6 Predictions on the continuing future of Content Marketing for 2015

Making predictions is quite difficult, especially in a field as complicated and as fast-paced as digital marketing. That said, I’ve noticed some trends emerging recently and believe they point toward the entire direction content marketing will be headed in 2015. Listed below are my predictions on the evolution of content marketing next year.

In the first days of the net, search engines were the principal way that folks discovered content online. Yahoo and google work by serving up the most relevant results predicated on keywords. However, this relevance wasn’t personalized initially, it was predicated on a judgment of relevance for the average indivdual.

Internet sites opened up a complete new avenue towards discovering online content, because these were inherently personalized. However, as our networks grew; Facebook, Twitter and several other social sites were forced to start out filtering content predicated on what their newsfeed algorithms thought was most highly relevant to us.

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It has been creating what many call the “echo-chamber” effect. Facebook determines what gets shown in your feed predicated on who you understand, what your interests are and what posts you’ve liked or shared during the past. As this algorithm evolves and reaches know you better it inevitably begins to narrow whose posts you see and what forms of content, opinions and voices you face.

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The most interesting change happening from a marketing perspective may be the intensification of online subcultures.

As who we realize, what we like, and what we share begins to know what we see, who we hear and where we hear it from, our connection with the net becomes more intensely focused around a narrower selection of topics and a far more focused social circle.

From Google’s socialization of search with Google+ or the extension of the Facebook “like” button to just about any site online, our social ties are increasingly shaping our experiences online.

The net is probably the most dominant forces in the spread, creation and discussion of culture, and with this fragmentation of online experiences should come new, unique and highly specialized “echo-chamber” subcultures.

These groups are of unique importance to brands, as the amount of trust and loyalty amongst these niche subcultures implies that once a brand or product or celebrity gains acceptance they will be embraced.

The only method brands can desire to do so is to select which subcultures to follow and pay very close focus on the precise values, beliefs and ideas define them.

In the last couple of years, content marketing is becoming the most widely embraced new models for reaching audiences. The key reason why content marketing has increased to prominence is basically because it flipped the old advertising model on its head.

Traditional advertising involved brands spending money on the privilege to insert their message inside other’s content. This interruption model was the same for print, radio and other styles of advertising.

Content marketing proposed that rather than brands interrupting someone else’s content, that they defy guidelines and attract an audience by creating their own content. Not merely do you avoid bothering potential customers with messages they don’t want to listen to, this process also gives brands unprecedented capability to create stories and control their own content.

TV networks or magazines that desire to attract advertisers have to keep their content purposefully broad in order to be highly relevant to many potential advertisers, however when brands control this content they don’t need to response to anyone, except their audience they want to reach.

This freedom may be the real good thing about content marketing; nonetheless it seems that even while more brands begin to pursue a content strategy, they are shying from taking full benefit of the freedom this plan allows.

Save for some exceptions, brands have not leveraged content marketing’s real strategic potential to its fullest to date. The Red Bull Media House and some other outliers have previously demonstrated the potential rewards of doubling down on the strategy to become a distinct segment publisher of quality, targeted content.

Even smaller players like PetFlow show that (even absent a multi-million dollar budget) publishing content that doesn’t appeal to many people are the best way to maximize your appeal to the individuals who matter.

Rather than just creating content as an extension of their website (even while a dedicated blog) brands will increasingly begin to either spin off, purchase, or build full-fledged article marketing divisions.

This won’t be for only branded content, it’ll be high-quality targeted content to determine that brand as a tastemaker within their industry. For the reason that as social network are more and more insular and specialized, piggybacking from mainstream content can be less viable.

According to Jason Miller’s, Welcome To The Funnel, there are three types of thought leadership that relate back to this content your business is creating: industry thought leadership, product thought leadership and organizational thought leadership.

Miller recommends applying these various kinds of thought leadership predicated on what your company does well and where in fact the biggest opportunities lie.

“Important thing: focus on the region(s) where you could make a direct effect and add value to the conversation rather than just adding noise,” said Miller.

Having said that, you might not have heard about Marie Forleo, however the people who have heard about this thought leader are a few of the most influential and powerful players running a business and entrepreneurship. MarieTV has 136,000 YouTube subscribers and has already established a wide-range of guests on her behalf show from Tony Robbins to Arianna Huffington.

Marie herself has appeared on Oprah and leads a dedicated community of successful, aspiring people looking to achieve an improved life and business. She might possibly not have as much subscribers as various other additionally known YouTubers, but it has little to no bearing on the quantity of influence she wields as a business thought leader.

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The fragmentation of the social fabric of the net could be likened to the dynamic of a high-school cafeteria. There are various cliques forming and each has their own social currency and method of appropriating and gauging influence. In each group, the favorite kids are rarely the people who have the most friends; rather, they are ones with the friends who matter the most.

Marie Forleo and her friends might signal social influence in case you are section of the social subculture that calls itself “digital entrepreneurs,” but if you’re part of the “anime enthusiast” subculture Marie Forleo wouldn’t matter for you even if she had a million subscribers.

So many social marketers are enthusiastic about “volumetrics.” Countless resumes are filled up with statements like “Gained client +30K Instagram followers,” but each one of these measurements of volume are pointless. Those a large number of followers may as well be bots if they’re not section of the subculture that’ll be receptive to your brand.

This volume-obsessed mindset typifies the “click-bait” mentality of trying to obtain as much views, clicks, likes and shares as possible. However, this exemplifies the old style of media creation where rather than attractive to customers, publishers were attractive to advertisers. It is vital to be self-aware of your communitiesin order to best reach their members.

Whenever your content is replacing your advertising, volume is meaningless and influence becomes the main thing. Speaking the language of your market and embracing the subculture that’s shaping their online lives may be the only sure-fire way to create content which will appeal to them. If 2014 was the entire year of click-bait, 2015 is definitely the year of “clique-bait.” [Click to Tweet]

In quite similar way that companies and brands will start purchasing or creating hyper-niche publications, they’ll also begin pursuing endorsement handles micro-celebrities that regularly produce their own content.

In his publication Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin discussed the viral influencer as a “sneezer” (i.e. a person who spread ideas by just embracing them). As stated in the last section, these influential individuals don’t will have the biggest followings, however they do have an extremely engaged and receptive audience. Furthermore, the ideal sneezer could have other sneezers who focus on what they state.

The emerging culture of online micro-celebrity bloggers, Twitter personalities, or Instagram stars is in no way new to social media. Recent years have observed marketers begin to understand the energy of small, distinctly influential online personalities. However, as communities continue steadily to become a lot more specialized, these influencers will begin to be defined by different metrics than they currently are.

Rather than looking for micro-celebrities with plenty of followers or likes, it’ll become increasingly vital that you tease out the actual composition of their following. An Instagram following of 10,000 may seem unimpressive, but if that following includes 50 other sneezers highly relevant to the niche you’re seeking, plus another 9,900 members of this same niche then that small-seeming number begins to look much bigger.

A good example of a brand that’s prior to the curve is counter-culture backpack company Sprayground. Their Instagram boasts the most dynamic and dedicated followings and has generated a thriving subculture. One key with their success has been maintaining and pursuing relationships with a large number of Instagram micro-celebrities.

Sprayground understands carefully picks these partners not predicated on the gross level of followers they have, but instead on the clout they have within the city they’ve built.

Micro-celebrities aren’t new, but as the relative size of communities gets smaller and the dedication and connectedness of their members gets stronger, these micro-celebrities will quickly look significantly less like traditional celebrities and wield influence disproportionate to the amount of followers they have.

If someone tries to let you know that YouTube celebrities haven’t made much influence of mainstream culture, point them in direction of the Green brothers. In only a few short years, YouTube celebrities John and Hank Green, of Vlogbrothers fame, have created a direct effect unlike nearly any other celebrity (online or elsewhere).

While Hank Green has been busy managing VidCon (the largest “in true to life” gathering of YouTubers) and the wildly successful SciShow and CrashCourse channels, his brother John has been making a lot more of a splash.

Image credit: Ronestrada Books

John’s novel “The Fault INSIDE OUR Stars” was propelled to such powerful reception (in large part because of his dedicated YouTube following) that it subsequently became a movie that enjoyed both critical and commercial success. Although the movie starred the young and charismatic Shalene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, John served as the primary star vehicle for the movie.

The reason why he was the driving force behind the films creation and promotion had not been as a result of artistic merit he imparted to the task (not saying the movie and book weren’t excellent), but as a result of cult of personality surrounding his own private brand.

YouTube isn’t the only forum which has seen creators embrace and cultivate hyper-targeted subculture followings, nonetheless it is one of the first to see its once underground communities begin to affect mainstream culture.

The reason why John Green’s fans went to start to see the Fault INSIDE OUR Stars was because they felt as though they had participated along the way of its creation. That they had seen John’s relationship with Esther (a cancer patient and Vlogbrothers fan who sadly passed on) inspire him to create the novel. They saw his excitement when the book succeeded. And today they were likely to see that movie regardless of what.

What brands can study from the Green brothers (and other YouTube creators) is that creating vibrant content and inviting participation can serve as the driving force behind creating a community. Rather than simply putting content out, successful brands will quickly place this content consumers on a single level as its creators.

John Oliver’s show THE OTHER DAY Tonight has swiftly become a cultural force that’s contending with long-entrenched, successful competitors just like the Daily Show andThe Colbert Report. Oliver’s program owes its success, in large part, to its decision to embrace the net for distribution.

THE OTHER DAY Tonight’s debut show (usually the highest ranking episode) on HBO had a viewership of just one 1.1 million. However, during the period of the next couple of weeks, the clips John Oliver released featuring the show’s main segments begun to get double or triple how much views as the premiere episode.

Oliver’s show is in no way an isolated exemplory case of the power the web must make a mainstream celebrity relevant. As people continue steadily to consume more content online, and as their attention begins to be diverted by highly targeted micro-celebrities highly relevant to their particular niche, mainstream celebrities will see themselves having to compete for attention wherever it really is that their potential audience is spending their time.

It used to be that getting the own Television show or record deal or Hollywood role was a ticket to success, however the shifting of just how we consume and find out content is changing that drastically. Now, people who have their own Television show are finding that to keep relevance they must create content suitable for an online audience aswell.

Whereas a whole generation of kids who was raised wishing for fame imagined being on an ABC sitcom or starring in a big-budget blockbuster, tomorrow’s daydreaming kids is going to be imagining an extremely different image of super-stardom. Rather than desiring their own hit Television show, they’ll be dreaming about having their own hit YouTube channel.

Having said that, businesses will increasingly have to reply on the online audience and discover success with their content on other platforms. I’m in no way saying TV and other channels are no more influential, however when I am saying is that the influence these platforms once controlled has been distributed across more networks, channels, platforms and devices as the net is continuing to grow.

Therefore, it’s vital that you establish authority online together with your content as a way to solidify your success across other media channels.

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