6 Predictions on the Future of Content Marketing for 2017

For the last two years, I’ve done prediction posts on what’s to come with content marketing to start a dialogue on what’s changed this year, discuss what’s going to evolve or disappear in the future and how we as marketers and business owners can best adapt.

Not to mention, it’s fun to guess what will happen in the future with content marketing as we are all observing the same trends — I just so happen to think about this nerdy content stuff all the time.

Here are my six predictions on what will happen with content marketing in 2017.

1. Forward-Thinking Social Networks Will Develop An Influencer Program Like YouTube

YouTube has continued to thrive over the years as a hub for content due in part to the constant creation of engaging video from influencers on the platform.

With Twitter’s Vine getting shut down and the network missing an opportunity to partner with their most active creators, all the major social networks will better formalize their influencer programs in 2017 like YouTube has for many reasons.

Primarily Facebook and Twitter could benefit from partnering with their influential creators (Facebook has started to do so), paying them based on views or some other form of engagement to ensure they remain active on their platform versus others.

2. Brands Will Finally Focus On Producing Purpose-Driven Content Marketing

At this point, my hope is that it is clear that creating content for the sake of it, on a blog, podcast or elsewhere, won’t do anything to drive results.

There are not only many examples of what doesn’t work with content marketing today, but numerous examples of organizations that excel with content marketing by aligning it with their company’s core purpose.

I believe marketers and businesses will finally come to understand that investing in content and social media comes after determining what their company’s purpose is.

With the many content marketing success stories from organizations like Autodesk, Equinox, eBay and others, there are plenty of references an organization can look to see what purpose-driven content marketing looks like in the wild.

3. Organizations Will Develop a Stronger Viewpoint To Stand Out

With more content being produced every day and attention spans remaining quite low, it is more difficult than ever to stand out amongst the noise.

To counter this, brands will more frequently take a stance on a variety of issues with their content and other marketing efforts to communicate their beliefs and align with the audiences they are trying to reach.

By articulating the causes a brand supports with content, it’s easier for an organization to build a meaningful connection with its customers emotionally and ideologically.

For example, many businesses already actively show their support for the LGBTQ community, showcasing where they stand on a cultural issue that is important to the company and its values.

Choosing sides on relevant issues through content is what more brands will do in 2017 to differentiate themselves from others in their industry who are too afraid to establish a distinct perspective.

4. Long-Form Content Will Remain The Way Brands Build Trust And Credibility, With Less Reliance on Shorter Formats Like Tweets

To capture the attention of their audience, brands will continue to increase their investment in long-form content like creating video series, documentaries, books, courses and more.

I believe short-form content will still be widely utilized, but more often as a means to promote lengthier content types as an investment in these formats is a more effective way of building credibility and trust with consumers.

The more time a person spends with a piece of content, the more likely they’ll develop a memory of it and connection with a brand if reached consistently.

While an Instagram photo or a tweet has proven to build a rapport with audiences over time, its the content types that provide more in-depth insight to educate, convince or entertain a person that truly move them to take action.

A comical video series like Taco Bell’s Taco Tales is an example of the type of lengthier type of content we’ll be seeing from brands more regularly.

5. Live Video Will Continue To Be Created By Brands And Publications, Not By Consumers

I’ll admit that live video on social media is exciting and a huge opportunity for organizations to reach their audience with a unique type of content that’s more relatable to viewers following along.

However, I don’t think a significant number of consumers (real people) will actually use Periscope, YouTube, Facebook and now Instagram to stream live video to their personal network.

Consumers are obviously watching live videos produced by brands, publications and influencers, but I don’t see the feature being adopted by average users.

I don’t think we’ll see consumers regularly sharing live video as it’s too difficult to find something worthy of sharing in day-to-day life that feels interesting enough to necessitate a video, let alone it being live.

Instead, businesses should focus on finding creative ways to use live video to connect with their audience and develop ongoing series (like Benefit’s Tipsy Tricks series) to consistently reach their tribe.

6. Businesses Will Spend More Of Their Advertising Budget On Instagram Over Snapchat

Today Snapchat users spend more time in the app than they do when using the Instagram app.

However, as Instagram continues to successfully clone some of Snapchat’s best features, it is becoming clearer that these additions are being widely adopted and that Instagram has a significant chance of overtaking Snapchat’s existing foothold.

By 2017, companies will be spending more of their budget on both advertising and creating content on Instagram as opposed to Snapchat.

Instagram is an easier platform for brands to advertise on as the app’s ad offerings are more mature than Snapchat’s limited ad options, many organizations already have a built-in audience on Instagram, the interface is easier for marketers to use and it’s supported by the larger Facebook ecosystem to expand globally.

Do you agree with my predictions? What do you think the future holds for content marketing and where do we as marketers fit in?

Brian Honigman is a content marketing and social media consultant and the CEO of Honigman Media. Download his free Content Marketing Style guide to learn how to create content people will actually read and share.

A version of this column previously appeared on his blog.

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