The 10 Content Marketing Trends of 2017 You Need to Use

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We can probably all agree that content marketing is not just an option in 2017, but a necessity. The industry has changed since its dawn, less than a decade ago.

But, one thing has stuck: quality matters more than quantity

Content marketing trends are a result of real, quality customers and how they prefer to engage with brands. 

Before we get to our list of marketing trends to act on, let's talk more about this quality over quantity idea.

Why quality will always override quantity

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When we say that quality is more important than quantity, we aren't talking about revenue, or even how many employees you have. 

We are talking about having quality in your content marketing efforts. 

Marketing trends, regardless of industry, show a higher rate of success when the content that's shared has quality. Moreover, having a posse of real, interested customers who follow your brand is more important than having four times the amount with fewer results. 

For example, which sounds like a better scenario for a social media presence to you?

Example 1: Brand X1 has 32,000 Facebook Likes, and have been using a robotic marketing tool to get there. They average one to three likes on posts, but hardly any comments or shares. 

Example 2: Brand X2 has 300 Facebook Likes, and has never used a robotic marketing tool. They average 10-15 likes on posts, with four to five comments, and multiple shares on photos and videos. 

Which example is more valuable?

If a number at the top of your social profile means more to you than actual customers, then robot away. We must note that consumers are intelligent, and you won't be fooling anyone with this tactic. If anything, it's almost like self-defamation.

But, if you're interested in creating a branded footprint with quality content and engagement, read on.

10 content marketing trends to act on now

Let's dive into the top 10 marketing trends you can hop on to make an impact this year.

1) Facebook is still queen

NO! ...not that Queen

NO! ...not that Queen

Although other social media platforms have gained momentum in recent years, Facebook is still the most widely used network. The social giant currently boasts more than 1.86 billion active users, worldwide. 

And while Facebook is queen, content is king. More than 70 percent of marketers use visual content like video in their Facebook marketing strategy.

One negative is that players just starting to get into the Facebook game will find it more difficult to grow a legitimate following due to an algorithm that penalizes "sales-y" content. 

Here are a few tips to make your content Facebook proof:

  • Get rid of the stock photos, Facebook wants authentic content from brands.
  • Limit or eliminate text on your images. If an image has more than 20 percent text, the reach of the post will pretty much be non-existent.
  • Make sure that whatever you share is something your followers will want to share. The more they share, the more reach you'll see.

The platform might be saturated, but with Facebook's heavy duty targeting options, brands can grow their audience with more quality than ever before. 

2) An email resurrection

Email marketing never died but with all of the competition from other sources like social and blogs, it hasn't been at the top of anyone's list of tools.

Marketing trends are showing a resurgence in the use and effectiveness of email newsletters. This is partly because of the consumer's preference. Think about it; if a customer signed up for your brand's emails, it means they actually want to see what you're sending out.

In a sense, email is the ultimate user-controlled experience. So, it makes sense that more consumers are diving into emails from their favorite brands.

3) Blogging, for the win

Behind photos and videos, blogging is the next tier on the content ladder of success. 

Marketing trends suggest that blogs should read more like conversations than sales ads. Keep this in mind when you're writing. Some tips to remember for blogging:

  • Shorter sentences are easier to read, so use them.
  • Make lists that readers can easily take in and use.
  • Use photos, videos, or other visual elements when you can.

4) Influencer marketing on the rise

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Forbes has called influencers a top priority in marketing trends for brands. Their "explosion" into the marketing world is still being worked out, but those who "get it" are also getting the results.

To break it down, an influencer is someone who embodies a brand naturally, has a quality following of like-minded buyers and uses their platform to sell products and services for other businesses. 

Some influencers rake in the dough, charging thousands of dollars for a single Instagram post or Facebook shout out. 

Again, this method is still being perfected, and brands with small budgets should look elsewhere to spend their marketing dollars. But, bigger brands can absolutely benefit from the influencer revolution.

The key to successful influencer marketing isn't as much the influencer as it is the customer. To find the right influencer, a brand must know their customers, inside and out.

5) Multimedia content is preferred by users

We can't stress the importance of visual content enough. Links to blogs and copywriting are still crucial, but utilizing videos and photos on sites like Facebook and Instagram is vital to your efforts. 

If creative content like this seems like it's outside of your scope, have no fear. There's no shame in going to YouTube, and searching for tutorials on "how to create good videos" or "how to take photos on a smartphone."

6) Paid social ads yield results

Facebook Ads are the most popular among marketers. Why? Every audience is on the platform, and the targeting is deep. We're talking as deep as "what kind of magazines does your audience read?"

More and more marketers are investing in paid social media ads. 

The best idea here, is to figure out where your audience lives (which platform), and explore the paid options within that platform. If B2B is your thing, LinkedIn would be your best starting place. If B2C is more your speed, then try Facebook and Twitter ads. 

7) Print is not dead [...yet]

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Some brands are turning [back] to print to resonate with readers. Like email, if a customer deliberately signs up to receive branded content from you, why not make it worth their while? 

Direct mailers are a little old-school, but it's common knowledge that millennials are all about nostalgia.

These types of buyers also love to sport swag from their favorite brands. Consider sending a branded pen or t-shirt with your next sales ad. 

8) Mobile is the only way

Social engineers have been paving the way for a mobile-only world for years.

For instance, the social photo-sharing app, Instagram has been mobile-only since the beginning. This forced users to download the app on mobile if they wanted to be a part of the conversation.

Now, the rest of the online world is following suit. 

Emails are deleted almost immediately if they aren't optimized for mobile and websites are abandoned for the same reason. 

To eliminate this issue, pick a themed website that is already mobile-friendly, and for email, use an email system like MailChimp so the optimization is built-in. 

9) Get personal, not corporate

Staying up with digital marketing trends means becoming more human. 

Customers no longer want to be affiliated with brands who aren't "real." Corporate mumbo-jumbo and sales-y pitches won't work on the next generation of buyers.

For that reason, social media has become the go-to for customers and brands when they want to connect on a more human level. 

When creating your content strategy, be sure to implement a humanized approach to what you share, how you share, and how you'll respond to your customers when they engage.

10) Follow the data

Never underestimate the power of testing. A/B testing can be useful in all forms of content marketing, whether it's email newsletters or Facebook insights. 

Run monthly reports on your brand's performance and then brainstorm quarterly on what to improve and what to leave behind. 

Catering your content to the user's experience will be a win-win for you, and for your customers. 

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Tools you can benefit from

So, we've got all this information. Now, what?

To get started, use these tools that we trust and highly recommend. 

Tools to create content

For creating quality content, we are big fans of Canva and Easil. You can create professional graphics with little or no experience.

The best part? They're free!

For video, try using Hyperlapse and iMovie. They're both made for mobile so you can create on-the-go!

Tools to manage content

For managing your content, try using the platforms themselves. Most platforms will let you schedule your content out so you don't have to do it on a daily basis.

A pro tip for managing content: monitor when your users are the most active and post on those days and times. That way, you'll maximize your reach and have an increase in engagement!