21 Content Marketing Predictions for the 2nd Half of 2015

One of my favorite annual activities at Contently is rounding up predictions from across our company about what will happen in content marketing in the year ahead. Late last year, we offered up 17 predictions for 2015, but in the past six months, the industry has evolved rapidly. No way were we waiting another six months to look into our crystal ball to admire how good looking we are and make some predictions.

Without further ado, I present 21 content marketing predictions for the second half of 2015 from around the Contently office:

On brand ambitions

1. More and more brands will hire full-time editors. They’ll call them something absurd though, like “global audience strategists.” —Sam Slaughter, VP of Content (Tweet this!)

2. A few overly ambitious brands will try to publish hard news. They’ll probably fail, and it’ll be fun to watch, but it’ll be interesting to see if anyone can figure out how to do it even half well, since that particular space is wide open. —Jordan Teicher, Associate Editor (Tweet this!)

3. Brands will start seriously turning their attention to Gen Z, roughly a quarter of the U.S. population. They’ll need to come correct—these kids are notorious for having different habits than millennials, consistently using as many as five different devices (laptop, TV, iPad, smartphone, desktop). —Ann Fabens-Lassen, Communications Manager (Tweet this!)

4. More brands will invest in video (obviously), but few will do it well. They’ll spend a lot, get nothing in return, then turn bearish on video. By 2016, we’ll be seeing articles like “Why Video Is a Bad Gamble for Content Marketers.” —Ryan Galloway, Head of Editorial Services (Tweet this!)

5. Brands will realize that content marketing is not just about telling a compelling story with words. It requires strong visuals and multimedia to push a narrative forward. —Kathryn Han, Director of Design (Tweet this!)

6. Brands will cultivate their Instagram accounts to tell powerful, honest stories about their company behind the scenes. Their visuals will feature a lot of dreamy landscapes that remind us that the world is grand. —Julia Schur, Editorial Intern (Tweet this!)

7. We’ll continue to see an explosion of media companies launching within brands. By Christmas, it’ll be the hot new accessory for content marketers, the puka necklace of the digital age. Following the lead of Casper’s Van Winkle’s and Starbucks’ venture with Rajiv Chandrasekaran, some brands will take a crack at editorial independence. Only one or two will do it well. —Joe Lazauskas, Editor-in-Chief (Tweet this!)


8. Companies will get more focused and accurate about defining just how much quality content is worth beyond strictly financial metrics. Content marketers will start looking at many of the same brand metrics their colleagues in advertising use to measure impact. —Richard Sharp, Head of Product Marketing (Tweet this!)

9. Brands will scramble to spend their remaining 2015 content budget on premium content such as infographics and videos. As they prepare their 2016 budget proposals, they’ll feel pressured to define and measure the business value of this content. —Kunal Patel, Product Manager (Tweet this!)

10. I’ve said this before, but I need to say it again: Vanity metrics will die. No more empty-calorie metrics like shares and tweets and pageviews. —Paul Fredrich,VP of Product (Tweet this!)

The future of martech

11. Everyone who’s selling content marketing technology of some sort will attempt to get a new acronym to stick. CMOs will be up to their eyeballs in pitches for CMPs, CMMs, CCPs, and other synonyms for POS. —Shane Snow, co-founder & CCO (Tweet this!)

12. The Content Marketing Lumascape will be turned upside down, and we will view it in terms of the consumer funnel—not by publishers, platforms, and networks. Content leaders will be those who specialize in driving awareness, consideration, preference, purchase, loyalty, and advocacy. —Brett Lofgren, Chief Revenue Officer (Tweet this!)

13. We will see a shift as content marketing initiatives include more technology integrations and integrations across multiple teams. —Ari Kepnes, Content Strategist (Tweet this!)

14. Brands will demand formalized, customized content marketing programs straight out of the gate. Tailored content hacks will replace the current laborious model of looking for a technology partner, strategy, creatives, distribution opportunities, and other elements piecemeal. The norm will be a proven, pre-made content marketing program, wrapped up nice and pretty. —Ali Kriegsman, Sales Executive (Tweet this!)

15. Marketers will finally realize that software alone doesn’t create great content, regardless of its bells and whistles. You need great talent and a succinct strategy. A fool with a tool is still just a fool. —Paul Fredrich, VP of Product (Tweet this!)

And the future of media

16. More news curation apps and app features will emerge, especially with the upcoming 2016 election. Every media company will want to be your go-to source for up-to-date content. They’re going to need to be on mobile to do it, and they’re going to challenge brands to find new ways to get seen. So far Snapchat, Facebook, Flipboard, and Apple are duking it out. Who’s next? —Amanda Walgrove, Writer (Tweet this!)

17. A media company will buy a content marketing firm to help scale their native ad business and establish their own content marketing division. —Dillon Baker, Associate Editor (Tweet this!)

18. Media companies will embrace two alternative revenue sources: as content marketing agencies (which are way better equipped to help brands build audiences than most digital agencies) and as SaaS companies (as innovative media operations like BuzzFeed and Vox start to license their proprietary software products). We’ll hear “All media companies are becoming SaaS companies, and all SaaS companies are becoming media companies” a lot. —Joe Lazauskas, Editor-in-Chief (Tweet this!)

19. A major deal will make it abundantly clear that “destination content” is quickly becoming the new advertising. —Alex Combs, Data Scientist (Tweet this!)

And finally, silly names

20. Ambitious types looking to oversee all of marcomms, internal comms, media, content, etc. will rebrand themselves as Lord of the Comms. —Elisa Cool, VP of Brand Development (Tweet this!)

21. That moment when awesome content almost makes it out the door but is killed by committee, compliance, or other internal processes will come to be known as being “John Snow’d.” —Elisa Cool, VP of Brand Development (Tweet this!)

Image by Simone van den Berg

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