By Michele Linn published August 19, 2011

12 Content Marketing Predictions for 2012

As we get ready for Content Marketing World in a few weeks, our speakers are sharing some insights on some content marketing topics. Last week, our speakers answered the question, “What technology excites you most as a content marketer?” This week, they tell us their most prescient content marketing prediction for 2012.

By 2012, content marketers will fully embrace who the number one audience is for the vast majority of their content. In 2011, more than $30 billion dollars will be spent on online acquisition. Compare that to the $2 billion  spent on customer retention, social & education. Why this discrepancy in spend? Because without new customers, companies die. Today, content marketers are only beginning to understand that the consumers of their content are not ‘readers,’ but ‘discoverers.’ This is the epiphany that is changing content marketing most dramatically. The greatest opportunity lies in attracting and converting the first-time visitor.  This will cause content strategies that today may seem on the fringe to move completely mainstream.  Keep an eye out for dramatically increased content volume, embracing both widespread employee blogging as well as creative programs that encompass the stories from all of your constituents. We’ll  see greater use of email in content marketing including solicitation to encourage sharing.- Chris Baggott

2012 will be the first year that a major TV advertiser decides to pull out of the broadcast media market altogether and shift its entire seven- or eight-figure spend into digital.Nielsen executives will fly into a panic and quickly try to diversify into a business with a future, like organic produce.- Keith Blanchard (@KeithBlanchard)

We’ll see more significant shifts in corporate budgets, moving money from traditional advertising and PR into content marketing. We’ll also start to see more collaboration between internal and external communications teamsas marketers realize that content and channels for those two different audiences have significant overlap.- Alison Bolen (@alisonbolen)

I hate making predictions, but I’d love to see more brands interacting in real time with their customers.The tools are already there to do this, but the mindset isn’t except for a very few. Come on companies!!!- C.C. Chapman (@cc_chapman)

While Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have dominated the social sphere for the last three years, 2012 will see the arrival of Tumblr as a sustainable, actionable and effective marketing platform.It’s slow growth over the last three years, the fact that Tumblr is funded by the same VC firm as Twitter, and the recent splash Lady Gaga made on the platform all point toward the escalation of the platform to a viable content repository. Get on board today before your CEO asks about it.- Andrew Davis (@TPLDrew)

As the craft of content marketing continues to evolve and become more efficient, marketers will realize that its value and context they are trying to provide, and the emphasis on a balance between content “creation” and “curation” will become a prevailing trend. Many content marketers think the only way to truly provide value to prospective buyers is to reinvent the wheel with every piece of content, but in reality, those prospective buyers just need help finding the right information–the content that is going to help them move through their purchase process. This is going to be the critical piece. How are you, as a content marketer, enabling prospects to get to information easier and faster, even if it’s not yours?- Barbara Gago (@BarbraGago)

I think in 2012 we’re going to see more personalized content, where you’ll be able to preselect the types of content you want delivered from an organization. Let’s say you’re getting ready to do your bathrooms and you’ve signed up for updates from a popular do-it-yourself Home Depot type company.  Once the bathrooms are done, you will be prompted to select different articles on other rooms in your home, keeping the relationship and the potential for further engagement open.- Ahava Leibtag (@ahaval)

I think marketing departments in 2012 will start to look less like cube farms full of marketers doing discrete marketing projects and more like newsrooms with real-time views of brand story building and brand interactionsacross platforms and channels.-Clyde Miles (@clydemiles)

This might be rather obvious, but my prediction for 2012 will be that we will see more blurring of the lines between content marketing and mainstream, traditional editorial content. I think those who work in public relations  professionals sit directly on this line and have an opportunity to help organizations tell their story in two ways – through traditional earned media and the “owned” media opportunities content marketing presents.- Rob Pasquinucci (@pasquinucr1)

Google Plus will take over the business collaboration market place.We will see Google’s social network rise to become a tool that content marketers use more for building niche content distribution lists as well as collaborating with the folks inside their organization who help to provide the meat of their content.  We’re already starting to see some of the effects of Google as a community player. Its own approach to humanizing the engineers behind the network and allowing them to deliver the content that’s creating buzz will be one of the most talked about content marketing case studies next year.- Nate Riggs (@nateriggs)

Google’s Panda update and other changes in search engine algorithms will force content marketers to focus on quality of content rather than quantity of content. While consistently publishing content is important as part of a content strategy, those that mass-produce content solely for search engines will need to rethink their strategy. Businesses that develop compelling, link-worthy content and focus on creating an online experience for their audiences will see their efforts pay off in search engines. I recommend that all content marketers check out Google Webmaster Central’s guide for creating high-quality websitesto ensure that their content strategies remain effective.- Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer)

I predict that by the end of the year 2012, content marketers around the world will begin stripping the ‘rule of reciprocity’ phrase from their vocabulary. Rather than creating messages designed to elicit artificial obligations, marketers will begin giving genuine and useful gifts to their readers without expecting anything in return. This paradigm shift will lead to the development of strong communities and better trust with prospects and customers.- Michael Stelzner (@Mike_Stelzner)

Companies will finally offer mobile optimized versions of their website and most large companies will offer downloadable phone apps on their homepages by the end of 2012.- Arnie Kuenn (@ArnieK)
What predictions do you have? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Michele Linn

Michele is the Vice President of Content at the Content Marketing Institute. She is one of those people who truly loves what she does and who she works with. You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

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  • Paul Roetzer

    Thanks for including my thoughts, Michele. I especially like the predictions from Ahava and Clyde. Personalized content and brand journalism are important things for organizations to consider.


    • Michele Linn

      My pleasure, Paul. I love your prediction about the quality of content becoming more important than the quality. I look forward to meeting you next month!

  • BernieBorges

    I’m not a fan of predictions. I’d rather chime in around December 30th. A lot can happen between now and then in our real time digital world.

  • Geoff Auckett

    I have been building, designing and marketing websites for 6 years now. At first I knew nothing about how to build a website. Thankfully with the software and amazing support that comes with it, I was always taught to add original, interesting, thought provoking content. Heck I was even given an ebook which fully discusses the art of writing and how I am not writing to please the search engines but to my loyal followers.

  • Gnuboss

    One thing will remain unchanged – the fact that it all boils down to building relationships.

    Whether it be social media, content marketing or pr – the value of manual outreach to qualified targets with the aim of creating win-win, mutually beneficial relationships remains the key to the kingdom.

  • Darin Diehl

    Given the exponentially increasing imporance of social media, I predict that enabling content for shareability will become even more important than optimizing it for search.

  • Michele Linn

    It’s fun to read everyone’s predictions. It will be fun to see what the end of 2011 and 2012 bring!

  • Deana Goldasich

    My prediction is that we’ll start to see a challenging balance between managing content to an editorial calendar and responding to one’s industry, curated content, etc. in a timely manner. For our recent calendars and plans, we’ve built in even more “off topic” time and processes to allow our clients to continue building their clout with prospects.

  • Yossi Barazani

    We will see new ways for content distribution.