5 Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016


I’m a huge geek. I don’t mean that in a bad or self-effacing way, I geek out about so many things, on so many different levels: cheese, wine, light up dance floors, hilarious new emojis, Facebook’s attempt to out maneuver Yelp with its new “Professional Services” feature, Kanye’s gift-giving style. You name it, I kind of love it (unless it’s black hat SEO tactics or the overuse of ginger, which in either case, those can get behind me).

Among the slew of new trends I’m currently geeking out about are my top 10 most hotly anticipated content marketing trends for 2016. Why is content marketing more important than ever? According to a recent report by ContentMarketingInstitute.com, “B2B marketers allocate 28% of their total marketing budget, on average, to content marketing—the same percentage as last year. The most effective allocate 42%, and the most sophisticated/mature allocate 46%.”

Keep your eyes peeled, because these are going to be some big game changers.

Content Diversity

Content Marketing is no longer a singular, simple undertaking where a marketing intern writes a blog post and makes it live. Content marketing in 2016 will mean that that single blog can be divvied up and used as inspiration for a broader toolset to boost your audience engagement. One blog about “Being a Content Generation Machine” can multiply into an infographic, a youtube short, a talking head for a “Friday Whiteboard”, a new page on your website to tell the story of your business processes, a tchotchke for the upcoming SXSW booth you’re hosting. You name it, it can be reformatted.

This doesn’t mean that you do a simple copy and paste job either, this means that whatever new concept or article or infographic you create can be many different things to many different audiences, and it’s best to meet them where they’re at. You’ve got a lot of really great stuff to say, say it in as many translatable ways as possible.

May the Algorithms be Ever in Your Favor

Graphics, images, videos and gifs will rule organic social media posts over words/blog post shares in continuing algorithm improvements from Facebook and Twitter. Why is this? In organic posts, Facebook actually favors images over text for posting in an effort to make the most relevant, most shareable content the most prominent. Also, they tend to favor content that’s actually posted directly to their site, rather than hosted elsewhere.

Likewise, Twitter is also developing its own tool, “Project Lightning” to better populate accurate, graphical results above the fold. According to Forbes, “[this] feature will collect images, videos, and posts from users to create stories and individual features on news and other special events as they unfold.”

Long Form Storytelling

For an algorithm that was implemented back in 2012, Google’s “Knowledge Graph” (soon to be the Google Knowledge Vault) has become something of a monolith in recent months, and it will only continue to grow in 2016. As search continues to favor quality over quantity content, Google will start to show articles and results with long-tailed titles and content, catering to users looking for more complex and detailed answers to their questions. Even now, as you query Google for a “how to” article, or for a product that will solve your needs, you’re now more likely to see results populated for review articles, websites, content about the content you’re looking for -- rather than the companies selling the product themselves.

The Internet of Things

Sure, sure; the internet of things isn’t really anything new at this point. But many marketers are starting to consider the possibility that The Internet of Things (i.e. functions and systems--or apps--embedded on phones, computers, wearable tech and more) will start to take over the original function of web 2.0. And if this is going to be the case, your content will need to evolve ASAP. Content that can drive into multiple functions (re: point #1), including apps that consumers can use, modify, learn and implement on their own will soon be the new norm. What does that mean for your next article on “NASA’s Next Mission to Mars”? It will definitely still be read and picked apart by Redditors everywhere, but if you can find a way to integrate it into an app accessible by your Apple Watch, well, all the better.

Don’t Just Know Your Audience

Meet them where they’re at. Again, tying this whole grand content creation experience back to our first point, if you’re creating content only to post it to your Facebook page and expect the crowd to come rushing to you, you’re sorely mistaken. The internet has, in essence, compartmentalized and taken every singular interest to every different corner that one could go. Measuring your audience and talking at them--even with really, really good content--isn’t just enough anymore. Study their behavioral patterns, find the corners of the internet they’re hanging out at, and publish your quality content there. Your interactivity will skyrocket.

It can be an undertaking to accurately predict the upcoming content generation trends for 2016, some might even say impossible. But even just by looking at say, the algorithm updates from Google for the past 5 years, marketers have almost all the tools they need to take their content generation tactics to the next level.

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