From content planning to 2017’s content marketing trends

Lack of content planning is leaving marketers in the dark

The proportion of marketers with a clearly defined content strategy has declined. In 2015, 35% of marketers had a content strategy – this year the figure is 33%.Content planning map But what are two-thirds of companies missing out on by failing to engage in adequate content planning?

Well, a staggering 60% of (non-specialist) marketers are yet to figure out how to produce engaging content, while 57% are having problems measuring performance (toprankblog.com).

A lack of content planning is also preventing marketers from figuring out what types of content are proving most effective. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 65% of marketers don’t know how to identify their best performing content; 41% want to improve their storytelling skills in order to enhance audience engagement; and 57% are in the dark about how to repurpose content.

With so much value to be tapped from content marketing, it’s concerning to see such a deficit in content planning. At the very least, a defined content strategy provides a benchmark by which you can measure content marketing success year-on-year. For the majority of marketers, it’s time to get that thinking cap on and start content planning!

10 content marketing trends to watch out for in 2017

10 content marketing trendsSupermarkets have already dedicated shelf space to gaudy baubles and Mayan priests have started flogging calendars marking their next millennial solar cycle. Clearly, it’s never too early for a good prediction piece. And, there’s plenty of insights to be gleaned from Business 2 Community’s look ahead to 2017’s predicted trends. The article brings together 25 of content marketing’s best and brightest, and asks each of them for their top 3 predictions for the year (far) ahead.

As always, there’s the odd sensationalist remark designed to attract attention regardless of accuracy, and a fair few contributors with fixations on ideas that should already be the norm. So, we’ve sifted the wheat from the chaff to bring you our own pick of the best insights.

Our favourite insights

Long form content is king, according to marketing consultant John Jantsch:

“Longer, more in-depth content is the bar for entry now – the 300–500 word warmed over blog post, no matter how often it’s posted, won’t cut it … 1500–2000 words with lots of value. The good news is you can write less often and still benefit.”

Social media trainer Andrew Davis thinks content visibility will go in the direction of social media visibility:

“Algorithms will play a bigger role in how your content will be seen. We are already seeing it with the big social platforms.”

Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media believes that SEO will soon integrate with machine learning:

“Machine learning will become part of optimisation tools. Tools like Unbounce will make recommendations based on huge data sets and then let you make changes with a single click. Websites will continually optimise themselves for better conversions and usability.”

Marketing automation is where it’s at, according to online business consultant Chris Garrett – and he’s predicting a short shelf like for click bait content too (hooray!):

“I see prospects are retreating from blanket marketing and are consuming and acting on more personalized, niche content and discussions more than ever. You will see more movement from marketers towards adaptive content and granular marketing automation sequences … It’s also clear that customers are sick of the brute force tactics, misleading, bait and switch messaging, and clickbait. People are increasingly cynical and protective of their inbox, they won’t respond just because something is free and has a ‘you will never guess what happens next’ headline!”

Digital marketing strategist Glen Gilmore takes a futuristic view of the content marketing industry:

“AR [augmented reality], VR [virtual reality], and the Internet of Things (IoT) are coming of age and create incredible opportunities for marketers. The best content marketers will be those who tap into the incredible data being generated by so many connected devices and the new platforms being spawned by IoT, AR and VR.”

And finally, Jordan Scheltgen from Cave Social and Michael Brenner from the Marketing Insider Group agree that brands need to get serious about their content marketing resources:

“More and more businesses will seek out to hire content creators and marketers, not merely hand off the marketing responsibilities to someone juggling several other jobs within an organization.” (Scheltgen)

“Content is no longer the finish line. It is the starting line. Most businesses will need a promotion and distribution strategy.” (Brenner)

There you have it; the main content marketing trends to watch out for in 2017. Seeing as you’re so ahead of the game, why not go and hibernate for the next five months? Alternatively, you could get a headstart on the competition and start getting your content planning into gear now!

More from: Content Strategy / Weekly Round-Up