Vladimir Nagin
Vladimir Nagin 20 July 2016

7 Content Marketing Trends Driving Growth in 2016

Ever since marketers discovered that SEO alone wasn’t enough to meaningfully engage consumers, they’ve been working round the clock to make their content better. It’s no longer just about ranking on search engines.

Today’s marketers are more worried about the usefulness of their content. Does the content help people solve their problems? Does it provide the information they are looking for? These have become the main questions every marketer is asking.

Content marketing is also changing

As a content marketer, however, you shouldn’t just stop at that. As technology changes, so has content. For example, considering that most of today’s blogs and other content pieces are read on mobile devices such as tablets, the content you write should be well spaced. Block paragraphs don’t read well on mobile devices.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are 7 other content marketing trends you need to get up to speed with;

  • Interactive storytelling

Marketing, at it's core, is a form of storytelling. You say what you want and the audience listens. The main problem with this type of storytelling is that it’s static. Often, all the content is based around the company and the products/services it sells. People are growing tired of this approach.

The new way of telling brand stories is through “interactive” storytelling. Here, you don’t just keep talking about your brand or products; you also talk about your personal life and experiences. In fact, in interactive storytelling, everyone at the organization is given the chance to tell their stories as they best wish. The stories are can be told in plain-text, audio, video, or any combination of the three. But the best part is that there are usually quizzes and assessments to promote user engagement!

  • The increased demand for visuals

While discussing interactive storytelling, it’s important to stress the increased need for visual content.

According to a 2016 HubSpot study, colored visuals increase a person’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. Also, people usually remember only 10% of what they read, three days after reading it. But over the same period, the same person would be able to recall up to 65% of the visuals they saw. These stats demonstrate the increasing need for visual content marketing.

  • User Generated Content (UGC)

UGC comes from the people who interact with your brand both online and offline. When you take part in a charity event and soon everyone is singing tunes of your organization on social media, that’s UGC. If you post a video on YouTube and one million people comment on it, that’s also UGC.

So, why would a brand need UGC? The answer is simple – social proof. The more positive reviews you get on social media, the more popular you’ll become. If your video has 1 million comments, then you can expect even more people to watch it. If your Facebook post has 200,000 Likes, then expect even more people to view it.

User-generated content usually become even more important when consumers are making purchase decisions. A lot of people will pick your company just because they’ve read a lot of positive reviews about your brand. Above all, search engines have started using UGC as a determinant when ranking websites and blogs.

  • Episodic content

Episodic content refers to content that is provided in episodes. It’s as if to say the author has a lot of information to pass, but they are never going to provide it all in one sitting. Instead, the information is slowly unraveled to the readers in sections starting with an introduction that leaves the reader wanting to know more, then providing the rest of the content via a series of blog posts.

Episodic content can also be provided in plain-text, audio, video, or any combination of the three. The bottom line is that the content is provided as a “series.”

There are many benefits of using episodic content. For starters, episodic content “sort of” forces the reader to return to your website or blog. We all know the benefit of this. Episodic content can also help with list building. Anyone who follows your series for a few episodes is highly likely to subscribe. And, lastly, episodic content builds credibility.

  • Personalized content

Reaching the target audience with highly-targeted content remains a major challenge in content marketing. Considering that most organizations market to very wide audiences, ensuring that the message contained in a blog, for example, addresses everyone satisfactorily isn't easy.

Personalization is one of the latest trends marketers are using to address this problem. In personalization, a content marketer first comes up with buyer personas that briefly describe an organization’s ideal customer and his/her needs. Depending on factors such as the number of products you sell, you can have one, two, or more buyer personas. Then, with the buyer persona as a guide, you can create content that specifically address your audiences at a highly personal level. 

  • Using social media for content distribution

In the past, social media was only used for chit-chatting. It was a place for catching up with friends and sharing photos and videos of your last vacation.

Not anymore. While networks such as Facebook and Instagram are still used to hang out with friends, these channels have also become serious platforms for content marketing. In fact, not long ago Facebook introduced Instant Articles just for that – to make content marketing on the network easier.

However, you don’t just have to rely on programs such as Instant Articles to distribute your content on social media. For example, you can post your content directly under your profile where interested users can easily find it. You can also post snippets of the content and leave links to the main article.

  • Content automation

Finally, with more tasks to accomplish and less time to do so, marketers have been increasingly turning to automation software to help them achieve more in less time. In the past, we’ve seen email automation tools that help to schedule emails. We’ve also seen social media automation tools that help with scheduling social media posting. And now, we’re seeing content automation tools!

Content marketing thrives on delivering fresh, useful content to your readers consistently. If you post your blogs once a week, you need to maintain that schedule. Otherwise you risk disappoint eagerly waiting readers. To avoid forgetting about posting times, you can use content marketing automation tools to automatically post your content on your preferred channels.

This post originally appeared on

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