Content marketing is crucially important in many niches and for many business models. But you already know that, and you probably know what kind of content you need. If you don't, I'd suggest going back through my previous posts. You might find one or two that can give you the basis you'll need for the upcoming discussion. This post offers an overview of what to expect for 2017 and beyond. You'll also find some tips on how to use this trend news and analysis to get more attention.
Five Trends To Watch:
A report from Martech Advisor describes five trends in content marketing to watch. These trends present opportunities for both B2C and B2B marketing:
- Live streaming will grow in popularity. Of course recorded video will continue to be popular. Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and SnapChat offer easy-to-use platforms for hosting live product briefings, tours, tutorials, product launch events, and more content.
- Virtual reality might take off. Some companies have begun using VR to showcase premium products. The North Face, the outdoor clothing company, has used VR technology already to highlight their products and athletes. This can be a powerful, if expensive, way to showcase products and services. While this trend probably won't be available to small and medium sized businesses in the next year, once the technology becomes cheaper we'll see it proliferate.
- More email newsletters. Most B2B marketers use email newsletters to reach prospects and share information with clients. If you were considering a newsletter, or a different newsletter, 2017 is probably a good time to launch. This is because email open rates are actually going up in certain cases. I know that we've been discussing the death of email for the past five years, but it seems we were all premature with our obituaries.
- Storytelling will become a key part of content marketing. Good storytelling in business is more than just a case study. This also highlights that audiences are beginning to tire of the idea of content for content's sake. Simply blogging to have a blog or updating social media for the sake of it won't cut it anymore. You need to engage with your audience and tell them a story.
- Push advertising will fade away and be replaced with native advertising. Ad blockers and general distaste for online advertising are making it harder to reach consumers with banners, pop-ups, paid ads, and pop-unders. But this trend has been coming for quite a while. I'd dub 2016 as the year of the adblockers. It was the year when consumers had finally had enough and took matters into their own hands. However, advertising and ads aren't going away, they'll just evolve.
Two of those trends point to changes in how businesses tend to share information with their customers.
The usual methods of sharing information and analysis are not fading away. Continue to use email, video, downloadable reports, and blog posts to share content.
Everything else here applies to mobile content. Make your blog and site easy to read on mobile devices. More and more consumers are consuming more content on tablets and mobile phones. But really, if we're still talking about optimizing for mobile, then we're having the wrong conversation. This study is really telling us that everything must be mobile first. Design and create for mobile consumption.
Forbes had an article recently also sheds light on several trends relevant to content marketing. All of these trends are worth keeping in mind while planning and executing a content marketing plan for 2017 and beyond:
- Regarding social media: Organic reach is becoming more difficult to achieve. Facebook has changed its rules, making it harder to get your content seen naturally. Want high visibility? Get out the checkbook. That's not completely true, but reaching a large audience on social media is going to take more advertising money, or better online marketing.
- Demand for interactive content has been increasing. White papers and case studies will continue to be hot in many markets, but most content marketers should consider how they can create interactive quizzes or presentations that hold a web visitor's attention.
- The quality gap is big, but smaller than the reach gap. Most of the content shares and likes on the Internet go to a tiny fraction of companies that engage in content marketing. Expect competition for consumers' time to grow along with consumers' expectations for the quality of what they consume. Massive competition and raised expectations make it tough for smaller companies to make a meaningful splash in the content pool.
Content marketers will need to provide white papers, case studies, and webinars will still be useful, but the content landscape is changing. Here's how you can stay ahead of the competition.