Content marketing is a strategy that involves using blog posts, videos, emails and other web content to attract and retain customers. It’s a relatively new field that’s evolving every day, which makes predicting the future of content marketing very difficult.
Nonetheless, when you ask marketers what the future has in store, there is one trend that everyone seems to agree on. While in the past, text like blog posts was the dominant form of content, in years to come, expect to see video become the dominant content format.
> Check out the industry shaking Content Inc. on Amazon for a comprehensive read into the modern world of content marketing.
For more on that and other changes coming to the content marketing world, we asked a group of industry experts…
What’s the Future of Content Marketing?
Here’s what they had to say…
Vladimir Gendelman, Founder & CEO at Company Folders
“The future of content marketing will have more of a focus on email because it allows a level of control that social media doesn’t. Companies can project a larger amount of content to gear the conversation in a specific direction. However, in social media, followers can create rabbit trail conversations that distract from the content.
In addition, companies also will spend more time publishing blog posts on hosting communities that let them expand their audiences without relying solely on social media.”
Marina Lau, Senior Marketing Manager at JotForm
It will allow marketers to go beyond developing one-size-fits-all pieces of collateral and become much more adept at providing relevant information.”
Nick Vivion, Senior Brand Journalist at Sabre Corporation
Simon Thompson, Founder of Content Kite
Online video already accounts for 74% of all online traffic (KPCB), whilst traditional media and advertising continues to fall. Video is able to be easily repurposed into other formats (audio, blog posts, transcriptions, slideshares etc) making it the most adaptable and reusable method of content creation.”
Joe McCambley, SVP, Content Marketing at POP
Of all the quadrillions of pieces of content clogging all of the world’s databases, the most relevant to me and my AI will be the content that can help me the most, whether that help comes in the form of advice, entertainment, or education.
So, in 15 years, content marketing won’t change at all. The best content will still be the content that is devoted to my success and happiness. The only difference is that in 15 years there will be an AI fast enough and smart enough to discover the content or products that are most helpful to me, while allowing me to ignore everything else.”
Catherine Schutten, Senior Marketing Manager at Big Drop Inc.
As advertisers moved their dollars onto the internet, in favor a cheaper and more accountable ad units, they brought the concept of advertorials with them. Quickly realizing that a hard sell doesn’t resonate with internet users, brands swapped their advertising strategy of talking at a customer to a marketing strategy of having a conversation with a customer.
While the IoT is still growing, in 10-15 years it will be the norm. Just like content shifted from printed magazine advertorials to blog articles posted on the internet, marketers will find new and creative ways to reach their audience using the IoT.”
Mike Domaguing, Head of Marketing at Survios
Experimental approaches utilizing these innovations will be key to breaking through. The advent of AR/VR technology presents a new method for consumer interaction: instead of a passive 2D screen, consumers can be immersed within interactive 360-degree AR/VR environments to experience “spatial storytelling.” Game developers, filmmakers, and educators are already utilizing this new medium, and it may be several years before the mainstream will consume content in this way. When it does, how will content marketers stand out among the increasing noise of traditional advertising?”
Richard Heby, Marketing Manager at LiquidSpace
In the future these innovations will make room for automated content that serves a timely, transient need for information. It’s likely with AI and language processing, that bots will produce at least some of this content. Imagine getting in-depth news analysis at the speed of technology.
Imagine content that automatically updates as new information arises. This burden will no longer be on writers and journalists. The human factor will still be critical, though, in content as experience.
This is content that goes beyond writing or images or video. It’s content you can touch, interact with, experience. It will start with things like VR/AR, e.g. for LiquidSpace, VR tours of office space would be a useful way to visualize design fit-outs in new spaces.”
James Nuttall, Content Specialist for The London School of Make-Up
Virtual Reality is another fledgling trend that cannot be ignored forever. VR is no longer just a big deal for video gamers and science geeks, it is already readily available in a wide variety of mediums, and is seeping into advertising. This will eventually trickle down into content marketing.”
Jim Sagar, CEO & Co-founder of Qlutch Marketing, Inc.
We’re already nearing an inflection point where artificial intelligence will begin serving up the content relevant to our activities, actions and desires. Video, voice and interactive content will be the norm, and the combination of AI (understanding our behaviors and using probabilistic computing), the Internet of Things (connecting the majority of objects to the network), and voice recognition software (Amazon’s Alexa) will allow video, voice, text and imagery to be delivered to us wherever we are.”
Mario Peshev, CEO & WordPress Architect at DevriX
That includes audiobooks, educational videos, recorded live streams a la Facebook Live or Google Hangouts, automated bots sifting through data and searching for paragraphs within former textual content and others.
Traditional content marketing will still be around but chances are that Web 4.0 or the next generation of Internet will aggregate data and offer insights through different mediums.”
John Leo Weber, Director of Digital Marketing at Geek Powered Studios
People will be searching for products, services, and information in a new way, and digital marketers will need to meet those searchers where they are. In fact, the most connected devices outside of phones and laptops are cars! This presents a unique opportunity for marketers to put their content in front of drivers — if I ask my car for directions to a good restaurant nearby, smart marketers should know how to leverage those interested drivers.
And even more interestingly, imagine the content marketing opportunities with driverless cars. Imagine having a driverless car pick you up and drive you to work for free — all you have to do in exchange is watch and listen to 5 minutes of advertising from a company like Nike or Lowe’s. These scenarios will be reality in 3-5 years, and smart marketers who understand the implications of these new search technologies will be the most successful among us.”
Ryan Speier, Co-Founder of BriskSale.com
I believe the interconnectedness of social media will give anyone the ability to become a social influencer.”
Jake Messier, COO & Principal of Mungo Creative Group
This results in a higher chance of a company’s content being shared across social platforms. Not only can video content improve a company’s SEO value and click-through rates, but it can also contribute to company’s brand identity.
Creating video marketing content that your customers will remember will also help them remember your brand which can move them in the right direction down the sales funnel.
Sally Kane , Director of Content for PaperStreet
Robo-writers will generate thousands of pages of copy to feed a never-ending demand for new content in an effort to capture leads and conversions. AI will also generate new forms of content as chatbots and other new tech tools are developed.
Ultimately, AI will not replace quality content or render human writers obsolete but AI-based platforms will allow marketers to focus on higher end projects.”
Kyle Golding, Co-Founder, CEO & Chief Strategic Idealist at The Golding Group
More soft or no ask/call to action marketing focused on community building, experiences and lifestyle over product specific messaging. It’s not enough to publish your content, you have to show how you made it. Make the audience part of the process. Exclusives and extended versions for different channels as well.
These channels (and new channels to come) will be used to share by the creator and reshared by fans and like-minded content producers. Repetition and cross platform will become the norm, not just for exceptional marketers. Modern attention spans and the overrun of media sources makes it more likely even those who engage you regularly miss a lot of your content posting. This requires multiple post/repost of same content.”
Randy Apuzzo, CEO of Zesty.io.
Peterson Teixeira, CEO at Peterson Teixeira Company
This is the only way to win because bots are producing 1200 articles per day. And you cannot beat that level of production. Update the same piece of content, improve its design and more. Treat it like a product. And if you can, make it personalized with A.I.”
Jacob Warwick, Founder of ThinkWarwick Communications
The future of content marketing therefore lay in the hands of marketers that invest more time and resources into creating quality content that performs well, increases sales, and drives consumer interest—rather than focusing on creating a high quantity of content to earn impressions and site visits. The balance of quality and quantity favors those who concentrate on quality.”
Jeane Sumner, CMS at Sumner Digital
Consumers are directing the way in which they want to be sold and marketed, and smart marketers are already taking note. Marketers need to align their efforts with sales teams and utilize all the data they have available to them about their consumers. Through augmented reality and VR, I see marketing becoming extremely targeted to the individual consumer.
Imagine being able to reach your consumer with an advertisement that looks and sounds like them. If you know their favorite color is red you can serve up an ad to them with your product in red instead of the default black for example. Or with a sound bed of dubstep vs. 80’s-style rock.”
Mateusz Warcholinski, COO of Brainhub.eu
Side projects are becoming the next big thing for content marketing like hubspot website grader or crew.co unsplash – are quite simple web applications, online tools bringing instant value to the users. Side projects are the new blog posts/ebooks/case studies.”
Dan Green, Founder of Growella
As humans, we want to be acknowledged and understood. We are unique and want information to work for us, personally.
Brands are learning that you can’t market to a single person, and to all of the people, at the same time. But, brands can learn to show empathy. They can make people feel heard, and validated.
When people feel understood, they begin to feel trust and that’s when the sales process can begin — never before.
Empathy can’t be faked. Consumers can smell garbage. The future belongs to brands that connect with consumers emotionally.”
Chris Hornak, Owner & CEO of Blog Hands
Search is currently moving from database driven to AI driven algorithms, and social media is playing a significant role in content consumption. As a result, the personality of your content will play a larger role. You’ll have to keep in mind that people won’t only be seeing your content but hearing it as well. Speaking to your audience, in their language, will and is even now important.”
Marcus Miller, Head of SEO & Digital Marketing at Bowler Hat
Search and Social are key here. And they both already favour informational content that users engage with. This is true marketing with a real understanding of your prospects pains and gains needed to succeed.
The future will see more content marketing along with advancements in the advertising platforms that deliver this content. Platforms like Facebook and the Google Display Network (GDN) already offer ways to target users based on interest and demographics. But all platforms will need to adapt to show more personalised advertising – Online, Offline, TV, Radio, Billboards. Content will be everywhere!”
Eric Wall, Co-Founder & CEO of Equivity
In ten years, we will be able to deliver content in even more precise and targeted ways. Video, text, and graphics will continue to be broken into smaller more entertaining pieces, and new communication platforms will be discovered.
As search algorithms improve, so too will the competitive advantage brought to bear by marketers that have the best understanding of their customers’ needs and interests. Against an ever-more crowded landscape of companies shouting for the customer’s attention, the ability to empathize with the customer and communicate clearly to her needs will be at an even greater premium.”
Steven Andersen, VP of Content and Client Strategy at Infinite Global
All that said, there’s a tendency to confuse the medium with the message. Each new platform may have novel functionality or provide a fresh way to deliver ideas, but it also adds to the wrong side of the signal to noise ratio.
There’s a whole class of products on the market that promise to streamline the content creation process, but they’re unlikely to generate value. You can’t be a thought leader without actual thought. Regardless of what immersive shape the content channels of the future take, they’ll still need to provide real insight to be effective.”