content marketing predictions 2016 cover

Expert Weigh-In: Content Marketing Predictions For 2016

We talked to more than 15 content marketing experts (19, to be exact) this month and asked them for 2016-geared content marketing predictions on our industry. Here’s what they shared. Longer insights directly from the experts are shared below the infographic.

content marketing predictions 2016

The Experts Weigh-In: 19 Content Marketing Predictions For 2016

1. Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Evangelist, Founder of Content Marketing Institute, Author, Speaker, Twitter @JoePulizzi

“Focus everything on building subscribers – one content type, one platform and consistent delivery over time.”

2. Kevan Lee, Content Crafter at Buffer, Twitter @kevanlee

“Really excited to see where content marketing goes in 2016. I have a sense that we’re nearing some really big changes, perhaps even a bit toward segmentation of sorts. I’m kind of thinking back even to blogs like Daring Fireball and Kottke that have been curators of a sort, while also taking occasion to go longform on a topic if need be. This mix – long plus short, or rich media plus plain text also – is one direction I could see things heading, as it might support the varied tastes of readers who might want different things!”

3. Steve Rayson, Director at BuzzSumo, Twitter @steverayson

“The job of content marketers will be challenging in 2016. The volume of content published will continue to grow exponentially and getting your voice heard will be harder. Thus it will be important to research content opportunities before you start creating content.

For example, what content does your audience love, what emotional elements engage them, what formats do they like and what content do they particularly like to share such as quotes, facts, images, tips, research, news, etc.? What is the best content in your space and how can you improve on it? It will also be increasingly important to have an amplification strategy before you create content. Who will share the content and who will link to it? You need a clear outreach strategy for influencers and link building. Building relationships with key influencers will grow in importance. In 2016 the battle for content engagement will be won or lost before any content is even written.”

4. Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist, Acting CMO of Brand Innovators, Twitter @tedrubin

“For marketers thinking about approaching content marketing from a networking and community building aspect rather than a marketing and sales aspect can be very difficult. Brands need to attract customers, but breaking through the clutter is challenging. Every day brands and marketers are spending millions trying to get you to use, keep using, and share that you love their brands. But why aren’t they doing everything they can, and using some of those millions to do it (probably way less that they are spending on those marketing campaigns), making experiences with their brand remarkable. Opportunities to do this are given to brands each and every day and they simply, turn their heads, rave about their latest and great “campaign’ as if it were a military conquest, and pass up ways to really create customers for life.

2016 needs to be the year of doing what I call… Looking People in the Eye Digitally. The last few decades of marketing tactics have made us lazy communicators and I’ve had just about enough. Most often we don’t even pay attention to who we are talking to other than via the data we collect (and even that’s a maybe). In order to fix this and really start to benefit from the content we produce (both as individuals and as companies), we need to start looking people in the eye digitally.’

Brands, in 2016, and going forward… Standout by “LIKING” them BEFORE they “LIKE” you. #RonR… #NoLetUp!”

5. Michael A. Stelzner, Founder of Social Media Examiner, host of Social Media Marketing podcast, Twitter @Mike_Stelzner

“360 Degree Live Video Experiences: The year 2015 started an era of live casting with the introduction of new technology such as Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab. 2016 will take some of these live broadcasts to an entirely new level with the introduction of live 360 degree broadcasts that will allow people to move their mobile phones and experience the action as if they were actually present and moving their heads. In addition we’ll see the wide scale adoption of cost effective virtual reality devices that will enable fully immersive 3D experiences that are live. Much of this will be enabled by low cost 360 cameras like the Ricoh Theta combined with economical devices like Google Paper that transform the smart phones everyone already owns into a virtual reality device. This represents an entirely new opportunity for marketers to give factory tours and any other form in-person experience the mind can imagine.”

6. Mark Traphagen, Top 10 Expert for SEO & Content Marketing, Speaker, Sr. Director of Marketing at Stone Temple Consulting, Twitter @marktraphagen

“Make 2016 your year of quality over quantity. Rather than straining to get out as many content assets as you can, concentrate on producing fewer but truly epic pieces, and then repurpose and re-promote them over and over again.”

7. Brian Fanzo, Change Evangelist & Keynote Speaker, host of #SbizHour#CloudTalkSMACtalk, Twitter @iSocialFanz

“Content Marketing in 2016 will see a new focus on creating great content that embraces real-time input from the community while creating and delivering the content at the right time! “Content is king” inspired marketers to create content just because they knew that content was powerful rather than asking for feedback, leveraging data and creating great content. Thanks to apps like snapchat, periscope and Facebook live streaming brands can now crowd source content ideas in real-time while also surveying their audience to better understand the content they should be creating for their community. Live streaming will also drive a new focus on creating more authentic content and dissolving the notion that customers prefer perfect content.

2016 is an exciting year for content marketing as I believe the content will be more data driven and include the community in the creation like never before ultimately making happy customers, community and marketers!”

8. Shane Barker, #1 Social Media Consultant, Writer, Co-Founder at Modera, Twitter @shane_barker

“2016 will be the year of the Social Media Influencers!  Brands large and small will start to research, evaluate and hire influencers through platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. These influencers will become micro-producers of original content that is tailored for their following and spoken in their voice. These unique campaigns will create social proof for the brands while driving traffic and ultimately more sales.”

9. Sujan Patel, Co-Founder of Narrow.io & ContentMarketer.io, Twitter @sujanpatel

“I predict that in 2016 content marketers will switch to quality over quantity of content published and devote more time to content promotion and distribution. I’m already starting to see this shift with the leading marketers/companies in Q4 of 2015. I believe so strongly in this that in prediction that I built ContentMarketer.io to help with content promotion.”

10. Eric Enge, CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, Twitter @stonetemple

“Here are my thoughts on content marketing for 2016 …

During the course of 2016, we will continue to see a deluge of content, with most of it ranging from poor to decent quality content. Leading content marketers, however, will figure out that even good quality content is not good enough. You have to be thinking about elite content (or what Rand Fishkin calls 10x content).

In a recent BuzzSumo Moz study, the data showed that most articles get very few shares or very few links, but even fewer articles get a significant number of shares AND links.

There is a real battle for attention going on out there, and you need to do what it takes to stand out from the crowd.”

Thanks for the connection and the opportunity to submit my prediction. Here is a shorter version and a link to my longer post on the subject. Feel free to quote any or all of this in your article and if you can find a way to link to that post, I would really appreciate it.

11. Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, co-author of The Content Formula, Head of Strategy for NewsCred, Twitter @BrennerMichael

“I predict a massive correction in advertising budgets that will drive an increase in content marketing. This will require us to get pretty darn good at showing Content Marketing ROI.

We’ll also see more personalization, visual content and brand-produced entertaining content. Is 2016 the year of more brands finding a personality and sense of humor? Read my longer post with more 2016 insights.”

12. Guillaume Decugis, CEO & Co-Founder at Scoop.it, Twitter @gdecugis

“First, proving Content Marketing ROI will become more and more important in 2016: content marketing is maturing and after a grace period experimenting with it, marketers are now expected to show how it impacts lead and revenue generation.

Second, I’d say that things are getting serious: content marketing is not yet a science but a proven methodology for it has emerged and gone are the days when you could simply rely on pure creativity and… luck. While content generation remains key, successful content marketers invest at least as much time and budget in the other parts of the content marketing cycle: planning, distribution as well as analyzing what works and doesn’t.

Third, we’ll see the rise of Content Marketing Automation as many of the tasks in that cycle and methodology can and should be automated for greater results and time saving. Distribution to social channels, generating content emails from your posts, discovering great content to share or analyzing performance data are all examples of tasks that smart marketers will perform better and faster by using content marketing software.

13. Larry Kim, Founder of Wordstream, Twitter @larrykim

“In 2016 in terms of content marketing, I’m greatly increasing investment on Social Media Ads and Video content promotion. I’m cutting back (even more) on Google+.”

14. Michael Stricker, Marketing Director at SEMrush, Twitter @RadioMS

“At first, the cessation of Google’s Auto-Suggest API will choke many keyword researchers seeking it’s insights into what gets entered and clicked in search. Tools such as SEMrush that use their own intrinsic methods to arrive at Related Terms will continue to perform.

Eventually, someone may find a way to purchase that autocomplete data from Google and present the results, but this signals the end of an era wherein free tools like Soovle and ÜberSuggest were helpful.

The nosebleeds induced by skyscraper content will sap the strength of many creators. Broad evidence suggests that social sharing of such tomes far exceeds actual reads. Ridiculously encyclopedic collections (One Million Ways to Sew On a Button!) will tarnish the trade and in the end, searchers must be understood, personified and their queries taken in context so that a more concise, useful and usable answer can be served. Fortunately, data about audience interests, affinities and better targeting is becoming commonplace and easier to use! I predict that use of interviews to construct personas will be methodized and rise to practical prominence in 2016.”

15. Jacob Hagberg, SEO Consultant & ORM at Orange Fox, Twitter @jacobhagberg

“In-house content creators need to understand the customer journey and how properly placed PR with influencer mentions impacts organic search traffic.

Always ask yourself, “Is this content more powerful on our website or as a digital asset on a partner website?”

For example, consumers often search “brand + reviews” right before making a purchase just to confirm they are making a good decision. A positive mention of your brand on a third-party authority website is psychologically more powerful than a list of testimonials on your company website.”

16. Jeff Deutsch, VP of Marketing for Ptengine, viral Inbound.org author, Twitter @jgdeutsch

“I’ll just put it this way. The human species produced 27,000,000 pieces of content every day in 2012, and internet use is increasing daily. How to cut through that noise? That’s your top challenge for 2016.

I’ve developed a set of guidelines to shock and awe readers into paying attention to you. I call it the P.A.V.E. Principle. I developed it through my discussions with some of the best copywriting minds working today. (Who noticed me after my post, “Confessions of a Google Spammer” jumped to #1 on the inbound.org content Hall of Fame.)

The PAVE Principle: Be Personal, Authentic, Vulnerable, and use Emotions.

Here are the people and posts that express these values best.

Personal: Joanna Wiebe is really good at this, and it has a lot to do with her meteoric rise in the copywriting world. Check out her article on Mad Men and copy writing to see what I mean. (Mind blown moment: Check out how often she uses the word “I” in her writing to connect with readers.)

Authentic: Julia McCoy wrote the best piece on this. Go read it. (Mind blown moment: 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content.)

Vulnerable: Brian Lenney wrote a great piece about how persuasive vulnerability can be. (Mind blown moment: The top viewed TED talk of all time is about the power of vulnerability.)

Emotions: Talia Wolf is one of the most well-known masters of emotional persuasion. (Mind blown moment: Steve Jobs also knew these tricks and used one–anchoring–when announcing new product prices.)”

17. Olga Andrienko, Head of Social Media at SEMrush, Speaker, Blogger, Twitter @OlgaSEMrush

“1. The struggle of writing for humans and pleasing search engines will be brought to a whole new level. One just doesn’t go without the other any more. Content should be optimized and never over optimized.

2. I see more and more content marketers talk about metrics, ROI, tools like Google Analytics and how to use them to track success. This is a very optimistic trend, because data always does more good than harm.

3. Another trend will be people realizing they can’t constantly produce new content, and start re-purposing their content. I see it at SEMrush as well. Instead of creating a whole new post, we get a webinar that our audience liked and create post based on the presenter’s insights and slides. We’re reworking all Twitter chats we hosted to get the best quotes and use them.”

18. Brent Csutoras, Founder & CEO of Pixel Road Designs, Twitter @brentcsutoras

“In the early years of social media, we got way too focused on being active and producing content regularly, ignoring the fact that much of the content produced was low quality and really served no purpose. Over the last two years, everyone from search engines, social media sites, to even the users themselves, have really made it clear that quality is way more important than quantity.

in 2016, companies have to focus on quality, and further more, start to really understand what quality means. Does your content answer a question, help someone make a decision, and provide real value. You have to be willing to take yourself out of it being your company and your content and really ask, is this someone I would read or share? 9 times out of 10 it is not.

Spend more time researching topics to add historical relevance to them, reach out to experts to have them comment or add to the article, use real design firms to create quality graphics and Infographics, and use visuals in your content that actually summarize and work with the content, instead of just useless stock photos meant to check off your article requirements.”

19. Julia McCoy, CEO of Express Writers, Twitter @JuliaEMcCoy

“2016 is going to be the Year of Reckoning in content marketing. How so?

1. Business owners will come aboard the content marketing train or find they’re being left behind. It’s time to produce good content (such as starting a blog, produce videos and graphics, engage and create on social media) or join the outdated group of people who aren’t.

2. Content marketing creators will vary their content productions more to step up the game. Podcasting is hot right now; it’s not over-saturated just yet, but will be in late 2016. Now is the time to start yours. Better and more unique forms of video content will happen. Live streaming will be even more popular. Forms of better engagement on social media, like Twitter chats, and tools for engagement, will grow; to rise above a standard level of infographic, gifographics will be created; content will be better researched and more effort put in; we’ll find more answers online as companies grow and produce their own unique content. To rise above the content sea, you have to be a thought leader. Be unique. Add your own insight. Create your own tool. And that will require major investments. Gone is the DIY age of content marketing.

3. Inbound marketing will thoroughly trump outbound. Cold calling, interruptive TV ads, mail flyers will be less in existence, and companies will realize the necessity and significance of inbound marketing investment and production.

Don’t be left out in the Year of Content Reckoning; join the rising revolution of (better) content marketers. Add your voice. Be heard. Stand out, engage your fans, build an audience.”

Have a 2016 marketing prediction? Enjoyed these expert predictions? Share your thoughts in the comments!

2 replies
  1. MixStrix
    MixStrix says:

    I love these year-end compilations, to take a breath and compare my assessments with others. Flattered to be in the company of giants! Thanks, Julia. Year of Content Reckoning, indeed! Every half-second, someone is judging your brand by its content!

    Reply

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