Predicting the Future of Content Marketing

The Content Marketing Institute recently published an article entitled “12 Content Marketing Predictions for 2012“. Some interesting ideas, a couple of which were food for thought, several of which observations of current trends more than predictions of anything brand new. Here’s my take on the predictions of the content marketers:

Baggott: Agree, but loyal customers may spend more, cost less, and evangelize your brand more than new customers.

Blanchard: Certainly a possibility, but I’m skeptical. If it happens, it will be a company that relies more on information than image. I could stand to see fewer insurance company commercials on TV.

Bolen:  Companies are already shifting more money into inbound marketing, much of which is dominated by content marketing.

Chapman: I’d be encouraged if companies would interact less on social media, and do more to improve their interactions via their customer service departments. Why build up a loyal customer base only to lose customers because a customer service rep is incompetent, indifferent, or not empowered to actually service customers?

Davis: I’d better get on board before my CEO asks about this. My ignorance of Lady Gaga’s splashiness is clearly holding me back.

Gago: Excellent point, but both creation and curation have their place in an overall content strategy.

Leibtag: Makes sense, both for the business and the customers.

Miles: I had a couple of jobs in the 90s that fit that description.

Pasquinucci: In a small business, there is no distinction between the marketing and editorial on my blog/website. As a media consumer, however, I consider this a creepy and dangerous trend when it leaps from the business-owned platform to “independent” media outlets.

Riggs: I’m still a toddler when it comes to Google Plus, but I’m using more and more Google Apps so incorporating Google Plus into the mix seems inevitable.

Roetzer: Quality. What a concept. Hopefully readers/customers will vote with their eyeballs and gravitate to quality content. But then they might miss out on Lady Gaga’s splashiness.

Stelzner: Seems this is already happening, simply by virtue of having blog posts and articles that anyone can read. There’s a place both for free and premium content.

What trends do you see in content marketing?


The Cobbler’s New Shoes

It’s been a long time coming, but the new and improved Red Beret Design website is finally up and running. In keeping with the tale of the cobbler whose children are barefoot because he’s too busy making shoes for others, I’ve been busy enough over the last few years designing for clients that my own website redesign has proven elusive.

This website is not just an aesthetic reconstruction, but is an unveiling of what I’m calling Red Beret Design 2.0. Six years in business has enabled me to develop a better understanding of the market and what Red Beret Design has to offer to clients who are looking for graphic design and related services.

The big changes in focus are:

A focus on entrepreneurs and start-up companies

In exploring what is most unique about my own skills and experience, it is my insight into the unique needs of high-growth start-up companies that stands out most. So I am focusing on offering services specifically to help new companies get off the ground — whether that means helping with the presentation materials needed to obtain funding, or the branding and marketing materials needed to launch the new business.

Branding and marketing strategy, especially inbound marketing

This is not so much an expanded service as an acknowledgment that Red Beret Design does much more than just design. The scope of what I provide often goes far beyond graphic design, especially where web design is concerned. I am in the process of developing more formal marketing services, having become a Certified Inbound Marketing Professional and a service partner of Hubspot.

Developing powerful partnerships with talented people

Some of the most successful projects I’ve worked on have been in collaboration with other independent professionals and microbusinesses, including writers, illustrators, photographers, marketing specialists and web developers. This has been a real win for clients, as they get a high level of talent, targeted services and personal attention without paying for the overhead of a lot of staff and services they don’t need. I’m offering to recruit and direct custom-targeted creative teams with the exact skills that your business needs.

Personal branding

It’s probably no surprise that someone who named her business after her hat would have an interest in personal branding. So much so that I’m launching another company with one of those talented professionals I was telling you about. In the next few weeks, Distinguishing Factors will make its official debut. Distinguishing Factors is a collaborative project between Red Beret Design and Yes Career Services, the company of career strategist Kelly Welch. We will be combining Kelly’s experience and certification in William Arruda’s 360Reach personal branding methodology with custom-designed personal branding materials, identity development and inbound marketing.

Credit where credit is due

I would like to offer thanks to the giants on whose shoulders I stand. This website is built in WordPress, so thanks are due to Matt Mullenweg and the hundreds of others who contribute their efforts to this amazing platform. This theme is based on the Thesis framework by the ever-awesome Chris Pearson. Chris, I cut my teeth on your Cutline theme, and graduated to Thesis. Thanks for making it both easy and fun to design a kick-ass website. And thanks to the many plugin designers, documentation writers and forum commenters who gave me the tools and knowledge to build great websites for my clients. Y’all make the open source pond a pleasure to swim in. And yes, I’ll be getting around to making some contributions soon!

I also want to thank my wonderful clients for keeping me in business for over six years now, and helping me build a portfolio of work that I am proud to display. I literally could not do it without you. And I can no longer conceive of doing anything else.

And to my dear husband Barry, who has put up with me working on this website days, nights, weekends, even sometimes in the middle of the night the last few weeks, not to mention my blathering on about my business while you’re trying to watch the ballgame. Thanks for your patience and all those wonderful home-cooked meals.