Content marketing is a fluid field that requires brands to constantly tune into evolving trends and shifting landscapes. And while the industry is changing on a day-to-day basis, it's much easier to organize these changes by calendar year. With that being said, here are some of the things you can expect to see in 2017, and some ways you can reshape your strategy.
1. Emphasize Interactive Content
Interactive content comes in a variety of forms - including polls and quizzes, hands-on infographics, and pricing tools - and is revered for its ability to involve users in the experience.
"By its very nature, interactive content engages participants in an activity: answering questions, making choices, exploring scenarios," marketer Scott Brinker notes. "It's a great way to capture attention right from the start. Individuals have to think and respond; they can't just snooze through it."
While interactive content has been heavily discussed over the past 18 months, 2017 is the year that marketers will really start to see massive returns on their investment. If you've yet to allocate a portion of your content marketing budget to interactive content, now's the time.
2. Protect Your Brand's Image
Content marketing is a powerful resource that can be used to positively influence your brand's image. However, the opposite is also true. When used incorrectly, content can water down your image and damage your brand's reputation.
This is why forward-thinking brands are planning on restructuring their approach to content marketing, starting in 2017. Out with low-quality content that's irrelevant and in with high-quality content that engages.
One specific area where we're seeing changes is in native content recommendations. Instead of just providing your readers with a bunch of content recommendations, you should work on providing readers with a few relevant content recommendations.
Thankfully, you don't have to handle this on your own. There are a variety of tools that can help you in this area. One such tool is Revcontent. As CEO John Lemp explains, "Using our image recognition and learning, publishers have the ability to automatically block content and not set it multiple times; they can set it once and forget." In other words, you can ensure only certain types of content are being delivered to your audience.
3. Ditch Those Clickbait Headlines
"We've heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles. These are headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer," Facebook recently announced. "To address this feedback from our community, we're making an update to News Feed ranking to further reduce clickbait headlines in the coming weeks."
That's straight from the horse's mouth. Facebook is fed up with misleading headlines and is shifting its algorithms to prioritize the genuine content that its users want to see. While most marketers won't need to do anything differently, those who currently use clickbait headlines to drive a majority of their traffic will have to try something else.
4. Video Content is a Must
Traditional online content - such as blog posts and news articles - will always have value, but it's becoming clear that the future of content marketing lies in video.
By the end of this year, it's predicted that 74 percent of all web traffic will be video. That's an astounding figure and one that clearly shows the need for launching or expanding your video marketing strategy in the coming months.
Luckily, it's now easier than ever to try your hand at video marketing. YouTube is still a favorite, allowing you to launch a channel and tap into the network's millions of worldwide users. Visual social media platforms like Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat are also becoming important.
Keep an eye out for Periscope and Facebook Live in 2017, as well. These swift-growing live streaming social media platforms are poised for a breakthrough and you should be ready to take full advantage of these opportunities as they arise.
5. There's No Denying Mobile
It can be a little overwhelming to continually discuss the need for tailoring marketing efforts to mobile devices, but there's still a large percentage of businesses that haven't yet adapted their strategies. In 2017, it will be nearly impossible to be effective without a mobile strategy. We'll leave it at that and trust that you know what needs to be done to remain competitive and relevant in your niche.
Here We Come 2017
With the number of changes that are happening in the industry, it's an exciting time to be a content marketer. While we still have a few months left in 2016, it's important that you're already turning one eye towards the future. Keep these five things in mind as you shape your strategy.