Five content marketing trends for 2017

October 19, 2016

 

dan natividad

Dan Natividad

Content marketing has become a vast industry, yet it’s still growing at a steady pace. Most companies continue to increase their content creation budgets just to keep up with the competition, though most also claim that their evolving content strategies are leading to ever greater effectiveness.

You can’t be good at everything when it comes to creating the widest possible range of content types you can, so it is important to know what to prioritize.

As the industry continues to evolve, marketers have more options available to them than ever before, including the following five trends that are likely to become big hits over next year.

Long-form content

Those who have not invested in long-form content, such as e-books and white papers in the thousands of words, probably think it’s too time-consuming to be worthwhile.

However, if you put yourself in the shoes of a consumer, you’ll realize that no 500-word blog post can be nearly as informative as a more in-depth piece, especially one that’s backed up with some visual content.

While the humble blog post might be great for social media fodder, long-form content allows you to share much more information, and it gives you something to promote. In addition, most consumers expect long-form content to be gated, so asking for an email address before a consumer is given access to your white paper is well within reason.

Native advertising

Native advertising, also known as sponsored content, presents one of the biggest shifts in online marketing in recent years. Because today’s consumers are so used to being bombarded with ads, they are typically seeking more meaningful and engaging experiences than things like banner ads can provide.

Native advertising doesn’t rely on disrupting consumers, so it also presents a much safer approach, provided the content offers genuine value.

For example, something like a 3-D or virtual reality tour of a restaurant could be considered a form of native advertising, but it’s also one that can give the user a meaningful and enjoyable experience.

Virtual reality

For industries that rely a lot on visual appeal, such as real estate and travel, virtual reality promises a new level of immersion.

Although virtual reality as a marketing tool has been widely discussed lately, 2017 will likely be when it becomes more accessible to the masses and its potential as a marketing tool will be at its greatest ever.

From being able to test drive cars to tour homes for sale, virtual reality could well become the new standard for engaging media. After all, there’s no better way to allow your customers to experience your brand from afar than by 360-degree virtual reality content.

Live streaming video

Today’s brands are expected to have a round-the-clock online presence. As internet speeds get faster, video marketing has evolved into a huge niche. That shouldn’t come as any surprise considering that YouTube is now the third most popular website in the world.

Live streaming video presents the natural extension of regular video marketing because it offers ever greater opportunities, including the ability to make meaningful connections with your customers through more real-time, conversational approaches than is otherwise possible.

Interactive media

The internet and interactive media were intended to go hand-in-hand, so it stands to reason that interactive content has become an important marketing tool.

Understanding that increasing user engagement is one of the most important goals of their campaigns, successful content marketers are leveraging the potential of interactive content, such as games and quizzes, to get their target audiences meaningfully involved.

Of course, it might not suit every type of business, but there’s no doubt that web-based games and other interactive content have become a serious business.

When you’re preparing for a new year in digital marketing, it’s a great time to start analyzing the current trends in this fast-moving industry. You can breathe new life into an aging content marketing strategy by taking a fresh perspective and broadening your approach by capitalizing on newer and more effective content formats.

Dan Natividad, a Stockton native, is a partner at Port City Marketing Solutions along with Kristen Dyke and Erin Diego. Dan can be reached at dan@portcitymarketing.com.

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