January 01, 2013 19 Reactions

Content in 2013: What’s Next for Freelancers and Publishers?

By , under Trends. James O'Brien's work can be found at Mashable, OPEN Forum, TheAtlantic.com, and elsewhere. He writes about media, business, and tech.

Whether you’re a writer, a brand that’s publishing, or you’ve just got your eye on what’s happening in the world of content, a new year brings a sense of a fresh start.

And, as always, predictions come when the calendar turns, as well.

The Strategist has been making the rounds, checking in on what media experts have to say about 2013. Ideas about what to look for, in terms of content over the next 12 months, seem to be focused on kinds of content, quality of material, and the rules about who can do what, exactly, with it.

And so, before your new year energy is auld lang syne, here are five fresh thoughts on what to look for in the world of content, in 2013.

1. Creators and Publishers: Charting the Visual Front

Rebecca Lieb, analyst at Altimeter Group, suggests that a change is coming in 2013.

“One of the most critical trends we’ll see next year is increasing emphasis on visual and multimedia content,” Lieb said. “Writing will always be an important skill, and, as a longtime journalist, one I have a bias towards. But smart writers who want to be really successful in content marketing will take the time to expand their skill sets and technology prowess into more visual channels, or at least enhance their writing with a sharper visual sensibility.”

Lieb provided the following chart that illustrates a slice of time, in terms of the potential visual trend.


2. Creators: Making Better Video in 2013

Peter Shankman, chief executive of The Geek Factory, a Manhattan-based social-media and marketing strategy firm, said that if multimedia is the future of content as we know it, then with it had better come a better format for the viewer.

As part of his response to The Content Strategist‘s question about 2013, Shankman sent a link to his recent blog entry on the subject. Here’s an excerpt on the nature of pre-roll content when it comes to video, in particular.

“I hope 2013 will finally be the year that we put our collective brainpower together and come up a better digital video advertising format than the 30-second pre-roll,” Shankman wrote. “We know it’s annoying, we hate it ourselves, yet we continue to prevent millions of pieces of content from being seen on a daily basis, because consumers close the window five seconds into the ad, 25 seconds before the content has even loaded.”

3. Publishers: Doubling Down on Copyright

Shafqat Islam, co-founder and chief executive officer at NewsCred, suggests that content marketers are also destined to run into intellectual-property challenges in the near future.

Here is what he wrote in his piece about the next 52 weeks for Mashable.

“While marketers have gotten some practice purchasing stock images or using photos with a creative commons licenses, content distribution is new territory,” Islam wrote. “Although navigating copyright is a mystery to many marketers, the proliferation of content marketing means that they need to get smart quickly.”

This is the year to become copyright experts in the content-marketing field. 

4. Publishers: Scaling Up on Budget

Multimedia, better multimedia, and a stricter adherence to copyright law when it comes to images and text: if all of these things sound like they’re going to cost money, that’s because they will.

Lieb said that the coming year, for content publishers in particular, should be about taking a fresh look at the financial reality of making great material available to their readers.

“These more sophisticated and tech-intensive channels require deeper investment in tools, technology and technicians who can use them,” she said. “Anything with time, people, resources, and technology requirements is never free, of course. But content marketing will require a greater share of budget. The good news is that it will remain plenty cheaper than display advertising for a long time to come — there’s still no media buy required!”

5. Creators: 2013 Means More Work, Better Work

The good news is also this, for the folks creating content for marketers and publishers: if publishers are going to need more sophisticated — and more proprietary — material in 2013, then hardworking and adaptable writers, videographers, and info-graphic designers should be able to continue making a decent living at this work in the near future.

Bottom line for the new year: May your 2013 be prosperous, and rich with great assignments!

Image courtesy of balein/shutterstock

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