One month into 2016 and we are already flooded with content on everything under the sun. Owing to the boom in startups who bank on growth hacking customers at a bootstrapped budget, content marketing will continue to explode as a key marketing medium. In 2014 and 2015, we started seeing a shift in the traditional ad copy form of agency generated content. Job portals started seeing a spike in “Content writer/Content manager” profiles rather than Copywriters. This role will evolve even further this year with additional skill sets such as SEO and Design. 2016 will be an exciting year for Content Marketing as it’ll mature into strategically formed teams with tested expertise and in-depth knowledge about what works and what doesn’t.
Here are top 10 trends in content marketing to look out for.
The last two years marked an influx of content created by various online publishers. 2016 will see a growing trend of curating relevant content pieces. Listicles, reference articles, network blogging will be the highlights. Curating the right kind of content can be helpful in driving more traffic to your site and also building a rapport with people whose work you share. This Hootsuite post talks about how content curation makes influencer marketing easier and more impactful.
With Instagram, Pinterest and Vines targeting brands heavily, this year will see an increasing rise in distribution on visual mediums. Visual mediums will not be restricted to videos. Vlogs, Infographics, comic strips etc already form a core part of content marketing. Visual mediums have a stronger pull when it comes to grabbing eyeballs of an attention deficit generation.
“ When you consider that 65% of people are visual learners, 90% of information that comes to the brain is visual, and presentations with visual aides are 43% more persuasive, it makes sense to use content types which people have an innate psychological resonance with.” writes Lucien Joyce in this exhaustive post about different types of visual content for content marketing.
3)Design Heavy Content:
Gone are the days of content being divided between text pieces and visual pieces. Easy online design tools emphasize that any content that goes out needs to have visual appeals as well as information. A content writer may not be a design expert, but definitely needs to understand the aesthetics of attractive user experience.
“Design competency makes people better thinkers, facilitators, and storytellers. In the coming years, more enterprises will put a premium on design skills, and HR organizations will start to offer design training to employees across all business categories, much as presentation skills classes are typically accessible to all.”
In the sea of listicles and GIF loaded miniatures sentences that killed the charm of writing, Long form will make a comeback. Long form articles backed by intense research and proper linking are helpful in improving search ranking, establishing thought leadership and also exploring a subject in depth for serious readers. Smart long form writing is a great way to engage with gain loyal readers. If you article can define a process or problem and offer concrete solutions or food for thought, readers will keep coming back for more. A word of caution before you explore this medium: Long form articles require more than Google based research. Consider academic theories, research articles and present data-backed insights and opinions. This article lists out some basic strategies to use while taking your first shot at long-form writing.
So far, content creation has been typically dependent on the inbound strategy and vision.The plan came first, content followed the plan. However, marketers these days are smarter at picking up trends and building a strategy around it. Content doesn’t need to stick to hard and fast topics anymore. Inbound marketers are faster to change their methods according to newer trends.
Another growing trend involves creating content around latest news information that trends on social media sites on a daily basis. For eg. if Mobile World Congress is happening this week, then B2B marketers might want to tap into the audience reading about it. For an inbound marketing agency, they could create a report on advertising trends at MWC. And so on.
6)The New Social Publishing Media (social media focussing on business publishing and news curation):
Social media has emerged far beyond personal networking. News based content is the next big thing on almost on social media sites. With Facebook’s Instant stories, Snapchat stories, Linkedin Pulse, etc, such platforms are rapidly transforming into branded information channels rather than generic entertainment communication platforms.
7)The Rise of Virtual Content:
Companies like Facebook and Google are increasingly dedicating resources to 360-degree videos and virtual technologies.
“We believe virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform that will change the way we all connect and communicate. Oculus provides the best virtual reality experience in the world” mentioned Mark Zuckerburg in his recent post announcing the launch of pre-orders for Oculus Rift.
8)Cocktail Of Pop Culture Into Business Content:
The millennial generation is spoilt with an unsurpassable pool of content and an even shorter attention span. To tap into this space, content marketers are increasingly using pop culture to spike business information. Surprisingly it works even with a serious set of audience. Mixing lessons from popular TV shows, pop music icons and movies create that instant connection that your target audience can relate with. This technique is especially helpful while promoting a product in international markets. If you are writing for a particular geography, try and research on the popular themes and cultural motifs.
9)Content Combined With SEO:
Inbound marketing is ruled by content, and what is the use of content if it doesn’t reach people who are looking for it. A content writer/manager can no more remain isolated from SEO. Content with proper keywords understanding is like a rudderless ship. I have spent months creating well written and well-designed content that somehow got lost
10)Influencer Marketing As The Next Big Thing:
Word of mouth is the best tool for conversion and building customer trust. A study by McKinsey found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.” In the case of B2B companies, it is referrals that get maximum weight. Building a strong influencer network takes time, but it is definitely worth the effort. Do an extensive research on people who write on your industry, understand what they read and forums that they engage on. Engage with them using meaningful information and curiosity rather than self-promotional content. If you like a piece, let them know why and ask them for further information. Being a good writer is as important as being at engaging. Writers value constructive feedback as well as appreciation. Tap into this segment and use industry influencers to get the word out about your business