Content marketing in 2017

We are really getting there, this season at least here in Finland already looks like Christmas time, snow white covered landscapes waiting only for Santa to land somewhere with his herd of flying deers. Holiday season is right around the corner, we are all having family, friends, and good food on our minds. However, the forward thinking doesn't stop there. With 2017 less than two months away, it's time to start planning ahead and look into your 2017 B2B content marketing strategy and how to get the most out of your efforts. We have gathered together a list of ten digital marketing trends that shouldn't be neglected when thinking about next year's content

1. Video is the leading ROI touchpoint

It's no secret that video is becoming an essential component of successful content marketing strategies. As Firebrand Group has recently pointed out about 85 percent of marketers have seen positive ROI from their video efforts.

Must do for marketers: If you are not doing it already, you should be thinking about ways to integrate video into your 2017 content strategy. Beside ROI, video has proven to also be able to increase brand awareness and customer loyalty. At DesignDiverso, we have seen the most success when using video shared on social channels such as Facebook.

2. Video Is Being Thoroughly Consumed

As a good marketers we want to keep visitors engaged with our content and online properties for as long as we can. As video is a top mean for driving ROI, it's also proven to be the most eagerly consumed piece of content by both customers and prospects, according to HubSpot research. Video is followed by social media posts, news and research content.

Must do for marketers: Online users seem to skim through content more than ever before. Long blog posts should be more appealing to be engaging and the content that has the best numbers to keep the audience's attention is video, as its interactive nature suggests.

3. Content Management Inefficiencies

According to a study by Seismic and Gatepoint Research, just one out of five B2B marketers are currently satisfied with their content management methods. Customized collateral updates, content that sales units doesn't use because they aren't able to find it and an inability to track the success of content are the primary obstacles to positive results.

Must do for marketers: As the need for content continues to grow across industries, organizations need to make sure they have the talent, technologies, and staff in place to keep the content process on the right track. Failing to manage the content process effectively, can result in a resources consumed where they could otherwise be devoted to prospects and sales.

4. Inbound Marketers Are Creating More Content

Inbound marketers are spending increasing amounts of time creating content. According to Writtent, 93% of inbound marketers are now creating content on a weekly basis. Over a half of the surveyed marketers say they are spending more than six hours a week doing so.

Must do for marketers: While more content does not always translate into more content success, marketers should understand that their competition is churning it out more than ever. Whether it's one item or ten items of content per week, inbound marketers should make sure they are keeping up with the competition in 2017.

5. Social Media Is Critical for Content Promotion

Email and websites have been content distribution stalwarts for ages, but research from content marketing institute shows that social media has consolidated its spot near the top, turning the big two into the big three. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) pointed out social media as an "indispensable" channel for content distribution in 2016, matching websites (26%) and email (28%).

Must do for marketers: When it comes to distributing content, marketers need to think about what audiences they want to reach. There isn't one way to share content effectively, therefore, it's important to target the audience (whether it be website visitors, social media followers, or email subscribers) and deliver it in those locations.

6. Content Is Driving Demand

An August study of the 50 fastest-growing B2B companies by Mattermark and Drift showed that 80% of companies maintain a blog or other form of online publication. More than half of these assets use CTAs to direct online users to their products or services.

Must do for marketers: Whether is via blogging, webinar production, or any type of online content, B2B companies need to be publishing content regularly, as it serves as a valuable mean for educating the audience of your product or service and driving them to your website.

7. SEO Best Practices Being Ignored by Content Marketers

As content is being produced, marketers need to make sure they are complying with SEO best practices, including adding ALT tags and avoiding duplicate content issues. SEMrush released data back in July that showed that 50% of websites are faced with duplicate content issues and 45% have missing ALT attributes.

Must do for marketers: These statistics show that most of today's websites have serious SEO issues relating to their content. Complying to SEO best practices will ensure content ranks well in organic search, avoids penalties, and allows the website to flourish as a whole. Duplicate content can result in a penalties for a website and a loss of trust and credibility with your users.

8. Sales Teams Are Craving for Content Accessibility

Valuable collaterals can be a sales team's best friend, but only if they can be easily accessed. "Sales Enablement Practitioner Survey 2016" revealed that 70% of respondents agreed that sales reps requires easy access to content in order to improve the quality of customer conversations.

Must do for marketers: Content assets are definitely valuable to opening sales conversations, however marketers need to make sure they can be accessed when needed. While we promote content via social media as an important step in the content process, it's important to convey the same message by sharing content internally, whether its via email or some other sharing channel.

9. B2B Buyers Require Tailored Content

According to the "2016 B2B Buyer's Survey" conducted by Demand Gen Report, 69% of B2B buyers say the most engaging and influencial aspect of a company's website is content that speaks directly to their needs.

Must do for marketers: When planning and thinking about content development, marketers should focus on adding content to their site's that speak directly to buyer's pain points. This can be done through targeted blog articles development, industry news articles, webinars, product videos, and more.

10. Companies Increased Investments in Content Talent

Back in June, Curata reported that 42% of companies now have an executive position devoted to content marketing. This number is expected to exceed 50% by the end of 2017. Further, nearly half (42%) of organizations plan to increase overall staffing levels in 2017.

Must do for marketers: These statistics look promising as we head into 2017. Without staff, processes and leadership, content strategies simply won't make it to their full potential. Investing in talent and teams devoted to content marketing will give organizations their best chance to stand out from the crowd.

Final Thoughts

As we head towards 2017, keep up with the latest marketing and digital trends through our blog and on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What trends from 2016 do you think will have an impact in B2B content marketing strategies in 2017? Drop a comment below or get in touch with us to get a conversation started!

Written by Tancredi Leone
Strategy
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