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6 content marketing trends to watch for in 2016

Content marketing is an extremely powerful tool when used correctly. There have been numerous reports throughout 2015 that show how effective this strategy can be; and 2016 is likely to be even more poignantly hinged on engaging content.

While the online marketing landscape can be volatile and convoluted, it is equally as exciting for those who are up to the challenge. As the New Year dawns, the foundation of content marketing is set to shift and change, yet the heart of great content will remain the same. Take a commitment to upping your content game, and you are set up to reap serious benefits. Get ready to flex and bend though — things are going to get pretty lively.

Get an edge on the year’s content fads now; here are the top trends to watch out for in the New Year.

1. Aggregated Content 

One of the best ways to understand public opinion in the digital age is through large-scale surveys; tons of bite-sized pieces of information are compiled and assembled to create a larger picture.

With the advent of Twitter’s “Moments” feature, blips of data like images, posts, and videos from millions of social profiles are all gathered into a single stream to form a dynamic and coherent story as it unfolds. While this feature and others like it could potentially threaten content marketing’s reach on news coverage, it could also uncover fresh new opportunities and alternatives for publications.

Why are surveys and bite-sized data pieces powerful for your business? First, they give you significant insight into your customers. Secondly, compelling survey data about how people behave is extremely newsworthy, and much more likely to garner mainstream media attention. Aggregated content is a big boon, and the No. 1 trend we suggest you embrace this year.

2. The Social Media Publishing Preference

Facebook is the originator of this trend with its creation of “Instant Articles.”  Facebook realized that due to the social platform’s popularity and wide-spread use, articles shared through the portal would often receive more hits than on the native publishing site. Instant Articles now gives publishers the opportunity to run articles directly on the site. Facebook states that Instant Articles came about as a way to, “give publishers control over their stories, brand experience, and monetization opportunities.”

While this project is still in its infancy, it is likely to gain a lot of traction this year because Google intends to release its own version of Instant Articles in early 2016.

3. Content Continues Its Visual Evolution

It has been repeated time and time again how over the next few years video will absorb the lion’s share of consumer Internet traffic. This means the video take over will continue to come into fruition throughout the year.

As wireless connectivity and Internet speeds continue to improve, more individuals gain the capabilities of accessing videos from mobile devices in a seamless fashion. Moreover, as the human attention span continues to decline and written content saturation levels continue to rise, more people are looking for ways to consume meaningful content faster. The end result is consumer demand for video content will skyrocket. Additionally, with the majority of Americans carrying high-quality cameras in their pockets most of the time, live-streaming platforms are exploding in popularity. YouTube is also growing in dominance at crazy speeds, and it is only a matter of time before the inevitable happens and video claims the top content spot.

4. Interactive Content Will Have Its Day

Newsfeeds and search results are already becoming increasingly customized. Soon content will join these ranks and consumers will demand interactive and responsive content. Virtual reality will be the catalyst to bring this to life.

As various virtual reality devices are ready to be released in 2016, (some designed specifically for gamers and other for more generalized use), they hold the potential for individually tailored and interactive content and ads. Many of these devices will be capable of integration with popular social media platforms (Oculus is owned by Facebook, as an example), making interactive and completely custom content a possibility. Crank up your creative juices — this twist is going to befun.

5. The Influence of Influencer Marketing

In mid-2015, a study from Schlesinger Associates for Augure revealed 84 percent of marketing communications professionals planned to leverage influencer marketing programs within the next 12 months. Additionally, 81 percent of respondents claimed to be pleased with the results their influencer marketing campaign had on their business.

In 2016, influencer marketing will expand to embrace not only external influencers, but ones contained within the company as well, placing increased importance on employee advocacy programs. In May 2015, Scredible published a report revealing that 54 percent of 20 – 45 year-old professionals feel their social media presence would become an asset to their career within the next five years. As social media and online reviews continue to become more important to consumers, influencer marketing will become even more powerful and all-encompassing than it is today.

6. The Competition Gets Heavy

Considering that content marketing is already teetering on the brink of over-saturation, and coupled with the above outlined information, rising above the digital cacophony will be even more challenging. Additionally, as new and advanced algorithms and technologies emerge at cheaper and cheaper prices, more businesses will find themselves entering the content marketing arena. Soon enough, only the best will be able to attain any sort of meaningful visibility and traffic. The thing to remember here is quality over quantity, and an emphasis on creativity and customization. This is your mantra for 2016.

By Tina Courtney