Content marketing in 2017 is going to be a dynamic force. It’s a prediction we can make with confidence since every statistic and research report reaches the same conclusions. If you’re not doing it, or planning to start, your competitors are. It’s already being used by 89% of B2B marketers and predictions for next year are that budgets are being increased. Done right content is a multi-faceted marketing tool that simply cannot be ignored.
The New Year will see us learn from the lessons of the previous year, incorporate new technology, raise our expectations and require us to respond to another level of evolution and sophistication in our audiences.
7 Predictions for 2017
- Strategy is going to play a vital role in underpinning all successful content marketing.
- Influencers will play a key role in B2B marketing, as they catch up with current trends in B2C.
- Webinars and live events will command record attendances, generating leads and driving new business.
- Video/visual content will be king. According to Syndacast 74% of all traffic will be video in 2017, but infographics, memes and interactive visuals will also play a key role in attracting audiences. It’s worth paying particular attention to Facebook Live and silent video.
- The rise of the content news-room and content professionals – the role of the journalist and content experts will be increasingly recognised. Yes, this will be the year of automation, but good old-fashioned writing still counts and a human voice still communicates best.
- Serialised content – As a means of holding an audience’s interest, building a buzz and allowing you room to share your content effectively, this could provide a fresh take for marketers
- No more clickbait. “People are increasingly cynical and protective of their inbox, they won’t respond just because something is free and has a “you will never guess what happens next” headline!” Cynthia Readnower
But some things will not change…
Here are some top tips to build on what you’re already doing, or should be:
Re-purpose – Since the new year is set to expect high quality content, you are likely to have put considerable time and thought into each piece you produce. So don’t just use it once. Start with a long-from blog, for example, and extract an infographic as a shareable, take the highlights and create a short buzz piece, pull out a quote and create a meme or simply use different angles for different platforms. All that research shouldn’t be wasted making just one blog.
Like this article? Have you read our review of 2016’s social media highlights?
Promote – In the same vein, once you’ve created your content it’s a waste not to promote it. Push it across all your platforms, encourage shares and engagement using your intro copy, tag a relevant influencer and then – and only then, once you’ve exhausted your organic reach – try some native advertising. A well-targeted promo campaign can help you reach a considerably wider audience and build your following quickly. Get the ‘buy’ and ‘build’ balance right and you can expect your content to have real impact.
Achieve the blend – the rules remain the same as 2016 when it comes to ensuring a good mix of useful content, entertainment, varied formats etc. Self-promotional content and active selling should make up no more than 10% – if anything the audiences of 2017 will only be harsher about this and will simply click away and even ‘unfollow’ if you overdo it.
Be ‘helpful as hell’ – No holds barred. You cannot give too much away. It may seem counterintuitive to give away all the knowledge you’ve accrued over years of experience in your field, after all it’s what makes you valuable, but it also earns you respect as someone who knows how to apply it. Don’t be precious about it, your 2017 audience expects it all. Ultimately, thought-leaders have influence and influence is power.
Measure – this is often what leads people to feel their strategy isn’t working; they aren’t measuring correctly. Content marketing is only partly about sales. Clearly it needs to generate leads and contribute to the bottom line, but it also delivers additional value in the form of followers (pre-warmed audiences ready to participate in market research, help promote your brand and possibly later even buy your product), partnerships, speaker opportunities, even awards. This is all part of the return on investment.
Consistency – past trends have seen huge short-term investments in content marketing with campaigns that fizzle out after a few months due to lack of any real response. A three month trial is not enough. Engaging audiences, building followers and establishing your corporate voice and persona takes commitment.
Strategy and workflow will enable you to bring all these elements together efficiently and ensure you have 12 months of enticing and effective marketing content.
Whatever you do:
- don’t stay still – keep it fresh and varied
- don’t be silent – stay in the conversations, post consistent, intelligent content
- don’t be selfish – share your knowledge
- and don’t stop!
Want more? Read our review of 2016’s social media highlights.
Melissa Valente is an Account Manager at Formative Content
You can follow Formative Content on Twitter at @thisisformative
Formative Content is a UK based content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.
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