Content marketing is a dynamic industry, and it changes at the speed of light. In a world where so few things are linear, it makes sense that pros of all shape and sizes are scrambling to prepare for what the rest of 2017 will bring.
But what will it bring?
Knowing that can make all the difference in how you prepare. Here are the six biggest trends that will affect your content marketing this year.
1. The (Continued) Rise of Mobile
Mobile continues to enjoy its Web-dominating rampage, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Today, more people use mobile platforms than desktop to interact with content, so it’s critical to ensure you’re adjusting your content strategy accordingly.
This means that all your content, from your webpages to your downloadable resources, should be easy to access on a mobile platform. If it’s not, or if it’s clunky, slow, or poorly formatted, go back and revisit it. You can’t afford to lose mobile viewers in 2017, and offering a sub-par user experience is dangerous for your traffic and conversions.
2. Social Media Will Become a Larger Player
If you thought the impact of social on content marketing couldn’t get any larger, think again. Platforms like Instagram are releasing new functionalities all the time (like its new carousel-sharing feature, launched in February of this year). These features are designed to make the draw of social media more compelling for users and to show people there’s no reason to leave their social platforms – ever.
While social media as a whole is growing, one of the biggest players is Facebook. Things like Facebook Instant Articles have contributed to making Facebook the most-used social profile for small businesses throughout the country, and there’s no sign that that dominance will ebb significantly in the coming years. While it’s true that Facebook is beginning to up the costs of its ads and decrease the potential for organic reach, companies can’t afford to ignore the platform in 2017.
3. The Prevalence of Video Content
Images have been a major player in social media for years, but what about video content? A relative newcomer to the world of online marketing, video content has the potential to enhance, shape, and improve the user experience and make your brand more memorable. In fact, HubSpot reports that 90 percent of customers value the availability of product videos during their purchasing decisions and 80 percent of clients recall a video they viewed in the past month.
A memorable, valuable, highly consumable form of content, video stands out as one of the go-to pieces of material for digital marketing in 2017. Ignore it at your peril.
4. User-Generated Content
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen brands like Starbucks, Innocent Drinks, and Coca-Cola break the Internet with user-generated content. Need an example? Take a look at athletic brand Lululemon’s “#thesweatlife” campaign, which relies entirely on user-generated content.
Today, user-generated content ads earn a click-through rate four times higher and 50 percent less expensive than traditional ads, so it’s no wonder brands are relying on it more heavily. What’s more, in a world where consumer trust in brands is more critical than ever before, UGC is one of the best ways to encourage a positive perception and build consumer confidence.
Whether you’ve used UGC before, or you’re looking at diving in for the first time, it’s a fantastic way to give customers a starring role in your company while also ensuring the positive public perception of your brand.
5. Content Personalization
Content personalization is critical in 2017. Don’t do it, and you risk fading into the content sea and getting lost along with all the other sub-par brands. In addition to helping you stand out in an increasingly competitive content marketing environment, content personalization can also help you build better relationships with your customers.
In 2017, personalization will only become more important than it is today. In fact, CMO reports that a full one-third of marketers state personalization is their most important marketing tactic for the future and that 85 percent of brands report having at least basic customization at work in their content.
Curious how you can personalize your content? Social Media Today recommends taking a tip from Amazon, which customizes content with recommendations. Do this by reviewing your data to understand your audience better, taking a proactive approach to how you serve content to users, and automating your content personalization wherever possible.
6. Content Promotion
Today, it’s not enough to just publish content. You also have to promote it. By re-using old content, sharing published content multiple times, and utilizing the many benefits of paid promotion, brands are taking their content creation efforts to a new level, and ensuring they get all the value possible from every post they publish.
The Future of Content Marketing: 2017 and Beyond
While the foundations of content marketing (quality content, published frequently and tailored to particular audiences) will always be the same, the technology surrounding content marketing is changing rapidly. Today, the most successful marketers out there know how to pair their innate content skills with things like promotional platforms, personalization and automation tools, social media, and mobile optimization techniques.
While these things may seem like unnecessary frosting on the cake, they’re integral to the way content functions today, and ignoring them is not an option. When brands invest accordingly in these technologies and trends, it’s easier to ensure a positive content marketing ROI in 2017 and beyond.
Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia’s blog.
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