Content marketers will need to produce “high-quality, value-driven” content and leverage new tech tools and platforms in 2017 in order to cut through the noise and engage with audiences effectively. Forecasts from industry experts for the year ahead indicate that mobile and artificial intelligence in particular will be key to delivering “pinpoint-targeted” content.
Research by Forrester shows that marketing leaders will spend more than $100 billion (£80.2 billion) each year on search, display, social, email and other forms of digital marketing by 2019. However, because there is now a greater focus on content due to its critical importance for achieving business goals, brands will need to combat “content shock” to ensure that their message is heard by the masses.
Shana Haynie, co-founder of marketing agency Splash, believes that enterprises now recognise that they have to deliver a higher standard of content, as there are so many stories out there. She adds: “High-quality, value-driven content is the norm. Companies can no longer expect to break through the noise just by publishing decent articles.”
One way to differentiate content is to adopt an audience-centric approach, which is more focused on who exactly will benefit from the material rather than what is being created. Content expert Katelyn Holbrook believes that making the audience the number-one priority will help guide customers through the buying cycle more efficiently and ensure that content dovetails with corporate objectives.
Content marketers will also have to look to new tech during the next 12 months in order to improve their analytics and targeting methods, with virtual reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence among the exciting new tools that could potentially transform content strategies. There will also be a shift towards driving return on investment rather than merely building awareness.
SHIFT Communications’ VP of Marketing Tech, Christopher S. Penn, adds: “We need a smarter, more refined way to communicate. In 2017, content marketers will need to be going after anything that will get them attention, and artificial intelligence [AI], machine learning and mixed reality will help them understand what that is. Tools like IBM Watson will help content marketers weed through the piles and piles of existing content to drill down and determine what really matters.”