Content marketing equips prospects with the information they need to convert into customers.
Content marketing is exciting because the field is constantly evolving and changing. That said, these factors can also make content marketing trends hard to keep up with.
According to Forbes, a whopping 88% of business to business (B2B) marketers use content marketing. But only 32% of those marketers have a clear content marketing strategy.
Without staying up to date on content marketing trends, it’s easy to waste time on strategies that are ineffective. Content marketing is an awesome marketing tactic, but only if you use it in a way that customers will actually connect with.
But that’s where we come in. We’re obsessed with staying up to date on the latest content marketing trends. So we want to help you reach your customers with amazing content strategies.
Need more inspiration?
Here are some of our favorite content marketing trends to watch in 2017!
First, a refresher on content marketing
“Content marketing” has become a buzzword. Often, people use the phrase without clearly defining it.
So what exactly is content marketing anyway?
In short, content marketing seeks to attract and retain customers by reaching them with quality, engaging content. Content marketers educate their target audience so they can produce informed and loyal consumers that take action.
Ultimately, content marketing has two key strategies: One, marketers must produce quality content. Two, marketers must distribute this content to their target audience.
Here are some approaches we’re seeing marketers using right now.
Despite social media, email Marketing is still hot
The most effective way to market content isn’t just through social media.
Social media is important for any digital marketing strategy. But the truth, however, is that older technologies like email are still critical to effective content marketing.
Despite the perception that email use is declining, recent research shows that an email is 5 times more likely to be viewed than a Facebook post! So, if you’re posting to Facebook, but not sending any emails, you’re missing out on massive amounts of potential traffic and page views.
Additionally, automated emails are a great way to distribute content to existing customers.
For this reason, expect one of the big content marketing trends of 2017 to include a resurgence of email newsletters.
Print is getting popular again too
Speaking of surprising content marketing trends, some marketers are exploring the potential benefits of print marketing.
You read that right: print marketing.
Even though digital content is convenient and more accessible, there is evidence that it is losing popularity. For instance, recent analysis shows that, while ebook sales dropped recently by 17%, physical book sales rose by 8%.
Stats like these indicate that there’s something about print media that simply appeals to customers.
Even online businesses like AirBnB and School of Doodle have launched print publications. With all the excessive noise in digital spaces, it might not be a bad idea.
Print may seem antiquated, but it can be a great way for companies to differentiate themselves in a sea of technology.
That said, mobile is critical
But don’t throw out your computer yet! Even with the renewed interest in print, digital media is one of those content marketing trends that is not going away.
Customers are still relying on digital tools to connect with businesses. And, more specifically, they’re using mobile platforms to do it. That’s probably because close to 80% of adult Americans now own smartphones.
Not only do Americans own smartphones, but they rely on them for performing online searches. According to recent research, users perform more than half of all online searches from a mobile device. This is a big part of the reason Google began taking steps to restrict web pages that are unfriendly to mobile users.
We’re a digital age where the majority of users are relying on mobile devices. It’s crucial for marketers to make content that is accessible on mobile platforms.
Influencers are in demand
Another trend gaining popularity among content marketers is the use of influencers.
Brand ambassadors are nothing new when it comes to content marketing trends. What is new is the ease with which companies can use social media to connect with potential influencers who can help build their brand.
That said, as mentioned earlier, it can be a daunting task to stay up to date with content marketing trends. And, for that reason, many companies will opt not to.
This past year, media giant CNN bought out Casey Neistat’s popular app. Rather than partnering with Neistat, the news organization opted to purchase his influence to build their brand in a new way.
As digital content marketing becomes more complex, we should expect to see more wealthy corporations making similar moves.
Multimedia campaigns are still powerful content marketing trends
Even though influencers can be a powerful tool for distributing content, at the end of the day the content still has to stand on its own. For this reason, we predict multimedia content will continue to increase in popularity.
We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture’s worth a 1000 words.” And this is definitely the case when it comes to content marketing in 2017.
Photo-centered social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest are expected to grow. Additionally, video content is becoming an important way to create dynamic content that customers readily connect with. The advent of features like Facebook and YouTube Live highlights this trend.
Using multi-media technologies is absolutely necessary for producing content that customers will engage with.
High-quality writing is essential
Visual marketing and live video content are hot trends. That said, no list of content marketing trends would be complete without acknowledging the importance of written content!
A picture may be worth a 1000 words, but not when it comes to search engines.
While users love to share pictures, they search for writing. Effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) depends on the creation of powerful, written content. Content that’s also optimized with the right keywords that target users search for.
This can be a challenge for content marketers. Writing can be challenging and time-consuming. For this reason, we predict that hiring bloggers will continue to be one of the most popular content marketing trends in 2017.
Tools and data will help measure success
It’s challenging for marketers to stay up to date with content marketing trends. Experimenting with new forms of creating and distributing great content is also difficult.
Another challenge of keeping up with content marketing trends is monitoring their success. Again, there’s no purpose in using content marketing strategies that won’t actually reach customers.
How can we know whether our efforts to generate traffic through social media, or optimize our SEO are actually working?
The short answer: by using tools that track and measure data.
Simple, free tools like Google Analytics can help marketers ensure they are actually driving success.
Don’t forget that users create content, too
With all the emphasis that content marketers (rightly!) put on producing great content, it can be easy to forget that users create content too.
User reviews, online ratings, social media mentions, and blog posts are ways that customers can create content for you.
Additionally, there are lots of creative ways to encourage users to write reviews, Facebook posts, and blog posts about your business. You can launch a social media campaign that encourages users to share photos of themselves using your product. Or, you can offer discounts to users who write online reviews.
Investing time in customer-generated content can pay off big in the long run.
User-generated content is one of the biggest, and most important content marketing trends to watch, as studies show that 88% of customers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.
Encouraging users to generate content is a great way to outsource the creation of content that your customers will actually read.
Personalized, quality content is crucial
The most important point to remember when following content marketing trends is that quality still matters.
Remember, there are two goals of content marketing: production and distribution.
It’s good to be effective at distributing content and optimizing search engine results. But if your content marketing efforts direct users to poorly crafted content, they will be ineffective.
Customers are smart, and they know what good content looks like.
Not only that, but customers want companies they experience a personal connection with. It’s important for companies to put thought into creating an online presence that effectively communicates their mission and purpose as an organization.
Ultimately, this is the main purpose of content marketing. The goal is to equip prospective customers with information, rather than simply advertising to them.
We’ve covered some of the hottest content marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2017.
Digital platforms and multimedia content will continue to be influential. That said, more traditional strategies like email, print media, and written content will also be important.
Additionally, companies will need to continue focusing on building relationships with customers. Producing quality content and engaging with user-generated content are two effective ways to this.
What do you think? What are some of the content marketing trends that you think will be important in 2017?
Let us know in the comments below!