Content marketing is constantly evolving. From the growth of mobile platforms to the shifts in which content is seen as ‘in favor,’ the landscape has changed considerably over the past few years. It will continue to shift in 2018, presenting companies with many opportunities to win with high impact content. To help you thrive in 2018, we surveyed our own pool experts here at Rock Content and checked in with content marketing thought leaders around the world to give you the top ten content marketing predictions for the New Year, and what they might mean for your business.
Original Content Will Be More
Important Than Ever
Original content is already the bread and butter of strong content marketing campaigns—or, at least, it should be. Still, by all accounts, 2018 is going to push brands to double down on original content. Major companies such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon are spending vast sums of money on content to maintain and grow their audiences. The message is simple: your business cannot rest on the laurels of past content or unoriginal content in 2018. Instead, you need to find creative, unique, detailed, original and above all, engaging content to present to your audience in the New Year.
Content-Related Acquisitions Will
Become More Common
Why build a content infrastructure from the ground up when you can buy it? That’s one of the questions that came as a result of a recent streak of content-related acquisitions. The Content Marketing Institute predicts that this ‘onslaught of acquisitions’ will grow into one of the most significant content marketing trends of 2018. Certainly, there is evidence to suggest that such a prediction is right on the money. For instance, Arrow Electronics spent 2017 buying major magazine publishers and other media brands to diversify its content offerings. Enterprises with money to spend will likely take a similar approach as the decade starts to wind down.
Budgets Will Rise
Speaking of money, companies around the world are recognizing the power of content marketing and are responding by spending accordingly. A survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute indicates that roughly 40% of companies expect their content marketing budgets to increase in 2018. With content marketing becoming a bigger and more expensive chunk of the average marketing budget, expect even more competition in this space next year.
Businesses Will Optimize
All Content for Mobile
2016 marked the first time in history that mobile internet usage surpassed internet usage on desktop and laptop computers. In 2017, the power of mobile was even more pronounced. The U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus report from comScore noted that mobile platforms accounted for roughly 70% of the time that consumers spend engaging with digital media. Between mobile web browsing and mobile apps, people are getting their digital fix on their smartphones and tablets. Content marketing will need to adapt to this changing landscape. Businesses without mobile-friendly websites will either adapt or perish. More companies will consider investing in proprietary app development. Written content itself will change to appeal to mobile users, with shorter paragraphs, fewer slideshows and an overall focus on small-screen simplicity.
Content Marketers Will Embrace
According to Nielsen, the top three most trusted advertising formats are 1) recommendations from family and friends, 2) branded websites and 3) consumer opinions posted online. The message here is that most consumers trust other consumers more than they believe brands. Businesses will work to leverage this fact in 2018 by embracing user-driven content. Expect to see customer testimonials and user reviews take up more real estate on company websites and social accounts in 2018.
Visual Content Will Be King
The days of text-only content may be over. Today, users expect visually engaging content. 2018 will be a watershed year for visual content, with eye-catching infographics becoming central to everything from on-page content engagement to social sharing. Illustrations, diagrams, photography and other visual aids will become crucial to content marketers as well. You won’t want to publish a single article or blog post in 2018 without a visual component.
Influencer Marketing Will
Become More Common
Historically, influencer marketing has largely been the purview of big brands. Going forward, though, expect more and more businesses to increase brand visibility with the help of celebrities, social media stars, and other influencers. According to Linqia’s 2017 State of Influencer Marketing survey, 94% of respondents believed that influencer marketing campaigns were effective. Determining ROI for those campaigns can be a challenge. However, the significant boosts that influencer marketing can provide—particularly for a brand’s social media presence—will make the hurdle worth it for many businesses in 2018.
Video Will Continue to Grow
Does your business have a video budget yet? If not, you will need to make room in your marketing budget for 2018. Cisco has forecast that, by 2021, video will account for 81% of all consumer internet traffic. Granted, a big part of that usage comes from Netflix and other online video streaming platforms. However, video has also undoubtedly become a more prominent part of the overall content marketing strategy, thanks in large part to the way videos can be embedded, shared and played on Facebook. In particular, live video has been a massive boon for marketers. Facebook says that users are ten times more likely to comment on live videos than on videos that are no longer live. Content marketers will need to embrace live video to go after that increased engagement in 2018.
Content Marketers Will Need
to Embrace Consistency
Quality content matters, but so does consistency. You want people to follow your social media accounts to keep up with your blog or video series. Consistent content builds anticipation and encourages regular readership. An inconsistent publishing schedule, meanwhile, makes it more difficult for brands to produce much of anything with their content. Make it a New Year’s resolution to be more consistent with your content schedule in 2018.
Interactive Content Will
According to a 2017 study done by the Content Marketing Institute, 46% of content marketers are currently using interactive content in their campaigns. Expect that number to surpass 50% in the New Year. With surveys, quizzes, games and other forms of interactive content, brands can engage customers, improve the user experience, collect data, and generate leads. In 2018, this type of content will be everywhere—from websites to social accounts to emails and beyond.
Content marketing is ever-shifting. However, by looking at current and recent trends, we can reasonably predict the future and see what’s coming next. Based on what happened in 2017 and what content marketing experts are talking about right now, these ten predictions all seem like safe bets for next year. Embrace them to ensure a productive and fruitful 2018!