As we get ready to put a lid on 2016, we asked content marketers near and far what they think we’ll be seeing in the new year. Here are their predictions — share your own in the comments, and happy holidays!
As an industry, we’ll drop the “rules” of content, like length and volume, and refocus on creative skills. I expect there to be less of a focus on formula. Quality content is not black and white; it’s a gray area that you can apply best practices toward, but ultimately has to be made your own.
2017 will be the year of the editor. Content teams will pivot, taking focus away from the influencer and returning it to strong editorial skills. A qualified writer paired with an editor who knows how to finesse language and speak to a specific audience will be what shines this year. We’ve all heard it, but in 2017 we’ll see it embraced — everyone needs an editor.
– Anita Malik, COO, ClearVoice
More and more, people will take to Medium.com rather than LinkedIn to publish their own insights. I’m curious to see how it evolves, and I’m hoping it remains professional. Some people are beginning to use LinkedIn more like Facebook, which is unfortunate.
Content will lose steam with some and gain steam with others. Thousands of companies will throw their hands up in frustration, give up, and walk away. Others will remain committed, invest in content, and stay the course. Only 32% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy, yet B2B marketers allocate 28% of their entire marketing budget to content marketing. Those with a more organized and mature content marketing organization are succeeding. Content is hard, but the reward is worth it for those who have gone past the first and second phase of content marketing.
– Joe Griffin, ClearVoice CEO
Buyers are increasingly turning to sources (content) other than salespeople for product information. When was the last time you walked onto a car dealership and asked to be educated about their cars? Never — we research the cars we’re considering buying and then, as the last resort, we have that dreaded “sales” conversation.
My prediction for content marketing as we move into 2017 is simple. More brands will embrace the idea of providing buyers with access to timely, educational content that helps them make a decision without having to contact the vendor.
– Adam Ross, VP of Sales, ClearVoice
I see user-generated content playing a big part in 2017. In 2016 we saw a trend of brands building communities with engaged, passionate customers and fans. Smart organizations will tap these folks in the new year to produce content that fits into the brand’s voice, but offers a unique and relatable perspective.
High-quality content will dominate the web more than ever. A recent study of 1 million Google search results by Backlinko found a significant correlation of long-form pieces in the top ranking positions:
Key Takeaway: Long-form content ranks higher in Google’s search results than short-form content. The average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.
In 2017, long-form high quality content will continue to dominate search rankings. The search algorithms are becoming finely tuned to recognize the value of authoritative sources of information and will reward great content with more traffic than ever before.
To compete in content production, research tools will continue to gain traction and niche freelance marketplaces with expert writers — such as ClearVoice — will thrive.
– Jeff Nappi, Director of Software Engineering, ClearVoice
We’ll begin to see content marketing stretch further into the customer success space. Content teams will separate into divisions similar to a sales team: a division for lead generation and another for “closing.”
For example, there may be one content team dedicated to top-of-the-funnel content, another for bottom-of-the-funnel, and then even another one for providing helpful content to existing customers, extending the funnel even further, creating a PQL (product qualified lead). The goal would be to align product, customer success, and marketing, providing customers with content that enables upsells within your product or service.
– Courtney Craig, Director of Customer Success, ClearVoice
The demand for high-quality content to fuel inbound marketing automation will continue to soar across all marketing channels, not just email. 2017 will feature the most successful (and most tested) multiple-channel nurturing campaigns to date.
– Ethan DeYoung, Director of Marketing Strategy, ClearVoice
If Instagram ups their filter game, I think Snapchat is in trouble. Yes, Snapchat wins the selfie game, but all Instagram needs to do is add that magical filter that makes us look amazing (you know what I’m talking about). It’s already happening. According to Buffer’s Future of Social Media study, only 2 percent of marketers are planning to dedicate more time to creating Stories on Snapchat in 2017. I’ve been witnessing this progression — more and more people are posting their Snapchat-filtered videos to Instagram Stories, which tells me that people still love Snapchat filters, but their audience is on Instagram. Easier to add filters than to move entire audiences.
– Meagan DeMenna, Community Manager, ClearVoice
Creating content to be consumed on mobile will become increasingly important. Google continues to push technologies (AMP) and best practices (mobile-first indexing) forward. Failure to recognize the trend, adjust your strategy, and upgrade your technology stack will reduce your content’s visibility.
Marketers will invest in smarter ways to distribute their best-performing content, rather than increasing their spend on creating more content in general. Companies will also seek a more creative and “native advertising” approach to content to ensure they’re earning their share of influence throughout their marketplace. This may be through organic influencer relations and by encouraging user-generated content when applicable.
As audiences become increasingly saturated and tuned-out, I predict that companies will invest more in software and employees who’ll concentrate on engaging with their customers on a more personal level — and may even begin to shy away from generic marketing automation as a whole.
More brands will realize it doesn’t pay to hire cheap content writers. Sick of going back and forth with outlines, revisions, and ‘oh-my-god-I’ll-just-do-it-myself’s, they’ll become willing to shell out bigger bucks for a quality writer who gets it right (or really close) the first time around.
– Megan Krause, Managing Editor, ClearVoice
More companies will take a mobile-first approach when it comes to site design and UX. Too many companies still think design for desktop out of habit and think about mobile as an afterthought. Responsive platforms can take a lot of the headache out the process, but it’s not a panacea.
Quality over quantity will start to sink in. Marketers will start to realize that pumping out tons of mediocre content is not the way to get people’s attention.
2017 will be the year that company execs step up and give their content teams concrete, step-by-step instructions on how to complete projects from beginning to end (e.g. infographics, blog posts, eguides and the like) in specific ways. Unfortunately, right now too many brands have no official processes for creating content, making every marketing project more or less a cluster and headache for marketing teams. I think it’s time we have an official “Brand X Method of Completing an Infographic” or “Brand Y Method of Completing a Blog Post” that is understood by any and every marketing brand and marketing department out there.
– Melody Valdez, Senior Content Strategist, ClearVoice