November 8, 2017
The future of content marketing is on a lot of people’s minds.
Right now, we’re in a period of major flux. Technology shifts, like text search to voice search and desktop to mobile, have a lot to do with it.
The thing is, these shifts are just now gaining momentum. HubSpot Research did a survey of global Internet users, and the results underline changing user habits.
In particular, they note that, soon, mobile-first users will come of age. Voice search will increase. Artificial Intelligence will start handling customer interactions on the front lines.
These changes must be reflected in content marketing. You have to stay ahead of the curve to keep up.
With that in mind, here are some more notable predictions. These are already influencing the way brands are approaching their content creation.
Follow my lead as we gaze into a crystal ball…
What Does the Future Have in Store for Content Marketing?
Video. Technology. Mobile. Voice Search. Repeat.
1. Video is Gonna Be Huge(r)
Video is already a top-performer in the content world. For scope, consider the fact that over half a billion people watch video on Facebook daily. (Half a billion!)
Furthermore, video content should corner 80 percent of all Internet traffic by 2019. More and more people are watching videos online, with YouTube grabbing billions of views per month, and users spending good chunks of their day consuming video content.
It’s not just millennials, either. People over the age of 35 are also watching at least a few minutes of online video daily.
What does this mean for the future? Plenty.
Video content marketing is only going to gain momentum, keeping in line with users’ habits. More brands are going to invest in video as a top way to grab and hold their audience’s attention.
Right now, video marketing can differentiate you from businesses who are slow to adapt. (Forbes outlines five great reasons to get going with video. It helps your audience remember your brand and drives traffic to your site, for starters.)
In the future, though, video marketing will be pretty standard.
2. Storytelling Will Continue to Grow as a Vital Content Marketing Move
As content marketing pushes forward, businesses will start to understand that a successful content strategy must include storytelling infusing their entire MO.
Contently’s editor-in-chief, Joe Lazauskas, posits that content will stop existing “in a vacuum.” Instead, it will move to permeating a brand’s entire strategy, from marketing to communications.
Future predictions from top marketers (compiled in this Content Marketing Institute article) echo this thought. One marketing director specifically predicted content marketing teams will stop working in silos, separate from the rest of the company. Instead, every employee will “think and act like marketers.”
Storytelling will be everything to businesses, and they’ll invest in it from top to bottom to see true success in the future.
3. Mobile Optimization Will Become No. 1
As mobile use grows and mobile-first users come of age, the emphasis on mobile optimization for content marketing will become more important than ever. In fact, content marketers will have to think about how their content looks and reads on mobile before any other medium.
According to marketer predictions, though, it might go even farther than that.
One data-driven marketing director says it’s likely future websites will be able to do quick-changes based on who’s viewing them. They’ll be able to “create themselves on the fly” based on visitors’ search history, their previous visits to the site, and what they clicked on during those times.
This means a blog could look different for every person who visits it, showing relevant posts and content based on their interests. A website could tailor itself for its target audience.
The possibilities for this type of targeting are huge, to say the least.
4. Your Audience Segmentation Will Get Narrower
The future of content marketing will most definitely include more places for users to get their information online. As a result, audiences will continue to segment.
Content marketing will need to morph to meet them wherever they go, however (and wherever) they choose to consume content. The audience focus will get narrower, but the number of focused audiences you target will widen.
5. Content Will Cater to Voice Search
We’re just diving into the possibilities for voice search, and as time passes, it’s only going to get more nuanced, more accurate, and easier to use.
Content marketing has already changed to adapt. Natural, long tail keywords in your content cater to the people who ask their electronic home assistants (Alexa, Siri, Cortana, etc.) long-form queries in natural language.
And, guess what? Voice search is only going to get more conversational.
What does this mean for content marketing?
The emphasis on natural keywords in content optimized for voice search will grow. Additionally, since most people use voice search on the go, the emphasis on mobile-friendly content will also continue.
Articles may get shorter, and the answers users are looking for will be right at the top, in the first few paragraphs. Video content may be integrated for quickness and ease-of-use. For instance, instead of a long, how-to post, the content will have a short text answer to the question. An embedded video tutorial that shows the concepts rather than explaining them may follow.
The founder of RazorSocial sums it up this way in CMI’s predictions post: “Instead of showing people how to do something we’ll have to move our content marketing to helping people do it.”
Prepare Yourself… The Future of Content Marketing Is Going to Be Exciting
The future of content marketing is on everybody’s minds because, in some ways, it feels like it’s here.
We’re on the cusp of a future where technology is even more deeply embedded in people’s lives. We have to start making changes to our game plans right now to be prepared.
Here’s the big takeaway, though: Content marketing as an overall business strategy is going to grow. If you want to be able to compete into the future and beyond, you need to start investing in it.
Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.