Content Marketing in 2015: What can we learn in 2016?

16 December 2015

Content Marketing in 2015: What can we learn in 2016?

In a year where more money than ever will be ploughed into Content Marketing, you need to be sure you’re creating content for the right reasons. Luckily, as a digital discipline, Content Marketing is measurable and therefore easy to allocate value to. The assumption is that by now, you’ll already be investing in Content Marketing, but what can we learn from how people used content in 2015 and should this impact our budgets for 2016?

Here we’ll discuss both of these issues, and I would love to hear your thoughts, so please let us know your predictions in the comments below.

How did Content Marketing Develop over 2015?:

1. Budgets Sky-Rocketed

As expected the growth in investment brands allocating to Content Marketing continued on an upward trajectory. According to the Content Marketing Institute, US markets are now spending an average of 28% on their yearly marketing budgets on Content Marketing.

Although you can create content on a lower budget if you feel you need to, 2016 is not the year to shy away from investing in your content strategy.

2. Brands Learnt to be Generous with their Content

The art of giving has truly been embraced by those brands pioneering Content Marketing over the past 12 months, with brands offering up more free content than ever before. Rather than holding back for fear of giving too much away for free, brands have embraced publishing and relied on the long-term investment Content Marketing can provide. This means so much more than simply running a blog for your brand, you should be thinking about how you can provide unique and truly valuable pieces of content for your audience.

3. Content Began to Drive SEO

Until the end of 2014 Content Marketing was very much driven by SEO. Dependent on SEO budgets, KPI’s and capabilities we saw content which, although often engaging, was clearly limited by how it would assist SEO KPI’s. Thankfully, this mind-set is beginning to evolve, and although the two work wonderfully hand in hand, Content Marketing is becoming an increasingly independent activity. As SEO evolves and becomes less focused on the SERPs, and more focused on where audiences spend time online, Content Marketing is becoming the cornerstone of many marketing strategies.

4. Brands Invested in Mobile Ready Content

Although Mobilegeddon wasn’t quite as detrimental as some (scaremongering) publications might have made out, I’m sure everyone has cottoned on to how utterly essential creating mobile-ready/mobile-first content is.

As with everything, this depends on where your audience spend time online, but creating content with mobile at the forefront on your strategy will be a wise move if you’re not doing this already.

What Does 2016 Hold for Content Marketing?

1. Brands will continue to Invest

An obvious one, but of course worth mentioning. Every part of your content strategy should have thought and research behind it to optimise performance; you can’t do this without investing.

People talk about creating cheap content which can still work for your brand, and it can, but not without investment in research, analysis and measurement.

2. Paid Distribution will Become Essential

Brilliant content is worth nothing without a worthy outreach strategy, and in 2016 this strategy will include more and more budget. Whether you use Adwords, paid social, paid outreach or content networks you and your clients will have to begin thinking about how you can monetise your outreach process to give it the best chance of success. The fact is, brands are getting lazy and relying way too much on their audiences to promote their content. If you’re sitting in a meeting and someone says, ‘it’s sharable, so shouldn’t need too much outreach budget’ then shut them down pronto. Do not rely on your audience to do your job for you.

The internet is drowning in useful, insightful content (let alone all the rubbish out there). If you’re not already, start thinking about how you’re going to ensure your audience engage with your piece over the thousands of other pieces.

3. Video Will Continue to Grow, and Will Become the Dominate Content Format

Doubtless you’ve heard this before, you probably heard it last year and you’ll hear it again this year. To read more about which types of content will engage your audience, I can recommend nothing more than this article.

4. Visualising Content will Become More Important than Ever

You may think I say this to encourage the creation of unique content, but the real necessity is far simpler than that. Unless people are invested in reading a long-form piece of content, they’re spending less time than ever on websites. This means if you create a piece of content which allows the user to absorb your message as quickly as possible, you’ll have a better chance of engaging them. This isn’t as simple as creating a quick infographic; you need to research the type of content your audience are best at consuming, and how you can translate your message to suit this.

2016 is set to be the biggest year yet for Content Marketing, and it’ll be essential to make sure you’re keeping up with trends and developing the right strategies. Keep an eye on our blog for tips and ideas to help you develop your tactics.