2017 will be a big year for content marketing and rightfully so.
Consumers today are bombarded with so many ads and notifications that they no longer feel engaged. Not surprisingly, the number of AdBlock users has grown to almost half a billion.
With recent updates, Google has made it clear that the future of SEO is all about content. So, whether it’s organic or direct traffic, content is about to play a key role.
For these and other reasons, the majority of marketing departments will increase their content marketing spending next year.
With content gaining so much importance in the coming years, the question is; what kind of content will play a pivotal role over the next 12 months?
Here are some of the key trends we’ve identified as the top contenders.
1. More video
Video content has exploded this year, but 2017 will see the landscape change dramatically.
More and more publishers are realizing the power of live video and many marketers are starting to use Snapchat. These two trends are set to dominate video content next year.
Snapchat has reached 100 million daily active users this year, which can no longer be ignored. And let’s not forget Periscope now reaching over 200 million broadcasts.
Facebook-owned Instagram followed the trend with its ‘Stories,’ which reached 100 million daily active users in less than two months and now incorporates live video to offer it’s users the best of both Snapchat and Periscope.
Then, there’s Periscope and Facebook’s determination to put live video first. According to Mark Zuckerberg, live videos on Facebook have seen a 4x increase in use since May 2016.
Other marketing disciplines have taught us that personalization works much better than a generic approach. Interestingly, this hasn’t really been applied to content marketing on a large scale yet.
But with more and more content being churned out every month, segmentation is a way to stand out. Standing out in the crowd will be one of the defining trends in 2017, simply because content marketing is getting crowded.
Rather than creating broad topics to cover their entire audience, brands are now turning to finding specific niche topics that solve specific problems for different audience segments.
With ease of access to behavioral data and consumer insights, segmentation is becoming increasingly easy. Smart marketers should take advantage of that.
3. Virtual Reality
While VR isn’t a form of content per se, it’s a content channel that’s clearly set to soar in in the coming years. In fact, according to analysts from Goldman Sachs, it will be bigger than TV in less than ten years. The number of VR users is set to double from 40 million this year to 80 million in 2017.
All of the major players are getting on board. Facebook, Samsung, Google, Sony, Apple, and even Microsoft are chasing the opportunity and putting a foothold in the VR market.
What’s interesting from the content perspective is the VR market is far from saturated. In fact, what over 40 million headset owners desperately lack is enough content.
Big brands have taken advantage of VR this year. They include names such as Volvo, Dior, NBA, Marriott, and Coca-Cola. More brands will follow in 2017.
4. Interactive content
In the world of online and mobile, the word ‘interactive’ is almost synonymous with ‘engagement.’ Engagement is the key topic today.
Consumers’ brains are oversaturated with distraction. We’re hit by thousands of ads, over a hundred emails, and countless click-baits each day. The result is that an average consumer today has a shorter attention span than that of a goldfish.
If your content doesn’t engage, it’s pretty much useless. That’s one of the key challenges for marketers in 2017. Interactive chatbots have already taken off and the trend will likely continue next year. But we’ll also see more quizzes, polls, calculators, flowcharts, and so on.
5. Better written content
There will be more content and there will be more demand for content writers next year. While there’s a lot of buzz around video and other content marketing trends, writing is still dominant.
But frankly, most written content sucks. As noted above, with the attention span of a goldfish, most consumers don’t even read all of those blogs that companies put out.
The top marketers will take advantage of this and move towards content that’s clearly better in terms of value, writing, and delivery. We’ll see writing that’s captivating, visual, and easier to read, but also a shift towards trends such as 10x content and episodic content, which engage the audience over time.
Start with your audience…
To sum it up, content marketing will become more competitive next year. With bigger budgets, more content, and less attention to win, marketers will have to find a way to stand out.
What all of these trends have in common is that they’re geared towards more engagement. Whether it’s personalization, VR, or simply better writing, they’re all means to delivering your content in a more engaging way.
So, instead of simply following trends, ask yourself how can I engage my audience in the first place? Social media data is a great first step – using insights from social, you can better understand what your audience really want, and use this insight to build your content strategy.