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The Future of Content Marketing: Experts Share Content Predictions for 2017

2017-content-marketing-predictions

At a time in the not so distant future 2016 will come to a close and many content marketers will reflect on 2016 and think, “Man was that unfair!”. They’ve tightened their belts, worked hard to develop a content strategy and tried to stay up on latest content trends. But the sad reality is that content still isn’t having the business impact that they had anticipated.

In order for us to look to the future of content marketing, we have to take a critical look at the past and present. One  that we have always known to be true is that creating content just to improve rankings and to say that you “do” content marketing is never going to be good enough. So many marketers get caught up in creating content for content’s sake and find that they’ve wasted hours, months or years developing messages that nobody will ever read or share.

Our not too distant future holds many opportunities for content marketers, but there will be bumps and challenges along the way. To keep yourself from being distracted by the shiny objects that the future will inevitably hold, you must focus on what is most important. When approaching any content initiative, consider the following:

  • For content to be effective, you must have impact.
  • In order to create impact, your content must be memorable.
  • In order to be memorable, you must understand your audience.

Experts Share Their Top Predictions for 2017

Ann Handley
ann-handley-2017-prediction

Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs
@annhandley


“The smartest companies will ground their marketing into something substantive.” – @annhandley
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Two things. One small and tactical; one big and strategic.

First, the small tactical thing: Companies that aren’t strategically tapping into the power of video get left behind. (And as a consequence they will end up eating friendless and alone, living in squalor in a sad walk-up tenement wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a gravy-stained T-shirt.)

Why is a writer telling you to think about video in 2017? Because embracing video doesn’t mean we ignore text and writing. Quite the opposite: Writing is the foundation of a good story. And well-chosen words can greatly enhance whatever video you’re creating, too.

Notice I said “strategically tapping,” too. Not “randomly tapping.”

Which leads me to the bigger-picture trend: In 2017, the smartest companies will slow the $*(@)$*%& down. Next year (is it really just one month from now?), the smartest and more successful companies go deep into purpose and identity to ground their marketing and content strategy in something substantive—so that our programs can find a place within the context of what our customers care about.

There is such a thing as a bad slow in marketing, but there is a critical need for a good slow, too.  

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carlos-abler-2017-prediction
Leader – Content Marketing and Strategy – Global eTransformation, 3M
@Carlos_Abler


“Mistrust of news sources leads to new opportunities for Truth as a Service.” – @Carlos_Abler
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The accelerating mistrust of news sources triggered by the imputed impact of fake news in the US presidential election, will not only create new points of friction for paid media distribution and credibility of journalism and journalist-like tactics, but leads to new business model opportunities for Truth as a Service.

For example there is a significant opportunity for Facebook (or someone) to fuze a content curation, with a snopes-like editorial service; a new trending topic information portal for articles with ratings filtration (white list  validated/non-validated, medium-trustworthy validated/non-validated, low trustworthy validated/non-validated); a corresponding “Truth-ometer” rating model for in-stream content; and an affiliate model of gated higher rated articles from paid sites e.g., at a .50 cents per article fee for access, or a charge for aggregated researched original articles or info-graphic display owned by the host aggregator.

Joe Pulizzi

joe-pulizzi-prediction-2017
Founder, Content Marketing Institute
@JoePulizzi


“More brands will launch print magazines as a way to cut through the clutter.” @JoePulizzi
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Print custom magazines, as a content marketing tool, have finally hit the bottom, and more brands will launch print magazines in 2017 as a way to cut through the clutter that is proving so difficult on the web.

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amy-higgins-prediction-2017
Account Manager, TopRank Marketing
@amywhiggins


“We will see a shift in team structure as the role of content marketer becomes more clearly defined.” -…
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I believe the biggest change in Content Marketing in 2017 will be centered around the structure of the marketing team. As the role of Content Marketing continues to expand and grow, many companies are still struggling with how to structure their marketing teams. Some have Content Marketing as a function of a single department, like Demand Gen or Social Media, while other Content Marketing teams are a shared resource among the entire Marketing team.  To date, there is not a best practice for the team structure. In the next year, we will begin to see a shift in team structure as the role of a Content Marketer becomes more clearly defined.

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chris-moody-prediction-2017
Content Marketing Leader, GE Digital
@cnmoody



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B2B marketers will come around and the number of documented content marketing strategies will increase for the first time in three years. In 2015, 35% of B2B marketers had a documented content strategy and in 2016, that number dipped to 32% (CMI/MarketingProfs). Research shows that those with a documented content marketing strategy are 300x more effective than those without. 2017 is the year that this improves. Marketers realize that having a written plan helps anchor them against business objectives and supports them being more effective.

If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first of many to bang my head against my desk and question the existence of two-thirds of my marketing friends who are doing stuff without a documented plan. Without that documented plan, that’s all your marketing is…stuff. Gone should be the days of activities-based marketing. Let’s drive action, results and revenue and improve the perception of our industry.

Jason Miller

jason-miller-prediction-2017
Group Manager – Global Content & Social Media Marketing, LinkedIn
@JasonMillerCA


“As video grows, marketers are going to have to focus on quality over quantity.” – @JasonMillerCA
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The “Content Shock” that Mark Schaefer called out a few years ago is going to happen with video in 2017. As video grows in importance and live video becomes the norm, marketers are going to have to focus on quality over quantity. Upping the production value of an iPhone video and focusing on smart editing and razor sharp audio will be differentiator.


Know Your Audience. Be Memorable. Have Impact.

It’s clear that there are key themes that tie each of these expert’s predictions together. If you’re going to run a successful content program in 2017 focus must be on content quality, planning and cutting through the clutter to create a great experience for your audience.

Want more? Learn how TopRank Marketing developed an interactive microsite to create a memorable experience for a client’s target audience.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client


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The post The Future of Content Marketing: Experts Share Content Predictions for 2017 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

Check Also

Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content from Boring to Bold

Why B2B Marketers Should Consider Interactive Content

Why B2B Marketers Should Consider Interactive Content

Show of hands, B2B marketers: How many of you know which Hogwarts house you belong in? Or which Disney princess best represents your personality and relationship ambitions?

via GIPHY

Don’t be shy. I’m a Gryffindor wizard through and through—and apparently, I’m more of a Jasmine than an Ariel. And I know all this thanks to the rise of interactive content.

From quirky quizzes to ROI calculators to guided eBooks, interactive content is a rising content marketing star. BuzzFeed is perhaps the most prolific example, creating dozens of quizzes each week that are making their way into social feeds and search results. (And almost all users reportedly finish them).

But why should B2B marketers consider adding interactive content to their mix?

Because B2B is often pegged as bland and boring. And in a crowded content market, not to mention the fact that buyers' content preferences are turning increasingly visual, interactive content is the next evolution.

But if that doesn't convince you, read on for a few more reasons why its time for B2B to embrace interactive content.

#1 – Interactive content is more engaging than static content—for the long-term.

Interactive content may seem a little gimmicky for some marketers—especially those in the B2B space. But the vast majority of marketers who use interactive content agree that it not only grabs attention, but can also hold that attention beyond that initial view.

In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Ion Interactive 2017 Interactive Content Study:

  • 87% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs the attention of the reader more effectively than static content
  • 77% of marketers agree that interactive content has reusable value, resulting in repeat visitors and multiple exposures
  • 73% of marketers agree that interactive content, when combined with other more traditional content marketing tactics, enhances message retention among their audiences.

So, if you’re aiming for awareness, engagement, and attention, interactive content holds incredible potential. But I’d also add that this is only true if you deliver quality, relevant content in an interactive format.

As my colleague Josh Nite points out: “[Interactive content is] absolutely designed to grab attention. But if your content provides value—if it’s worth paying attention to—interactive elements can help you bring in an audience.”

[bctt tweet="#InteractiveContent is absolutely designed to grab attention. But if your content provides value—if it’s worth paying attention to—interactive elements can help you bring in an audience. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

#2 – Interactive content can differentiate you from your competitors.

Content has always been a foundational element of B2B marketing. Buyers don’t make hard and fast decisions. Instead, they do their research, weigh their options, and have multiple engagements with sales reps before they sign on the dotted line. Interactive content can help you make an impression and stand out in a crowed, competitive content landscape.

In addition, according to the aforementioned report, just 46% of marketers report using interactive content right now—which was flat year-over-year. And if history is any indicator, I’d wager that interactive content adoption among B2B marketers is far lower since the industry is typically slower to adopt new tactics.

But that won’t always be the case. Harnessing the opportunity right now has the potential to differentiate your B2B brand from the competition early on, showcasing your commitment to innovation.

For example, Prophix, a leading provider of corporate performance management (CPM) software solutions in the FP&A industry, wanted to drive awareness in a unique way around its report on the evolution of financial planning and analysis, as well as its solutions.

By repurposing its original research and adding influencer perspectives, we created an interactive quiz to help empower their audience to "crush" their jobs to succeed now and into the future.

Prophix Crush It Interactive Quiz

This anchor asset, which was promoted using a supporting mix of blog content, social amplification, email, and more, saw a view rate 6-times higher than the benchmark for a similar resource. In addition, the page where it lived garnered 3-times the average share rate. This unique approach to interactive influencer content made Prophix stand out from the competition and deliver a great resource that performed.

#3 – Interactive tools can provide you with exclusive data and analytics.

Savvy marketers are driven by data insights. And many of the interactive content tools you’d leverage for an asset come with their own analytics dashboards, allowing you to get near real-time data on how your audience is interacting and absorbing your content.

For example, Ceros, an interactive content software that simplifies the creation process, provides all the basic KPIs such as visitors, opens, and pageviews, as well as engagement metrics like time spent and interaction clicks. But they also track inbound referrals, social shares, video plays, and outbound link clicks.

Oh, and that data is viewable in its Analytics Dashboard within second of it happening.

Ceros Interactive Content Tool

While traditional analytics platforms and the data within them is invaluable, from my perspective, this more niche data can help uncover some insights that can help you refine your asset on the fly or consider how to improve other content types moving forward.

#4 – Interactive content can drive results at every stage of the funnel.

From educating buyers to creating customer loyalty, interactive content can serve a purpose (and drive results) at every stage of the funnel. Interactive content users report using the tactic for lead generation, lead nurturing, customer retention, and the list goes on.

And interactive is especially powerful, when combined with other tried-and-true content marketing tactics.

To help promote the Influencer Marketing 2.0 report based on research conducted by Traackr, Altimeter Group and TopRank Marketing, we partnered with interactive content platform Ceros to produce an Influence 2.0 interactive infographic.

Influence 2.0

The infographic was promoted via blog posts, social channels, email, and through the influencers that contributed. With calls to action embedded within the interactive infographic, this content succeeded at attracting over 1,700 prospective customers to download the full report with a 43% conversion rate.

What Opportunity Does Interactive Content Hold for Your B2B Brand?

Interactive content is here to stay. But the real opportunity doesn’t lay in the interactivity itself. The real value creation is in the excitement or connection that you can make with your audience, as well as the potential to hold their attention for long enough to engrain your message or inspire action.

[bctt tweet="The real opportunity with #interactivecontent doesn’t lay in the interactivity itself. The real value creation is in the excitement or connection that you can make with your audience. - @CaitlinMBurgess" username="toprank"]

So, B2B marketers. If you’re ready to break away from boring and drive better engagement, interactive content deserves your consideration.

How can you leverage interactive content? Check out our post featuring five ways of making marketing magic with interactive content.

The post Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content from Boring to Bold appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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