Content marketing has become a vast industry, yet it’s still growing at a steady pace. Most companies continue to gradually 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. Although there’s no need to be good at everything when it comes to creating the widest possible range of content types you can, it is still 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 – Most of the written content you’ll find online comes in the form of short blog posts of around 500 words. Those who have not invested in long-form content, such as eBooks and whitepapers in the thousands of words, probably think it’s way 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, preferably one that’s backed up with some visual content. While the humble blog post might be great for social media fodder, long-form content gives you much more of what you need, 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 whitepaper is well within reason.
Native Advertising – Native advertising, also known as sponsored content, presents one of the biggest shifts in online marketing of recent years. Since 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. Since native advertising doesn’t rely on disrupting consumers, it also presents a much safer approach, provided that the content offers genuine value. For example, something like a 3D 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 whole new level of immersion. Although virtual reality as a tool for marketing has been widely discussed in previous years, 2017 will likely be when it becomes more accessible to the masses to such an extent that 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-degrees virtual reality content.
Live Streaming Video – Today’s brands are expected to have a round-the-clock online presence through a wide variety of channels. In recent years, as Internet speeds get faster, video marketing has evolved into a huge niche, which shouldn’t really come as any surprise considering that YouTube is now the third most popular website in the world. Live streaming video, however, presents the natural extension of regular video marketing, since it offers ever greater opportunities including the ability to better make meaningful connections with your customers through more conversational approaches than would otherwise be possible.
Interactive Media – The Internet and interactive media were always intended from the very start to go hand-in-hand together, so it stands to reason why 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 suite every type of business out there, but there’s no doubt that things like Web-based games and other interactive content have become a serious business and will continue to be so.
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. Sometimes, it’s time to 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.