The month of December is full of holiday spirit, presents, lots of spending, but also reviews of the year behind us and predictions and hopes for the upcoming one.
We decided to bring together some of the great minds of content marketing and ask them about 2015 and 2016. We also looked at some stats from this past year, as well as the predictions for the new one. One thing is clear, content is still the most important part of online marketing and will surely stay on the top.
But what kind of content is the best? Is the audience important? What will our readers expect in next year?
All that and more can be found in this blog post and accompanying infographic.
First, let’s list the experts that were kind enough to answer our questions!
- Jeff Domansky
Jeff is publisher, Editor-in-Chief and head PR Coach at The PR Coach. He used to run successful West Coast PR agency Peak Communicators. Jeff has more than 25 years of experience from managing regional offices for international PR firms to running the PR divisions inside two award-winning ad agencies as well as government public affairs.
- Trent Dyrsmid
Trent runs a successful content marketing blog and podcast Bright Ideas, and helps his readers and listeners with content marketing and digital marketing in general. A small business he started and ran by 2008 was one of Canada’s PROFIT 100 fastest growing companies for two years in a row.
- Carla Johnson
Carla is President of Type A Communications and Co-author of the book “Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing”. She helped companies like American Express, Dell, Emerson and Western Union with their marketing. She is recognized as one of the top 20 influencers in content marketing.
- Glen Gilmore
Glen has ranked as a Forbes Top 20 “Social Media Power Influencer” two years in a row. He is the author of “Social Media Law for Business” and contributing author to “Strategic Digital Marketing” and he is recognized as top influencer in content marketing, social business and The Internet Of Things.
- Chad Pollitt
Chad is a member of Forbes Top 100 list, one of top five content marketing thought leaders and top 20 CMO influencers. He wrote “The Content Promotion Manifesto” and “51 Things Your Mother Taught You About Inbound Marketing.” He is a regular contributor to industry media outlets, including the Huffington Post, Guardian and Social Media Today.
- Ryan Hanley
Ryan is an author and a speaker. His main task is helping brands and businesses create content that converts. He is the author of “Content Warfare”, and runs a content marketing podcast with the same name.
- Senko Duras
Senko is the co-founder of Diversis Digital, a global Internet marketing and market research startup. His first love is SEO but he has been working in online marketing for years. Creative Meerkat is a part of Diversis Digital, along with several other services that together handle all online marketing needs.
- Neil Patel
Neil is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers, and he was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
- Gini Dietrich
Gini is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm, and professional development site for PR and marketing pros, Spin Sucks Pro, and co-author of Marketing In the Round.
- Ardath Albee
Ardath is B2B Marketing Strategist and CEO of Marketing Interactions, Inc. She’s a strategist, storyteller, speaker, blogger, teacher, and content geek. Ardath has written two books, Digital Relevance and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale.
Content marketing statistics for 2015
Let’s look at some stats from 2015 in content marketing:
- 88% of Business-To-Business marketers and 76% of Business-To-Client marketers admitted they used content marketing in 2015.
- 70% of content marketers said they created more content in 2015 than they did in 2014.
- 71% of marketers are using some kind of visual assets in their content marketing strategies.
- 62% of B2C marketeers used infographics in 2015.
- 45% of marketers consider blogging as their number 1 content marketing strategy.
- 93% of marketers use video for online marketing, sales and communication.
- 69% of marketing, sales and business professionals have used video marketing in 2015, while the rest are planning to start using it soon.
We asked the experts!
What is one thing you learned in 2015 about content marketing that you didn’t know before?
My big learning for 2015 was how important experiences are to audiences and how much opportunity there is for content marketers to build massive audiences by focusing on the experience they want to architect first, and back that into the content they should create. Unless we know what our end goal is – creating amazing, remarkable experiences for audiences in order to drive revenue – we’ll never be able to plan, design and deliver relevant content.
In 2015 I learned two valuable lessons in content marketing: 1) Live streaming is not a trend, it’s the new normal and 2) Long-form content is a necessity in every organization’s content strategy.
Marketers should be using Facebook ads to promote their content.
I’ve always believed that content is king with some other aspect being queen. Based on specific trend-lines that blur the borders between the media, brands, social and search that have been identified this year, I now believe that audience is king and he who has access and can persuade them holds the keys to the kingdom.
Live streaming caught the content-marketing headlines in 2015, but mass distribution of Virtual Reality boxes showed that VR will begin to transport us into new worlds!
I learned that omnichannel marketing is key in a crowded online universe. Also, for curation, never depend on one source for content ideas – when Prismatic suddenly shut down, it created a huge gap to fill.
Focusing on anything except creating new value is a short term approach. If you want to be able to reach people and build a reputation, start thinking of what is of value to your target audience and give them exactly that.
I continued investing a lot of time into dynamic content. Previously, I would focus all my efforts on infographics, but this year I switched course and started focusing on video content a bit more. I also started running webinars which have yielded great results thus far. I think the most important lesson is to diversify your content and always test.
When the Content Marketing Institute released its latest study on B2B Content Marketing, I was rather shocked that 55% of B2B marketers said they’re not sure what an effective content marketing program looks like. Since more than 90% of B2B marketers say they’re using content marketing, this is an indicator that content marketing as a practice has a lot of growing to do if marketers plan to be successful.
Oh wow. Hmmmm…I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s something I learned so much as what has changed. It used to be people left comments on blogs. We’ve seen a HUGE shift from that to participation in private communities. It’s been a really interesting challenge as we continue to grow our content marketing program.
Content marketing statistics for 2016
Here are some statistics and predictions for 2016.
- 76% of B2B marketers and 77% B2C marketers claim they will produce more content in 2016.
- 60% of B2B marketers name producing engaging content as their top challenge for 2016.
- Creating original digital videos will be top trend in content marketing in 2016.
- 80% of all internet traffic will be video by 2016.
- 2 out of 3 marketers and agency executives believe that creating original video will become as important as original TV programming in next 3 years.
- Click-through rate in emails grows between 200% and 300% when the email contains a video.
- in 2016, number of global smartphone users will reach 2.08 billion.
- 91% of smartphone users say access to content is very important.
We asked the experts!
On what type of content should online marketers focus the most in 2016?
My hope for 2016 is that content marketers will flip the equation and put all of their thoughts about content aside until they’re able to define, articulate and document the type of online experience they want to create and understand how that will drive their business forward. That’s a critical tie, because historically marketers have functioned only within the marketing world. But it’s now time to understand that we need to have a bigger voice, responsibility and impact that requires us to be involved across the enterprise in order to deliver stellar experiences to audiences.
Marketers must add deep, rich content to their overall content strategy. Not every post needs to be 3,000 words long and filled with video and Slideshares, but the content that will stand out in 2016 will not be bite-size.
Video or Podcast.
I’m certainly not trying to dodge the question, but I don’t believe most brands have a content problem – they have a promotion and distribution problem. Therefore, marketers should double down on the content that’s worked for them in the past and map content to the buyers’ journey; all while making sure to spend 40 to 60 percent of the allocated time, energy, effort and budget on the three content promotion channels – earned, owned and paid media.
Video is dominating the visual web and it’s where marketers should be focusing in 2016.
Marketers must focus on mobile and video more than ever before. Short, active, visual and interactive will be critical for success.
Video is becoming more and more popular (and effective) platform lately, but people should choose the type of content depending on channels they plan to use. Good old textual content can still be a winner, especially if you enrich it by including organically relevant and valuable resources in your posts and give them away for free or in exchange for email address.
I think video and audio will content to play a huge roll in the content marketing space. It’s all about catching the eyes of your audience and captivating them – the most innovative strategies will win in 2016.
It is my hope that B2B marketers will focus content marketing strategy on sharing a serial story across the continuum of the buying process, rather than short term, one-off campaigns that result in a fragmented experience and wasted engagement equity. The experience and the continuity created with content are more important than the format.
Visual, visual, visual. One of the trends we’re spotting is live streaming so we anticipate there will be much more of that next year.
Tips for 2016
- Try some of the new types of content, like live streaming, podcasts or virtual reality.
- Invest in creating high-quality original videos, or learn how to make them yourself.
- Focus more on creating great content for mobile users.
Thank you for reading, and massive thank you to the fellow marketers that answered our questions!
Which of these predictions were right on the nose and which ones missed the mark? Find out the answer in our recent statistical overviews: