TopRank Marketing’s 2016 Content Marketing Predictions

December 23, 2015
Aaron Polmeer

By Ashley Zeckman

Was 2015 the year content marketing died? A quick Google search for “the death of content marketing” pulls up at least five articles written in the last six months, each seeking to put the final nail in the content coffin. To confuse the issue, for every “content marketing is dead” article, there’s a “traditional advertising is dead. Long live content marketing!” piece to balance it out.

Is this a Schrodinger’s Cat scenario? Are we holding a wake, or should we be performing CPR? In reality, it’s non-strategic content marketing that’s on life support. Audiences are increasingly ignoring the glut of mediocre content tossed haphazardly onto the web.

That’s good news. It means exceptional content with strategic creation and promotion can thrive. Making quality content the new minimum requirement is good for marketers and customers alike.

So make no mistake: Content marketing is very much alive, and it remains a crucial part of an integrated digital marketing strategy. We asked some of our favorite content experts, and some members of the content marketing team at TopRank Marketing (and yes, I did answer one of the questions myself), for their predictions on how content marketing will evolve in 2016. Here’s what they had to say:

Sujan Patel

VP of Marketing, When I Work

I believe that 2016 will be the year of comebacks & repurposing. We’ve already started seeing video come back in the form of Live streaming (Periscope, Blab, Facebook Live). We’ll see more of that along with companies repurposing their content in different mediums such as Slideshare, Linkedin, Medium, Video, and likely even offline magazines. With repurposing, companies can better personalize their tone and content for the audience of a particular network or channel. Ultimately this creates a better user experience and a will increase user engagement.

Knute Sands

Account Manager, TopRank Marketing

Video is increasingly easy to produce, and likewise becoming the most popular content type across all of social media. But, relatively few content marketers have embraced video as a primary content type in their ongoing efforts. In 2016, we will see nearly all content marketers attempting to utilize video more frequently. In addition, YouTube will continue to improve its ability to index content associated with, and contained within videos. As a result, we will see Google, Bing and other search engines adjusting their algorithms to favor video in search engine results pages.

Michele Linn

VP of Content, Content Marketing Institute

Marketers constantly talk about quality content over quantity, and I couldn’t agree more. Only exceptional content need apply. Not only do I hope marketers spend more time on each piece of content (including creative creation, promotion and reuse), but I also hope they consider what currently exists that does not put their brand in the best possible light.

What existing content should be updated or retired?  Strive for content on your website that is current, relevant and organized — and pointing to other related items — and chances are you’ll see pages that convert better — and happier customers.

Jesse Pickrain

Content Marketing Manager, TopRank Marketing

This may be hopeful thinking, but I believe 2016 will mark the peak of B2B content in terms of sheer publishing volume. I’m not predicting a big drop – or even a decline, necessarily – merely an end to the “more is more” mentality. The pacesetters will continue to invest in understanding, parlaying those investments into contextually rich experiences that respect consumers’ time. Meanwhile, those who haven’t removed their foot from the “lofty production quota, low editorial standards” pedal will be forced to make an introspective pit stop. In the end, consumers will occupy the winner’s circle. The brands that gave them a lift via content will be right there with them.

Lorelei Orfeo

Senior Video Content Manager, Birchbox

The biggest opportunity for content marketers in 2016 is mobile-optimized video content. Global mobile users have outpaced desktop users and time spent on mobile within the US continues to grow, outpacing time spent on desktop and other devices. It is critical for marketers to focus on connecting with their customers on mobile. According to Ooyala’s Global Video Index from Q3 2015, videos less than 10 minutes in length are watched on mobile 69% of the time. Creating video content for channels like Snapchat and Periscope that have vertical orientation (ideal for mobile viewers) is a huge area of opportunity for brands and I expect to see more vertically-oriented video platforms in the next few years.

Ashley Zeckman

Director of Agency Marketing, TopRank Marketing

In 2016, there will be more content created than in previous years. That means, it will be even more difficult to capture and keep the attention of online audiences. In order to combat this issue, content marketers will need to push even further outside of their comfort zones and focus on uber creative, stunningly visual interactive content.

Interactive content will help connect the audience with the message and create an experience for them that is hard to achieve with other forms of content.  I see this as an exciting new challenge and opportunity to raise the bar on content to meet audience demand.

What Are Your Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2016?

2015 is not the year that content marketing died. But it may be remembered as the year content marketing grew up. After the initial enthusiasm; after everyone rushed to get in the content business; after experimenting, failing, and doing better; marketers are finally ready to get the most out of their content marketing efforts.

How is your company changing your content marketing approach in 2016? Let us know in the comments.

Looking for help with your content and content marketing strategy? Learn more about our content marketing services.

Header image via Shutterstock

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