3 Content Marketing Trends Shaping 2016

Marketing using “content”—be it blogs, storytelling, visuals, or audio—is quickly becoming an industry-wide trend: roughly 70% of marketers surveyed in 2015 by the Content Marketing Institute reported having produced more content last year than the year before. Nearly 90% of the marketers surveyed said they were doing some type of content marketing overall, the Institute reported.

But content marketing remains a tricky beast to tame for many companies. For one, mislabeled or misleading content alienates readers and angers publishers, while poorly executed content simply makes a brand look inept. As Dan Matthews noted in Forbes, “it’s not the theory that’s controversial, it’s the execution.”

Whether you personally see content marketing as a potential minefield or a promising engagement tool, 2016 is shaping up to see yet another content bonanza. Preliminary surveys indicate that marketers will see content as a key tool yet again in 2016, with nearly 40 percent of surveyed marketers already reporting gains from their content programs only two months into the year.

But that doesn’t mean that content marketing will stay static. We’ve rounded up three analyses about how the industry might shift in the coming year:

Strategy will become popular once again: In the first content gold rush as social media networks bloomed and blogs became ubiquitous, companies could get away without developing content marketing plans. Now, though, the numbers are grim: only 37% of surveyed marketers said that they had a clear, actionable content strategy that had been fully documented. But without it, argues Lin Pophal at EContent, “it’s about creating and generating content with a strategic purpose,” not simply adding to the noise. [Read more at EContent]

A focused signal will cut through the din: With millions of pieces of content flying across the web each year, it’s tempting for brands to turn towards a higher volume of content in hopes of reaching a residual audience. Not so, say analysts at TrackMaven, an analytics firm. Their data supports a more measured, targeted approach favoring content that is free and openly available, like blogs, in tandem with paid social media campaigns. [Read more at SmallBizTrends]

Recommendations will fill the gaps: As branded content becomes more standardized across industries and publishers, content recommendation engines will soon follow, predicts Chase Hooley, who manages content marketing for MapR Technologies. In fact, Hooley and his team might just be the ones to build it— he told VentureBeat that they are actively working on a custom-built analytics-driven recommendation engine for their own website, something that could become commonplace as content marketing enters its second boom. [Read more at VentureBeat]

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