Content marketing is a great promotional tool for businesses and has become one of the most trusted mediums by consumers - in fact, it's been found to outrank TV and radio ads, billboards and magazine and newspaper ads in terms of trustworthiness.
This is why so many businesses are spending more on content marketing, and this trend looks set to continue for the simple reason that it works.
So, if you're not using content marketing yet to promote your business, 2017 is the perfect time to start.
Here's what you need to know for the coming year:
1. Video is king
Video has exploded in 2016 and the next year presents the perfect opportunity for marketers and businesses to catch up with this trend.
Video has been popular for a while now, but social media has helped make it even bigger. Most of the bigger social networks now incorporate video elements, but Facebook has really brought it to the next level. I'm sure you've all noticed that your news feeds are inundated with Facebook Live updates, and all of the advertising Facebook's been doing recently on this front will only help grow this trend. Snapchat as well has seen huge popularity this year, along with Instagram videos.
Videos drive more engagement than other forms of content, and more sales. Studies have found that those who view videos are 1.81X more likely to buy that those who don't - even having "video" in the subject line of your emails has been shown massively improve open rates.
In the coming year, we'll most likely be seeing even more businesses experimenting with video, so it's definitely the perfect time to start thinking about the videos you can produce in 2017 to drive more engagement and make more conversions and sales.
2. Other forms of visual content
Although video is extremely popular right now, other forms of visual content are still performing at very high rates. Images, infographics, slide presentations, are all still very popular and can help to drive more engagement and conversions for your business.
Consumers want more than just text only content and search engines are also finding better ways of indexing visual content, which means it can also help with search engine optimization.
Try to use as much visual content as possible on your website, and relevant images within your blog posts. Likewise, on social media, even if you're not on a visual-only platform like Instagram, visual content will still help you drive more engagement on your updates and clicks on the links you share.
Also, try to create unique visual content for your content marketing strategy, rather than use stock images.
3. Interactive content
Interactive content will see a big rise in the coming year. People like to be more involved, and interactive content provides that opportunity.
As a content marketer, one of the biggest goals is to drive as much as engagement as possible and interactive content - by definition - helps you do that.
Interactive content is also much less used than other forms of content, so it can help you stand out. Interactive content also appeals to users on a different level, since they get to be a part of it as active participants and not just consumers.
You don't need to come up with interactive content every week though - it's one of those types of content that you can use more sparsely to grow your engagement and increase your reach from time to time.
4. Evergreen content
Sometimes, you need to focus on the practical as well. Evergreen content will continue to be important in 2017, as it not only provides value to your audience, but it can also generate more, longer lasting results - basically, it's a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Most pieces of content have a pretty short life-span, particularly on social platform. Evergreen content, on the other hand, is designed to pass the test of time and still be relevant months, or even a year later.
5. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is another area that will continue to grow in the coming year. Through influencers, content marketers can reach a much larger audience, while it also helps increase the value of each influencer, as well as their credibility.
In 2017, make sure you identify the relevant influencers in your niche and start building relationships with them. Influencers have great power over their audience and having a few behind you as a part of your content marketing campaigns can really help boost your campaign performance, particularly in regards to engagement, traffic to your website and conversions.
6. The importance of mobile device optimization
The number of people using mobile devices to check their social media and for consuming content is growing at a very fast rate. As an example, mobile video plays have gone up 844% between 2012 in 2015. In fact, between 2014 and 2015 alone, that number grew by 74%.
And it's not just videos that have grown in popularity on mobile, but all kinds of content. People have their phones and tablets with them everywhere they go, they have Internet and they also have a lot of time that they need to fill up while they're in transit. They're looking to consume content.
All of this means that marketers need to make sure that their content is properly optimized for all kinds of mobile devices, or else people will simply not bother with checking them out. After all, there's so much great content available, why should they lose any time on something that they can't see or read comfortably?
Content marketing is going to be a cut-throat industry in 2017, even more so than this year. Marketers will have to think outside the box in order to stand out from the crowd.
What do you think will be the biggest trends in content marketing in the coming year? What are your content marketing strategies for 2017?