It’s time to plan the year ahead, so how about starting with a look at the content marketing trends that will make 2017 easier and more effective?
Content marketing is an integral part of a digital marketing strategy, and as it grows even more popular in 2016, it’s time to maximise its effectiveness in 2017 and examine all the new possibilities that may be useful for your brand.
Next year closer than you think, so here are our suggestions on the biggest trends in content marketing.
According to CMI and its B2B content marketing report for 2017, only 37% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, while 41% of them have a strategy in mind, but it’s not documented.
Creating a documented content marketing strategy
Moreover, 17% of them don’t currently have a content marketing strategy, but they are planning to set one in the next 12 months.
It can be very useful to document your content marketing strategy, as it allows you to have a clear overview of your goals and your efforts. This allows your business to maintain its focus on the most relevant actions, without any distractions from “shiny” new trends that may not be useful for its particular case.
There is an increasing need for new content and marketers seem to understand that they have to produce more of it to keep up with the growing content consumption.
Producing more content
70% of B2B marketers plan to create more content in 2017 compared to 2016, while 25% of them will maintain the same amount of content.
It may be a trend in 2017 to find more content, but this doesn’t mean that quantity will overtake quality. It’s important to produce more content, but always keep it aligned with your marketing goals and the ROI it will bring.
Influencer marketing has turned into a popular trend during 2016, with brands seeking for the best advocates for their products. It’s not just about the number of followers an influencer has, but also about the relevance for the target audience.
Thus, we are expecting a further growth in influencer marketing, but more in a contextualised way that benefits both the brand and the celebrity influencer.
The concept of the celebrity is also shifting, as brands don’t have to chase singers, or actors anymore to seal an effective collaboration, as internet stars turn out to be equally popular, bringing a new generation of influencers from all kinds of backgrounds.
As marketers seek for relevance in their content marketing strategy, personalisation becomes crucial, narrowing down the audience to increase the effectiveness of a campaign.
Content is not created anymore to reach a broad audience, but rather a specific target group, as this may be more useful for a brand trying to stand out from its competitors. This brings the need to examine all the segmentation strategies that will give a marketer the advantage to filter the customers in the most effective way.
This trend is not expected to disappear anytime soon, on the contrary, 2017 will probably ask for even more personalised content, depending on the needs of the particular audience on each occasion.
Content marketing is becoming more challenging, as it is becoming more purpose-driven. It’s not just about creating content, it’s about finding the link between value and ROI.
As content marketing will mature, marketers will be expected to come up with new ways to measure its effectiveness. There is already a changing trend year-by-year on their expectations from content marketing and its effectiveness and as we understand how content marketing works, we’ll be able to go deeper into the secret formula to make a strategy effective.
Video content isn’t new, but its explosive growth in 2016 raises the competition for 2017, with publishers already examining the numerous ways to include videos in their content marketing strategy.
Social media has significantly affected the rising trend of video content, with Facebook putting an emphasis on live videos lately, while it already highlights video content on users’ news feeds. According to Mark Zuckerberg, live videos have seen a 4x increase use since May.
Moreover, Snapchat introduced us to the idea of vertical videos, another trend that marketers were happy to embrace, as it looked more appealing on mobile screens, favouring completion rates for their advertised content. (It even introduced Spectacles, its own glasses with an integrated camera, which still counts as a new content opportunity.)
Video seems to be a great way to repurpose content and it’s interesting to experiment with it, and we believe that more brands will do so during 2017.
Content is not always destined to be evergreen and 2016 was the year that Snapchat taught us how ephemeral content can be engaging, even if it only lasts for 24 hours. Facebook found the idea appealing enough to try it out on Messenger and more platforms might be tempted to experiment with it.
Brands were initially cautious regarding this trend and how it can be part of their content marketing strategy, but as Snapchat pointed out in several case studies, the engagement can be higher, tapping into users’ FOMO (fear of missing out), which works well for many campaigns.
Augmented and virtual reality content is not a trend for the future, but rather an interesting way brands can take customers to the future with the right use of technology.
VR and AI
The success of Pokemon Go in 2016 indicates how users are ready to embrace new technology, which means that you should plan and measure the effectiveness of the new types of content.
Google is focusing on artificial intelligence lately, which might serve as a good indicator on what to expect on the future from more companies.
Even if VR and AI don’t turn into the norm in 2017, it is still useful to examine the possibilities they may offer for your business, beating the competitors in the most impressive way.
2016 brought many changes in content marketing, most of them pushing it towards a more mature phase and thus raising the bar for 2017.
Takeaway: what to expect in 2017
If your brand is already investing in a content marketing strategy, then 2017 will be the year that you should investigate all the new ways to maintain your strategy’s relevance, depending on the latest trends and your audience.
If your brand is now ready to create a content marketing strategy, then it’s a good opportunity to examine the trends that have more chance to affect us next year and examine which ones might be useful to stand out with your content.
In both cases, content marketing will be important in 2017, which means that we’re all gearing up towards a more productive year, full of new plans and metrics that will helps us meet our goals.
By Teresa Litza, ClickZ, November 28, 2016