2017 is almost here and when we look back we can see some of the digital marketing predictions made in 2016 have evolved and are carrying forward into 2017. Whether it was big data or marketing automation, one prediction from 2016 that is trending with organizations in 2017 is content marketing. According to a survey published by Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud, 77% of organizations said they were increasing their content marketing budgets.

In this post, we will look at content marketing for 2016 and what it could look like in 2017. We’ve also curated a couple of the Internet’s top thought leader predictions for digital marketing in 2017.

Wild Boar Attacks and Content Marketing. What’s the connection?

Wild boar attacks aren’t a new phenomenon and neither is content marketing. Spears have long been used for defending against attacking boars and creating stories has been happening just as long.

Over the past several years organizations have been steadily increasing budgets for content marketing and they’ve been busy re-aligning their marketing plans to include more of it. We’ve also seen an explosion in senior positions specifically related to content marketing in organizations like GE, Visa, Bank of America, and LEGO.

So, is there a connection between wild boar attacks and content marketing? Well, almost. A few years ago contentmarketinginstitute.com published a great infographic named, A Brief History of Content Marketing. It suggests one of the earliest examples of content marketing is a cave painting from 4,200 BC loosely translated as ‘6 ways a spear can save you from wild boar’.

2016 Content Marketing Recap

About halfway through 2016 forbes.com published an update on how their 2016 content marketing predictions were shaping up. One notable development was the decline of ‘organic reach’. We’re not talking about ‘organic’ in terms of SEO but in terms of using social media to amplify content organically.

Not surprisingly, social media channels are making it increasingly more difficult for publishers and brands to achieve the organic reach they have, without paying for it. Facebook announced in mid-2016 that they were “making a better news feed for users”. In several thousand years they might say that statement could be loosely translated as, ‘publishers and brands are going to have to pay to have access to our users’.

What Does the Future Hold?

  • With social media channels making it more difficult to leverage their powerful channels for free, publishers and brands will have to become even more nimble and creative.
  • Content marketing formats like blogging, Ebooks, and other written content will prevail as strategies, but publishers and brands will need to figure out how to use visuals to break through the noise - especially video according to Syndacast:
    • 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. “It is crucial for marketers to start creating and incorporating video as part of their content strategies.”
  • In order to differentiate content from all the other content, publishers and brands will need to start creating content for smaller and smaller interest groups.
  • Your content will need to become more than sales and promotional material. It will need to have a purpose and have an impact on your customers and prospects. If you focus on pitching your services, you won’t connect with people looking to solve challenges you might be able to help them with.

Overall Digital Marketing Predictions for 2017

Here we’ve curated some predictions for 2017 from preeminent thought leaders around the Internet.

5 digital marketing trends in 2017 you need to prepare for now
Dozens of marketing experts share a common prediction that personalized content needs to be a focus. This reinforces the wise words, "start creating content for smaller and smaller interest groups”. Think ‘niche’, and also think ‘mobile’. 4 out of 5 Americans use smartphones daily so this means your content needs look great and work superbly on small devices!

10 marketing predictions for 2017
Own your audience! This is an interesting one because predictions about native advertising are both for and against this tested strategy. Where will organization find maximum value? Will it be in producing content that lives on a 3rd party, publisher owned property? Or, will it be by publishing content on their own properties and then using Google and Facebook to drive the same traffic they would reach on the publisher’s website?

There’s a tidal wave of information available and everyone and their dog is in the business of making predictions. We hope you’ll find these resources useful and inspiring as you take a look at the year ahead in digital marketing and strategy.