Ten years ago, interruption marketing ruled the world. Traditional interruption techniques such as TV/ radio advertisements, telemarketing, print advertising, e-mail spam and others are all designed to interrupt what people are doing and break their concentration. You are at the crucial point of a thrilling movie when it cuts to a commercial. You are admiring the beautiful scenery while driving a country road and a huge billboard comes into the view.

The key lesson

However, consumers are no longer interested in interruption marketing, and they have learned to tune it out. For example, they flip pages in a magazine without noticing advertisements or use commercial breaks to grab a snack. Nowadays people want to be entertained and educated, and they go online to find valuable information about the products and services they are looking for. Both B2B and B2C customers also expect to socially interact and share content with others who have similar interests. Social media platforms allow companies to talk to their customers directly, without all the marketing hype. A company creates the content, and its current customers and prospects will find, read and discuss it when they want to.

So, marketers understood that traditional marketing was becoming less and less effective, and a better way was needed. Entering content marketing can be a great solution. Pulizzi deems that content marketing is a non-interruption marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.

Always analyze data

The B2B Content Marketing Research published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Marketing Profs in 2016 showed that:

1. 66% of marketers in the UK say they expect their organization’s content marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months;

2. 88% say they will produce more content in 2016 than they did in 2015;

3. They are using more tactics in general (13 this year, compared to 12 last year), and usage of most tactics has increased year-over-year;

4. Their usage of the top social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Google Plus) has increased.

However, due to ineffective messaging, much of this effort will never be noticed by potential clients. Companies are currently facing the challenge of rethinking their content marketing strategy, and incorporate social media and search engine optimization in order to fulfill customer expectations for ease of discovery, consumption and sharing. On top of that, content must educate readers and make it easy to follow a logical conclusion to buy.

Trends and predictions

Content marketing trends and predictions for the year 2016 seem to indicate that there is a need for businesses to increase their investment in producing better content for reaching their business goals. According to Jeff Bullas, #1 Content Marketing Influencer, the following trends will reign supreme in 2016:

Trend #1 – The magic of user-generated content

No one can create better content for your business than your customers. This type of content will be authentic, trust-worthy and appealing to your target audience. Besides that, people naturally want to know about a product or service from the user’s perspective.

Trend #2 – Zero in on interactive storytelling

People are not mere spectators these days. They demand content in which they can get involved, without feeling targeted. They seek a visual story that’s powerful and out of the box.

Trend #3 – Episodic content is a must-have

To keep your audience engaged you should break your content into parts and organize it over a time-period. Episodic content has a long lasting impact on the reader’s mind which cannot be achieved by one piece of writing. If you are able to make your readers interested in your story through the first episode of your content, they will most likely come back to watch or read it.

Trend #4 – Try personalizing your content

Simply creating content is not enough anymore. With so much content being produced every day, people are getting immune to even the best of it. Therefore, you need to add a flavor of personalization to your content in order to get the desired results. You should design your page in a way that visitors feel that the page speaks in their language.

Trend #5 – Select social media for content distribution

Social media has become increasingly popular amongst small businesses. Report 2015 reveals that 92% of marketers report that social media is important to their marketing mix. In 2016 more and more marketers will make use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. for distributing their content.

Trend #6 – Content marketing and SEO go hand in hand

SEO and content marketing complement each other. Content marketing fulfils the demand created by SEO. The more unique and fresh the content is you create, the better it will be for your search rankings.

Trend #7 – Budgets will skyrocket

2016 will see a rise in the investments by marketers in content marketing. As time goes on, content marketing has proven to be one of the most effective methods of driving website traffic. But it takes money to create effective interactive content to draw traffic, generate leads and increase conversions.

To sum up, I would like to say that it is important for you as a marketer to keep up to date with the latest content marketing trends and stand out from the crowd. I hope that this information will help you achieve new heights for your business this year!

P.S. As always, please share your thoughts in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, share it with others. Stay tuned for new episodes!