What are the latest trends and developments?
Content marketing is a fast-paced industry that keeps changing and developing as we speak. There are, however, a few main points, around which content marketing trends evolve in particular.
In short, these include content overload, increased content value, decrease of ads, focus on SEO, higher video usage, content migration, an increase of shoppable content, the power of communities and responsive web-design.Please find a short description of these points below.
1. Content overload
Both B2C and B2B marketers are said to be increasing their content marketing efforts in the future due to the hard-to-ignore benefits of content marketing.
This means, however, that the amount of content published daily will increase dramatically in the upcoming years. According to WebProNews, there were 18,300,771 blogs created throughout the year of 2014, which was 12.5% more compared to 2013. In other words, this results in around 50,000 new blogs, or 555,782,547 new blog posts, created on a daily basis.
Considering such massive increase of content, companies are predicted to invest more money in content production. Ironically, however, the return on investment seen from content will decrease as the competition will only go stronger.
2. More value due to high competition
Due to content overload, marketers are tending to approach their content strategy with more diligence and attention than previously in order to be able to provide unique value that competitors are not able to offer.
The value, highly depending on the needs of the audience, can be of different types:
- Informational, for instance when content is covering news, latest trends
- Educational, for instance when content is providing tutorials and how-to guides
- Entertaining, for instance when content is produced to amuse the reader
3. Less ads — more blog posts
In the 21st century, known as “the era of the informed customer”, Internet users know numerous ways to access information that would be helpful and problem-solving. For this reason, digital ads and pop-ups, which more often than not are characterized by having a “salesly” tone and an insufficient product description, will give way to content marketing, which has proven to be more authentic. See also the Display Advertising topic in this regard.
With no doubt, content marketing offers more educational and informative value than ads, which is the ultimate reason why over 60% of people are consulting blogs before making a purchasing decision.
4. Higher attention to SEO
While there were a number of discussions on the web about the life and death of SEO, the fact remains that SEO is still an important factor to content’s online visibility. An important point here is to understand that SEO has evolved over the last years, so the old “keyword stuffing” strategy used by many online marketers previously will not be working anymore. Still, including keywords will be necessary in order for content to rank, but these are should come as a “by-product” of good content and appear naturally.
There are numerous SEO techniques  that can be applied, covering three categories: technical SEO, On-Page SEO, and Off-Page SEO. How to improve the SEO work, however, goes beyond the topic of this article, so check Search Engine Optimisation topic here at EcommerceWiki to learn more!
5. Higher usage of videos
Online videos are claimed to be “the future of content marketing”, as by 2017 they are predicted to account for 69% of all consumer Internet traffic.
Therefore, since online videos are rapidly becoming a key means for people all over the world to satisfy their need for information and entertainment, small businesses will be using more and more videos in their content marketing strategies. In fact, it is said that 64% of marketers expect videos to dominate their strategies in the near future.
6. Responsive and accessible through mobile
While having a fully responsive website, available for both mobile and desktop, is considered as an obvious “given” now, a considerate amount of Fortune 500 companies (44%) do not have a mobile-friendly design. However, Google recently announced that it will be boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results, for the users to easily find relevant, high-quality articles that are readable without tapping or zooming.
For this reason, it will be of particular importance for content marketers out there to ensure the responsive design on their websites.
7. Content migration from websites to apps
For the year of 2017, the number of mobile phone users is forecast to reach 4.77 billion, which is more than half of the world’s population. More and more people are accessing information though phones and tablets, which is the reason why content is awaited to partially migrate to apps. One of the first examples of content migration happened in the beginning of 2015, when Apple released the new Apple Watch without including its own web browser, Safari, in it. Apple Watch users could only navigate the web through apps when using the device.
8. The rise of distributed content
Homepages are no longer destination points for web users out there due to the fact that social media have become “the new front page” of newspapers, blogs, magazines and other mediums. The first outcome of this unavoidable trend was exemplified by Buzzfeed, which in the beginning of 2016 introduced a new team of journalists that would produce exclusive content for social media channels such as Tumblr, Imgur, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and messaging apps (like WhatsApp). This content was not to be published on the main Buzzed website.
Therefore, the real meaning of “distributed content” is the type of content that is produced for certain media outlets only, aiming to create a dedicated, focused community on those particular channels.
9. More content will become shoppable
In 2016, shoppable content became a major trend in the marketing and ecommerce industries, allowing Internet users to shop directly from content. Somewhat of a combination between a entertainment channel and a shopping resource, shoppable content has been rapidly taking over social media as well. Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Google are implementing shoppable content solutions either through third-party apps or via own technologies.
In ecommerce in particular, a bigger number of brands are building shoppable blogs and magazines, releasing shoppable videos, and creating shoppable images, in hopes to not only monetize content but also provide instant purchasing solutions for their readers and customers.
Related read: 11 Examples of Shoppable Content
10. Social media and communities
Last but not least, it is important to acknowledge that social media will become even more important in content marketing than it was before. It was mentioned previously that due to the rise of distributed content users have the tendency to access information through social media.
The social networks are already harnessing the potential of acquiring and securing a dedicated audience, creating numerous possibilities to access information more easily than on traditional websites. A good example can come from Facebook, which released Instant Articles in the beginning of 2016. This allows its users to immediately access information without leaving the social network. While the articles published via Instant Articles app are not at all exclusive, the fact that the users would stay on Facebook and engage with content while remaining on the social network is fostering the sense of a Facebook community, as well as increasing time spent on Facebook's site.
As a matter of fact, communities are becoming essential for content distribution, which is one of the focus parts of any content marketing strategy. Discussion groups and forums will be increasingly seen as the main tactics to spread and communicate the newly published content in the upcoming years.