Content marketing is a strategy that involves using blog posts, videos, and other web content to attract and retain customers. It’s a relatively new field that is evolving every day, which makes predicting the future of content marketing a very difficult task.
Nonetheless, when you ask marketers what the future has in store, there is one trend that everyone seems to agree on. While in the past, text like blog posts was the dominant form of content, in years to come, expect to see video become the dominant content format.
For more on that and other changes coming to the content marketing world, we asked a group of industry experts…
What does the future have in store?
Here’s what they had to say…
Marina Lau, Senior Marketing Manager at JotForm
“In 10-15 years, I see content marketing as becoming much more dynamic. With advancing technologies, we should be able to dynamically alter sections of content, depending on the characteristics of the lead or customer. It will allow marketers to go beyond developing one-size-fits-all pieces of collateral and become much more adept at providing relevant information.”
Nick Vivion, Senior Brand Journalist at Sabre Corporation
“Content marketing will be transformed by technology. While the written word will never completely disappear, multi-media storytelling will be a requirement. Content will be built for scale: Short snippets to popular augmented reality views; avatars to share expert opinions in virtual reality; longer-form pieces targeted to micro-niche groups rather than for broadcast on social media. Content marketing will be about hyper-targeting at scale, or using an editorial approach to engage ever-smaller groups of people with relevant video, photo, immersive and written content.”
Joe McCambley, SVP, Content Marketing at POP
“In 15 years I will have the power of an IBM Watson-like artificial intelligence at my constant disposal. My AI will use an infinite supply of factual data about the world, about me and the thousands of choices I’ve made or thoughts I’ve expressed to help me choose the best products from the brands whose values align most closely with mine, and that are most committed to helping me.
Of all the quadrillions of pieces of content clogging all of the world’s databases, the most relevant to me and my AI will be the content that can help me the most, whether that help comes in the form of advice, entertainment, or education.
So, in 15 years, content marketing won’t change at all. The best content will still be the content that is devoted to my success and happiness. The only difference is that in 15 years there will be an AI fast enough and smart enough to discover the content or products that are most helpful to me, while allowing me to ignore everything else.”
Catherine Schutten, Senior Marketing Manager at Big Drop Inc.
“In the past few years, content has become the darling of the marketing industry. However, content marketing is one of the oldest strategies around — and flew under many people’s radar because it was published using a different medium: print publications. As a magazine publishing survivor, I created advertorials for clients of all types, from package good companies out of the Midwest to pharma companies in NJ.
As advertisers moved their dollars onto the internet, in favor a cheaper and more accountable ad units, they brought the concept of advertorials with them. Quickly realizing that a hard sell doesn’t resonate with internet users, brands swapped their advertising strategy of talking at a customer to a marketing strategy of having a conversation with a customer.
While the IoT is still growing, in 10-15 years it will be the norm. Just like content shifted from printed magazine advertorials to blog articles posted on the internet, marketers will find new and creative ways to reach their audience using the IoT.”
Mike Domaguing, Head of Marketing at Survios
“Technological innovations like augmented and virtual reality, only continues to grow. Due to this increasing savviness among consumers, we’re witnessing a cultural shift that will directly impact how marketers, businesses, and consumers interact with content—and the new challenge of being heard.
Experimental approaches utilizing these innovations will be key to breaking through. The advent of AR/VR technology presents a new method for consumer interaction: instead of a passive 2D screen, consumers can be immersed within interactive 360-degree AR/VR environments to experience “spatial storytelling.” Game developers, filmmakers, and educators are already utilizing this new medium, and it may be several years before the mainstream will consume content in this way. When it does, how will content marketers stand out among the increasing noise of traditional advertising?”
Richard Heby, Marketing Manager at LiquidSpace
“Trends in content marketing offer insights into its future. We’ve already seen: targeted content, improvements in AI and natural language processing, disappearing content, and content as experience. In the future these innovations will make room for automated content that serves a timely, transient need for information. It’s likely with AI and language processing, that bots will produce at least some of this content. Imagine getting in-depth news analysis at the speed of technology. Imagine content that automatically updates as new information arises. This burden will no longer be on writers and journalists. The human factor will still be critical, though, in content as experience. This is content that goes beyond writing or images or video. It’s content you can touch, interact with, experience. It will start with things like VR/AR, e.g. for LiquidSpace, VR tours of office space would be a useful way to visualize design fit-outs in new spaces.”
James Nuttall, Content Specialist for The London School of Make-Up
“The future of content marketing is in video. Visual is becoming more and more important in the world of content, with sights like Instagram emerging as a real power. Vloggers are making big bucks with their videos on YouTube, and this is already starting to trickle down into content marketing. We have noticed make-up tutorials on YouTube are coming in as a serious force in our industry, and getting on board with this trend early is a smart idea.
Virtual Reality is another fledgling trend that cannot be ignored forever. VR is no longer just a big deal for video gamers and science geeks, it is already readily available in a wide variety of mediums, and is seeping into advertising. This will eventually trickle down into content marketing.”
Jim Sagar, CEO & Co-founder of Qlutch Marketing, Inc.
“Over the next 10-15 years, the content we consume will be delivered by the new platforms that become mainstream. Instead of users seeking out content via their browser or mobile device, content will be delivered based on their data profile or habits via the device that they’re using, which won’t necessarily be a hand-held device or laptop. We’re already nearing an inflection point where artificial intelligence will begin serving up the content relevant to our activities, actions and desires. Video, voice and interactive content will be the norm, and the combination of AI (understanding our behaviors and using probabilistic computing), the Internet of Things (connecting the majority of objects to the network), and voice recognition software (Amazon’s Alexa) will allow video, voice, text and imagery to be delivered to us wherever we are.”
Mario Peshev, CEO & WordPress Architect at DevriX
“Given the rapid development of voice applications like Siri and devices like Amazon Echo – along with video mediums like YouTube – content marketing will likely switch to a non-textual type of information. That includes audiobooks, educational videos, recorded live streams a la Facebook Live or Google Hangouts, automated bots sifting through data and searching for paragraphs within former textual content and others. Traditional content marketing will still be around but chances are that Web 4.0 or the next generation of Internet will aggregate data and offer insights through different mediums.”
John Leo Weber, Director of Digital Marketing at Geek Powered Studios
“The future of content marketing is in semantic search and voice search technology across a variety of mobile devices. Use of virtual assistant technology is on the rise, as more users become comfortable using their voices to search on their phones and other devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. People will be searching for products, services, and information in a new way, and digital marketers will need to meet those searchers where they are. In fact, the most connected devices outside of phones and laptops are cars! This presents a unique opportunity for marketers to put their content in front of drivers — if I ask my car for directions to a good restaurant nearby, smart marketers should know how to leverage those interested drivers. And even more interestingly, imagine the content marketing opportunities with driverless cars. Imagine having a driverless car pick you up and drive you to work for free — all you have to do in exchange is watch and listen to 5 minutes of advertising from a company like Nike or Lowe’s. These scenarios will be reality in 3-5 years, and smart marketers who understand the implications of these new search technologies will be the most successful among us.”
Ryan Speier, Co-Founder of BriskSale.com
“People continue to need more and more stimulation, and with machines and data transfer becoming faster and faster, video and VR seems to be where we’re heading. The marketers that want people to notice their advertising need to pique their audience’s interest and hold it – right now video is the best way to do that. I predict we’ll see more video (worldwide), VR, and interactive ads (virtually experience the product before purchasing).
I believe the interconnectedness of social media will give anyone the ability to become a social influencer.”
Jake Messier, COO & Principal of Mungo Creative Group
“In the next 5 to 10 years, the future of content marketing will become more and more visual for the next generation of consumers. As video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019, more brands are beginning to realize the lasting value in producing video content. Video has the opportunity to create a quick and potential viral effect on an audience compared to text because it’s highly visual and auditory, which can strengthen your brand’s message. This results in a higher chance of a company’s content being shared across social platforms. Not only can video content improve a company’s SEO value and click-through rates, but it can also contribute to company’s brand identity. Creating video marketing content that your customers will remember will also help them remember your brand which can move them in the right direction down the sales funnel.
Sally Kane , Director of Content for PaperStreet
“In 10 -15 years, artificial intelligence will transform content marketing, including content creation, packaging and distribution. Artificial intelligence will automate tasks such as search engine optimization, content aggregation and data analysis. Robo-writers will generate thousands of pages of copy to feed a never-ending demand for new content in an effort to capture leads and conversions. AI will also generate new forms of content as chatbots and other new tech tools are developed. Ultimately, AI will not replace quality content or render human writers obsolete but AI-based platforms will allow marketers to focus on higher end projects.”
Kyle Golding, Co-Founder, CEO & Chief Strategic Idealist at The Golding Group
“Going extremely deep with customized messages and specialized platforms to a highly receptive and loyal audience will replace wide approach mass marketing. Follower numbers are not as important as interactions and engagements. More soft or no ask/call to action marketing focused on community building, experiences and lifestyle over product specific messaging. It’s not enough to publish your content, you have to show how you made it. Make the audience part of the process. Exclusives and extended versions for different channels as well. These channels (and new channels to come) will be used to share by the creator and reshared by fans and like-minded content producers. Repetition and cross platform will become the norm, not just for exceptional marketers. Modern attention spans and the overrun of media sources makes it more likely even those who engage you regularly miss a lot of your content posting. This requires multiple post/repost of same content.”
Randy Apuzzo, CEO of Zesty.io.
“Content doesn’t live in one place anymore. Content marketing needs to start in a platform that can distribute to web, mobile, and IOT. People are consuming content from everywhere, so syndication of content to web and across devices is key for 2017 and beyond.”
Tim Jernigan, Head of Product Marketing at Badger Maps
“Content is becoming more personal. It has to, in order to stand out in a sea of competition. As data segmentation and technology become more advanced, users will have personalized campaigns targeting them based on collected data. This is a natural direction for marketing to go. Marketing has always been about communicating value to an audience, and each member of that audience has their own definition of value. Personalized content marketing campaigns will be able to fully engage prospects based on their personal interests.”
Peterson Teixeira, CEO at Peterson Teixeira Company
“The future of content is treating your content as A PRODUCT. The massive amount of competition online demands now that you publish content like if it were a book or a movie. Think of it this way: What would you like to be associated with your brand after you’ve left Earth? This is the only way to win because bots are producing 1200 articles per day. And you cannot beat that level of production. Update the same piece of content, improve its design and more. Treat it like a product. And if you can, make it personalized with A.I.”
Jacob Warwick, Founder of ThinkWarwick Communications
“Content marketing is an increasingly competitive industry—and as today’s organizations invest more into their content programs, expectations are on the rise. The best content marketers concentrate on creating well-strategized content that exceeds both their customer’s and manager’s expectations. The future of content marketing therefore lay in the hands of marketers that invest more time and resources into creating quality content that performs well, increases sales, and drives consumer interest—rather than focusing on creating a high quantity of content to earn impressions and site visits. The balance of quality and quantity favors those who concentrate on quality.”
Jeane Sumner, CMS at Sumner Digital
“As a marketer I see the future of marketing to continue to move toward more refined personalization in video and augmented reality. This week Facebook announced virtual workspaces for hanging out with colleagues across the country and globe. Consumers are directing the way in which they want to be sold and marketed, and smart marketers are already taking note. Marketers need to align their efforts with sales teams and utilize all the data they have available to them about their consumers. Through augmented reality and VR, I see marketing becoming extremely targeted to the individual consumer.
Imagine being able to reach your consumer with an advertisement that looks and sounds like them. If you know their favorite color is red you can serve up an ad to them with your product in red instead of the default black for example. Or with a sound bed of dubstep vs. 80’s-style rock.”
Mateusz Warcholinski, COO of Brainhub.eu
“Maximizing the value that you bring to your customers through content you create. The times of creating 500-800 words blog posts with generic and basic descriptions are over. You need to give away your knowledge & secrets to prove your expertise and be transparent like never before to get the traffic to your website.
Side projects are becoming the next big thing for content marketing like hubspot website grader or crew.co unsplash – are quite simple web applications, online tools bringing instant value to the users. Side projects are the new blog posts/ebooks/case studies.”
Dan Green, Founder of Growella
“The future of content marketing is empathy.
As humans, we want to be acknowledged and understood. We are unique and want information to work for us, personally.
Brands are learning that you can’t market to a single person, and to all of the people, at the same time. But, brands can learn to show empathy. They can make people feel heard, and validated.
When people feel understood, they begin to feel trust and that’s when the sales process can begin — never before.
Empathy can’t be faked. Consumers can smell garbage. The future belongs to brands that connect with consumers emotionally.”
Chris Hornak, Owner & CEO of Blog Hands
“To answer what is the future of content marketing I’m going to first think of where the technology for content consumption is going.
Search is currently moving from database driven to AI driven algorithms, and social media is playing a significant role in content consumption. As a result, the personality of your content will play a larger role. You’ll have to keep in mind that people won’t only be seeing your content but hearing it as well. Speaking to your audience, in their language, will and is even now important.”
Marcus Miller, Head of SEO & Digital Marketing at Bowler Hat
“Content is already the primary way in which smart, growth orientated businesses market themselves at scale. Certainly at the top end of the marketing funnel where creating something of value is the key way to get in front of prospective customers and drive that crucial, initial engagement with your business.
Search and Social are key here. And they both already favour informational content that users engage with. This is true marketing with a real understanding of your prospects pains and gains needed to succeed.
The future will see more content marketing along with advancements in the advertising platforms that deliver this content. Platforms like Facebook and the Google Display Network (GDN) already offer ways to target users based on interest and demographics. But all platforms will need to adapt to show more personalised advertising – Online, Offline, TV, Radio, Billboards. Content will be everywhere!”
Eric Wall, Co-Founder & CEO of Equivity
“Content Marketing started out as a buzzword and has morphed into an essential part of any marketing strategy. Content marketing will continue to remain a central focus of marketing campaigns. In ten years, we will be able to deliver content in even more precise and targeted ways. Video, text, and graphics will continue to be broken into smaller more entertaining pieces, and new communication platforms will be discovered. As search algorithms improve, so too will the competitive advantage brought to bear by marketers that have the best understanding of their customers’ needs and interests. Against an ever-more crowded landscape of companies shouting for the customer’s attention, the ability to empathize with the customer and communicate clearly to her needs will be at an even greater premium.”
Steven Andersen, VP of Content and Client Strategy at Infinite Global
“Ten years is an eternity in content marketing. Ten years ago the first iPhone was unveiled. The concept of content marketing itself was just emerging. In the decade since, technological evolution and rapid propagation of apps and social media has reshaped content constantly. It will continue to do so through things like VR and AR.
All that said, there’s a tendency to confuse the medium with the message. Each new platform may have novel functionality or provide a fresh way to deliver ideas, but it also adds to the wrong side of the signal to noise ratio. There’s a whole class of products on the market that promise to streamline the content creation process, but they’re unlikely to generate value. You can’t be a thought leader without actual thought. Regardless of what immersive shape the content channels of the future take, they’ll still need to provide real insight to be effective.”
Simon Thompson, Founder of Content Kite
“The future of content marketing lies in video. As new and existing social media platforms emerge with video as their core and visual search becomes more popular, effective content will have to be creative, snack-able and relevant to cater to the ever-shortening attention span of users.
Online video already accounts for 74% of all online traffic (KPCB), whilst traditional media and advertising continues to fall. Video is able to be easily repurposed into other formats (audio, blog posts, transcriptions, slideshares etc) making it the most adaptable and reusable method of content creation.”