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Content Marketing Trends to Expect in 2017

content marketing trends

Content marketing is nothing new and it is growing.  However, by not knowing content marketing trends for 2017, you might be missing out.

Content marketing serves the purpose of educating and providing experiences for people in order to convert them into paying consumers. This is different from product advertisement which is all about the product: price and purpose served.

An entire demographic is valuing experiences over things.  Therefore it makes sense that companies are focusing on creating experiences rather than pushing products through traditional distribution and advertising routes.

Here are Content Marketing Trends You Can Take Advantage Of:

1) Have a Strategy

A major issue for businesses is the lack of planning and documentation for content marketing. If you don’t plan for something and have an easily, complementary system for documenting the plan and subsequent actions, content marketing will fall flat.

A strategy requires:

  • a plan that is revisited quarterly,
  • informed by market research,
  • scalable,
  • personalized for users, and
  • is documented.

Calendars, project management, user experience research, and sales need to work together to create a sustainable and effective content marketing trends strategy.

2) Pay to Play

It’s not a popular phrase, but it is one of the most important content marketing trends. Native advertising means advertising that is created to flow seamlessly in the distribution channel, is targeted, content based, and is usually paid for.

While content creation is important, you still have to get the content out there to your targeted audience. Expect more companies to shell out more money to place content in various distribution channels, including social media.

3) It’s All About Mobile

Mobile is such a big deal, Google has changed the way it indexes website.  Instead of crawling through desktop versions of websites, it is now prioritizing mobile sites.  If your site or content looks funky on your smartphone, you’ve got a problem.

Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how your content looks to Google.

This evolution also means that more companies will be creating the original mobile connectors: The App.  Depending on your company’s offering, developing an app might be a good idea. It certainly falls in line with content marketing trends.

4) Facebook isn’t Going Anywhere

Say what you will about Facebook, but its influence isn’t going anywhere. Companies will be utilizing the Facebook Live technology in order to target and speak to consumers.

Facebook’s Instant Articles provides companies the opportunity to put content out directly on Facebook which improves loading speed, visual experience opportunities, autoplay video, and how it appears on mobile devices.

If your company isn’t on Facebook, the time is now.  This content marketing trend is not going anywhere.

5) Influencer Marketing

Influencers are experts and your prominent users in your industry who command large audiences and maintain active platforms.

LinkedIn has recognized 500+ influencers who, selected and invited by LinkedIn, drive the conversations and provide considerable weight for any product or service they recommend or endorse.

Now you don’t need to necessarily tap into one of LinkedIn’s influencers, although that would always be nice, but you do need to identify who are the movers and shakers in your industry.

Who does everyone know?  Who does everyone follow? Who is deemed an authority by your target audience?  It is these people who you need to engage with regularly.

Remember, if they are an influencer they are probably approached by companies all the time for endorsements.  So, go authentic. Follow them on social media, attend events they are at and introduce yourself, and respond to their work, posts, or tweets in authentic ways.  Successful content marketing trends are often organic and authentic.

Then, once you’ve established a relationship, offer up what you are doing in an informational way, not a salesperson way.

6) Workflow

It’s one thing to have a plan.  It’s another to make it work well over a sustained period of time.  There is no way to take advantage of content marketing trends if you can’t finish the job.

The content you put out there must be authentic, interesting, and convert.  This means that you must take the time and have the procedures in place to conduct market research, work with writers, designers, and tech people to pull it off.

Invest in people who know what they are doing, because it’s certain that your competitor is.

And don’t forget, this is complicated project management.  There are so many moving parts with content marketing that workflow and organization are clutch.

Invest in software that helps team members keep in contact with each other and track project tasks. This is essential if you are working with people remotely.

7) Visuals Dominate

Vision is a powerful sense.  In fact, it influences more than any other sense.  People only remember 10% of what they hear.  However, if provided an image, memory increases to 65%.

Reading also takes time and is a skill that has to be learned.  While we all have varying abilities when it comes to reading comprehension, we are innately built to interpret and comprehend visuals.

Video is taking the internet by storm.  Of course we’ve had YouTube for years, but in terms of marketing, the stats are insane.

And don’t forget about photography.  Consumers are experienced in visual media which means stock photos won’t cut it.

It would be good for business to invest in a quality photographer as well a create videos that help create an experience for consumers.

Lastly, in terms of content marketing trends with visuals, don’t count out the infographic.

Infographics are fantastic at conveying research, technical aspects, or outcomes to consumers.  If you are able to take something complex and get your audience to understand and relate, you’ve done your job.

8) Be Purpose-Driven

Just as Millenials seek experiences over products, they also want to know that the companies who produce said products are aligned with their personal values.  This content marketing trend is driving profits for several purpose-driven companies.

Your company’s alignment with certain values is a personal decision.  By no means will a company successfully market a value or purpose that they do not embody and believe it.  So authenticity is key.

But if your company can align itself authentically with a cause, value, or purpose that brings goodness to others, do it. You can consider what makes sense with your products or services. Like a brewery might want to support clean water groups, since water is a vital component in making beer.

If you don’t have a product or service that so effortlessly aligns with a cause, you can poll your staff to see what matters to them or consider what services or values have helped you in your life.

Then, you can create events to raise awareness and money, provide your target audience with content regarding your cause of choice, and share efforts of related non-profits on your social media platforms.

9) Email Still Reigns

Email remains a highly effective way of communicating with your target audience. Through email automization, you can personalize emails by including the recipiant’s name and schedule emails to be delivered at optimal times depending on content.

Blogs are making great headway with email automization by scheduling a series of introduction emails, followed by content-heavy emails over a course of a few weeks, often with links for products and courses.

Larger companies are taking a hint from bloggers and creating newsletters that are sent weekly with relevant content and deals.

The whole thing though still deals with user experience.  The emails are not blocks of text, but written in bulleted for for ease of digestion and they include a fair share of visuals.

10) Don’t Forget to Play Defense

It’s 2017, so it’s all a bit new.  Our tweeting President is causing marketing and public relations department to rethink how they use social media.

First, figure out if your industry and/or company seem to be of interest to the sitting President.

Second, devise a one-page press release of facts about your company and proof to back them up.  This can be handy to have when an immediate response is necessary.

Third, if your company doesn’t already have a protocol for how to handle negative tweets about you, it’s time to create one.

Fourth, consider what your company has planned in the coming year(s), are there layoffs, mergers, high-profile speeches?  If so, discuss with your team how to handle any negative attacks from those in positions of power.

Lastly, create good relationships with your local media.

11) Post on Your Own Website

While social media is powerful, there is a growing backlash.  Some are resisting the increase in advertising on Facebook, others are abandoning social feeds because there is a lot of fake news going around.

So, while you would be smart to use social media to attract an audience, it’s best to lead them back to your company website.

This means your company needs a blog or space where you can post information, visuals, and stories that interest your consumer.

Bonus is that once on your site, the consumer can browse an online store or find out more about you.

But remember, not all writing is created equally.  Your consumer wants original, though-provoking, informed and research-based, easy to read content. If you’re not a skilled writer, hire one. Quality is always a content marketing trend.

12) The Pendulum Swings

While content marketing trends are predominately, overwhelmingly digital, remember that opposites attract.

Print magazines are predicted to make a comeback.  Even companies like Airbnb are producing print works.  And it makes sense. So much of our world is digitial.  We work digitally, we play digitally, we connect with friends and family digitally…it feels good sometimes to hold something tangent in your hands.

If you have the resources, consider how your company can create something that consumers can hold and gain an experience.

Final Thoughts

There is no silver bullet to getting content marketing trends right.  There will be ups and downs. However, the only way to get it wrong is to ignore these content marketing trends.

Pick a few that feel right for your company and get started today! Contact us for help!

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He has been in the marketing business since 1997 and has been helping businesses get a better return on their marketing investment for nearly 20 years. Today, he is the owner of California SEO Professionals, a digital marketing company focusing on profit-driven SEO and PPC strategies that help businesses get more traffic and better conversions. Oh, and he has a 4th degree in Goju Ryu Karate with almost 30 years of training, so you know he means business.