Before Christmas, I was lucky enough to sit down with more than a dozen experts in our online marketing industry for some insider predictions into the state of content marketing and social media in 2017.
From entrepreneurs to leading consultants, speakers and authors, these experts each had something unique to add to the roundup below that offers us content creators serious guidance on how to create content in the New Year, and what to expect of the content marketing landscape as a whole.
Our design team did a fabulous job taking the predictions and putting it into an infographic. Read below the image for the full expert quotes – the infographic is an abridged version. Quotes and experts are placed in no particular order. Feel free to link to and share our post with credit back to Express Writers and this link.
2017 Expert Content Marketing & Social Predictions Roundup: The Full Story
“2016 was the year of BIG. Many content creators came out of the woodwork creating HUGE posts à la 715 and one third reasons why you don’t have enough time to write more content.
But the majority of the posts lacked high quality content.
So let’s say that in 2017 your competitors will do this too (if they aren’t already). But this time they will add the high quality part. How the heck do you stand out with your content?
The businesses that will get the biggest ROI from content marketing in 2017, will be those who are able to:
- Produce content in their own voice (this is your #1 unique value proposition that your competitors can’t copy)
- Create high-quality content that actually solves the readers’ problem
- Focus on cooperating with influencers within your industry
If you take the three bullet points above and add dominating Facebook Live, it´s like pouring rocket fuel on a bonfire. It will go BOOM! (in a good way).”
– Tor Refsland
Follow on Twitter: @TorRefsland
Award-winning Blogger, Digital Marketing Strategist & Business Coach, timemanagementchef.com
“Leading content marketers will be delivering 3 key things in 2017: 1) personalized, 2) visual, and relevant content in a 3) specialized niche that they can own. Visualization, personalization and specialization!
“The marketing leadership mandate for 2017 is transforming the entire company culture. Consumers and buyers are tuning out (or blocking completely) self-serving promotion and ads. Leading marketers in 2017 will strive to create a culture focused on delivering value to their customers that translates into better marketing results. This is content marketing! The tip: focus on being human. Tap into your employees, customers and partners to tell THEIR stories.
– Michael Brenner
Follow on Twitter: @BrennerMichael
Speaker, Best-Selling Author of The Content Formula, CEO of Marketing Insider Group
“I definitely see a huge shift to visual storytelling over the last year and expect that to continue in 2017. Not only have visual social media sites like Snapchat and Instagram continued to grow, but we are seeing a clear shift in the way people prefer to tell their day to day stories, which is more visual. There is definitely a challenge for companies to see how their traditional marketing efforts will fit into a purely visual medium, but I think companies are going to have to get creative and get engaged, because I don’t see that trend going away anytime soon!”
– Brent Csutoras
Follow on Twitter: @brentcsutoras
Founder, CEO at Pixel Road Designs, Speaker, Content Marketer, Managing Partner at Search Engine Journal
“I predict there will be a backlash against safe, mediocre content. Five percent of all branded content attracts 90 percent of the engagement. That’s not only a sign that you can leave your competitors in the shadows if you create something great, but also a clear indication that mediocre, safe content doesn’t do much for you. If you’re not adding anything new to the world and telling a great story in 2017, it’s just not worth pressing publish.
Also, distribution will be a much bigger focus. At many companies, content is silo’d away from social and paid media. As a result, there are a lot of brands creating content and just praying that people will magically discover it. That’s not how media works. Paid distribution will increasingly become a big buzzword this year.
Tip: Don’t hire a career marketer to run your content program. Hire an editor or producer who’s built and sustained a large audience before. That’s the common theme I see across 99 percent of all successful content marketing programs.”
– Joe Lazauskas
Follow on Twitter: @JoeLazauskas
Editor-In-Chief at Contently
“My prediction is actually the exact same as last year’s.
More companies then ever are investing into content marketing and it’s making it incredibly difficult to stand out from the crowd. The only way to do this is by creating high quality content. I call it epic content but it also goes by the name 10x content.
In 2017 people are going to catch on and flock towards epic content.”
– Sujan Patel
Follow on Twitter: @SujanPatel
Growth Marketer, GM at Web Profits, Entrepreneur
“Business leaders are beginning to understand the necessity of holistic content marketing practices. They get that it’s not just about the perfect press release, but the entire approach. I credit this largely to the omnipresence of HubSpot’s inbound marketing principles and 2016’s push towards storytelling. As a result, I predict digital marketing spend will diversify in 2017, and we’re already starting to see that in sales at Express Writers.”
– Tara Clapper
Follow on Twitter: @irishtara
Content Development Specialist, Express Writers
Speaker, Writer, Editor
“More and more data is collected through a brand’s digital marketing efforts. Brands and agencies will further personalize and customize offerings to their customers. With the trends of major e-commerce sites opening physical stores (Amazon, Warby Parker, Birchbox, etc.), brands need to accelerate the integration of the online digital experience with that of the offline physical experience. The challenge is to seamlessly integrate the online and offline experience by leveraging and hiding complicated technologies from your customers. It will be important to understand the metrics of your company’s “outbound channels” and work with your marketing peers to co-own some of these goals.”
– Pam Didner
Follow on Twitter: @pamdidner
Content Marketing Expert | Author | Speaker | Adjunct Professor www.pamdidner.com
“The biggest content marketing trend I see is influencer promotion…but not as we know it. I believe more brands will begin ‘buying’ influencers so they are exclusive to them over a period of time…the power of that? Priceless!
Digital marketing is becoming more difficult each year…there’s so much noise, and always more competition. To rise above that, it’s the influencers who hold the targeted, engaged audiences, and loyal followers listen to their inspirations infinitely more than they do a Google or Facebook ad.”
– Sam Hurley
Follow on Twitter: @ Sam___Hurley
Social Influencer, #1 Digital Marketer, Founder https://optim-eyez.co.uk
“For 2016 I urged my audience to concentrate on quality of content over quantity in order to differentiate themselves in the increasingly overcrowded content marketing space. For 2017 I stick by that priority, but based on my experience in the past year I now temper it by saying, “Never sacrifice quality for quantity, but still strive for a consistent quantity of content.” By “consistent” I mean regular. The cold, hard truth of content marketing is that no matter how mind-blowing your last piece of content was, if you go silent for too long, you become forgotten. At Stone Temple we’ve adopted a strategy of planning for one “blockbuster” piece of content per month, while filling the in-between times with content that is still quality and useful, but easier to produce, such as content repurposed from our blockbusters (for example, a short video covering one aspect of a lengthy data study).”
– Mark Traphagen
Follow on Twitter: @marktraphagen
Senior Director of Brand Evangelism for Stone Temple, Speaker & Author
“In 2017, brands will build or buy their own media properties to disintermediate the giants of search and social.
What Joe Pulizzi calls ‘rented land’ is getting too expensive. Own your own audience!
Live video and interactive, data-gathering content will go big. The first because it’s cool and easy; the second because it will drive far better targeting (which always boosts ROI).
2017 tip for B2B marketers: double your efforts in bringing marketing automation, web analytics and CRM together so you can track content success.
Integrating marketing silos at the data layer will become a major imperative — brands need to own their own data and manage it like the strategic asset that it is.”
– Doug Kessler
Follow on Twitter: @dougkessler
Creative Director & Co-Founder of Velocity
“I foresee 2017 being a year where more content marketers stop wasting so much time and money on things that aren’t working. A ton of companies get little or no traction from certain tactics and channels—even some of the most popular ones, such as blogs and Facebook. I’m not suggesting you stop creating content, but I am suggesting to try new and different approaches when the ones you currently use aren’t producing traffic, leads, sales or whatever type of results mean something to your business.
It’s so much harder to stand out when you focus strictly on doing the same things as your competitors. It’s time to get creative. When everyone’s zigging, you need to zag.”
– Barry Feldman
Follow on Twitter: @FeldmanCreative
Digital Marketer, Author, Marketing Consultant at feldmancreative.com
“Today, marketers know they should do content marketing, but still not how to do it best. I think that 2017 will be the year of problem-solution growth and development in content marketing, as well as the growth of unique content types and outstanding writing with SEO as an afterthought, the reader as a forethought.
Solutions (unique tools, creative companies, brilliant thinkers behind them) will rise to the need of solving the ever-growing problem of too much content, not enough strategy.
Content will rise to the occasion, as well. We have a ton of platforms. Noise is growing. Content is multiplying. Rise above the noise by standing out with unique content types (try commissioning a hand-drawn, Adobe illustrated custom art piece for your next blog!), and creating your best content. Take a stand. Be yourself. Do insider research for your stance that takes you weeks to complete. Marketers will start thinking of SEO less, readers, more, and invest in content that truly stands out.”
– Julia McCoy
Follow on Twitter: @JuliaEMcCoy
CEO at Express Writers, Best-selling Author of So You Think You Can Write?, Content Marketer
“I believe artificial intelligence will start to have a significant impact on content marketing in 2017. Content marketing is becoming more and more complex. Creating great relevant content is still a major challenge but the sad news is that it’s not enough. Not only do you need more and more content but you also need to optimize its lifecycle across multiple channels like the various social networks, email and SEO. Trying to do everything manually is overwhelming at best and impossible for many under-resourced marketers. Smart marketers will leverage AI not just to automate various tasks but also to have insights on what content to create, how and when to distribute it and how to optimize its impact.”
– Guillaume Decugis
Follow on Twitter: @gdecugis
Co-Founder & CEO at Scoopit, Entrepreneur
“I predict that Instagram will continue to grow as a preferred broadcasting channel.
Every business, brand and entrepreneur has the opportunity to use Instagram to amplify & promote authentic, entertaining, fun, creative content. Focus on the person who you are trying to do business and think about what they need. Not what you want to create. It’s all about connecting on an intimate level and this can now be done through Instagram direct messaging, Instagram Stories and Instagram Live.”
— Sue Zimmerman
Follow on Twitter: @SueBZimmerman
#TheInstagramExpert Speaker, Consultant, Top @CreativeLive Instructor
“In 2017, I think accompanying media and visuals with content will continue to be extremely popular. Think explainer videos, gifs, infographics, social media images. People are raising their expectations when it comes to the way content looks, and it’s up to us as marketers to continue experimenting with how to present content that gets our audience’s attention.
In the New Year, I think video will continue to blow up. I see more and more people using Boomerang to create looping mini videos for Instagram, and live video on Facebook and YouTube (and now Instagram) will continue to be popular. Being live brings a whole new set of exciting challenges and content marketers should be thinking about how to best use live video, as well as thinking about how they repurpose it or tie it into their other efforts.
Continue to look for new apps and services to try, in 2017. There are new things popping up every day. For instance, I just heard about Ripl a few months ago and can’t wait to start using it. In addition, while you are learning and trying new things, don’t forget about your old content. Most website traffic comes from evergreen content pieces that could be months or years old. Set up a strategy to continuously improve these pieces and re-share them regularly on social media.
Kelsey: Please link back to MoxieDot.com (you can mention SEJ too, but I’d love a link to MoxieDot instead of SEJ :))
– Kelsey Jones
Follow on Twitter: @wonderwall7
Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, #MarketingNerds Host, Founder at MoxieDot
“Predictions are difficult but we can be sure more content will be produced in 2017 than in any previous year. I suspect we will see more content in every format but particularly video. I believe marketers will act more like publishers and hence increase content volumes. Michael Brenner has recently made a great contribution to this debate.
Content marketers have to reach people, which means you have to be where they hang out. Pew Research have shown that this is primarily Facebook and their data shows Facebook’s dominance is continuing to grow. The data also shows that over 89% of people that use LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter also use Facebook and they use it more frequently. Thus I think we will see an increased focus on Facebook as the most important distribution and engagement platform, and increasingly see it used by B2B marketers.
Content marketing is about building an audience. Thus understanding your audience, the questions they ask and the issues they face is critical if you are to produce valuable and helpful content for them. Personally to break through the noise I think you need a strategy which combines producing regular helpful content with more infrequent blockbuster or ten times content. This might be a major research study or comprehensive guide which moves the needle. Something that has longevity and attracts links as well as shares.”
– Steve Rayson
Follow on Twitter: @steverayson
Director at BuzzSumo, Content Marketer, Entrepreneur