• flipboard

Is This the Next Big Thing in Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Is This the Next Big Thing in Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Most marketers approach the new year with a burst of resolve and a vow to tick off items on their marketing wish lists. But the digital world is evolving so rapidly that many marketers are left wondering which trends and technologies will endure beyond 2014, and which will just be flashes in the pan.

My big prediction for 2014 is that “consumers will become the new content marketers“. We’ve all heard the phrase “content is king” countless times, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that user-generated content is heir to the throne.

The explosion of mobile and mobile-focused networks like Vine and Instagram have made it easier than ever for consumers to create and share video, giving brands the opportunity to aggregate this content into powerful and authentic brand messaging. On Dec. 17 Facebook announced it will begin supporting video advertising for both mobile and desktop social users, further underlining the emergence of video as a powerful tool that crosses the boundaries of advertising, social media and both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing.

Here are four ways that you can empower consumers to become content-producing brand advocates in 2014 when planning your content marketing strategy:

#1. Tie social to traditional advertising

In 2014, bust social out of the silo by weaving a social layer across campaigns to inspire audiences to create and share content.

Include hashtags in your TV ads, print ads, in-store displays, and events to drive more conversation. Get even more participation by offering coupons or prizes.

Digital and social are transforming TV ads too. Recent research from Nielsen found that 88 percent of marketers believe that integrated multi-screen campaigns will become very important in the next three years. To compete, marketers must extend their TV ad campaigns across multiple channels — like real-time video ads and hashtag campaigns on social media. This year, watch for new and compelling ways to engage your consumers across all devices and screens. Brands like Dunkin’ Donuts are already using Vine videos in Monday Night Football television ads to tie together social and television advertising.#2.

#2. Connect the dots between social and email

Email and social are two powerful channels with a symbiotic relationship. In combination, they build, target and convert brand audiences, turning thousands of fans into loyal brand advocates.

According to a recent report from ExactTarget, 70 percent of marketers find product or prize giveaways to be an effective tactic for audience acquisition. These incentives prompt fans to opt into email lists, creating lasting relationships with customers like never before.

For example, Giant Eagle ran a Facebook sweepstakes for free tanks of gas, and included a call-to-action to sign up for their email list. By touting access to “exclusive offers,” they received more than 45,000 email opt-ins.

This year, kick performance up a notch by collecting user preference data to get unique insights about the interests of your consumers, and use them to create lists for targeted content and offers.  This will help optimize campaigns and increase revenue.

#3. Embrace social’s role in driving commerce

Still believe social media is just about engagement? That’s so 2013. Companies are now driving sales directly from social channels, and that will only grow in 2014.

One increasingly effective social commerce tactic is mobile couponing. With the explosion of smartphones, Business Insider predicts that 47.1 million consumerswill use mobile coupons in 2014. Offering digital coupons through social channels also adds a viral component. Fans and followers feel compelled to share your deals — an impulse you can stoke with incentives for referrals.

Meanwhile social merchandising — collecting, displaying and curating user-generated content regarding a brand’s products — has blended the capabilities of social marketing with the conversion potential of social commerce. Brands can encourage consumers to submit and share attractive, creative and authentic product information or purchases that link directly to trackable transactions.

Social data gets a lot of buzz. In 2014, we’ll start to see its practical application in driving commerce. Brands will seek user input via social channels to make product and marketing decisions. By building user content and feedback into their business model, they can make a measurable impact.

Online retailer ModCloth has found success in applying user data to inform their inventory decisions. Their “Be the Buyer” program allows consumers to vote for the designs that ModCloth will sell on their site. Items created as a result of the “Be the Buyer” program sell twice as much overall as other inventory.

#4. Increase the frequency of your social campaigns

A few years back, brands ran a single marketing campaign for months on end. But the rise of social has turned brands into publishers, constantly cranking out new content and campaigns. Moreover, social gives brands the freedom to create and launch campaigns on the fly — amplifying everything from product launches to flash sales. To stay competitive, you need to run multiple, frequent campaigns that engage multiple segments of your audience.

But don’t limit your campaigns to Facebook. As Pinterest, Twitter, and other networks build their user base, you’ll need to engage and convert those audiences too. You should have distinctive campaign strategies for each network. Consider cross-network campaigns that pull in entries from multiple networks, like Vine, Instagram and Twitter, via a hashtag.

Guest author: Kevin Bobowski is vice president of marketing at Offerpop, a world-wide social marketing platform that helps brands engage their audiences everywhere with social marketing campaigns. 

Listen to this post as a Podcast


Want to learn how to make your blog and content a success with social media marketing?

My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how.

It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 210,000.

Download and read it now.

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Great post Kevin, working on #4!

  • Caroline Ashe

    Thanks for your information post, helps keep the little guys in the loop 🙂

  • Marketing MadEZ

    Thank you Kevin for this great post

  • Fantastic points, and a great post. Any thoughts on whether QR codes will ever gain better traction? Seem to be a great way to combine offline advertising with online presence!

  • Henley Wing

    “As Pinterest, Twitter, and other networks build their user base, you’ll need to engage and convert those audiences too. You should have distinctive campaign strategies for each network. Consider cross-network campaigns that pull in entries from multiple networks, like Vine, Instagram and Twitter, via a hashtag.”

    With all due respect, I totally disagree with this. Not all mediums are useful to your business, and we don’t have all the time in the world. Pick the ones that are crucial to your business, and focus strictly on those channels. Heck, it’s what Joe Pulizzi recommended here as well: http://buzzsumo.com/blog/contrarian-content-marketing-advice-from-20-experts/

  • Sam Turnbull

    Great article with some interesting predictions. One thing that scares me a bit is the prediction that “it is becoming increasingly apparent that user-generated content is heir to the throne.”

    Surely we are not assuming that all user generated content is created equal? And assuming it isn’t, how are we going to make sure we find the good stuff efficiently?

    All the best

  • It’s nice to hear something new. It really helps me a lot in improving my blog. Thanks for the sharing.

  • Srinivas Penumaka

    Lots of good ideas here and at ReadyPulse we certainly subscribe to the fact that customers should be placed at the center of a brand’s marketing. User generated content will play a pivotal role. We have seen major brands taking advantage of the user generated content that comes both from fans as well as their brand ambassadors. However, the key challenge for all brands we work with is to figure out which user generated content is worthy enough to put in their marketing. Quality, permissions and contextual relevance to the campaign are major issues for brands thinking of putting user generated content at the center of their marketing. Without a scalable solution to find out the quality and authorized content from millions of photos and videos a major brand might have, it is going to be a nightmare scenario and lost opportunity.

  • Lily Himmelsbach

    Great article! You hit the nail on the head – “it is becoming increasingly apparent that user-generated content is heir to the throne.” As we know not all content is king-or created equal. Looking at 2014 it is vital for marketers and brands to not only utilize the power of user generated content, but to first identify through proven data driven solutions; which content will perform best in context to commerce, and which content creators will help move the needle. Combining top content contributors with content proven to drive results is a strong foundation for any campaign. I believe we will see more brands turning to solutions like ours at ReadyPulse to help them combine data and content for proven results in leveraging the power of user-generated content.

  • Lauren Gould

    Very interesting article. It is fascinating to see the changes in marketing strategies over the past few years with the rise of social. I think these new strategies will only help businesses more by targeting and interacting with consumers on a more personal level, thus growing a loyal consumer base. Platforms such as Pulse Marketing Suite help brands smoothly transition their eCommerce into a social experience, Content Commerce; as well as execute social promotions, advertising, and brand ambassador management. The key to these marketing strategies is to put the focus on the customer.