10 Content Marketing Trends for 2017
Over the past year, content marketing has become a crucial component of the marketing strategy. A recent study found that 53% of marketers see clear ROI and 43% believe opportunities exist.
Although the value of content marketing is undeniable, most marketers find adapting to an ever-shifting landscape challenging. By keeping pace with trends, you can fine-tune your content marketing program to deliver the best results.
The following ten trends illustrate where content marketing is going for the rest of this year and into 2018. Marketers need to understand the changes affecting content marketing, so they know which strategies make sense for their brand.
- Documented Content Marketing Strategy – Unfortunately, most businesses fail to create a real content strategy. A written plan helps your content program succeed. Every content marketing strategy should focus on driving value. Many marketers revolve their programs around their products and services. Your documented strategy should define the entire content marketing process, including selecting your content team, creating workflows, understanding the user experience, incorporating technology, determining global requirements, securing executive buy-in, producing and distributing content, and measuring results.
- Content Promotion — Five years ago, businesses spent 80% of their budget on content creation and 20% on content promotion. However, thought leaders at the Content Marketing Institute believe this ratio has switched. Because you cannot afford to create content few targets will see, the trend is less content and more promotion. An increasing number of companies are using paid, native advertising to promote their content.
- Influencer Marketing – This strategy focuses on using established leaders to help convey your brand’s message to a larger audience. These influencers help you get the word out. You can hire them or just encourage them to promote your brand. For the best results, you must build relationships with these influencers, design specific campaigns with them, and then measure your results against your goals.
- Purpose-Driven Marketing – A strong content marketing program defines why you create your content and the impact your content has on your targets. Rather than create content as an extension of your sales and marketing communications, you should focus on the shared needs and interests of your target audience. You want to engage your audience in an authentic, mutually-beneficial way, but also drive them to participate. When done well, purpose-driven marketing can deliver amazing results. One study found 91% of Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause.
- Video – Telling a visual story has gained importance in recent years. A strong content marketing program will deliver valuable information through video on a regular basis. SnapChat offers a platform to consider for your video distribution since it has surpassed Facebook in total video views. Although video content is on the rise, keep in mind most communication remains text- and story-based. So, good writing counts more than ever.
- Facebook – Finding influencers, earning backlinks, and relying on other promotion tactics create value. But, they take time away from marketers who are already stretched thin. Social shares offer a quick and easy way to distribute content. To promote your content, Facebook provides lower cost-per-click prices, sophisticated targeting options, paid promotion beyond the post’s organic reach, and an easy to manage process. Also, Facebook and other social platforms are moving toward becoming publishing outlets. Rather than just sharing links, your targets can get content in one place without leaving the social app.
- Mobile – Every business markets to customers who have at least one untethered device. So, you must create digital content that your audience can easily consume on these devices. Mobile priorities for marketers involve designing a website that can respond to diverse devices and creating a consistent digital experience for users.
- Content Technology – Incorporating technology into your content marketing program can help you achieve your goals. One new technology to keep an eye on is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI automates basic human tasks to help computers see, hear, think, and learn. AI can even embed emotion recognition technology to sense a person’s mood and behavior. You can match content to a customer at any point in time and offer a more profound experience based on how they react.
- Sales Integration – Because sales initiatives dominate many organizations, you must start integrating salespeople into your content marketing program. Better alignment between sales and marketing teams can help you develop more targeted, compelling content delivered to the right audience, at the best time, and using the most efficient channel.
- Email Marketing – For your content marketing program, email is more important than ever. Buyers rely on email to learn more about businesses and make informed purchasing decisions. In fact, 72% of consumers prefer email as their primary source of business communication. Email marketing offers you an inexpensive, efficient way to distribute and promote your content, encourage users to get more information, and generate qualified leads.
Just when you think you have covered all your bases, the content marketing landscape will shift again. You must understand that evolution is inevitable and the future will look much different from today. Keeping in tune with trends and adapting your strategies as necessary will help you develop a robust content marketing program.
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With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.