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[BizTrends 2016] Content marketing trends for 2016
This may come as a surprise; my number one trend for 2016 is email. Email is one of the most underrated channels but it's a key one, particularly in South Africa. Companies have access to massive databases but don't actively use them to distribute key, targeted content or to ask for feedback. Similarly, we need to experiment with mobile messaging platforms in a more creative way to tell stories, share information and involve consumers.
Less, but better
Brands are fighting for consumers' attention constantly, the barrage of content is overwhelming and only the strongest stories survive. Brands will start to produce, and post, less content but better content that strives for deeper engagement and a genuine understanding of the market. After the 'snacking' frenzy of 2015 we'll see a move towards more meaty content production in 2016 - longer form, well-researched editorial pieces.
Following on from the above, content marketers will need to create content that targets individual or group needs. This not only helps to cut through the clutter but also speaks to consumer needs. Users expect personalised content and there is pressure on brands to start demonstrating their understanding of different customers in a relevant and personal way.
I've long been a vocal proponent for brand owned spaces from which we distribute content. I understand that renting space on social media islands is essential if you want to fish where the fish are, but we do need to adopt at a true omni-platform approach to publishing and distribution. Think of a 'hub and spokes' approach with a publisher-owned space at the centre.
In 2015 we saw the rise of new video driven platforms like Periscope and Snapchat. In 2016 video needs to be a critical delivery method for content in both the B2C and B2B space. Budget is always a consideration here, but if the story is relevant and well-targeted then sometimes the method of delivery or quality can be forgiven.
Tell richer stories
More GIFs! Live streaming, webinars, interactive PDFs, slide shows and infographics. Brands will start to experiment with different platforms and tech available to tell better stories and deliver more targeted experiences.
The power of effective content strategy is something that will adapt and change in 2016. Focus on the consumer, find out what they need and want and keep it simple. Focus on fewer, but better.