Content marketing is an ever-evolving opportunity for marketers to reach new customers and gather data on their unique audience. But with the constant changes in the digital world, content creation needs to progress at an almost alarming rate.
Keeping up with the trends in the content marketing world is a full-time gig, but marketers can weather the storm by looking ahead. Create a strategy to cater to the coming 2016 year, and you’ll be set right out of the gate.
So what’s on the content strategy horizon? Here are a few predictions.
Take a look at this infographic for content marketing trends, created by ZenContent, that reveals content marketing budgets, benchmarks and the key trends for 2016.
- Algorithm updates will reward high-quality content over spammy, keyword-stuffed content. If first-page search results are a goal for your marketing team, it’s time to put traditional SEO tactics — such as keyword stuffing and excessive backlinking — to rest. Google’s algorithm updates are continuing to reward content based on its value to the readers who are searching it, not based on how many spammy tactics content marketers use to get it in front of audiences. Instead, focus on consistently creating high-quality, engaging content that delivers value to your audience to see success in SEO and your content marketing efforts as a whole.
- Ad blockers will challenge content teams to create more valuable content. As if algorithm updates alone weren’t challenging us to prioritize quality, the rise in ad blockers will put more pressure on content marketers to create content that earns itself a place in front of readers — a place that isn’t bought in the forms of native ads or sponsored content. Sure, we’ll need to work harder to create content that’s truly engaging (and not a press release disguised as a guest post), but this is good for everyone, as it will ultimately make our content better.
- A strong content team will need more than just a writer. Just like the purpose of your content team extends beyond solely creating content, the members on your team must have responsibilities beyond writing it. The content team members who are essential to a successfully executed strategy are an editor, a content strategist and a distribution specialist. These roles allow your team to create fantastic content that aligns with your business strategy and lands in front of your audience through targeted publication and distribution.
- The most effective content teams will meet at least once a week. Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reported in its annual B2B Business-to-Business (B2B) Content Marketing report that 61 percent of the most effective teams meet at least that frequently. And this makes sense — content doesn’t work in a silo. There needs to be regular communication among members of your marketing team (and other departments such as sales and account management) to keep everyone accountable for projects, test new tactics and effectively monitor progress.
- Proprietary technology will drastically improve content quality and its creation processes. CMI also found in its report that 88 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing, and a number of open resources have become available to help these marketers create content better, faster and cheaper. But a trend we’ll see more of in 2016 is companies investing in custom proprietary technology over open-use tools.
What to Focus on in 2016
Video Blogging is going to be big in 2016. Last year, Hubspot reported that video engagement on Facebook increases 3.6x every year. This is only proving to be more widespread, with platforms like SnapChat and Instagram taking over.
Customers like to feel connected to the brands they use, and marketers can use that to their advantage. eCommerce companies are using user-generated content (like reviews, pictures, and videos) to improve loyalty and trustworthiness among their audience.
Stay up-to-date on the newest platforms and active on the ones that continue to create traction for your business. Tailor your message on each platform to give a unique experience to your social users.
Customer Engagement Mapping
Map out your content strategy by focusing on the customer journey. Create content for each part of that process that is valuable and useful to your buyer. Listen to the needs of your customer and you’ll be sure to delight them down the line.
Content Distribution Investment
Deciding how to divvy up the content budget can be tough, but by outlining your content goals for 2016 you can get a good grasp on the best places to spend. If you’re looking for more brand awareness, try paid advertising to a demographic group on Facebook. Or, if you’re looking to define yourself as an expert, consider influencer marketing.
Measure Your Success
Look to your web traffic to tell you about what content is working, and what isn’t. This can tell you the 5 W’s of any piece of content, as well as give you insight into your content strategy for the future.
Ask your most recent clients or customers to describe their journey to your brand. Did they find you on social media? Through googling pain points? Where could your content be improved in their journey? By asking these questions, you address what might be losing you customers along the line and will translate to more sales.
As you and your team sit down to make your 2016 content marketing resolutions, I hope you’ll keep these content marketing trends in mind for a successful new year. Good luck!
Originally posted on ZenContent’s blog.