December is my favourite month. The weather is warm. It’s an ideal time to reflect, relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. And anticipating the year ahead can be intoxicating.
We live in exciting times. Never has this been more so for business.
In 2015 the lines between marketing and publishing blurred, native advertising took off and the clamour for branded content shattered all predictions.
Content marketers had one hell of a party as business binged on blogs, social media, copywriting, videos, podcasts, downloadable content, mobile apps. It has been a feeding frenzy of biblical proportions.
Sooner or later the gorging has to end and a new maxim must emerge. Is 2016 the year for sober reflection? Perhaps. Will the noise abate? Probably not.
What’s in store?
Like every other year, expect the next 12 months to be full of surprises, driven by innovation and jolted by disruption. It won’t be easy to stand out or keep pace. And achieving the outcomes you desire could remain elusive.
Our advice? Be realistic, invest in quality over quantity – and be patient.
Today, consumers everywhere are educated, informed and selective. Most care less about your product, more about your vision, values, insights and wisdom.
Choose long term strategy over short term tactics. Or, as I like to say, carefully pick the premium produce – even if it is tempting to grab all the low hanging fruit you can get your hands on.
No one has all the answers, which is why we’ve picked the brains of some key content marketing influencers – as well as throwing in a few gems of our own. Here’s what the year ahead holds:
While we will see shining examples of content marketing magic in action, the sheer majority of brands will continue to crash and burn with their content creation and distribution efforts. Simply put, most brands resist telling a truly differentiated story; and even those that do aren’t consistent or patient enough to build loyal audiences over time – Joe Piluzzi, founder Content Marketing Institute.
The focus will be shifting from simply creating ‘more’ content to serving the ‘right’ content; especially personalized content. We have the ability to be – and users now expect – personalized and hyper-relevant content delivered instantly to them wherever they are engaging — social, email, or any channel, for that matter. There is increased pressure to constantly deliver that seamless, engaging experience, and more brands will be stepping up to deliver exactly that. – Amanda Todorovich, content marketing director, Cleveland Clinic.
All signs point to video. Whether it’s Facebook Live, video on Twitter, Periscope, Blab, Instagram, Vine, or the old standby YouTube, 2016 will be the year when video becomes a primary content marketing consideration for all brands – even B2B. – Jay Baer, president, Convince & Convert.
Content strategy will accelerate, but not enough. Mark my words, content marketers: without the strategy in place, you’ll soon be spinning your wheels, not to mention creating excess costs in money, resources and efficiencies – Rebecca Lieb, analyst and author RebeccaLieb.com.
Although Google’s Knowledge Graph has been around since 2012, it’s only recently that the vault has evolved into something truly impressive. It now appears for the vast majority of long-tail search queries, providing users with instant answers and information to common questions. In short, traffic to web pages that provide quick answers is starting to diminish, which will force content marketers to seek refuge in more complicated and more difficult topics – Jason Demers, author The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2016.
2016 is shaping up to be a year rampant with custom content, unique videos, and adaptive websites that suit mobile browsing. It’s time to get creative in the realm of tech. With smartphone users set to top 2 billion in 2016 (eMarketer) and over 90% of marketers leaning on interactive content to educate buyers (Ion Interactive), optimization for mobile devices is one of the many keys to a successful strategy through next year – Sage Curtis, Zen Content.
Watch for brands turning to longer, deeper content to keep existing customers engaged – and targeted, personalised content to attract new clients who specifically fit their key market profiles. Businesses want to talk directly to the people who spend more money with them and this won’t happen if they don’t give quality content their highest priority. I can see an even bigger role for journalists and trouble ahead for businesses who choose cheap content farms to keep pumping out product-pushing content without a purpose or a plan – Patrick Briscoe, content strategist Article Writers Australia.
Have you developed your content strategy? If it’s not a task you want to do in-house, contact a content marketing agency for help.