Digital marketing is an ever changing landscape.
Black hat SEO. White hat SEO. Link building. Guest posting. Link exchanges.
All have had their day in the sun as THE big thing in digital marketing. And right now – as it has been for the last few years – content marketing is the king of the hill.
But for almost as long as there has been content marketing there have been people arguing that content marketing is about to be overtaken by something new, something better, and something that is normally referred to in somewhat hallowed terms with four words: the next big thing.
The Next Big Thing
Here at DOZ we like to be on the cutting edge of content marketing and so we keep an eye out for these “next big things”. In that spirit, we’ve gathered here in this blog post some of the more promising, interesting, and more – shall we say – ‘out there’ ideas about the next big thing in content marketing.
The Next Big Thing is…Multimedia Longform
Who Says? CMS Wire
What Is It? According to Ahava Leibtag, multimedia longform is a way of immersing a content reader in the story they have found. Leibtag explains that multimedia longform might also be called “interactive long-form or multimedia narrative journalism” and that it’s a way of putting “readers in the center of the story in a way that wasn’t previously possible”. Multimedia long from marries text content with videos, images, graphics, and data in a way that keeps the reader on the sight, eager to continue scrolling down, and feeling more engaged than a simple transference of text from the page to the screen.
Examples? This sort of content is becoming more prevalent and examples abound. Among the outlets who do it best are Wired magazine, and their recent expose of the Silk Road investigation and arrest is a case in point. Less well-known sites are also publishing great content in this style, too, with Dagbladet of Norway recently publishing a longform piece titled i that marries striking photography with a compelling true crime story.
Our Verdict? Multimedia longform content is incredibly compelling, entirely engaging, and succeeds in keeping readers on the site and wanting more. It’s requires a different sort of content creator – and usually an entire content creation team – to do well meaning this can change not only the content that is produced, but the ways in which that content is created, too.
The Next Big Thing is…Interactives
Who Says? Visual.ly
What Is It? Karl Schutz puts it like this: “Interactive graphics, or ‘interactives’ for short, are like the Transformers of visual content: They can take on a variety of forms. You can find an interactive that’s a microsite, dashboard, or a map, to name a few. But at the core, they’re all visualizations that allow viewers to explore the information presented for themselves.” He continues by explaining that the big benefit of interactive graphics are their ability to keep people on the page, and he notes that what infographics did for data in a report, interactives can do for infographics.
Examples? Visual.ly is in the interactive business and points to a couple of examples of interactive as archetypes There’s their StartUp Universe interactive for exploring the tech landscape, the Huffington Post and their Family Friendly Trips graphic, and Twitter has a nice interactive for small business users, too.
Our Verdict? Interactives are like infographics on steroids. They succeed in keeping readers on the page and allow them to drill down into complicated data sets in a comprehensible manner. It does seem a little limited, however, as the effort and time taken to create the interactive is extreme, even with Visual.ly helping out.
The Next Big Thing is…Contextual Content Marketing
Who Says? Business2Community
What Is It? Blaise Lucey explains the power of contextual content marketing by asking a question: “Right now, when we’re looking for tips about email marketing or social media marketing, we actively search for it. We’ll go on Twitter, take a look at LinkedIn groups or, most often, just type a question into Google. A lot of the time, though, the results aren’t what we want. The articles and reports we find might answer some of our questions, but not all of them. Searching for those answers can take a long time. But what if the content came to you right when you needed it? What if it was aligned perfectly with your needs in the moment? That’s the potential of contextual content in a nutshell.”
Examples? HubSpot explains that contextual content marketing can be as simple as a dynamic call to action on a landing page. For example, if you are in the diaper business and a person arrives from a Facebook post targeted at single parents then the landing page will display a different call to action than a person arriving from a tweet about mom, dad, and there kids. Serving up content that aligns with the context of the reader is key.
Our Verdict? It’s not going to revolutionize the content marketing field because, frankly, it is already here. Landing pages are optimized for different readers arriving from different social and static pages. This is probably less of a “next big thing” than it is a “new standard operating procedure”.
The Next Big Thing is…Learning Centers
Who Says? The Sales Lion
What Is It? According to Marcus Sheridan, a learning center is a way for businesses to format their content to offer best value for their visitors. Sheridan doesn’t like the word “blog” and argues it devalues the content that is offered. Instead, he argues, businesses should develop learning centers. These learning centers take all of the content that creators and marketers develop and arranges it in a way that is useful for the visitor so that they learn, rather than just visit.
Examples? Sheridan suggests that Health Catalyst and its Knowledge Center is a standout example of a learning center in action. Visitors who arrive at the Knowledge Center can search, order, and access all the content that Health Catalyst have developed and teach themselves something. When they finally come to make a purchase, Health Catalyst will be the obvious choice, right?
Our Verdict? This is less a big step forward as an alternate way of presenting the content that is already being produced or that is already online. We’d argue that it is an alternative to existing approaches to blogging content and organizing content on a website rather than a “next big thing”.
Do you have ideas about what the “next big thing” in content marketing might be? Let us know in comments below or on join the conversation on Twitter!