Content Marketing Trends for 2017

Wondering where content marketing is headed this year? There are plenty of tried and true methods for content marketing that can be very effective, but as better marketing tools are introduced to the interwebs, these strategies have been augmented and improved. But wait, perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Unfamiliar with content marketing? This quote from Business 2 Community succinctly sums it up:

Content marketing is the technique of generating and distributing valuable and relevant content in order to attract, educate, and obtain a target audience with the goal of driving profits via customer action. …The three overarching goals of content marketing are lead generation, market education, and brand awareness.

To put it another way, content marketing is a way to drive new and repeat traffic to your website, provide your customer’s with something of value, and hopefully build a stronger connection with your audience. When pulled off successfully, it can be a great way to build brand awareness and eventually lead to more sales. It’s proven beneficial to many companies and has been steadily increasing in popularity for several years. In fact, in a recent reader poll conducted by SmartInsights, content marketing took the top spot as the top-rated digital marketing technique of 2017.

Content marketing can come in many different formats, some of which you’ve almost certainly encountered. If you’re willing to stretch the definition a bit, native advertising predates the internet by hundreds of years, and brand endorsement and sponsored content have been popular in various formats since the 1960’s. Chances are that if you’re reading this article, viral video, blogging, and endorsements shouldn’t be particularly mysterious to you. So, what’s new this year? Let’s explore some of the up and coming methods of content marketing below.

Automated Content

Automation is huge this year. There are tons of tools available to schedule and automate your social media presence, so you don’t have to check in several times a week (or day) to make new posts. I’m personally partial to HootSuite, but Buffer may do everything you need. Social media isn’t the only thing that can benefit from automation. Email marketing platforms like Active Campaign and AWeber have tools available to schedule and automate your email campaigns. Furthermore, they can tag your subscribers and trigger additional automated emails based on how they interact with a particular email or page on your website.

Niche Content

Google’s Knowledge Graph and Featured Snippets have greatly improved the user experience – it’s pretty cool to be able to get a fully formed answer at the top of the search results when you type a question out into Google. There are two sides to this blade though, as it might mean that people are less likely to click through to your site if they get a quick answer without leaving Google. This means you’ll need to optimize for these types of searches while also providing more specific, specialized content that goes after a more targeted audience. Bottom line? Know who your audience is and write for them first.

Influencer Content

Influencer content is relatively new and can be useful for businesses that are trying to get more exposure for their products. In short, this is the celebrity endorsement for the millennial crowd. Popular bloggers, vloggers and Instagram’ers are tapped by companies to promote and endorse their products in exchange for free goods, services, and good old fashioned legal tender. Do you sell essential oils or boutique balaclavas? Then this might be the content marketing strategy for you.

Better Content Strategy

While it’s not any one method in particular, implementing a more robust, organized, and sophisticated plan for creating and deploying content to audiences will be big for many businesses in 2017. There are more tools to create, publish, and measure created content than ever before, and it’d be wise to make use of available tools if you aren’t already. Content Marketing Institute recently compared content marketing to investing in your 401k, offering this analogy“When you get started, you invest but you don’t see a lot of immediate benefit. However, not only does your investment grow over time, it also compounds so you reap substantially more.” The idea here is that while you may not see instantaneous benefits, your payoff will increase exponentially as time marches on. Posting regularly continuously grows your site, and many sites still get traffic to blog posts that are several years old. Actively engaging your audience keeps your brand up front, and they’re more likely to make a purchase from a company they’re familiar with. Strategize, measure, and keep chippin’ away and you’re bound to see the benefits.

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