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When talking about content marketing in 2016, there is one thing we can say with utmost certainty – it will become even more important. It was fairly important up to this point as well; very rarely would you see a website that has shoddy content ranking very high in the SERP’s. However, it could still be done, especially by webmasters more concerned with overnight success than long-term strategies and victories.
In 2016, we expect the playing field to be leveled, and no amount of SEO wizardry will be enough to cover those brands that do not take content seriously. This is because content will take a much more diverse role this year; it will not only be responsible for visibility, it will ultimately be responsible for engagement and, by extension, turning customers into advocates for businesses and brands.
Let’s take a quick stroll through some of the trends that are expected to dominate content marketing in 2016. Some will mark this year more, some less, but rest assured that they will emerge throughout the as content marketing becomes one of the most important tools to draw and keep the attention of customers.
Providing meaningful and useful content is, and will continue to be an imperative. This is one of the building blocks of content marketing; take it away and the concept crumbles underneath its own weight. Serious marketers will stay well away from shoddy content written only to fill up space. If you are earning your bread by creating content make sure to do thorough research, provide answers to questions, and create engaging and shareable content.
Do your homework. This year will be all about personalized content, so make sure you know everything there is to now about your audience and your customers. Invest in data, know where your customers are coming from, know their devices and know their preferences. This will help you tailor content specific to them whether that is an alternative landing page or a personalized shopping cart reminder. Knowing what your customers are interested in allows you to get up close and personal with them, allowing them to think of you as a friend and a companion, rather than a marketer.
Video content will become much more prominent in 2016. Even though written content is hard to surpass in terms of availability and scalability, video is the platform to be on since people are responding to it much better. Successful campaigns will be the ones that can capture and retain attention. Video is much better in doing that, and it is also more likely to get shared and go viral.
Pushing the envelope has always been the key to marketing success. GIF’s and other emerging formats provide you with an opportunity to do just that. They appeal to a younger audience much more than traditional formats and companies targeting millennials will profit from making bold moves in uncharted waters.
Making your web page responsive is no longer something that can be overlooked, so we can call it a caveat of web and content marketing and design. That aside it will become increasingly more important to make content tailored specifically to handheld devices. A good rule of thumb is to make content sizes chewable, limiting the number of words and adapting content into a format that can be easily consumed on the go, such as lists, pictures, and GIFs.
E-commerce sites are expected to go big in 2016. Bigger than they are now, actually. They will require specifically crafted content that goes beyond product descriptions if they are to succeed. E-commerce site webmasters will have to find ways to engage customers and to grab their attention. We suggest focusing on ‘how-to’ and other, meaningful content, showcasing usefulness of products, and avoiding those dreary and boring specification lists.
Algorithms have made huge leaps in recent years and the time is approaching when they will be able to create content without human input or interference. While some predict that 2016 will be the year when a machine finally writes an engaging piece of content, we don’t necessarily agree. What we are certain of, however, is that algorithms will become more skilled in writing short, concise reports, such as weather reports or sports news. Also, e-commerce sites might get a reprieve as those algorithms will be perfectly capable of generating legible descriptions for thousands of products.
Creating short, but well-researched and valuable content that addresses an immediate need worked great up to now, and will continue to work great in the future as well. But this is the era of long-form content, and this form will have to be incorporated into the content marketing mix. Creating long pieces of content that are relevant for a while will be more important thanks to new and emerging technologies and tactics coming from Google.
Google knowledge graph is changing the rules of content, and content creators will need to adapt. This is one of the reasons long-form content will be important. You will one to be that authority page that Google turns to for the answer that is ultimately displayed when someone searches the Web. Long-form, well-researched content will put you in the running for that coveted, top-tier SERP spot.
More and more sites will make the move toward user-created content, aggregating in the form of news and articles. Twitter is already doing this, taking snippets of text and photos from various users in order to give a more diverse perspective of any given topic. This type of content, created by users for users, will become more prominent in 2016.
Thanks to Google updates, SEO techniques that used to help sites rank better will become almost obsolete. No amount of linking, PBN’s and other grey area methods will be able to make up for non-engaging content. Time spent on a web page will become a determining factor of how well a page does. Make sure your content is informative, valuable and unique because this is the only way to rank well and to engage and connect with the audience.
Content creators know full well how valuable the skyscraper method is when creating content. Very little content will be made from scratch; instead, content creators will focus on expanding and improving on existing content, taking into account the pulse and the comments of the community that read those articles. Each rendition will become more succinct, concise and valuable, which is the purpose of well-written, informative content.
With so much hinging on content, dosing it will become more and more important. Average American spends nearly four hours a day bombarded with different types of content. It is very easy to get fed up with it. The best solution to this is creating diverse content, spread out across different formats. Also, personalized content targeting individuals will resonate better with the audience and customers.
Facebook noticed that articles shared over its platform tend to do better there in terms of views and hits, then on the sites from where they originated. To solve the discrepancy they introduced ‘Instant Articles’, a tool that allows publishers to publish immediately on Facebook. Since Google is now working on a similar solution we can expect to see diverse publishing options crop up during 2016.
Even though more and more businesses are investing in content marketing, most of them cannot tell if their efforts are paying off. This is becoming a problem is expected to be resolved in 2016. We can expect more stringent guidelines and metrics being devised by budgeting departments in their attempt to justify costs associated with content marketing.
As you can see, a lot is expected to change in 2016. Content marketing is coming in, full force, and will become one of the greatest tools businesses have at their disposal when it comes to engaging audiences and strengthening their brands. From new, interactive formats, to emerging platforms things are shifting to content-driven marketing. Content will also become accountable, and will have to justify expenses associated with it in terms of ROI. All in all, we can expect an exciting and innovative year in content marketing, one that is sure to drive innovation and push the envelope!