6 Predictions for Content Marketing in 2016

Among this year’s most popular articles highlighted six of my predictions for content marketing in 2015.

While this post wasn’t wholly accurate (who can tell the near future perfectly?), most of the trends I touched upon did come to pass. What’s a lot more exciting is these patterns are actually dovetailing in interesting directions. Furthermore, during the period of the entire year I’ve noticed new movements starting to materialize.

Rather than highlighting what found pass from last years post, I wish to begin this season by looking ahead towards the entire year to come and outlining six completely new content marketing predictions for 2016.

Google+ has been something of a question mark since its hyped introduction over four years back. A big ambitious project by a company completely qualified to be ambitious has clearly not panned out.

While Google+ certainly has its vocal advocates, its overall user base is vanishing quickly and shows no signs of rebounding.

Just a couple weeks hence, the Google+ team announced a complete redesign so that they can resuscitate the merchandise. While this “pivot” might give aficionados hope, the brand new group of skin and pared down feature set is a Hail Mary on Google’s part and is inadequate too late.

The first sign of death for Google+ was flagging membership and activity. However, the largest blow was the “dis-integration” of Google+ from Google’s other projectsthat occurred earlier this season.

Hangouts and Photos getting spun off as their own products can be telling into the future outcome of the platform’s demise.

Soon, the dismembered bits of Google+ will be distributed throughout Google’s products as their imagine a “fully integrated Google experience” dies a slow, painful death.

I just don’t start to see the service lasting through the entire year. Quote me on that.

This season already saw a clear trend emerge as platforms realized that they could disintermediate content and grab more attention and advertising dollars along the way.

Snapchat Discover, Facebook Instant Articles, Google AMP, Twitter Moments LinkedIn Pulse and Apple News already are making waves and disrupting the style of digital publishing.

Despite the fact that many of these programs are only within their pilot phases, there are lots of in the publishing world who already are seeing the writing on the wall (no pun intended!)

Underestimating the amount of of a shift this groundswell constitutes is definitely the death of traditional publishers. As content creators have become a lot more reliant on platforms for traffic, they have relinquished control of their key resource: attention.

Platforms are simply starting to recognize that they can make use of the readership they generate by integrating content directly rather than pushing visitors to other properties.

In a previous article this season, I touched upon how content creators will start to support this change by republishing their content to other platforms, but this is simply not so much a remedy to the underlying problem around this is a stop-gap measure.

2016 will dsicover this trend further disrupt the publisher/platform relationship and more power will be clearly directed at the platforms. The only method for publishers to re-assert control is to devise a method to build and engage an audience within confirmed platform also to foster loyalty that translates beyond your properties where their content is living and being consumed.

In both primaries and global politics, Facebook’s trending topics have helped shape and define the discussion and the sentiment surrounding world affairs. Media outlets used to create the tone, however now the opposite holds true.

A 61-million person study published in Nature in 2012 discovered that Facebook use and contact with certain ideas could have a “significant influence” on voting behaviors.

Not merely has Facebook’s core user-base increased dramatically in the years since 2012, however the amount of time allocated to the site and the amount to which content users see is becoming polarized have increased aswell. Outrage and strong opinions abound as “social subcultures” begin to bolster the echo-chamber effect and help spread virulent messages quickly through the entire social media sphere of influence.

The media is complicit in assisting to spread and leverage this outrage, all while riding the wave of the emotional response these flashpoint posts are almost guaranteed to garner.

Having the capacity to harness such strong emotions is risky, but content that does so responsibly can perform dramatic social lift. In the coming months, brands will never be in a position to stay relevant and stay neutral concurrently. Your brand will be required to select a point-of-view and embrace it, so be sure to choose carefully.

Mass-market, multi-media content is experiencing a precipitous decline.

Certain networks have escaped this fall by doubling down on quality and tightening their appeal, but there is so much room for established, traditional publishers just like the Atlantic, the brand new Yorker, CBS, CNN and others, and the brand new economic realities of content distribution mean there is even less overall to go around to aid such programming.

At the other end of the spectrum, though, will be the independent podcasters, YouTubers and bloggers that are eschewing large budgets and mass-appeal by narrowly defining their audience and catering right to their needs.

The rise of social subcultures has facilitated this diffusion of attention across various channels.

It has led to the initial class of “superstars you’ve never heard about” who’ve outsized influence in small-sized communities. Although they could not be household names at this time, a few of these high-profile social celebrities are starting to have mainstream impact. In January of the year; YouTubers Bethany Mota, Hank Green, and GloZell Green were all invited to the White House to interview Obama, live and with questions sourced directly from their passionate fanbases.

The actual fact that a handful of young, non-connected, independent creatives could actually get the sort of access once only available to the Barbra Walter’s and Walter Cronkite’s of the world should let you know more concerning this trend than any facts or figures can.

Although article marketing is becoming decentralized and budgets are falling, there continues to be money to be produced here. That’s as the value of the hyper-focused attention is indeed much more per-capita compared to the fraction-of-a-penny per eyeball that a lot of mass media depends on.

Certain brands are concentrating on creating strategic partnerships with independent creators that align with their particular audience. Just look at what Squarespace did with their podcast sponsorships or how Audible has allied with relatively small YouTubers like Minute Physics and Veritasium.

Other brands are going for a different approach whereby they bring this kind of small-scale, hyper-targeted article marketing in-house. This lines up with the prediction I made this past year regarding brands becoming publishing houses and the most known exemplory case of this panning out in 2015 may be the amazing work Marriot did with their online publication Marriott Traveller and what Harry’s razors did with their publication Five O’ Clock.

These established and emerging outlets by independent creators, brands and other players will continue steadily to disperse the attention of consumers, limiting the reach and influence of traditional publishers.

2015 is a defining year for Snapchat and Instagram, but 2016 would be the year they truly mature.

On the main one hand, you have the emergence of high-quality catered content that’s being made by relatively few individuals because of their narrowly defined audiences (see previous prediction). Alternatively you have networks that encourage an extremely large percentage of users to create low-effort, fleeting content.

What this article lacks in polish it creates up for in spontaneity, relevance and timeliness. Images and short video will be the perfect media because of this kind of content and having said content disappear (be it in a unsearchable ever-updating stream or in a self-destructing post) helps encourage sharing without overthinking.

Snapchat and Instagram will be the perfect environments for such content, and both are simply figuring out how exactly to improve and monetize.

The task this presents to brands though is that it creates standing out with content difficult, and implies that your content has to be a constantly flowing stream merely to stick to your customer’s radar.

Brands which will be the winners in this space will be those that can create processes that guarantee a consistent rhythm for delivering highly visual, impactful and spontaneous content. This tends to require that you forgo some extent of quality as you try to balance spontaneity with effective planning.

In lots of other parts of the world, chat apps such as for example WhatsApp, Line, Telegram and WeChat are seeing massive user-bases and phenomenal growth. However, growth in america has been strong however, not as dramatic. 2016 may be the year that all of the changes.

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp show that there surely is mainstream appeal for instant messaging apps in america, however they have not yet fully matured as their own distinct platforms.

In a post earlier this season, I took an in depth look at messaging apps and just what made them such a promising venue for future growth in the digital marketing sector.

One particularly compelling statistic was that the growth of mobile chat apps had doubled the common growth-rate of new mobile users.

This alone makes chat apps promising, however the most exciting chance for chat apps will come in solving the problem presented in the last prediction.

As general, user-generated, short form visual content becomes a lot more difficult to stick out in, a very important factor that could give brands a method to be noticed is a fresh delivery channel.

Rather than hoping to have your articles delivered in-feed, you may use the chat top features of these apps as direct lines to tailored audiences in specific groups. This is actually the general idea behind the wildly popular Snapchat Discover, and the addition of sponsored content is going to be the avenue towards monetization for most other chat apps.

Although the parameters for how exactly to market in this emerging medium remain being drawn, savvy marketers will know to closely watch the chat app space and become waiting to join the chance to leverage this new channel once it occurs more clearly.

Which of my predictions on content marketing for the year ahead do you trust and which do you consider I missed the mark on? Share your input in the comments below.

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