Sometimes it feels like everyone is playing the content marketing game. That’s probably because everyone is. But have you thought about how the game might change?
I mean, who would have thought blogging would become the big thing and turn into content marketing? Or YouTube would give birth to the second-largest search engine and spawn a generation of video marketers?
It’s impossible to predict without fail what the future holds. But, to get a better idea of what might be coming next, we decided to ask the experts:
“What are the upcoming trends that could potentially reshape content marketing?”
The MarTechExec takeaway
"No single element makes a piece of content marketing successful. Success takes a blend of personalization, creativity, and of course, quality.
Quality will always be king."
The expert takeaways
- Video will kill the content marketing star. Or something.
- Two words: Virtual. Reality.
- Getting attention will be harder and harder.
- Faster marketing with more options.
- Let’s get personal… with our marketing.
- Holistic marketing views. And cyborgs.
- Email’s back on the menu, boys!
- Long-form content will be a thing of the past. Short and… vanishing?
- Content will be bigger and badder.
- Steven Macdonald
- Janice Wald
- Colin Klinkert
- Rafi Chowdhury
- Gregg Anderson
- Andy Crestodina
- Arman Assadi
- Michael Pozdnev
- Syed Irfan Ajmal
- Tommy Landry
- Noelle Schuck
- Doug Kessler
- Dio Favatas
- Pam Didner
- Brandon Safford
- Dennis Seymour
- Sunu Philip
- Jordan Kasteler
- Kelvin Mah
- Reginald Chan
- Marko Saric
- Carrie Morgan
Video will kill the content marketing star. Or something.
“Video is a game-changer and will continue to dominate content marketing trends. By 2019, 80% of all content consumed online will be through video, and therefore the best marketing experts will aim to get a jump on the competition by shifting almost all of their content production from text to video in 2017.”
"The future of content is video. This is the current trend that will even become more widespread in the future. Instead of marketing through content on a blog or website, marketers will use videos to transmit the same information.
Case in point: If you go into Facebook, you see marketers have videos that offer information. At the end of the video, those marketers ask people to give their email address and sign up for a webinar or get a free ebook by clicking a link. This puts the prospective customer on a mailing list. Once on the list, the marketers try to sell their good or services.”
The evolution of content marketing over the years is really absorbing. Whenever we think we have nailed on our customer’s content consumption habits, they change. This continuous change in content consumption habits makes content marketing a beast and keeps content marketers on their toes.
As far as content marketing trends are concerned; 2016 was a year of well researched, long form content. In 2017, the trends that will reshape content marketing are:
- Live Videos: With Facebook live video gaining popularity; it will be one of the integral parts of content marketing strategies for most of the businesses. Audiences are more receptive to live videos than recorded ones, and it led to a higher adoption of this medium.
- Visual Content: In addition to live videos, visual content like video, GIFs, and visual storytelling will also see an upward usage trend. Even the Facebook Usage Statistics for 2016 published by Brandwatch support the rise of this trend.
- Facebook now sees 100 million hours of daily video watch time
- More than 250 billion photos have been uploaded to Facebook
- Content - Paid Social Media Mix: Content distribution and social media go hand in hand. Today, we can’t imagine content promotion without social media platform.
As Facebook and other social media platforms limits the organic reach, businesses will have to take the paid media route to promote their content on Social Media and other places.”
Two words: Virtual. Reality.
Virtual reality. Just imagine what this means for content marketers and companies.”
“Keep your eyes on virtual reality! I know, how cliche -- but this is already starting to play out. We have clients (especially those in the real estate industry) who have a heavy focus on video; their strategies have already expanded to included 360-degree videos that give prospects the ability to control their experience and immerse themselves in a virtual world.
Sure, we're not yet reaching for the VR goggles just yet, but all signs point to ‘Getting there.’ Don't discount this as a fad -- this is definitely going to change content consumption, especially video, within the next 5-10 years.”
Getting attention will be harder and harder.
“Google really isn't trying to help you get traffic. They're in the business of making money. So search results are gradually showing more features (products, images, maps, answer boxes, etc.) in an attempt to keep the visitor within Google.
Every year, a greater percentage of Google searches will yield ‘no clicks’ since visitors will be able to find answers right there on the search results page. This is one of the biggest trends in content marketing.”
“People or brands that can hold a person's attention — whether it be via a live video, article, etc. — will be able to create action in the market place and will be sought after by advertisers.”
“Today creating the so-called ‘link-worthy’ content is gaining in popularity, in my opinion, it’s the #1 trend.
Detailed analysis and understanding how to get links and social shares today are the essential skills for marketing specialists.
Google understands the quality of content better and better. Since for the majority of sites search traffic is the main source, the earlier the marketing specialists and bloggers learn to analyze and create the best content in their area, the faster and better the results will be.
It’s time to get out of your cave and start creating long-term relationships and connections with other people. Help and ask for help. That’s how the best specialists in content marketing promote their content.”
“Some of such trends would be video marketing, usage of AI in search marketing. Another important factor is how the 'Content Shock' will be reducing the organic reach of your content as more and more of your competitors jump on the content marketing bandwagon.
This means that the ones who have bigger pockets will win and the barriers to entry will be much higher as well. There do exist solutions for this worrying trend though, and I suggest reading The Content Code by Mark Schaefer in this regard.”
“Although much ado has been made of ‘content shock,’ the aftereffect of reader disillusion to a glut of content, that's not the biggest issue. What matters more is the importance of voice search and semantic SEO.
It's important to adjust topic selection, on page optimization, and headlines to get in front of voice search and semantic. Optimization needs to be more natural to suggest the intent of the content, so as to better match with the voice search matching algorithms.
Answer questions, show how to complete difficult tasks, and cover several angles on the topics being covered. This way, the latest search engine matching algorithms will be able to better guess when to show content, resulting in better organic traffic as a whole.”
Faster marketing with more options.
“Agile with a capital ‘A.’ It injects flexibility into digital content strategies. So instead of doing a one-and-done content strategy, you create a foundation on which you can test, learn, and iterate. Adopting an agile approach to content strategy works well with the traditional ‘waterfall method’ of actual content production; they go hand in hand.
Think of your content marketing as a system. Use agile methodology to form the foundation for your system and maintain the strategies and working parts. Use waterfall methodology (which is sequential, or linear-based project management) for production of the actual deliverables on your content calendar.”
“Marketing data lakes, live video, brands buying publishers, publishers starting brands, machine learning.”
Let's get personal... with our marketing.
“Unified device is the single biggest revolution I see on the horizon. As marketers, we spend so much time developing content that is targeted to personas. AI, big data, machine learning generally power ‘smart delivery’ of content to these personas. Personas are inherently flawed, though, because the average consumer uses 5 devices to interact with brands and personas don't take account of how people consume data across those devices.
Therefore, once we get a solid grasp on ‘real people’ based on the devices they use, we can then leverage impactful sequential content marketing delivery to the individual. Those messages are then targeted to the touch points and moment in time in which the individual is moving down the funnel and likely will result in higher ROI. Device unification will also reduce waste. Advertisers can save dollars while practitioners can spend more time developing the right messaging for the right people.”
Holistic marketing views. And cyborgs.
“Content marketing next big focus area will be full integration of online and offline usage. Until now, modern content marketing has been about creating digital content for online usage. With the recent trend of major e-commerce sites opening physical stores (Amazon, Warby Parker, Birchbox etc.), brands need to accelerate the integration of their online digital content experience with that of the offline physical experience.
The challenge is to seamlessly integrate those two experiences by leveraging and hiding complicated technologies from your customers. That's hard to do it right. Having a holistic view of your online and offline content needs is essential moving forward.”
"As far as upcoming trends go, not a lot would change in our core processes. By its very nature, our method keeps us ahead of other marketing agencies, because the method itself requires constant adaptation and evolution for our client businesses.
More than likely, if anything were to change, it would be the increasing ability and prevalence of artificial intelligence and computational intelligence. We at Small Business Analytics of Texas embrace AI and CI as advanced tools that allow us to comprehend influences far more accurately than the human mind in some cases. In other cases, especially those that involve spatial relations and cognitive reasoning, the human mind still excels, and likely will for some time.
However, AI has the ability to interpret multiple dimensions in a way that humans cannot. Humans tend to cap out at around three or four. So, while AI might not change what we do and how we do it, we may benefit greatly from its increased capabilities and harness those abilities to greater and more effective ends.
The other major influence on the horizon would be the integration of human and machines. I see the next interface as being the eye or a very advanced contact lens that can serve as a user interface as well as access point. When humans no longer have to carry or wear a device, entirely new social media will develop, and bring with it new opportunities and challenges for marketing.”
Email's back on the menu, boys!
“I could see 2 things.
Number 1 is that email list building will be cool again. As this social media thing cools down because of the reach and limitations, companies will clearly see the value of list building again for content marketing and lead nurturing.
Number 2 is that there's a good possibility that we see print come into play. It might not be in 2017 but I can see a change in behaviour in how people want to consume content. Paper might be cool again even with all these super awesome new screens.”
"I follow a specific framework that has an objective and modus operandi. My content marketing strategy begins with the objective to create interest in the minds of the target audience, establish trust and the impression of a subject matter expertise. The interest is fanned through content, both textual and visual which makes them aware of the product or service that is being offered.
These practices have helped me achieve success in content marketing."
Long-form content will be a thing of the past. Short and... vanishing?
“Ephemeral content and messaging. We are moving more and more towards content that disappears thus keeping us constantly connected and engaged.”
“Changes to the way Google rewards long form content. Extremely long articles don't provide the ideal reading experience. Eventually, content that is to-the-point will be rewarded and that will be the focus. It might already be happening with the chase for Google's rich answer box.”
“I believe people would go away from long form content (even though Google favors it). Instead, readers will opt for content in various different forms; visual, audio and video.
Take a look at Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Everyone is going beyond the standard content marketing and if you want to succeed, it is critical to understand that you need to engage with different media to ensure success.”
Content will be bigger and badder.
“It's all about the quality of content that you produce. You need to outplay, outthink, outbuild the players in your competing landscape. This can only happen if you publish content that your audience wants and craves, and if that content is better, funnier, more educational, more interesting, more inspirational and different from anything else that the audience can get on the market.”
“Content marketing is a fabulous way to boost traffic to your website, but as I outline in my book, Above The Noise: Creating Trust, Value and Reputation Using Digital Public Relations, it's essential to first closely define who your target audience is, and understand how your "why" connects to their needs.
Creating general content that mirrors content already all over the internet WILL NOT HELP YOU, plus it dilutes conversion by bringing the wrong audience to your website and social media platforms. The winning formula? Speak from your heart to their heart. Don't try to force-feed "best practices" and generic content, but customize it. Draw a straight line from your story to their emotions.”