.
These answers were provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.