Years ago, just having a high-quality, well-designed website filled with fancy graphics and static content was enough to pull in traffic. But today, web design isn't enough — with more and more businesses trying to lure visitors, drive traffic and generate leads, the competition on the web has become even fiercer.
Naturally, it has become important for businesses, from startups to small businesses and large enterprises, to drive their modern marketing engine with the fuel of content marketing. In fact, 78% marketers believe that content is indispensable for the efficiency of their sales processes, according to Qvidian's 2015 Content Automation Trends Report.
But since everyone is trying to push content in the market, content marketing has become noisy, ineffective, and even overwhelming for end-users. So, how can you make your brand stand out? How can you create and promote engaging and entertaining content to achieve success on every channel?
The answer is simple: you need to stay ahead of the curve, every time.
To help you stay ahead of your competitors, we present to you seven ways content marketing will likely evolve in 2016.
1. Storytelling will take the mainstage
An ever-increasing number of content marketers are now focusing on creating stories that can engage visitors as they make their way through the buyer journey.
After all, storytelling is a mechanism that excites your audience and helps you realize your marketing objectives. It can make users visualize how a business started with a new idea, and tells us interesting things about how that particular company runs and operates behind-the-scenes. Instead of writing a formal and one-sided view of a company and its business, marketers are now presenting engaging stories about an organization and it business to lure in readers — even in the B2B space.
For example, Deloitte uses interactive storytelling to present executive biographies. Instead of simply stating an employee's history and primary responsibilities with the company, they map out each executive's entire career journey and highlight their interests outside of work. The art of storytelling allows them to break down corporate barriers and making their executives more accessible.
2. Content shock isn't going away
An overabundance of content is going to be a major hurdle in executing effective content strategies in the coming year. The challenge that this overabundance presents is how to get your content to stand out in a crowded niche.
Since almost all conceivable topics have already been covered in some way or the other, finding topics that are unexplored or unheard of for your audience will continue to be a struggle. As such, B2B marketers will have to find new ways to deliver engaging content outside of the beaten path of overused content ideas.
Given that people now look for and essentially demand content that’s valuable and engaging, it could mean that evergreen content ideas will start to outweigh the value of topical content.
Similarly, the expectation for content personalization means that marketers will have to focus less on individual content assets for mass appeal, and more on creating tailored content experiences for their audience.
3. Content will need to be optimized for wearable devices
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recently revealed how wearable devices such as Google Glass and smart watches will change the way users consume various forms of content. It goes without saying, then, that wearable technology will also immensely impact the world of content marketing.
In the era of wearables, you’ll have to consider these devices as a potential leak in your content experience and consider how you can effectively deliver your content through them. In addition to providing a responsive experience, you’ll need to write and present content so that consumers can see all important details right away in very small chunks.
If more of your target audience starts using wearable devices, lengthy blogs and articles may lose some of their effectiveness. You’ll need to consider creating content in a more precise and condensed form so that it is accessible and engaging on miniature devices.
4. New SEO methods will emerge
SEO techniques are likely to witness some changes in the year ahead, partially thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of wearable technology. Use of wearable devices will influence on SEO due the increasing use of apps instead of traditional websites. Similarly, wearable devices will facilitate search on the move, thus creating demand for content for local businesses.
Additionally, voice search engines such as Google Now, Siri and Cortana may increase in popularity. This means that traditional text keyword-based queries may become less effective, and content marketers will have to create content that is easily searchable through voice searches.
5. Interactive content is key for engagement
In a blog published at Designhill.com, writer Henny Kel discusses how more and more businesses are now leveraging interactive content in order to increase their site traffic, engagement, lead generation, and customer acquisition. Kel further reveals that 70% content marketers believe interactive content to be effective at engaging visitors/buyers, indicating that blogs, articles and white papers with one way of presenting a topic could gradually fade away from content marketing scene.
In 2016, content marketers will develop content with interactive elements to create a more engaging and personalized experience for users. Rather than producing stagnant blogs, consider adding interactive videos, quizzes, galleries, interactive infographics, polls (like the one below!) and so on to engage and entertain users.
6. Marketing automation is on the rise
According to Hubspot, marketing automation has become a more than a buzzword. Marketing automation is now one of the most significant digital marketing tools for growth. It can help your organization push your content smartly, drive leads, improve conversion and ameliorate the overall end-user experience.
Marketing automation will continue to make waves in 2016. An ever-increasing number of content marketers are exploring marketing automation software to provide information in real-time and in an appealing manner. Marketers will continue to use marketing automation to drive traffic and infuse their sales pipeline with new leads.
7. Marketing budgets are shifting to focus on content
A recent survey by The CMO Council revealed that net digital advertising in the U.S.A. will be much higher than television advertising by 2018. This indicates the increasing significance of digital content in driving traffic and sales for businesses. One of the major reasons for content marketing gaining an advantage over traditional advertising is that it costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
We can safely assume that marketing dollars will move more towards content marketing and creating quality digital content for mobile devices, wearable devices, computers and tablets.
What can you do to get ahead?
It’s difficult to say which ones of these trends will go the way of the dinosaurs and which ones will adapt, evolve and outlast the rest.
Regardless of how the future actually pans out, you should be prepared to make changes in your content marketing strategies by leaving behind any ineffective techniques and testing some of the newer ones mentioned above.
Get ahead, or risk getting left behind. Which trends do you see emerging in 2016?
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About the Author
Anne Carton is a small business consultant, digital marketing expert and an enthusiast blogger working with Designhill, one of the fastest-growing custom design marketplace. She has authored several blogs, articles and editorials on various topics related to social media strategies, growth hack strategies, SEO tips & tricks and e-commerce.More Content by Anne Carton