If "content was king" in 2012, what takes the throne in 2013?

Last year content was "king" and everyone cranked out blog posts and articles and white papers and e-books and infographics and inspirational photos like they were in a content factory. Some people even think the phrase "content factory" is a desirable sales point -- it's not, by the way. Now that 2013 is upon us, you've got a decision to make: Keep throwing words (and videos and pictures, etc.) down that factory conveyor belt or really make your work count. 

content predictions

The state of content in 2013 is going to be all about:

MOBILE
Whatever you’re producing, make it work on a mobile device. A recent study by Google found that 72 percent of consumers want websites to be mobile-friendly and that 96 percent of respondents have visited a site that does not play well with their mobile device. In 2012, there was an 80 percent increase in the number of email opens on mobile devices, according to a study by Litmus.

Any piece of content you have or produce had better be mobile device-friendly this year. If it’s not, count on losing at least half of your readers/viewers by next year.

UNIQUE AND AWESOME
Giving people an easy way to share content, like a handy “tweet” or Facebook “post” button, is always a great idea. Asking people to share your content is so over. Your job is to create something that is so amazing people will be compelled to share it and will do so on their own. There’s a lot of content clutter out there, you aren’t going to be able to “Please RT” your way out of it any longer.

RECYCLING
If you’ve got valuable information, make it work for you. Repurpose your content across many different formats so you reach the largest audience possible. Create a Slideshare presentation, a video, a podcast, a blog post and expand it into an exclusive article. You just got five separate impact points out of one basic set of information. And you’re going to where your audience is, not forcing them into one format you’ve chosen for them.

unique content

Stand out from the crowd or become part of it.

ONLY YOU

If your organization doesn’t have custom data, go out and gather some. When you’ve got exclusive facts, figures, measurements and knowledge that no one else possesses, you can create completely original content everyone will want. Of course, the information has to be valuable, but when you know your niche and you know your audience, you’ll easily be able to serve up the information they crave.

ALL EYES
While tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are very useful for social media monitoring, if last year taught us anything it was that there is no substitute for human eyes and attention. Automated promotional tweets in the middle of a stream during a national news event (or worse, a tragedy) are simply not acceptable. More and more Twitter users are calling them out and it looks bad for your brand. Two words: Pay attention.

EASY
Human beings are programmed by evolution to expend the least amount of energy to get the greatest reward. In order to succeed in getting people to read, respond to and interact with your content, you need to make that as easy as possible. Don’t make people click away to get to what you need them to see and don’t make them jump through hoops. Catering to the laziest nature of human beings is almost always a successful strategy.

Side note: This is why Instagram should have played nice with Twitter instead of pulling their service. People now have to click away from Twitter to see Instagram photos. Many, including me, simply won’t do it and Instagram will lose market share.