Over the past week I've been asking a bunch of content marketing folk about the trends in their industry for 2013, the best examples, and looking ahead to next year. 

Here, I've asked about the most effective formats for content. In 2012, it could be argued that infographics were king, but I think the sheer volume produced has diluted this particular tactic. 

Other formats are working well though: video, immersive storytelling, slideshare, scrolling sites, and good old blog posts.

What types of content and formats have worked best (or not so well) in 2013?

Kelvin Newman, organiser of the Content Marketing Show:  

I’ve been seeing more and more success with what could broadly be described as interactive content, HTML5 infographics, quizzes, parallax scrolling sites etc.

Again these have been around for ages but I’ve seen more examples of successful content along these lines being produced by agencies and brands.

Andrew Warren Payne, senior research analyst at Econsultancy: 

I would emphasise the importance of formats that can work well on mobile devices and can be shared easily.

As well as the whole question of link penalties, I think this is one reason why the infographic is failing to keep impressing audiences.

Kevin Gibbons, UK MD at Blueglass:

I think quite often people think of the content format too soon, when in fact it should be about telling your brands story online and then choosing the best type of content available in order to get that message across afterwards.

I've seen lots of good and bad examples for all types of content, it's more about the execution of the idea than the type.

It's really about building a solid content strategy mixed between different types of content and channels, so that you can create content to get your message across in a variety of ways to resonate with your audience.

Jason Thibeault, senior director of marketing strategy at Limelight Networks:

Video is clearing pulling ahead as the best kind of content to produce. The problem is that a lot of marketers fear it, partly because they think it’s expensive to produce and partly because they don’t know how to report on it.

Mike Dubin at DollarShaveClub showed us what video-based content marketing can do with just $4,000.

Doug Kessler, co-founder & creative director at Velocity

SlideShare is a great medium for linear storytelling as it's embeddable and there's a community to reach new people, while scrolling sites are a whole new ballgame.

Andrew Davies, COO and co-founder at Idio

I think LinkedIn's move into content marketing services has been very slick and offers great value. I'm really expecting it to get pretty sizable budgets in 2014 as it continues to become a primary target for B2B content marketing and advertising dollars.

Infographics are becoming passé. Although great ones really cut through, the tsunami of dross means they seem to catch less attention.

It's noticeable that companies are intentionally producing content that maps to a certain buyer need or stage in the funnel (sometimes with different formats per stage). I assume others are seeing value in that, like we do.

We've ridden the content marketing hype here at Econsultancy, and to prove it, here are more than 70 of the posts and reports we've written on content marketing.

Graham Charlton

Published 16 December, 2013 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (7)

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Apart from content Infographics are also becoming an increasingly compelling way to tell even complicated stories visually. A copywriter can help comb your existing white papers and webinars for interesting infographic ideas, and then work with a graphic designer to make those ideas come to life

over 4 years ago



I think the best content is:

1) content format used originally
2) interactive
3) has to be either A) really fun and or B) really useful

(and, of course, great marketing idea and creative execution).

For example:

1) Procter & Gamble - Pringoooals - App (with 7 fun football sounds for the world cup)
2) Xbox Lips Jukebox ( slap on some lips to your friends in Facebook and get the lips to sing with your favourite tracks)
3) Knorr's Facebook Kitchen Academy

These kinds of things might cost a bit more. But worth it in sense of increasing brand awareness and engagement.

over 4 years ago



Regarding cheaper options, I think (and b2b as opposed to b2c in above examples0:

1) detailed and original marketing guides
2) online presentations (with stimulating images)
3) Case studies (but with lots of info and images, and if possible, a video discussing the project in addition to the info and images).
4) (unusual, colourful) competition with prizes
5) a fun viral of your company / how you work / why you're a creative organization
6) marketing cartoons

If using infographics, the information has to be really useful / original, with good, clear illustrations

over 4 years ago


Ritu Singh

Well described post.Quality and right content can speak volumes about your business, from its work culture to its level of professionalism. Always develop content with your users in mind in order to create engaging content . I hope this post has helped us to decide the best contents marketing format.

over 4 years ago


Nick Stamoulis

Visuals, when done right, can really transform your content. They make it easier for readers to digest the information. They make your content stand out among other text and capture people's attention. Even a few basics graphics can make a big difference.

over 4 years ago

David Somerville

David Somerville, Strategy Director at Fresh Egg

There has also been a growing trend this year in the 'quick and easy' socially curated content approach, championed by the likes of Buzzfeed and to an extent Mashable.

This content is easy to 'read' (as it's often mainly images, other people's tweets or gifs) and results in healthy levels of social shares.

It's not new or ground-breaking, but certainly proves popular, perhaps due to the way it's easily consumed on mobile devices as well.

over 4 years ago

James Perrin

James Perrin, Digital Communications Specialist at Feefo

Interesting to hear everyone's thoughts, and agree with most. I'd say, at the moment, the best type of content that's working is long-form - guides, whitepapers, instructions, etc. This type of ever-green content tends to be working well in terms of rankings, as well as visits. And I think with Hummingbird, it's more important than ever to ensure the user's needs and their search queries are at the heart of the content created.

over 4 years ago

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