Forecasting 4 trends in content marketing

To stay ahead of the curve, your strategy has to be mobile-friendly and video-heavy, yet agile enough to pivot along with consumer preferences.

The last 20 years have been a wild ride for marketers. The next 20 could be even more turbulent.

Here are predictions on how four trends will influence the content marketing strategies of tomorrow:

1. Information overload is real, but it’s not so bad.

Marketing content is everywhere, from the copy on your toothpaste tube to the ads in your morning paper to the constant stream of targeted photos, videos, blogs and pitches on your internet sidebar. We’re bombarded with information.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans say they like having information at their fingertips, and 81 percent feel confident about keeping up with the constant flow.

Prediction: Even higher-quality content will be required for you to maintain brand trust.

As consumers’ comfort level with information overload increases, so does their demand for high-quality content. Modern consumers are self-educating; they find information online.

To build a strong platform for your brand, your content should enable self-starting consumers to conduct in-depth research on their own. By providing easily searchable blogs, videos and interactive training sites, you can present your brand with confidence and give customers all the information they need.

In turn, trust for your brand will grow, because you’ll be known as a company that cuts through the clutter to deliver real value for your customers—even before their first purchase.

2. People are watching more and reading less.

According to the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 74 percent of social media marketers use visuals in their social media marketing. Sixty percent said they use video.

The push for increased visual content is related to shifting consumer habits. Four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.

Prediction : Video content will continue to dominate.

According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, by 2019, some 80 percent of all global internet traffic will come from video. According to the following HubSpot graph, video captures—and keeps—consumer attention.

For the foreseeable future, marketers should count on using video to captivate audiences.

3. Internet platforms come and go.

A decade ago, social media was the new thing. Internet users gradually abandoned their personal blogs in favor of Facebook, Twitter and other power platforms.

From 2005 to 2016, social media adoption grew by more than 60 percent. Today, 69 percent of adult internet users are on at least one platform. Meanwhile, once-hot networks such as Geocities and MySpace have faded into obscurity.

Prediction : Consumers will tell you what they want and where they want to see it.

According to a HubSpot behavior survey, internet users want to see more posts, news articles and video.

Not long ago, podcasts and blogs dominated the content world. Now, consumers say they would prefer online courses, research content and interactive tools—which were almost unheard of a few years ago.

4. Go mobile first, or you’ll be last.

From 2011 to 2016, smartphone use grew by 42 percent. According to a Pew Research study, 77 percent of adults in America own a smartphone. In the 18-to-29 age bracket, that figure is 95 percent.

People now rely less on their home PC or work computer for content consumption. They check email on their phone while riding the train to work, glance at social media on their tablet over lunch and schedule meetings on their smart watches.

Prediction : The smaller the screen, the larger the audience.

As screens shrink, content placement takes on new significance. Marketers will have to prioritize a strong mobile strategy to stay relevant.

Consumers increasingly are accessing websites through handheld devices, so it’s crucial that every user journey is seamless on mobile devices. Email campaigns and landing pages should be designed with a mobile-first strategy, and content should be concise.

For marketers, new technologies and resulting behaviors will open new channels to reach consumers. Marketers who anticipate and adapt to trends will build a stronger brand that’s more likely to survive.

Mark Yeager is chief strategy officer at Yeager Marketing. A version of this post first appeared on Convince and Convert.

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