In case you missed our Yearly Roundup last Friday where we took a retrospective look at all the cool new digital marketing tools and toys 2016 brought, I first just want to wish you all a happy new year.

So…. Happy New Year, people!!

content_marketing Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2017

Last week, we looked back. But today I want us to look forward.

What’s on the horizon for all us committed content marketers in 2017? It’s safe to say that 2016 was dominated quite heavily by video – will this trend continue over the next 12 months? I suspect so, but I don’t want to give too much away so early into a blog post (I know – I’m a tease, aren’t I).

So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at the content marketing trends we all need to be aware of for 2017….

Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2017

Documented Strategies

Throughout much of last year, I found myself writing countless times about the importance of forming a detailed and documented content marketing strategy. And I wasn’t the only one.

Content strategies were a hot topic indeed, not least, I believe, due to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2016 Report, which highlighted (among other things) that despite the fact that 88% of organisations were now using content marketing, only 30% said that their practices were effective.

content-marketing-effectiveness Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2017

Only 30%!!

That means that nearly three quarters of organisations felt they were ineffective at content marketing. I mean, wow!

However, further scrutiny of the figures revealed why there appeared to be such a problem.

For starters, 55% of marketers were unclear on what effective content marketing looked like. So there we go – it’s always going to be a struggle driving meaningful business results when you’re unclear as to exactly what the business results are that you’re trying to achieve.

But the report also revealed that there was a direct correlation between strategy and success. Effectiveness was shown to increase both when it is understood what success looks like, and when a content marketing strategy is documented:

  • 53% of the most effective marketers have a documented content marketing strategy
  • 40% of the least effective marketers have no strategy at all
  • 55% of companies that are clear on what success or effectiveness looks like show a higher effectiveness rate

This was big news for content marketers, and was highlighted by many bloggers including myself. The message is out there – document your content marketing strategy, and you’ll be better positioned to achieve success.

As such, documented strategies are likely to prevail in 2017.

4-step-effectiveness Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2017

Marketing Will Continue to Integrate with Sales

Here was another hot topic of 2016 – the integration of marketing and sales, bound to continue into 2017.

Here’s a little proof for you – the Content Marketing World 2017 Conference and Expo is now officially evolving into a marketing AND sales conference.

“More than ever, the need to break down the silos that exist between Sales and Marketing departments within organizations is needed in order to achieve one’s greatest success possible in the digital age,” write Ian Altman and Marcus Sheridan, two organisers of the conference.

Despite the fact that 80% of businesses recognise the benefits of greater marketing and sales alignment, 60% have yet to unify their divisions. Or at least that’s what Marketing Week told us last year. 2017, no doubt, will see more organisations going through the evolutionary process to break down the wall between these two divisions.

Brands Will Concentrate on Fewer Social Channels

This is something that I suggested in a blog for MSA earlier this year – ‘Surviving Content Shock: Why It’s Quality Not Quantity that Counts’.

Content Shock, in simple terms, simply means that we’ve reached a point where content marketing has become so popular (as we saw from the figures, 88% of organisations were using it in 2016, and no doubt the figure will increase in this year’s report), that supply is outstripping demand. For indeed, it’s not just brands that are producing more and more content, regular users are at it as well.

So, one strategy to survive Content Shock will be for brands to stop spreading themselves so thinly. Jayson DeMers agrees in his article for Forbes: ‘7 Social Marketing Trends that Will Dominate 2017’. He says:

“Every year, new social media platforms emerge to try and disrupt the status quo or find their place among the heavy-hitters of the social media world. But obviously, entrepreneurs and marketers can’t jump on every single platform that comes along. Instead, in 2017, we’ll see more of a trend toward refinement; rather than spending equal effort on five different platforms, more businesses will find one platform that works especially well for them, and narrow their focus on it. As a result, we may see greater stratification between the major platforms of our era.”

Spot on, Jayson, spot on.

Increased Budgets for Visual Content

A few stats compiled by HubSpot blogger Jesse Mawhinney reveal that this will likely be the case.

I repeat them verbatim with links to sources:

  • 37% of marketers said visual marketing was the most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging (38%). (Source)
  • 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%). (Source)
  • 55% of B2B marketers prioritized creating visual content assets in 2016. (Source)

b2c-content-priorities Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2017

In addition, Search Engine Journal reveals that 35% of marketers have said that they will be spending more than a third of their entire budget on visual content in 2017.

You know, putting all the statistics aside (2016 was the year that we’d apparently “all had enough of experts” after all), it just stands to reason. The social world has gone visual, and marketers must respond.

Video!

You knew it!!

Video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic in 2017.

Need I say more?

Ok, I’ll say a little bit more. Practically all the popular social media platforms that we all use have jumped on the live video bandwagon – from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest to Tumblr.

Plus, with Periscope continuing to dominate, Snapchat, Instagram, and all the others, video marketing – and particularly live video marketing – should be a top priority for content marketers in 2017. Make sure it’s one of yours as well.