16 Content Marketing Predictions for 2016
December 16, 2015 | Elizabeth Wellington
Even if we don’t have our New Year’s resolutions ready to go, it’s inevitable: 2016 is just around the corner. Before we know it, the ball will drop in Times Square, and we’ll head into another adventure as marketers, with a new year and a new focus.
As 2015 has rolled by, content marketing trends have come and gone, leaving a new set of priorities emerging on the horizon. Here are 16 content marketing predictions that will strengthen your strategy in 2016.
1. Interactive Video Goes Viral
Have you seen Coldplay’s new video for their song “Ink”? With interactive features, the video offers fans the opportunity to personalize an interactive journey. It won a Webby for innovation and made some serious headway on social channels.
2016 will be the year of the interactive video, as more B2B marketers get in on this emerging trend to make their video content even more engaging.
2. Microsites Take Off
Some of the most successful brand publishers — GE, Adobe, and Red Bull — embrace microsites as a part of their content marketing strategy. A microsite is a content hub separate from a company’s URL. Organizations will use them to push campaigns, tailor paid media landing page experiences, and develop content in different verticals – like GE.
3. ROI Calculators Close Deals
ROI calculators cut through consumer questions, quantifying the worth of a product for buyers in seconds. As marketers look for more ways to close deals at the end of the funnel, ROI calculators will become a best practice for brands.
4. Repurposing Content Becomes The Norm
Repurposing content may be a best practice, but it’s not the norm. CMI’s 2016 benchmarks report that 44% of marketers want to find more and better ways to repurpose content. Interactive content offers fresh ways to transform evergreen pieces into high-engagement assets that offer relevant, personalized information.
5. Value Trumps Volume
With high demand for content, marketers often accelerate their content creation processes to meet quotas. In 2016, marketers will recognize that value trumps volume.
As Doug Kessler pointed out in one of the most famous content marketing SlideShares out there, the biggest threat to B2B content marketing is crappy content — overdone, underwritten, irrelevant content that fails to bring something new to the audience.
If companies want to really connect with buyers, they need to focus on offering an amazing experience. For many organizations, that means paring down and pouring resources into fewer, higher-quality assets.
6. More Marketers Embrace Easy Interactive Content Creation
We’re tooting our own horn a little on this one, but we truly believe more marketers will embrace in 2016 how easy it can be to create interactive content. You no longer have to beg your graphic designer and developer to help you build a monster of a piece. Now, marketers can take assets they already have and adapt them into interactive experiences, without enlisting extra support.
7. Data-Driven Strategy Reigns
A lot of old-school marketers follow their instincts rather than rely on the data. With more and better technology solutions and an emphasis on ROI, even the most traditional marketers will change their tune this year. Data-driven marketing solidifies brand impact to a science, motivating companies to invest in new means to plan, share, and track content.
8. Best Practices Sharpen
Toby Murdock, CEO of Kapost recognizes that content marketing has been “an amorphous, jumbled space.” He predicts that as the field matures, “it will evolve into a sharpened category segmented by the dimensions that have defined prior markets.”
In other words, content marketing best practices will no longer focus on generalities, but diversify to meet the needs of marketers in different spaces, whether by vertical or target customer.
9. Traditional Publications Create Interactive Content
The New York Times recently hit a powerful benchmark, surpassing one million digital-only subscribers. Their digital publication has embraced cutting-edge forms of journalism with interactive content on topics like avalanches, climate change, and the diversity of American accents.
Other traditional publications will pick up on this cue in 2016, with interactive experiences driving success across the media landscape.
10. Competition Abounds
As more companies turn to content marketing as a clear path toward engagement, competition increases exponentially. In 2016, organizations will continue to struggle to break through the ever-increasing roar of new content – and the solution will come not from more content, but new methods for delivering experiences.
11. Native Advertising Continues to Blur the Lines
Because millennials don’t trust advertising, companies will look for new ways to gain mindshare without interruptive ads. Native advertisements will become more common, as brands embrace content as a way to build relationships among an existing readership.
12. Relationships Are Key
HubSpot describes relationship marketing as “building stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement rather than on quick, short-term customer acquisition and individual sales.” Despite the instinct to clinch the immediate sale, in 2016, the most successful marketers will lean toward developing long-term relationships – whether through organic lead generation or consistent delivery of valuable content.
13. Content Marries Social
Social media platforms are major channels for companies to drive brand awareness and lead generation. Divorcing your social media strategy from your content strategy leaves both without the fuel to make a difference.
As hot apps like Snapchat grow in influence, brands need to think about maximizing their reach with adaptable content that thrives across platforms.
14. Marketers Must Create For Mobile
No ifs, ands, or buts about it — marketers must adapt their content for mobile. 60% of cell phone owners use their phones to connect with the internet, not only when they’re on the go, but at work, or at home too. Because mobile website visitors experience a 9.56% higher bounce rate, marketers need to optimize their content to prolong visits and increase conversion rates.
15. Wearable Technology Becomes Mainstream
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an expanded network of physical objects that collect and exchange data through software and sensors, like the Apple Watch. These internet-infused things are about to take off. As content creators, we need to think about how to maximize content for a continually changing interface in 2016.
16. Revenue Teams Emerge
Sales and marketing fit together like peanut butter and jelly. As inbound marketing makes an even greater impact on every stage of the buyer’s journey, companies will develop “revenue teams” — combined sales and marketing forces — that pave the way to higher sales together.
This next year brings exciting opportunities for interactive content to offer value to audiences across channels, building meaningful relationships with audiences while maximizing effort. Do you have any predictions to add to this list?