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It’s been another big year for content in 2016, with algorithms getting smarter and people getting pickier in their quest for valuable content, we take a look at how content marketing continues to evolve and what key trends we should be taking note of for the upcoming year…

 

  1. People want to see more visual content.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in 2017 it really will be. Visual content is set to skyrocket in 2017 as brands are working harder and harder to stand out from the competition. In 2016, content was all about quality and quantity combined. Comprehensive content was (and still is) the gateway for strangers to become real brand advocates with longer blog posts, informative guides and educational content pieces adding real value to the customer journey. Although these strategies continue to triumph in the forecast for next year, visual content is tipped for real success.

Attention-grabbing punchy headlines for your content are all well and good but nothing grabs your attention like a unique and scroll-stopping image that can do the talking. Becoming more in tune with your audience and visualising everyday experiences and relatable moments in one single image will help your content reach the right people. And search engines are taking this into consideration too with evolving algorithms recognising the importance of reading and analysing images in their hunt for valuable content.

 

  1. Micro-influencers are the best influencers.

Every brand wants their content to have real influence on their readership and sometimes just writing great content isn’t enough. Extending your brand reach is about nurturing a dedicated and loyal community of followers who love what you do – and that can be enabled by an influencer. Brands partnering with influencers has been hugely successful in 2016 and thus far, competing for the biggest faces and personalities online has been the focus.

But the focus is changing! In 2017 it’s all about the micro-influencers. At first glance this may seem counter-intuitive however micro-influencers are people we can relate to – people like you and me. Research from mediakix revealed that Instagrammers with less than 100k followers have 8% engagement with their content. With artificial endorsements from well-known celebrities becoming less popular, targeting the authentic micro-influencers, namely the up and coming social media stars with around 100k followers, will help you reach a highly engaged and attentive audience who are ready to convert.

 

  1. Finding the niche will still be crucial.

Something that I mentioned earlier this year in my research requirements for effective content, targeting the niche market, by answering the questions people are searching for, will still be a massive trend for 2017. With many content marketers still queuing up to write about the same over-discussed topic, serving the masses with the same agenda as everyone else won’t get you noticed.

In a similar movement to the micro-influencer, create content that speaks to people in the micro-moments of their day. Skimming the surface of a huge topic area won’t provide any real impact but digging deeper and finding those granular golden nuggets of content potential will help you to connect with the people who are actively seeking out information surrounding your brand.

 

  1. Video content will be bigger and better.

Audiences are about 10 times more likely to engage, embed, share, and comment on video content rather than blogs or related social posts – so it’s really a no brainer that we should be thinking of creative ways to strategise video in our content for 2017.

Live video streaming: the buzz of the ‘here and now’ which is created by live video is one of the biggest digital marketing trends to come out of 2016. Timely, unedited footage has a unique authenticity which sets it apart from other video content marketing.  Whether you want to share behind-the-scenes footage, promote a competition or host a live Q&A with a key influencer, live video allows with you to speak to your audience in its rawest form and connect with them on a human level.

Virtual reality: we can’t ignore the huge success of Pokémon Go earlier this year and the use of virtual reality campaigns show no signs of diminishing in 2017 either. You can’t get much more real than immersing your audience in the story of your brand and taking the customer experience to a whole new level.

And with Google predicting that by 2019, 69% of all online data will be video, it’s time to get ahead of the game.

 

So as we look forward to new and exciting content strategies for the year ahead, it seems forging stronger relationships with our target audience and seducing them with a visual masterpiece is how we get our content reaching the right people.

According to the content marketing institute, 70% of marketers are planning to create more content in 2017 compared with 2016. So competition is tough, and it seems it’s only going to get harder to compete in the content marketing world. But who doesn’t love a challenge?