The idea behind content marketing is to engage existing customers and generate new business leads by offering high-quality, useful advice and information that isn’t overtly sales-focused. Small businesses can go about this by providing everything from grocery flyers and Rotary Club speeches to blog posts and how-to videos. And, of course, it pays to stay on top of the latest developments.
To this end, here are four current content-marketing trends to watch:
- B2B webinars: Online seminars are an increasingly popular means for small businesses to educate decision-makers about a particular industry and generate new business leads (by gathering participants’ contact information). According to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProf’s “B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends” report, the number of businesses hosting webinars increased by 25 percent between 2011 and 2012. To get in the game, check out our guide to hosting a successful webinar.
- Mobile content: More Americans are consuming content (news, blogs, videos, and more) on their smartphones. In fact, Nielsen reports that almost half of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones, up from 36 percent in 2011. So, when developing your online content, make it mobile-friendly, because odds are high that visitors will access it on a smartphone.
- Content curation: ”Content curation” refers to the process of finding and sharing industry-related information with others via social media, your company’s website or email newsletter, or another vehicle. Eighty percent of marketers say they now incorporate content curation into their overall content-marketing strategy, according to a B2B survey by HiveFire. (That’s up from about 50 percent last year.)
- Video production: Video is growing as a content platform for even the smallest of businesses. According to the Content Marketing Benchmarks report, 56 percent of marketers today distribute video content on YouTube. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment to create compelling videos. For example, the massively popular Dollar Shave Club ad was shot with a Canon EOS 5D camera and a Steadicam for $4,500. Other successful business owners, such as Laura Roeder, founder of social-media training firm LKR, simply use a computer webcam to film videos.