We make no apologies for publishing trend pieces at this time of the year. I know everybody and their aunt is doing it, but if you focus on the predictions of the industry’s true prophets – rather than the self-proclaimed prophets – you’ll be well set for the year ahead.
Joe Pulizzi is one such prophet in the marketing world. This time last year, for instance, he predicted that the “sheer majority of brands will continue to crash and burn with their content creation and distribution efforts”. A few months later, a report from TrackMaven revealed that brands increased their content marketing output by 35% per channel in 2015, but saw engagement drop by 17%.
The man knows his stuff. It’s to be expected, I guess, considering that he is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute who has garnered nearly 200K followers on LinkedIn and over 100K followers on Twitter.
So, what is he suggesting are the content marketing trends to watch in 2017?
1. Influencer marketing
Pulizzi’s first prediction tallies nicely with our suggestion that influencer marketing will run riot in 2017. Lord Sugar might have just missed a trick in firing Jessica Cunningham – whose business idea revolved around influencer marketing – during this year’s series of The Apprentice. To be fair to Sugar, she wasn’t exactly the most robust of candidates…
In 2017, influencer marketing will “shift a bit from partnering with content creators and distributors to flat-out purchasing them”, Pulizzi reckons. He cites how CNN bought the social media app Beme owned by YouTube celebrity Casey Neistat last month, shutting down the app and asking Casey and his team to start a new media platform.
2. Social media frustration to boil over
Social platforms need to careful they don’t end up upsetting brands and influencers so much that they take their efforts to market themselves elsewhere. YouTube, Facebook, etc. are confident that changing their algorithms to favour users at the expense of brands and influencers will only lead to more advertising on social media platforms and less organic publishing – a win-win for the platforms.
However, Pulizzi notes that “frustration is at the highest level I’ve seen”. In 2017, that could mean that brands and influencers make the move to platforms that are friendlier to their respective endeavours, taking their audience with them.
3. Resurgence of e-newsletters
One beneficiary of social media channels moving toward revenue growth is email, Pulizzi says. He highlights Campaign Monitor data which shows how BuzzFeed has managed to add over one million email subscribers in the past 12 months.
Thanks to the algorithm changes on Facebook, Instagram et al, brands have almost no control over communicating with fans and followers. Off the back of this, email has emerged as the most critical way of growing an audience for brands, with The Washington Post now creating over 75 e-newsletters, while The New York Times has 12 people dedicated to newsletters.
4. Print magazines
This is probably Pulizzi’s most debateable prediction – especially in light of the news that another print magazine publisher – Team Rock Ltd. – has just laid off more than 70 people. However, in the world of content marketing, Pulizzi is expecting a number of number of big brands to launch print magazines in 2017.
As he sees it “we’ve hit a bottom in print’s decline” and as marketers look to cut through the digital clutter, print will see a resurgence. Indeed, Airbnb and publishing partner Hearst recently announced the launch of a new print magazine appropriately called Airbnb mag, which will be sent out to people who provide and use the Airbnb service. There’s just something a bit special about print magazines isn’t there.
Can you see print taking to the skies again this year in content marketing? It’ll certainly put a smile on our face, if it does!
With that, all that’s left to say is have a great Christmas and New Year! See you on the other side.