The importance of Content Marketing across business sectors and organizations of all sizes continues to grow year over year.  

When we surveyed marketers in October in association with Outbrain we found 90% of respondents believing that it will become more important over the next 12 months.

Here are six content marketing trends to watch in the next 12 months…

Newsjacking

Popularized by a best-selling author on PR and marketing strategies named David Meerman Scott, “newsjacking” is “injecting your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”

To me, this means paying attention to Google search trends and news of the day for your industry so that you can join in on any online conversations happening across social media and direct people to your product or specialty if appropriate.

Some other companies take this concept a heck of a lot further however. Consider for example Beats headphones who showed up at the Olympics and handed out their product to athletes knowing full well they’d wear them around the Olympic Village (and therefore on television) much to the actual corporate sponsor Samsung’s chagrin.

Scott recently gave an interview citing some cautionary tales of newsjacking gone too far over on Convince and Convert.

If you want to experiment with newsjacking along moderate, ethical lines, just check out Google Trends and Hot Searches and look for opportunities in news cycles that may fit your brand.

For example, Econsultancy is known for giving site reviews on ecommerce, so when I saw that Google was having trouble selling its latest smartphone, and that this was getting a fair amount of searches, I wrote a post on it which got some great engagement.

Now serving: Influencers

It started with Klout. Now we have Kred, PeerIndex, Wefollow and more. Online “influence” – loosely meaning the science of measuring how well a single individual can generate reactions from others (Likes/Retweets/Shares) online – and the industry around ranking and aggregating influencers has grown immensely in science and practice.

Love it or hate it, it looks like the trend will only continue, so  content marketers better get behind their favourite influencer dashboard (we’ve looked into a few) and start tiering your outreach to specific networks when you push out new content.

Just as brands reward “influential” individuals with free products and services, it’s beneficial to create and track networks of influencers in areas that your content already resonates. As an example, for my work with Econsultancy, take Forbes’ contributor network of CMOs.

This is a network that grew out of Forbes own content marketing efforts, but happens to now be aggregated and easily followed on Twitter.

Journalists are an easy first step at the top of the social food chain for many topics because they were already on social sites (Digg/Reddit/Twitter) finding sources and gaining followers through interacting as part of their job.

Two great tools for getting started researching journalists are MuckRack and Lissted

Content designed for mobile

The media world saw major shockwaves as we near the end of 2012. Many publications called it quits with print (Newsweek among them) and Tribune Newspapers even choose to severe ties with the newswire Associated Press in an attempt to keep afloat. 

Regardless of how new media chooses to move from here on sourcing their stories, there is one common trend for presenting them: mobile.

In October, the popular blog covering web technology formerly known as ReadWriteWeb rebranded as ReadWrite, and instead of designing the new layout for desktops/laptop browsers, the team decided to design for how content would appear on tablets and smartphones first.

The result is a navigation experience that feels like an app, but is uniform across multiple mobile devices because of how it was thought out and designed.

This uniformity will become one of the most important factors for content marketers and content creators because according to new research from Google, we spend 4.4 hours of leisure time in front of screens every day, and 90% of all media interactions are screen based.

This includes smartphones, laptops, tablets, and TVs, and it has led to the reality of the always on consumer.

Curation and aggregation

Equally as impactful as mobile design, content curation and aggregation are causing sweeping changes to the publishing industry and the way in which we consume news.

In a previous post I spoke about “feeds” in content marketing, and the impact of our social connections as filters.  The founder of one of the feeds I referenced, Gabe Rivera, calls his project Techmeme, “a comprehensive summary of the day’s essential tech industry news while also being a filter on the very same news.”

What Rivera is referring to is the ability to see follow-on posts (tech news has a lot of reinterpretation at best and a lot of recycling at its worst) neatly organized under an original news item in a linear format and with selected tweets from Twitter.

You can think of Techmeme as living, real-time newsroom, which tech bloggers are constantly tipping stories to and seeking to become part of the conversation on. While this online format hasn’t yet caught on with more mainstream hard news, you can also see the format’s success in Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, which tap individual reader’s social channels to great effect in getting their posts out.

Rivera recently said in an interview that people launching curation projects are making a mistake thinking they are in competition with other curation sites, and that what they are really in competition with is Facebook and Twitter’s personalized feed. 

The concept of turning to Facebook and Twitter for news seems strange to many because of the degree of personal connections we keep on each, but this is exactly what we are banking on to make them lasting stable businesses in content marketing.

Newsrooms

The job of a content marketer, at the intersection of social networks, search engines and content publishers, is to find what is good within the pipeline of the company and tip it off to the culture or community that might already exist, as well as help it find new audience online.

Newsrooms are a central place for brands and companies to present materials so that they can be quickly accessed and shared, and they typically tap into the company blog, background documents, media and just general fast facts.

The information needs of today’s online creators (bloggers or journalists if they want to write about or source your company or original idea) can be quite basic, but keeping a newsroom fresh with up-to-date info and having one central repository for materials will become a necessity for more and more companies. Here is the Econsultancy newsroom.

A great tool to get started on a simple online newsroom is Totem.

Infographics

As much as I hate to have to fall back on an old standby, the power and virility of an infographic to convey a message is only making the practice more of a necessity.

I’ve made data visualization and basic design priority objectives for myself to improve on in 2013, and if you haven’t already checked out Chris Lake’s post on tools currently available, I suggest you do so now.

What trends do you predict for content marketing this year?