What new discoveries did 2014 bring to the content marketing field? This year saw several format changes that sparked interest, including the following:
- Local snapshots. A list, article or interactive map that focused and targeted a certain segment of the population was a very popular form of content this year. Many of the most popular included eye-catching titles as well as interactive information, such as when The New York Times created a “Thanksgiving Recipes Map” that showed the most popular Googled recipes in each state.
- The success formula. Everyone wants to be successful, and lists that promise a clear-cut, short version of how to do so were very popular in 2014. This is also true for articles that list the qualities or characteristics that successful people have in common. This article format can easily be applied to almost any industry and does not require the creation of infographics and other labor-intensive content, although graphics and other additions can be helpful and make for a better user experience.
- The nonfiction story. Micro content was definitely the king of publishing, but nonfiction pieces were also popular, even when they were longer. People want facts and they want them presented in a way that helps them contextualize and make sense of the data. Nonfiction pieces often do this and they have the added benefit of being “true,” unlike so much of the opinion that is written all over the Internet.
- Crowdsourced lists. Crowdsourcing has become a very popular way of gathering large amounts of content. Sometimes this is done by curating content from other sites, but some websites allow user entries as well. This often involves choosing the “top answers” for each question.
Content Is More Important Than Format
It is important to remember that no matter what format you use, your content is what draws readers in and keeps them. You can have the most beautiful lists in the world and the greatest graphics, and this may attract some onlookers. However, if there is no content to engage them, they will not stay long. There is too much worth looking at on the Internet for readers to spend time with soggy content!
As you plan your content for 2015, think about what your readers want and need. If you pay attention to their demands, you will never go wrong, no matter what formats come and go in popularity.