Home » OPINION » Columns » TODD SMITH'S SPIN CYCLE — The Top 5 content marketing trends to watch in 2015

TODD SMITH'S SPIN CYCLE — The Top 5 content marketing trends to watch in 2015

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

Whether we’re talking photo or video, editorial or blog, content’s kingdom has been expanding: fewer journalists, more user-generated tomes and a plethora of forums for any brand to find a consumer. This is the world in which we live – instant, immediate, and all within reach.

Just because the platforms are there does not mean your consumers will know how to find your content unless it is marketed properly. The Internet is not a “if you write it, they will read” field of dreams.

What’s your plan? Where’s your catnip? How do you plan to market your content? Here are five content marketing trends in 2015 you may want to share with your team.

1. Recycling is more popular — Think about it: You have 365 days in the year, not 261 as most people who just think about the job Monday through Friday would tell you. Few businesses have a team dedicated to weekend content development, much less after-hours work, which is why you need pieces that can be reused, repackaged, and recycled. How can you “refresh” the same content with a couple of new ideas? How can you place this article in front of the same people again without them overlooking it (again)? The message is still yours or your clients; this is just a different way to review it.

2. Content is getting more social — We all have that one client that just isn’t sure they need to be on social. But the “Duh” question is not whether you should be in social, it’s where. Snapchat may not be the place for electrical engineering, but it is where the cool kids hang out. Social media will become a cornerstone in any content marketing mix – organic and paid. There is no more room for companies to get by on the cheap. Look for inventive ways to create paid campaigns that also fulfill your organic search needs. Prioritize to advertise … then monetize.

3. Automation still stinks — As we have discussed in relation to news releases and social media, there is no such thing as a “good automation strategy.” Automation may get the content out there, but it takes a smart being that doesn’t drink motor oil to understand how it’s working and where to put it. Investing in your team with trust, resources and ideas will help them create the ideas you want out there. Yes, many companies use some sort of an automation platform for cost efficiency purposes. But many more companies trust their content developers, because brand awareness is more important.

4. Data-driven business moves us all — This shouldn’t be a news flash, but it is in many conference rooms. You are having some lean years and need to save money, but how in the world will you know what works without the data to prove it? Here is a hint: The amount of data you have is not the problem or the solution. It is how that data is interpreted that can make the difference. Every campaign needs results, but understanding how to read the numbers from the results will help you determine what is good, bad and ugly. Decide which one you want to be and find the data to help underscore that need.

5. ICYMI: Mobile still rules — It seems once per quarter there is a blog, an editorial, or even some pundit on a stage clamoring about the pressing need for all content to work on someone’s phone. If you needed ammunition to take into the board room with you, Gartner predicts “by 2018, more than 50 percent of users will use a tablet or smartphone first for all online activities.” Whether you have a website that requires a plugin or a mobile app that has demanded a ton of resources, you need to get your content on a phone.

Ads, blogs, pages, or apps – whatever it takes, find a way to make your brand more mobile.

70 percent of marketers will spend more on social media in 2015

Salesforce surveyed 5,000 marketers at the end of last year on their budgets for 2015, and the software giant found that 70 percent of them plan to increase social media advertising, including mobile ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Also, 70 percent of the marketers – who hail from every major category – plan to increase their dollars for organic social or content marketing, as many call it.

“One of the fears I had was that since social media advertising grew, you might see some brands fail to recognize you have to support the organic side of it as well,” said Jeff Rohrs, vice president of marketing insights at Salesforce. “Otherwise, those advertisements won’t perform. But it looks like the advertising will be complemented by the organic side.”

Sixty-seven percent of companies will also lift spend on mobile data tracking, while 66 percent will spend more on branded mobile apps. More generally, 84 percent of marketers plan to increase or maintain spending this year. And 38 percent of those surveyed will shift spend from traditional advertising to digital.

Here are some other highlights from Salesforce’s 47-page “State of Marketing” report:

» 71 percent said mobile marketing is core to their business.

» 68 percent have integrated mobile into their larger marketing strategy.

» 58 percent have a dedicated mobile team.

» 73 percent think e-mail is core to their business.

» 66 percent believe social media is core to their business.

» 66 percent have a dedicated social media team.

» 56 percent said their corporate websites are their most effective digital technologies.

Golden Mic | Speedo taps 91-year-old for newest ad campaign

This is not the Speedo that most folks know – and brand they love to ridicule.

No teeny, tiny swim briefs in this ad. None of its former spokesjocks like Michael Phelps or Mark Spitz adorned in Olympic medals. The Speedo of 2015 is, instead, focusing less on competitive swimming and more on everyday water sports. To do that, it’s turned to a Speedo spokesman who few folks might have imagined: a 91-year-old swimmer.

Jurgen Schmidt is a Huntington Beach, Calif., retiree who still swims about a mile almost every day at a Masters team practice. In a three-minute video ad posted by Speedo, Schmidt, a retired comptroller who turns 92 next month, offers this telling advice to folks young and old: “Don’t be afraid to get in the water.”

In an interview with USA TODAY, Schmidt, who also cares for his 86-year-old wife, Adrianne, who has Alzheimer’s, says any short-term fame or talk-show visits almost certain to accompany this new commercial aren’t important. “I don’t have an inflated ego. I just have a love of the water.”

For Speedo, it’s all part of an image redo – about trying to push its brand far beyond the limited market of competitive swimming to the much broader market of just-about anyone-who-likes-the-water. The online campaign, “Fueled by Water,” was created by the Culver City, Calif.-based agency Hello Design and features videos of 18 different water enthusiasts from swimmers to body surfers to divers. For this innovative campaign, Speedo – and Schmidt – dives into this week’s Golden Mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

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