Before we usher in the New Year, let's take a look at some of the content marketing trends that ruled 2015 and learn more about the developments that are projected to shape strategies in 2016.
According to the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, an annual marketing survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 76% of marketers use content marketing. This number paints a clear picture of marketers’ past, present, and future focus: content. In fact, the average marketer is planning to invest more money into content marketing strategies in 2016.
Through the Digital Looking Glass
For many marketers, 2015 was a year spent expanding digital strategies. In addition to focusing on creating engaging content, marketers took their content online, ramped up their social media efforts, and rediscovered the purpose of email marketing. 2016 is poised to continue on this trajectory. Content will still reign supreme, but content design, social media, email marketing, mobile-friendly media, and audience segmentation are among the many trends expected to share its spotlight. Here’s a brief snapshot of what’s to come:
1. Digital content will become more visual and interactive.
Instagram’s meteoric rise—as of September 2015, the site hosts a staggering 400 million active, monthly viewers—says a lot about how people consume content. While this doesn’t mean you should abandon your blog in favor of completely visual storytelling, it does suggest you should look for creative ways to incorporate infographics, images, videos, and other visual elements into your content.
2. The way people access digital content will continue to change.
2015 marked a milestone: As of July 2015, people spend significantly more time viewing online media with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, than with laptop and desktop computers, according to Smart Insights.
Make sure the website you use to house your content is optimized for mobile viewing. If it’s not, readers may not only have a difficult time perusing your content—they may not be able to find it. Google’s algorithm update in April 2015 prioritizes mobile-friendly sites on mobile browsers.
3. Email marketing will continue to make headlines.
According to Litmus' "Top 10 Marketing Stats of 2015", marketers rediscovered the benefits of connecting with consumers via email in 2015 and will likely continue to leverage email’s power in 2016 for many reasons, including its popularity with consumers and how easy it is to measure email marketing ROI.
4. Tailoring your messages to meet your target audience’s needs will remain a critical component of a well-rounded strategy.
Your content should always reflect the audience you’re trying to reach—and it’s not enough to simply lump your audience in categories, such as “millennials” or “baby boomers.” Using audience segmentation to target specific subsets of older adults, for example, ensures your health and wellness content always reaches its intended mark, which improves ROI.
Find out more about applying best practices to your marketing strategies.