We have come to the time of year where it is important to stop and review our industry trends. We analyze which strategies are working and which aren’t, all while preparing budgets and making marketing plans for the new year. It has been an important year with many updates and changes in content marketing. The year 2016 brought us many new tools to expand our marketing efforts, such as Facebook live, Instagram stories, Penguin updates, and many more.
The year 2017 will become the year we take these new tools and use them to produce exciting, real time content that can quickly improve engagement amongst your viewers. Let’s take a look at a few of these trends and why you should add them to your content marketing strategy for the new year.
This type of marketing gained a good amount of attention this year. Influencer marketing, or influence marketing, is focused around specific individuals influencing others based on their popularity or authority level and interests. Rather than targeting the market as a whole, influencer marketing targets smaller groups of customers through their recommendation of products with a higher effect rate.
Think about it. Your most recent purchase was most likely due to being influenced by someone else that has used the product and shared it online. Many marketers are dipping into this type of influencer marketing, but without a solid strategy.
In 2017, there will be new outlets to gain access to these influencers. Marketers are learning how to find new influencers, manage them, incentivize them, and encourage them to influence others through the buying process. Over the next year, this strategy will continue to grow and I am excited to see all the new ways this could play out for marketing.
Stories vs. Articles
We’ve seen this concept evolving throughout the year. Readers are tired of the same old blog posts over and over again just to fill up your daily queue. The posts that are getting most of the attention these days are coming from the marketers that have learned that storytelling is far more engaging than an article or listicle.
One amazing example of this is what JetBlue has done with their marketing strategy this year. They have created videos of real life situations they have experienced with their passengers on actual flights. These included the Fly Babies video, which turned a negative, yet common, situation of babies crying on flights into a positive message, by giving passengers flight credits for each baby that cried.
Overall, the time has passed where you can get any engagement on boring articles. Next year you will see an increase in real stories and actual events that have taken place and the companies that are turning them into a learning experience through content pieces. Long form, in-depth stories will be the new face of valuable content and will attract the most attention.
This next strategy piggybacks off the last point. Some stories that attract attention are happy and exciting, but other times you’ll need to tug on the heartstrings to pull in the views. You should always ask yourself before creating a content piece, “Does this content have a purpose?”
In 2017, we will continue to see an increase in emotional, heartfelt content stories people can relate to. From family, to veterans, to children’s health, there are many ways to target and relate to the emotions of your readers and make them want to share each message. Sometimes it is ok to make them cry! I’m sure you’ve watched the Publix commercials and shed a few tears lately.
Real Time Content
Image by Sarah Marshall via Flickr
There have been major updates in the way we share live content this year. Facebook released live stream, Instagram released stories, and Snapchat is still a thriving platform for all ages and even more businesses.
Now that we are all getting more comfortable with these new updates, next year will be important for marketers to jump into the mix and creatively utilize these new outlets that are still hot. Older strategies, such as webinars, can now get a facelift by recording them using Facebook live, encouraging more engagement by viewers.
Other utilizations of visual marketing should include Snapchat stories and geofilters, Instagram stories, video testimonials, and live tweet sessions. Anything that is real time, engaging with your customers, and shareworthy will emerge to attract the attention you need to increase lead flow. Ungated and unedited content will be on the rise in 2017.
Although live video content is on the rise, writing is still and will always be a very important part of your content marketing efforts. Not all content can be video; you have to have a mix of well-written content as well. In order to become an authoritative resource in your vertical, you may want to consider outsourcing content.
Outsourcing your content is a smart way to bring in fresh ideas if the in-house team is burnt out of ideas. This is also a good way to see what others in the industry are doing with their marketing efforts from the people who work with them day-to-day. Figure out what is working, what isn’t working, and how to improve your authority within your space to push readers through the sales funnel.
A large discussion that will be a focus of 2017 is email marketing. What state is email marketing currently in and where is it going? Email marketing isn’t dead as some believe; it is evolving to become a smarter marketing tool rather than a waste of time.
Next year, marketers will learn how to better distribute emails to a targeted audience rather than to a huge email list. Follow-ups will be targeted specifically based on the patterns of the readers and what they do with the initial emails. Content will also play a huge role in email marketing as another reason to send out an email to share a great piece of content that was recently released.
Newsletters are also still a highly effective way to distribute information to a large audience. In 2017, there should be a well thought out mix between targeted email marketing and solid weekly or monthly newsletters in order to generate quality leads. Each of these actions should include some sort of incentive to get the reader back to your page, whether it is a free whitepaper download or discount of some sort.
Each year we cover the trends coming up and what to expect in the new year of content marketing. It is interesting going through all past articles like this and seeing how much the market has changed throughout the last few years. The year 2017 will be the year of implementation. We have been given new tools and resources. Now it is time to implement them specifically towards our own needs and see how they can attract new viewers. Creativity will be key as we all are thriving to achieve the same goal, gain attention, and make your content worthwhile while building up your brand. Good luck!