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Content marketing evolved in 2014 to grow and become huge, with content creation and publication peaking to an all-time high. Consistent to the trend, customary marketing budgets got aligned to content marketing efforts. However, despite its extensive presence, content marketing isn’t without its hiccups.

In this article, I will highlight the most critical Content Marketing challenges that any corporate marketing team will face in 2015. I will also attempt to address some content marketing trends likely to emerge this year.

1. Publication and distribution go hand in hand, however, distribution lends the critical edge to content marketing.

Each and every marketing team realizes that content creation and publication are the strongest pillars of any content marketing strategy. But taking distribution lightly will not work since the effectiveness of any strategy lies herein. It has been found that, as low as 26% of marketing teams give due focus to content distribution, though 50% of them believe they need to do better.

To distribute content to prospects and customers, a marketing team needs to focus on search & mobile penetration, establishing connects with hugely accepted branded publications as well as key industry analysts and supporters for the consumer market.

2. Social media will emerge as the key to Content Marketing.

Social media presence for companies will become a significant enabler for managing content distribution. Companies will finally adapt social media as a part of their core marketing strategy for the extra fillip.

In 2014, over 92% of marketers believed that social media was critical for their businesses and 80% believed that efforts towards improving social media presence lead to increase in traffic.

This conviction in the magic of social media distribution will lead to both increase in organic usage and paid social media marketing.

Marketing spend will rise for distribution on the popular paid social marketing sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Advertising here will broaden the content reach thereby generating more definitive interest by the consumer.

3. Incoherent advertising will reduce with ads becoming more coherent with the content.

Banner ads are slowly becoming more redundant than ever before as they are limited to enhancing brand visibility, whereas native ads with sponsored and branded content in sync with presentable media, are becoming a way of life for businesses. The advent of native advertising is very much visible with publishers like Forbes, BuzzFeed and The New York Times.

Advertiser will give more value to creation of ads which provide clear content in line with the publishers platform, thereby achieving a better hit ratio for companies that are keen to see their paid content bring value for each $ spent.

4. Better SERPs will be the norm for companies who adopt content marketing as part of their strategy.

SEO and content marketing complement each other to provide unique, creative and engaging content resulting in higher site ranking, more traffic, leads and sales.

The top 3 factors determining search engine rankings are High quality, long-form content and content getting hit with loads of social media likes and shares. In-depth and long content grabs more attention and acceptance on social media platforms, thereby achieving higher search rankings.

As SEO provides you with higher rankings at a lower cost (as compared to PPC – Pay per click) and increase in traffic, it will remain an integral part of the marketing strategy. SEO will mainly revolve around the technical issues of keyword research, indexing etc. However, content marketing will lead the marketing effort from the front.

5. Guest blogging is here to stay

Marketers were confused about the role that Guest blogging would play, when Matt Cutts wrote that guest blogging is losing its importance especially when it is solely used for your site’s link building initiative. He clarified later saying that guest blogging still withstood the test of time for companies needing to expand their visibility, exposure and cross branding.

Even as the debate continued in realising the significance of guest blogging, the more intelligent and focussed content marketers worked on making sure that unique and engaging content was made available to the serious quality publishers. Guest blogging or posting will keep your flag flying high by improving your network, and getting quality traffic to your site. Guest blogging is here to stay in 2015.

6. Higher marketing spends on content marketing will be the way of life for companies

According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report, 54% of the B2B segment is planning to raise the content marketing budget. This is a direct outcome of correlation between effectiveness and the amount of budget allocated to content marketing.

With this kind of push on content marketing, focus will be given to different forms like white papers, blog posts, syndicated content, case studies, videos, mobile-specific content and more.

7. Content marketing will need to reinvent itself with respect to email based marketing

The model of promoting, advertising and distributing content though email has been in use for many years even though its effectiveness has consistently declined. If email based content marketing is to be used as a key tool, then marketers need to devise new strategies to impact subscribers or customers.

This problem of using email as a consistent strategy has been further compounded by the growing perception of treating these emails as spam and the resulting limited attention to the content pushed through emails. Subscribers now want to read a more unique and clear content / message in every such marketing email received in their inbox.

8. Quantity may not be the key anymore

Though the focus on more and more content seems to be the trend that is going to emerge, I personally, with over 9 years of experience in content will not subscribe to it.

Quantity, say 1 or 2 blog posts a week will suffice until they have that heart and depth to engage a prospect. More content has never got more leads or customers, good content always did. And, to say the least, despite tons of content being churned out, in any niche, in depth content will rule the roost.

Conclusion

Content marketing gains momentum with the marketers aligning themselves to the documented strategy, working on multiple content initiatives, focusing on optimizing content, publishing, using social media, paid promotions and email and thereby establishing an engaging relationship with the customers. All in all, 2015 promises to be a challenging and engaging year for Content Marketing.

My advice to businesses is to focus on “quality” and “distribution”. Pay more for your content and get exactly what you think may get you a customer instead of groping in the dark with cheaper content that does not get you anywhere. More bang for buck is a conversion percentage nit more blog posts for your budget.

What are your predictions for content marketing in 2015? Please share below!

So, what do you think ?