The digital marketing landscape has truly been reshaped in recent years, which means more and more turbulence for content marketers in the years to come.
The end of 2016 is upon us, forcing us to revisit the past year in terms of marketing objectives. How have our content marketing efforts fared against our KPIs, what have been the trends to keep track of and – most importantly – what can we learn from this year that will make next year even better?
Here are some predictions for what 2017 may have in store for content marketing.
Content Strategy Will Be More Widespread
The digital transformation has made it necessary to shift content distribution and production strategies. The traditional, one-team centered approach is losing momentum because of the content saturation that's taken place online. The digital game has enabled the rise of individuals, regardless of their department or industry, to spread and pick up content online.
According to Altimeter, the top initiative for businesses in 2017 is to involve more departments around the content strategy.* As content marketing strategies are slowly being shifted outside the hands of just marketing or a single team, results will also be felt across the organization.
Even though influence is certainly not a new phenomenon, brands are now struggling to find ways to define influencer marketing and find out what kind of influencers they can make use of.
Influencers matter – just count the number of influencers I’m quoting in this article. The question is – how can influencers drive brand awareness in the right way? Influence based on relevancy and trust towards the brand – these are perhaps some of the key components of influencer marketing campaigns in the future. Employees acting as brand ambassadors is one way to make this happen.
“Your employees are your best asset and should be utilised as such,” says Sam Hurley. Not only is it a great move for business growth, it also provides staff with incredible rewards and a sense of achievement. It’s a loyalty machine.”
“Companies are learning that people will not spend time with their ads like they used to, but they will spend time with their stories,” says Mark Schaefer. Storytelling as we know it may, however, look quite different in the years to come. Not only are visuals gaining ground on social media and digital platforms, but the types of storytelling are also in flux.
Brands must provide stories that are both compelling and insightful to audiences. “The rise of live video, behind-the-scenes content, and true brand journalism will begin to tip the storytelling balance from glossy ‘best foot forward’ to documentary style realism,” says Jay Baer.
It’s all about the customer experience these days. If you’re not optimized on mobile, there’s a solid chance you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities, if not dissuading prospects with lackluster design or non-functioning features.
As Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute points out, “with all audiences with at least one untethered device”, the year of mobile may finally be upon us.
The need to reach employees on-the-go has increased, which means that investments on the mobile experience and mobile-only features will likely pick up.
According to Statista, the numer of active desktop adblock plugin users between January 2010 and December 2016 has increased from 21 to 236 million. People don’t want to see advertising on their news feeds, but they do want find quality content and they want to engage with actual people behind brands and products. We should not forget that it is the people behind technology who will continue to make business decisions, look for information and communicate with their peers.
The human aspect of advertising has two sides: the brands doing marketing on a more individual level and the humans who interact with brands. From the content marketing perspective, this could mean employees increasingly participating in content production, more centralized efforts on employees acting on social media as well as emotional marketing and interactional content gaining importance.
Social Media Will Continue to Shape the Content Marketing Landscape
Social media is here to stay, and it will keep defining the algorithms for how content marketers can get their content out with the best cost-efficiency and visibility.
2016 B2B content trends in North America reveal that up to 93% of organizations use social media as a content marketing tactic.
2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs
Social media trends require quick adaptation from content marketers. If the trends of 2016 (Instagram stories, Facebook live, rise of Snapchat) serve as any indication of what’s to come next year, we know that change can be quite rapid, even revolutionary.
So there you have it – a few of my content marketing predictions for next year. Looking forward with anticipation to making content matter even more for companies along with Smarp.
*The 2016 State of Digital Content by Omar Akhtar
Annika Rautakoura works as Content Manager at Smarp.