Over the past year we have seen an increase in the adoption rate of marketers who use content marketing (93 percent, up 2 percent since 2012) and a major shift in the industry as more CMOs believe that custom content is the future of marketing. But with only 42% of B2B marketers saying they are effective at it, there seems to be a growing need to build and implement successful, measurable content strategies.

In the past I have discussed the various factors that play a role in Content Marketing and even some insights from industry experts, but as the New Year approaches there is a wide range of possibilities available to content marketers. Video content, hyper personalization, and emerging content channels are just a few of the trends to look out for in the upcoming year. Let’s take a look at what some of the industry experts predict for Content Marketing in 2015.

The Future of Content Marketing: How Will It Impact Businesses?

1. Peter Foster, VP of Solutions Development at Yahoo 

In 2015, data will play a larger role in content marketing; beyond just producing great content, brands need to reach and engage the right audience. The best content marketers will use data to personalize content according to who the consumer is, rather than the device they’re on, and tell a rich and seamless story that carries across screens. We’ll also see more focus on measurement as brands seek to rise above the noise.

2. Brad Hines, Digital Marketing & Social Media Strategist – @BradHines

Content marketing always starts “with the eyeballs” and then ends with monetezation. That said, 2015 will be the year of figuring out how to monetize where the eyeballs were in 2014 – ephemeral social media, think Secret, Whisper, YikYak, Snapchat, and all the other anonymous social media sites. These sites are a very different flavor than your Facebooks, Linkedins, etc. When people can say what they want, and no one knows who they are, the commentary is a lot more, shall we say, stemming from the id.

As a results, these sites have become infused with VC cash overnight, and I predict that the sites will soon figure out how to take ad revenue as well.

3. Jerome Cleary, CEO of Publicity and Marketing – @JeromeCleary

With more awareness that great content drives true organic SEO many businesses will be spending a lot more time hiring and working on their content to reflect their true voice. Content is king has become the catch phrase in the past few years and now businesses and business owners are finally getting behind the curve. When you have great thought out content with catchy article titles that is what makes for even greater content on the internet. Thus, it raises the bar for everyone to consciously spend time putting together edgy, sexy content that is definitely worth reading. Where business owners were hiring more Social Media experts for their companies in the past few years so now they will spend more time and money on great writers to create one of a kind content to compete with their competitors. The growth and change will be significant and continue to grow ten fold.

4. Naresh Vissa, Founder & CEO of Krish Media & Marketing, Inc. – @xnareshx

Content marketers are on the edge of an inflection point in podcasting. By the end of the year, there will be over half a billion people with the Podcasts app on their iOS device. This number will grow to be close to one billion people by the end of 2015. Podcasting is now entering into its true golden age of mass adoption.

5. Tim Kolenut, CMO of Buddytruk, Inc. – @itstimmyk

With Youtube’s popularity showing no signs of slowing down and Instagram changing the ability to upload pre-made videos earlier this year, I believe we’ll see a lot more video content from marketers. More specifically, short behind-the-scenes style that give audiences a glimpse at the people who are behind the product / company. Transparency will play a large factor in marketing this coming year!

6. Rob Manning, Content Marketing Manager at Offerpop – @offerpop

UGC usage is already widespread, and it’s about to get even bigger in 2015. 76% of marketers are likely to increase their usage of social content in the coming year based on data collected by Offerpop. We’ll see brands sharing this valuable content in a variety of ways, from sharing fan photos on Facebook to creating curated galleries on their homepages to posting user photos on individual product pages on their ecommerce sites. Marketers will experiment with creative and varied tactics in order to win over those consumer dollars through the power of brand advocates.

7. Rachel Peters, Content Marketing Manager at Big Leap – @rmbpeters

In 2015, I think we can expect to see content marketing become a more valuable asset to the SEO and UX industries. Great content can bump a company’s search rankings, convert potential customers, and make websites more usable. Ideally, we’ll see much greater cohesion between the three industries in the coming year.

Additionally, as content marketing reaches a state of market saturation, companies will likely become more willing to invest in understanding and developing their online brand audience.

8. Ian St. Clair, SEO Specialist at Clicks and Clients – @IanStClair

Quality. Quality. Quality. It doesn’t matter what the content is for, the quality better be good. That will, in turn, improve the user experience. The days of creating content just to create content will hopefully end (AKA spam). Hopefully the days of snakeoil salesmen will end as well.

9. Xavier Major, CEO of Popular Media Consulting, LLC – @xavier_major

Content marketing will continue to be king in 2015 with a larger focus on video content. As YouTube still stands as the # 2 search engine and platforms like vine and snapchat emerge video will be huge in 2015 as it drives engagement. Also I think with the continued success of platforms like Medium micro-content will start to play a factor as long form content fades with readers attention span.

10. Cliff Pollan, CEO and Founder of Postwire – @cliffpollan

In 2014, we’ve seen a change emerging where marketing and sales are starting to focus on adopting buyers’ perspectives with regards to selling. This “customer-based selling” is not selling in the traditional sense but more about helping customers to buy – a subtle but distinctive shift in mindset – and content is absolutely key to the success of this. Moving into 2015, we’ll see content play an even more critical role in the customer-based selling process, as marketing and salespeople look to share insights and engage customers based on what they need to make it easier for them to buy.

11. Kathy Heasley,Founder & President of Heasley & Partners – @KathyHeasley

I’ve been doing this work for thirty years, have had my own firm for twenty. I’ve seen so many marketing trends in that period. Desktop publishing, the Internet, video in business. It all trends the same way. It starts out with the technical folks, moves to where everyone thinks they can do it. Only to find that they don’t have the time or talent. Then it moves back into the realm of the professionals. So with content, we are emerging from the stage where everyone thinks they can do it. They are now realizing that just because the tools exist to generate content that doesn’t mean that they can write content that people want to read. So in 2015 content development will move further back into the hands of the professional writers. Content, which is here to stay because brand building is storytelling and marketing is teaching, will continue to improve in quality instead of just quantity.

12. Juan Velasquez, Marketing Specialist at Do It Wiser – @doitwiser

Publication is only the small first step: Most businesses have gotten the message that content creation and publication are the cornerstones of a content marketing strategy. However, where many are still lagging significantly is in the distribution of that content. Strategic distribution of content is what will set businesses apart in this hyper-competitive landscape. Optimizing for search and mobile, building relationships with branded publications, and reaching out to influencers in your field are just a few ways to make sure your content reaches your target market. Content marketing will become inextricably linked with social media marketing: Perhaps the most important way businesses are distributing their content is through social media sharing. As businesses realize that social media is an amplifier for content, they’ll embrace social media to aid in its distribution. While the vast majority of marketers already know the importance of social media in their marketing, in 2015 we’ll see businesses more fully realize its role as the capstone of any distribution model.

13. Andrew Fingerman, CEO of PhotoShelter – @awfingerman

Quality visual content is critical for brands to reach and broaden their communities. Companies that figure out how to efficiently curate, store and access image assets for social media use will realize increased opportunities to capture and engage larger audiences and attract new customers. As we see an uptick in copyright lawsuits for image misuse, smart companies will build in-house content selections of approved visual media for use in marketing and social channels.

Image Source: Uberflip

14. Alex Chaidaroglou, Founder of Beyond Backlinks – @BeyondBacklinks

I expect a bigger investment from businesses towards infographics and more consistent publication of them, since they are currently a big untapped opportunity in most industries. We have seen that a great infographic with a solid promotion can drive huge amounts of traffic.

Also, we should be expecting bigger budgets towards content marketing, more solid strategies and more B2B businesses engaging in effective content marketing.

15. Jason Abrahams, VP of Marketing at Root3 Growth Marketing – @jabraha7

The future of content marketing is personalization. Marketers need to be focusing their efforts on creating content that is highly personalized, relevant, entertaining and informative based on where the customer is during their purchase journey. Content should build on itself. And by aligning it with your sales funnel, you see a natural progression that teaches at the beginning and then involves the customer as they move through their journey.

16. Lauren Fairbanks, CEO of Stunt & Gimmick’s – @laurenfairbanks

A lot of companies have been focusing on content creation, but 2015 will be the year when they’ll start building out a more robust content distribution strategy. They’ll start taking a page from online publications and building out stronger distribution networks.

17. Tom Treanor, Director of Content Marketing at Wrike – @RtMixMktg

Separation of the Content Haves vs. Have-nots

There will be a separation of the content “haves” and “have-nots”. Those companies that have a dedicated team of content creators and a content marketing strategy will separate from the pack of those who don’t in terms of search, social media visibility and ultimately, revenues.

Growth and Change

Content marketing will continue to grow in importance and the proliferation of content management tools, content agencies and content strategists will increase. New content platforms will be introduced to help brands distribute their content to audiences with specific interests and to grow reach. Subtle native content options will proliferate as media sites and content platforms look to monetize their user base without looking too advertising-heavy.

18. Kari Rippetoe, Director of Content and Marketing Services at Marketing Mojo – @karirippetoe

I think there has been an unbalanced focus on content creation over the last couple of years. While that’s a big challenge many marketers have to overcome, I think the bigger challenge that needs addressing is how content marketing will be measured. I believe the traditional ways of measuring ROI won’t always work here. So, I think we’ll see an explosion of analytics tools designed to take the guesswork out of measuring content marketing ROI.

19. Jean Spencer, Content Marketing Manager at Kapost – @JeanWrites

LinkedIn will continue to dominate industry and marketing news. And will be the dominant social channel for content distribution. — In 2014, LinkedIn emerged as the #1 platform for professional content sharing. In 2015, this will not only still be true, but amplified. LinkedIn is making powerful strategic moves suggesting that it wants to be a noteworthy player in the marketing technology space: it bought Bizo, it launched “posts,” and it now has featured news.

20. Cara Day, CEO of Daychild – @DaychildUSA

  • There will be a marked shift of content targeting mobile device users versus desktop computer users.
  • 2015 will see a shift from longer, consumable content like YouTube videos to shorter, snackable content like Instagram 15-second videos and Vine 6-second videos.

21. Michael Juba, Content Marketing Strategist at EZSolution – @MichaelJuba

The use of visuals that are mobile ready is going to continue to take over content marketing. Visuals that are interactive that allow the reader to participate will also continue to grow. We will see a comeback for a different kind of infographics. Those that use animations, gifs, embedded media, and interactive data will help to bring back infographics in a good light.

22. Liz O’Neill Dennison, Content Marketing Manager at Kapost – @LizKONeill

Marketing technology will become more integrated than ever, allowing marketers to create seamless, consumer-focused experiences across all digital channels and devices.

23. Mark Shipley, Co-founder and Strategy Director of Smith & Jones – @markdshipley

One trend we see in content marketing is the importance of creativity. With so many organizations publishing content, it’s difficult to stand out. Your organization must present information in a different, compelling way. The goal is to make customers feel something, to inspire them. Keywords may get people to click, but creativity will get them to remember and share.

24. Bob Egner, VP of Product Management at EPiServer – @bobegner

Companies need cohesive digital customer experiences, but marketing and e-commerce groups
​often operate in silos with differing objectives, leading to a poorly integrated digital presence that confuses the customer and leaves revenue on the table. Combining content and commerce in 2015 will provide marketers with new, innovative ways to deliver content to their highly connected, always-on consumer helping to create a more informed decision that reduces the risk of being overlooked and increases purchase confidence.

25. Jonathan Cronstedt, CEO of Empower Network – @thejcron

I foresee that 2015 will be the rise of sharing content over multiple platforms as people share previously posted content and consumers connect to social media channels through mobile devices. Good content marketing offers customers non-interruptive content without pitching or selling a product or service. Companies using content marketing correctly will earn customers’ business and loyalty. Consumers will become part of the conversation through their comments, sharing and engagement levels as opposed to simply an audience. The lines will continue to blur between citizen journalism and professional journalism. The expectation of higher-quality crowd sharing and sourcing of information will also rise.

26. Andrew J. Coate, Senior Community and Content Manager at Kapost – @AndrewJCoate

B2B will finally have enough examples of creative content to stop hiding behind the “I work in a boring industry” wall. Thoughtful and interesting content will begin to push aside traditionally dull marketing in certain industries.

27. Abdul Muhammad, VP of Digital Development at RBB Public Relations – @abdulmuhammad

Custom is king: Brands will become content creators, delivering higher quality, customized and focused programs that will be supported by paid advertising.

Who’s responsible: Advertising, public relations, marketing and digital teams will all play a role in the development of a smart content marketing campaign. Brands will likely tap into budgets across sectors to support the creation and execution.

What kind of growth and change can we expect to see in 2015?

Moving to mobile: Content will be created with a heavier focus on mobile devices and tablets, with laptops and desktops becoming secondary priorities.

Smarter targeting: Supporting customization, brands will adapt content to fit different platforms and different audiences. Cross platform AND cross device targeting is increasing conversion rates like never before. Look for growth and and innovation by brands in this area. A brand may choose to use Instagram and Snapchat to get one message out to younger audiences, while targeting older consumers through Facebook and YouTube with a different message.

28. Rion Martin, Marketing Director at Infegy – @RionMartin

The upcoming year will be marked with several major shifts in content marketing, including the end of organic reach on Facebook, significant increases in native advertising, and a deeper focus on microtargeting. Every one of these shifts will require content marketers to alter the way they place and promote content, as well as the type of content they create and the specific audiences they create it for. Ultimately, 2015 will be about native campaigns tailored to very specific audiences.

29. Jim Hitch, Product Manager at Emma, Inc. – @jimhitch

Soon we’ll see the concept of behavioral data expand to include a person’s physical actions in the real world. Techie tools like Apple’s iBeacon and Samsung’s Placedge will allow marketers to target content based on how consumers move around the physical world, not just how they move around the web. An example would work like this: A restaurant wants to remind folks to leave a review on Yelp. It could target folks who have been to the restaurant within the last 30 days, but not those who were there the night service was slow because half the wait staff called in sick. It’s a new kind of behavioral data that will power smarter segments and push notifications.

30. Adrian Cordiner, Founder of Digital Rhinos – @DigitalRhinos

  • Increase in customer and employee involvement in content creation
  • Increase in rich media such as video, audio, slideshows, and visuals such as 3D infographics and parallax
  • Big brands will focus on content governance
  • Content exchanges will rise in importance
  • Journalists will become heavily in demand outside media companies
  • Focus on content strategy and ROI
  • Budgets to double once again, both in-house and outsourced

31. Vishal Srivastava, Co-founder and Director at Trainedge – @trainedge

We expect more content will be produced targeting mobile devices / phones. There will be more focus on producing short, visually appealing content that can be easily consumed on mobile devices. We expect infographics to give way to videographics – animated and interactive graphics that go beyond showing static charts and images.

32 . Shalom Issenberg, Owner of Buzzalot – @Buzzalot

In a self-fulfilling prophecy of content overload, the internet is full of articles about content overload! The average internet user has to sift through never-ending streams of articles and feeds, and businesses have to adopt tools to manage it all. 2015 will be about how to leverage content that is *already *created without pumping *more* content into the current content deluge.

33. Anne Murphy, Senior Managing Editor at Kapost – @AMurphias

Marketing groups are going to take a hard look at the way they’re structured—and we’ll see a move away from organization around product lines and channels (like email and social media). Whether companies bring in consultants or undertake the shift themselves, marketing departments will move toward a buyer-centric structure. With this, research into specific personas and the personalization of brand experiences will become more important, and more expected by consumers.

34. Lisa Chu, CEO of Black N Bianco – @BlackNBianco

I think for 2015 the content marking will change dramatically. Generic topics that can be answered with a few sentences will be controlled by Google and their new ask a question algorithm. Content marking will start to get a lot more personal on what the user is looking for. I do not see content marking being as effective as it was in the past.

35. Joseph O’Neill, Marketing Communications Manager at The Expert Institute – @TheExpertInst

I think that the biggest trend in content marketing is going to be an increased investment in high-quality, useful content. After Panda 4.1, it has become clear that Google has begun to crack down on content strategies that do not bring any inherent value to customers – with thin content, automatically generated content, and duplicate content being penalized. Going forward it will become more and more important for content marketers to spend more on good writing and deliverables rather than SEO consulting or other optimization strategies.

What are your predictions on the future of Content Marketing? Share them in the comment section below.

Click here for more 2015 predictions.