To misquote Billy Joel: “We may be right… we may be wrong”. But, we’ve damn sure made a stab of it.
Read on to find out what we reckon will be the most definitive content marketing trends of 2017. Why not tell us your predictions? And come back next year to smirk at the ones we got wrong!
1. Long-form content will rank higher than short-form
The average word count for a page ranked first on Google is now 1,890. The search engine’s Penguin and RankBrain updates mean this sum will only grow.
It could be because they’re more topically relevant and touch on more semantic keyword phrases. Or because they generate more social shares. Or, just because they give the reader more bang for their buck. Whatever the cause, it’s long-form content that content marketers must prioritise in 2017.
2. Content marketers must become multi-device masters
The average consumer now uses five devices in the purchase process, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
Content marketers will need to get better at tailoring content for specific device types. They must take account of customers who want to make a purchasing decision across the course of a day (or longer) using a whole range of hardware.
3. Content personalisation will get promoted to the big leagues
Time was that your heartbeat would race when a brand sent you an email that addressed you by name. Now everyone does it, this tactic has become old hat.
2017 is the year content personalisation will step up a gear. The rise of geotagging and in-depth customer personas featuring demographic, psychographic and behavioural data has opened the door to 1:1 content personalisation.
4. Social media marketing will jump into bed with email marketing
Email marketing has had had more time to read its own obituary than Mark Twain. Rather than doddering off into the distance, 2016 was another resurgent year for email marketing.
Now is the time that email marketing and social media will collide. Brand emails about active social media campaigns will become a viable marketing technique. Plus, live social media feeds in marketing emails will keep things fresh for the reader.
5. Content marketers must defend their intellectual property
Content marketers put hours, understanding and heart into every piece they create. However, it could amount to nothing if you don’t learn to protect your intellectual property.
In 2017, it’ll only get tougher for content marketers to obtain proper attribution for their posts. Content-scraping sites are on the rise. The marketers who win out will be those who learn to protect their intellectual property through innovative (potentially as-yet undeveloped) new means.
6. It’s time to talk voice search
Siri and other intelligent personal assistants have become ubiquitous. Despite the bluff and bluster, this trend hasn’t really affected content marketers’ preferred techniques – until now.
Amazon’s Echo – a bestseller over Christmas – and other smart speakers have just made IoT accessible to all. In 2017, this will lead to a spike in voice searches. With 144 billion voice searches now being made each year, content marketers would do well to prepare by focusing on spoken tropes when compiling posts from now on.
7. Brands will become content curators
With 74 million new posts on WordPress each month, brands will need to act to cut through all the chaff.
This year, brands will become their own content curators. SEOs and content marketers will be tasked with sifting through the data to find out which posts have performed best, and foregrounding these articles regardless of how recently they were published.
8. Penguin and RankBrain will make content more ‘human’
Google released the updated Penguin algorithm and RankBrain to surprisingly little fanfare during 2016.
But, these intelligent systems will only grow in importance as they continue to learn throughout 2017. With Google’s stated aim being to make content more human, this year could well see content marketers clamouring to add an extra dash of hominid-friendliness to their posts.
9. B2B and B2C content will take cues from each other
Content marketers have long treated B2B and B2C content as if they’re completely different species. 2017 will show they’re just brothers from another mother.
Sure, there are subtleties, but 2017 will see their interrelationship flourish. B2C will teach B2B to be more empathetic, while B2B will show B2C how to present itself with real authority.
10. Content marketers will pay more attention to existing customers
Content marketing will – of course – always need to look outwards to potential new customers.
But, as brands start gaining a greater understanding of the value of customer retention, content marketers will be increasingly tasked with building digital brand communities that increase individual customer value by encouraging them to return time and time again.
There you have it – a comprehensive round-up of all the major trends you’ll need to watch out for in 2017. Come back next week when normal Content Marketing Trends service is set to resume. Hasta mañana!