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Let these 5 trends guide your 2016 content-marketing resolutions

It’s that time of year again — the time of year that motivates each of us to set grand resolutions for how we’ll improve over the course of the next year. While many of these resolutions will slip off of our radars by the second or third week of the new year (check out your local gym toward the end of January), some of the strongest among us will rise to the occasion and make 2016 their best year yet.

After reviewing comprehensive reports about 2016 content marketing trends and the articles that analyze them, I’ve noticed a few key areas into which these big trends fall. In an effort to help you become your team’s content marketing hero, I’d like to share the top trends in these key areas that you should take into account when setting your content resolutions for the new year.

Content quality

  • Algorithm updates will reward high-quality content over spammy, keyword-stuffed content. If first-page search results are a goal for your marketing team, it’s time to put traditional SEO tactics — such as keyword stuffing and excessive backlinking — to rest. Google’s algorithm updates are continuing to reward content based on its value to the readers who are searching it, not based on how many spammy tactics content marketers use to get it in front of audiences. Instead, focus on consistently creating high-quality, engaging content that delivers value to your audience to see success in SEO and your content marketing efforts as a whole.
  • Ad blockers will challenge content teams to create more valuable content. As if algorithm updates alone weren’t challenging us to prioritize quality, the rise in ad blockers will put more pressure on content marketers to create content that earns itself a place in front of readers — a place that isn’t bought in the forms of native ads or sponsored content. Sure, we’ll need to work harder to create content that’s truly engaging (and not a press release disguised as a guest post), but this is good for everyone, as it will ultimately make our content better.

Team structure

  • A strong content team will need more than just a writer. Just like the purpose of your content team extends beyond solely creating content, the members on your team must have responsibilities beyond writing it. The content team members who are essential to a successfully executed strategy are an editor, a content strategist and a distribution specialist. These roles allow your team to create fantastic content that aligns with your business strategy and lands in front of your audience through targeted publication and distribution.
  • The most effective content teams will meet at least once a week. Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reported in its annualB2B Business-to-Business (B2B) Content Marketing report that 61 percent of the most effective teams meet at least that frequently. And this makes sense — content doesn’t work in a silo. There needs to be regular communication among members of your marketing team (and other departments such as sales and account management) to keep everyone accountable for projects, test new tactics and effectively monitor progress.

Complementary technology

  • Proprietary technology will drastically improve content quality and its creation processes. CMI also found in its report that 88 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing, and a number of open resources have become available to help these marketers create content better, faster and cheaper. But a trend we’ll see more of in 2016 is companies investing in custom proprietary technology over open-use tools.

At Influence & Co., we’ve created custom software that allows us to create, distribute and analyze content in a more streamlined manner. It does everything from improving our knowledge-extraction process to enabling collaboration among our internal team and clients to analyzing data on specific articles. It has helped our team improve the quality of our content and the processes we use to create it, and I predict we’ll see more companies doing the same.

As you and your team sit down to make your 2016 content marketing resolutions, I hope you’ll keep these trends in mind for a successful new year. Good luck!