23 Content Marketing Predictions for 2017

Last month, before people went away on vacation and struggled to explain their jobs to their extended families, the editorial team asked everyone at Contently to think about the future of content marketing. Will video rule 2017? Will fake news change the way publishers pursue marketing? Will artificial intelligence go too far?

Now we’re back, ready to hope for the best, plan for the worst, and prepare for the ROI apocalypse. As marketers try to stay ahead of their competitors, here are 23 predictions to watch out for during 2017.

1. Traditional publishers will stop downsizing quality journalists and realize the value they can provide to their content marketing efforts. (Tweet this!)

-Brett Lofgren, chief revenue officer

2. Shortform social video is the biggest looming opportunity for content marketers. It’s the new TV commercial. And since it’s perfect for bite-size storytelling, it will dominate Facebook before we know it. (Tweet this!)

-Shane Snow, chief creative officer

3. Companies will share more stories of corporate social responsibility, highlighting people and programs focused on sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community involvement. (Tweet this!)

-Cara Cannella, senior brand editor

4. Organizations serious about content marketing will use proprietary data to tell compelling stories, relying on internal data scientists and analysts to support content initiatives. (Tweet this!)

-Kristen Poli, content strategy associate

5. The ROI apocalypse is coming. You published content, didn’t think about how to distribute it to your target audience, and now your CEO is about to come breathing down your neck wondering what you spent all of her money on. Some people in content marketing get how to do it right, but most still do not. In 2017, it’s time to get it in gear or deal with the reckoning. (Tweet this!)

-Joe Lazauskas, editor-in-chief

6. Marketing attribution technology will take a giant leap forward in 2017. Marketers, especially those in B2B with longer sales cycles, will be able to make the case for larger budgets based on the proven impact of their efforts. (Tweet this!)

-Adam Blake, senior marketing operations manager

7. Eighty-three percent of marketers will procrastinate on content marketing because they’ll (incorrectly) assume their competitors already figured out how to publish effectively. Seventeen percent will continue building an audience through content, further capitalizing on the inactivity of the 83 percent. (Tweet this!)

-Steve Peck, director of business development

8. Some brands will realize that video can’t save them. Sure, multimedia is important, but too many companies are going to throw too much money at video without taking the time to develop a long-term plan. If it looks anything like the written landscape, the same mediocrity will exist, it’ll just be a lot more expensive. (Tweet this!)

-Jordan Teicher, managing editor

9. Writers who have written for top brand publications will be as coveted as those who have written for traditional publications. For example, writing for Red Bull will carry the same weight as writing for Outside magazine. (Tweet this!)

-Brian Maehl, development manager

10. There will be a rise in content about fashion, with an emphasis on how products are ethically sourced and ways people can create a personal brand through fashion. Trust me. (Tweet this!)

-Rebecca Taskin, operations manager

11. Brands have a pretty good grasp on how to create fire content that generates leads. The next step is figuring out how to segment and nurture these people with clever copy that draws them further down the sales funnel. (Tweet this!)

-Erin Nelson, marketing editor

12. CMOs will begin to be held accountable for showing a return on content investment, and industry standards for how to do so will become more common. (Tweet this!)

-Luke Maloney, sales associate

13. In the UK, far more marketers will commit to building audiences with original content, instead of renting eyeballs using content from publishers. (Tweet this!)

-Rebecca Allen, GM of UK & Europe

14. Some brave B2B brand will take the plunge into VR. The result will be unpleasant. (Tweet this!)

-Sam Slaughter, VP of content

15. With so much controversy around fake news, brands won’t be able to put out a half-assed study that coincidentally finds their product solves some big problem. If brands want to publish original research, particularly if they want traditional press to cover it, the research will have to be high-quality work that’s completed with a respected third-party organization. (Tweet this!)

-Ann Fabens-Lassen, communications manager

16. Bill Simmons will go back to writing and let his video work die. (Tweet this!)

-Cyrus Park, customer success manager

17. Marketers will prioritize the buyer’s journey to build a multi-touch attribution model that helps them understand which content initiatives work and which can be cut. (Tweet this!)

-Hiba Haider, demand generation specialist

18. We’re going to see an increased investment in storytelling as a core communications strategy. Visionary leaders will form centralized content teams responsible for managing all content across the enterprise, and laggards will simply task their staff with “telling more stories.” (Tweet this!)

-Dan Gottlieb, senior sales executive

19. Keep your eye on the rise of the global newsroom. I’ve heard a lot lately about companies trying to have a true global newsroom, where different markets all congregate by phone at least once per week to share ideas, find content that can be useful for more than one market, and more. (Tweet this!)

-Evan Kendall, UK sales manager

20. At least two major brands will shift their “agency of record” designation from a traditional ad agency to a content shop. (Tweet this!)

-Craig Davis, editorial intern

21. Content will focus on the impact of the new presidential administration taking over in January. Healthcare, auto, finance and real estate brands will rely on content more than ever to establish themselves as thought leaders in their respective spaces. (Tweet this!)

-Tiffany M. Piracha, senior enterprise account manager

22. The backlash against tech will grow, and that includes social platforms and digital advertising. Privacy is part of that, but the biggest factor will be AI. Could AI eventually replace the rank-and-file marketer? It’s possible. AI already came for blue-collar jobs, and it’s coming for service jobs now. White-collar jobs are next up on the chopping block. (Tweet this!)

-Dillon Baker, tech editor

23. Marketing automation tools will help companies create more personalized customer journeys. This means sales and marketing teams will become more sophisticated at segmentation, offering content that feels bespoke, but—spoiler alert—is done at scale. (Tweet this!)

-Amanda Weatherhead, sales strategist

Image by 279 Photo Studio / Shutterstock

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