The Future of Content Marketing in 2017: 8 Predictions of Online Content Trends

As a content marketer, you stay up-to-date on the latest trends, you maintain a serious advantage over the competition.

You’re like the guru of content marketing: you know it all, you see into the future, and you are already creating content that sticks with upcoming trends.

And right now, one of the best ways to stay ahead as a content marketer is to examine the trends and predictions for what content marketing might look like in 2017.

Some trends for 2017 will be relatively similar as those in 2016, with a minor tweak here and there. Other trends may take you away from the content marketing you are used to and force you to explore new waters and uncharted territories. For those trends, it’s time to start preparing today.

Congratulate Yourself, Content Marketers (and What to Realize)

Good news, content marketers: we’ve improved.

Brian Sutter at Forbes says that 62 percent of B2B content marketers are much more satisfied with their content in 2016 than they were in 2015 and 63 percent of B2C content marketers report the same. Back at the start of 2016, content marketers were saying they were only 30 percent effective.

growth of content effectiveness chart

Time to pat ourselves on the back.

Actually, perhaps not yet. One very good point raised is that as content marketing improves, so does the demand of the audience.

With all of us stepping up our game and learning the ropes, the competition is going to be fiercer, stronger and your audience will demand better at every turn.

8 Predictions of Online Content Trends

Now is the time to dig deep into the predictions of the future.

We’re going to look into our crystal balls and see what we can spy for content marketing.

1. Mobile Content Will Predominately Rule

Mobile, mobile, mobile!

More people are looking at content on mobile devices. They crave content that they can devour on their Smartphones while waiting in line at Starbucks for their seasonal latte.

According to SmartInsights, 2015 saw substantial growth when it came to people using mobile screens to access content. In fact, in 2015 they averaged 2.8 hours per day on their mobile device. Compare that to 2010 when people only accessed content for 0.4 hours per day.

smartinsightsgraph

I definitely see mobile increasing in 2017.

Think about AMP as a major …

So, if you have not worked on the responsive design and cross-platform capabilities of your website, make that a top priority.

2. Readers Will Look for More Interactiveness in Content

People like to be inspired, wowed and entertained.

No content does that better than interactive content.

In fact, if you were to scour the Web right now and request trends for 2017, just about every expert out there says “interactive content.”

I see interactive content increasing for 2017. The main reason? It gives the reader the opportunity to customize their experience.

They click through what content they want and skip over the nonsense. They customize their experience and get what they need without having to sift through the waste.

Good news: SocialMediaToday says you do not have to worry about throwing out interactive content constantly, though. It predicts adding it sparsely will be all it takes to grow your engagement.

Phew.

3. Video and Visual Content Taking the Wheel

Video is a critical component to storytelling, and it helps keep the attention of today’s reader piqued and ready to engage.

You don’t have to sprinkle your social media and blog’s pages with videos 24/7, but you might consider adding a few in here and there at a consistent weekly or monthly amount to boost engagement. Facebook Live, Twitter and Periscope, YouTube, are all great platforms to share video content.

Visual content is significant today.

After all, the average reader has an attention span of less than a goldfish, according to a study by Microsoft.

People focus for approximately eight seconds before losing attention, says Microsoft’s study.

microsoft goldfish

It’s important that we grab attention in a world of goldfish-like attention spans.

Today’s consumer wants more than just text or pictures. They want compelling visual content that creates more engagement. With search engines working hard to index visual content, now is the time to start adding videos and infographics to your website that help contribute toward a better SEO strategy.

4. Snapchat Will Get Bigger

Snapchat is here to stay.

So, now is the time to start working to harness that power of Snapchat and help improve your business’s visibility.

Sujan Patel wrote an excellent guide on Entrepreneur for helping you get started with Snapchat specifically to grow your business. According to his numbers, Snapchat has 26 million users in the United States alone, and 58 percent of college students want to purchase products through a coupon in Snapchat.

Consider a presence on Snapchat for your business, if it makes sense.

5. Influencer Marketing Will Reach New Heights

Influencer marketing is going to grow this year.

While influencers help your content reach a larger volume of readers, it also helps increase the value of your readers and boosts the credibility of the influencer.

Social Media Today recommends identifying relevant influencers that match with your niche and start building relationships with them.

You both can work together, rather than compete and build each other’s reputation for the good.

6. Live Streaming Will Go Big

Live streaming is going to grow—significantly.

More people want to see videos and activity via Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, YouTube Live, and Snapchat (there Snapchat is again!).

Use live video streaming to boost your product and service launch events, add more content, engage with users, and even host chats with live streaming to get people interested in your brand.

To be successful, you must be a storyteller. You need to be an expert conversationalist, be human, and let go of your traditional content goals, says Kathy Klotz-Guest at Convince & Convert.

7 Key Ways to Use Live Streaming 

  1. Q&A sessions with your audience.
  2. Host a customer support Q&A session live.
  3. Stream the live launch of your latest product at an exhibit or show.
  4. Sponsor an event to reach out to influencers.
  5. Team up with another social influencer to tell a story together.
  6. Host a live talk, presentation, or even press conference.
  7. Offer a behind-the-scenes opportunity via live stream.

7. Data Driven Content Will Grow 

Readers today crave knowledge. They want to read something that is well thought out, expertly planned and backed with raw data.

They don’t want to scour the Web finding statistics; they want you to present them in a neat package complete with a bow and all.

I see data-driven content growing this year. That means finding more stats, backing your claims with real examples, and flexing your knowledgeable muscles for the world to be in awe of.

You must also use the data you retrieve from your website to create better content. For example, looking at offline behavior to drive your content decisions, says Ted Karczewski via Content Marketing Institute.

How to Use Data to Drive Better Content

  • Use tools you already have to understand your customers (i.e. content analytics, social listening, etc.)
  • Create content from the data you find.
  • Don’t allow data to stunt your creativity; use it to enhance what is floating around in that content marketing brain of yours.
  • Build a community and work to engage your audiences.
  • Create timely content.
  • Measure your content strategy, retest, and adjust when necessary.

8. Brands Will Serve a Smaller Interest Group

Your days of broad reach have come to an end, my friends.

Now is the time to work toward writing those high-level, nitty-gritty blog posts aimed for a specific interest group.

For example, this blog title isn’t specific enough to garner interest, in the sea of similar content these days:

“How to Attract Customers to Your Blog”

Instead, it’ll be more successful when adjusted for a particular niche, like so:

“How to Attract Returning Visitors Using Snapchat Advertisements”

Be specific. Readers are searching for specifics, what fits them best. There’s plenty on how to attract people to a blog.  We get it. Been there, done that.

Today’s reader wants nitty gritty, tailored to them. They want you to dive deep into a specific area and tell them how to master it.

8 Predictions to Chew on 

I’ve shared my eight predictions for this year, with a lot of research involved.

What you do with them is entirely up to you, but I hope you’re able to implement them as you see fit in your content strategy, to boost the entire ROI and presence of your content marketing for the upcoming year.

Thoughts and predictions of your own? Share in the comments!


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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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