You've been hearing the same thing about content marketing for years now: "content is king." As we wind down 2014 and prepare for the digital marketing trends of 2015, it's important to take a look at changing content definitions and what it will mean to have an effective content marketing strategy going forward.

In a nutshell, high quality, engaging, exciting content will continue to be paramount to driving conversions. That said, as marketers prepare to once again ramp up their content marketing budgets -- pushing them well over the 25% of total advertising budgets agencies are spending in 2014 -- there has to be a move away from the attitude that one piece of content will work for every potential customer.

The Current Paradigm is Too Static

In a recent post, Marketing Land highlights the shift away from producing shotgun content -- content that's produced to hit everyone in one go. The problem with taking this approach to content production is that, regardless of quality, it may or may not push viewers to make a purchase.

That's why 87% of marketers have either already implemented or plan to implement a strategy that effectively adapts content to the individual reader. In this way, businesses can hold customers' hands -- through content -- from start to finish. How does it work? It's all about content mapping.

You should envision this approach as a three-step process. Introductory content serves to hook the reader; this is the stuff that generates interest in your brand and products. Next, that interest generating content pushes readers towards more educational content, via in-text links or "related reading" areas on the page. This is the content that will demonstrate how your products can solve a problem for the consumer. That content then pushes your readers toward the solutions, e.g. your goods and services, for their problems. In other words, your content acts like a guide to get your consumers from the initial interest phase to the purchasing phase.

How to Get Started

This sort of adaptive, interest-to-purchase content marketing strategy, as the Content Marketing Institute details, requires thorough planning. Drawing up and following a content map is nothing new, but if you want to successfully use this strategy to increase conversions and improve revenue, content mapping can no longer be optional.

Content mapping allows you to craft and control the story you're trying to tell, for each of your products. Keep in mind, though, that just as 2015 will mark the definitive end of static content production, so, too, will it mark the end of static content mapping. Constant revision of your maps and the creation of new maps will be the key to this exciting new approach to leading your customers to a purchase through the power of great content.

Are you already taking this approach to content marketing? What are some of the challenges you've faced? Let us know in the comments below.

By: Charles Hayward