What Does 2016 Hold for Content Marketers?

I recently sat in on a captivating overview of the latest innovations and insights within the content marketing space, hosted by the Content Marketing Institute. The “Top Content Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2016” webinar, led by industry thought leaders Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, shared four pivotal predictions for the coming year, and how they expect these developments to impact the content marketing landscape, moving forward.

Following is a quick breakdown of the key trends that will be shaping the marketing landscape in 2016:

Get Ready For “The Big Pushback”

Content marketing has been popularized in the last several years, but is about to enter a phase of disillusionment. We’re used to hearing only about unique successes in marketing, but, given the fact that so many brands are spending huge budgets on these programs and not seeing any ROI, soon we’re going to start hearing about failures, as well. To combat this air of negativity, marketers need to realize that the true asset created by all their hard work isn’t the content, but rather the audience the content has attracted. In the year ahead, marketers will need to concentrate on nurturing their audience, rather than merely creating content at a breakneck pace.

Quality vs. Quantity

In 2016, brands are going to realize that less is more. Marketers, in turn, are going to take a hard look at their various social channels and likely cut down on the number of channels they manage, instead focusing their energies on maintaining the quality of their posts. Joe and Robert suggest that marketers critically examine all the elements of their content program and ask themselves, “If a particular element was discontinued, would anyone outside of the company notice?” If not, it’s worth considering nixing the program. The goal should be to create the least amount of content with the highest impact. If content pieces are purposeful and work in tandem, marketers will need less content to create an impact.

Native Advertising Will Continue to Proliferate

While some top-tier publications, like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, are keeping their native advertising arm’s length from news content, in the year ahead, smaller publications may be taken over by native advertising, killing their credibility. Concurrently, brands that are producing effective content will continue to compete with the media audience. It might seem far off, but this trend may result in brands taking the opportunity to steal audiences from these publications. If they are successful, brands that are particularly adept at content marketing may even have other brands paying to advertise on their content marketing properties.

Content Marketing Mergers & Acquisitions Offer New Opportunities for Brands

2015 was a big year for the M&A activity in the content marketing space, and this is expected to continue in the coming year. It is predicted that there will be a large class of brands acquiring blogs and publishing companies to gain audience, accelerate their content initiatives and transform their approach to marketing. Content marketers are starting to be more like publishers― willing to buy rather than build.

What trends to you think will impact content marketing this year? We’d love to hear from you.

Photo Credit: TopRank Online Marketing, Flickr

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