By Heidi Cohen published December 10, 2012

Content Marketing Trends: 5 Awesome Examples from 2012

Five 2012 marketing trendsContent marketing reached a tipping point in 2012. While B2B and B2C marketers have used content marketing for years, it became the must-have element of every 2012 marketing plan, driven by the exponential growth of social media and the disruption of search rankings by Google Penguin and Google Panda.

Here are the five content marketing trends that were awesome this year, and some tips to help you leverage them for your 2013 marketing plans. 

Businesses get religion about using social media 

With roughly one-seventh of the world’s population on Facebook, if you want to reach me, you’ll find me on social media. Roughly nine out of 10 businesses use social media, according to eMarketer.

social media use explodes

Actionable content marketing tip: Be present, engage and respond regularly to participants on social media. Don’t just set up a social media page and disappear. Research shows that over 70 percent of companies don’t respond to prospects on social media. But responding regularly supports your branding, acquires new prospects and leads, and helps to close sales by providing relevant information your audience needs.

Search: Pandas and penguins, oh my! 

There’s no reason to fear Google updates, no matter what type of animal they name it after, if you’re using non-promotional, quality content to build your following and drive traffic. 

Actionable content marketing tip: Optimize your content for search. Among the top tips are:

  • Focus your content on one keyword phrase.
  • Link to internal and external content.
  • Add text to non-text formats.
  • Answer your customers’ questions. (BTW, Marcus Sheridan calls this last item the “secret sauce.”) 

It’s a mobile, mobile, mobile world 

We live in a four-screen world, comprised of televisions, PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Of these, smartphones are the 24/7, always-on devices so that your prospects are always connected. Therefore, you must have information available for prospects where and when they want it.

Screen use skyrockets

It's a mobile world

Actionable content marketing tip: At a minimum, include a mobile strategy that includes a tablet-friendly website and a mobile app, since both are used to navigate the web.

Smile. It’s the year of the photo 

Smartphones provide owners with high-quality photos that are easy and cheap to take, keep, and share. This is a factor fueling the growth of image-driven social media like Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. (By the way marketers, remember that you can show off your images in SlideShare!) But don’t underestimate the power of the “800-pound gorilla” of social photographs: Facebook.

Year of the photo

Actionable content marketing tip: Take hero shots of your product in action while you’re creating other content to minimize expenses. Show how to use and style your products. Also, optimize your images for search and social media effectiveness.

“Shop till you drop” no longer requires the mall 

Consumers seek content marketing at every step of the purchase process, especially for product information, coupons and discounts, how-tos, and styling. But overlook these five emerging commerce trends involving content at your peril! They include social media, social commerce, couch commerce, mobile commerce, and show-rooming.

content marketing influences sales

Actionable content marketing tip: Ensure that each piece of content spotlights your product and, where possible, links to your product page on your website. Additionally, provide non-promotional product information as well as ratings and reviews.

To get your 2013 content marketing plans on track, incorporate these actionable content marketing tips to maximize your ability to achieve your business objectives. While you’re reassessing your 2013 plans, ensure that your content marketing, social media, and search optimization efforts are integrated and work together well.

What do you think the key 2012 content marketing trends were, and why do you think so? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Ready to leverage these, and other content marketing trends? Read CMI’s Content Marketing Playbook for more helpful guidance. 

Image courtesy of LosMininos

Author: Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is an actionable marketing expert. As president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi works with online media companies and e-tailers to increase profitability with innovative marketing programs based on solid analytics. During the course of 20 years, Heidi has obtained deep experience in direct and digital marketing across a broad array of products including soft goods, financial services, entertainment, media entities and crafts-oriented goods. Heidi shares her actionable marketing insights on her blog. Find Heidi Cohen online at Twitter @heidicohen, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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  • http://twitter.com/adamlundquist Adam Lundquist

    Nice article. I agree that it is important to add hero shots of the product in action. i think a good additional tip is to look at videos. Users become engaged with videos and they can be highly viral.

    • http://twitter.com/heidicohen HeidiCohen

      Adam–I agree. Think of your product as being on the red carpet. Videos are great to give customers a 360° view of your product. It simulates real life interaction. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.thesmallbusinessideassite.com/ Dave MacKayu

    Heidi; You are amazing!, I read your blog as it arrives most days, your articles are so packed with excellent ideas. I have not yet started into social media as I am quite new to the internet, I will be certain to refer to your many articles as I start to incorporate new things to my site promotion.. Thanks so much for sharing. daveM