When we look ahead into the future of marketing, it is clear content marketing is here to stay. In fact, “content marketing will be bigger than ever” in 2014, forecasts Forbes. There is no doubt that content is the wave of the future. Gone are the days of the mass advertising campaigns. Inbound content efforts are the new preferred tactic proven to engage consumers.

The question then captivating the marketing world is: what’s next for content marketing? This was the key topic of Content Marketing World 2013, the globe’s largest content marketing conference. Among the words of wisdom from Content Marketing World were predictions for the the future of content marketing. The best of of the online marketing world weighed in, sharing their thoughts on what to expect for the growing industry. Five themes emerged as defining the future of content marketing.

The future of content marketing is…

1. Targeted. As mobile, social, and content increasingly intersect, it only becomes more important to deliver targeted content. In the future, marketers will increasingly strive to make their content as relevant as possible to a consumer’s specific context and immediate needs. Expect more brands to segment their customer base so they can focus their content creation, predicts Heidi Cohen. Marketers will also amp up efforts to personalize content. You can already see this in action with “smart content,” copy which changes based on reader’s interests or web activity.

2. Sponsored. Sponsored content is already sweeping the web. LinkedIn recently added Sponsored Updates and only last week, Pinterest announced they will be testing promoted pins. Partnering with online publishers or thought leaders enables brands to reach larger audiences with their custom content. This strategy is gaining popularity and will be part of the future of content marketing, said Bernie Borges of Find and Convert.

3. Visual. Visual is becoming increasingly prevalent, and for good reason. Users are 44% more likely to engage with brands if their content features pictures and 85% more likely to purchase after watching a product video, reported Lee Odden of TopRank Blog. Prepare for the visual takeover.

4. Snackable. As the popularity of Twitter, Instagram, and Vine continues to skyrocket, snackable content undoubtedly represents the future of content marketing. This is the preferred form of content for today’s on-the-go, limited-attention-span consumer. There are two key components to snackable content that explain it’s success: short and shareable. To be effective, communicate entertaining, inspiring, or useful messages quickly and powerfully.

5. Multi-platform. Consumers do not limit themselves to one device or a single online channel. Neither should content marketers. Especially as mobile becomes the preferred mode of content consumption, it is important your content can be read everywhere. Optimize for mobile and distribute your content on every every social network. Make your brand pervasive on the web. In order to engage consumers, you must prepared to meet them at every opportunity.

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