It's hard to believe that, after 10 years, this will be the last time I share my annual list of content Marketing predictions for CMI. Not to get all sentimental or anything, but looking into the future of our industry and anticipating the content and media trends most likely to impact our businesses has always been a favorite part of the job … and it will be one of CMI's content experiences I'll miss the most as I retire from CMI this month.
But, as change is the only constant, it's time to put the past aside and focus on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. And, if anyone can help lead the content marketing industry forward and prepare you for what's to come, it's the group of experts who contributed to our 10th annual e-book of content marketing predictions.
In 60+ Predictions on Content Marketing in 2018, some of our favorite content marketing colleagues and compatriots share their thoughts on what it takes to build an audience; how advanced technologies and newer techniques – like AI, voice-enabled search, and virtual reality – will impact the content landscape; how troubling trends like "fake news" and data breaches will add complexity to the marketing equation; and more.
As for my own predictions for the upcoming year, they are rather simple – though somewhat aspirational:
Of course, these ideas are the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at a few more highlights from our new e-book:
In 2018, I expect to see more diversification of content formats. More live streaming on social. More audio/podcasts. Alexa skills. Content will continue to expand beyond the traditional web and print approaches. Brands will continue to invest in content, as they have been over the last few years; but that investment will shift from mostly writing services and paid distribution/promotion to a whole host of services – production, more animation and video-related graphics, voice talent, etc. It's no longer just about words – content is about creating experiences. – Amanda Todorovich, content marketing director, Cleveland ClinicExpect to see more diversification of #content formats, says @amandatodo. #Predictions2018 Click To Tweet
Virality and reach will become less important, and marketers will instead focus on better segmenting and targeting capabilities, enhanced with the help of AI. This will finally lead to the downfall of the recent trend of snake-oil salespeople who promise to hack your way into millions of meaningless views, comments, and likes. Content marketing will no longer be a game of volume and bloated numbers but will instead promote empathy, relevance, and exclusivity. – Jason Miller, global content marketing leader, LinkedInA downfall of snake-oil salespeople who promise meaningless views & likes. @JasonMillerCA #Predictions2018 Click To Tweet
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
2018 will see the rise of employee brand advocates over paid influencers. Companies will embrace employee advocacy programs in greater numbers because of the need to produce thought-leading content to break through online noise and the growing body of evidence supporting better outcomes for brands that take this approach. – Cas McCullough, CEO, Writally2018 will see the rise of employee brand advocates over paid influencers, says @casmccullough. #Predictions Click To Tweet
In a world of increasing scandal (think Wells Fargo) and people slapping "fake news" labels on content with increasing frequency, success will come from telling the truth. Always. – David Meerman Scott, marketing strategist, Freshspot Marketing LLCSuccess will come from telling the truth. Always. @DMScott #Predictions2018 Click To Tweet
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
Brand marketers will make the transition from creating branded content to building content brands. The most successful marketers will make an appointment with their audience, develop a format for their content, attach talent to their content and, most importantly, create a hook. Those that create a simple twist on a familiar theme designed to ensnare or entrap a buying audience will be the big winners in 2018. Content builds relationships. Relationships build trust. Trust drives revenue. Build a buying audience, and the rest will take care of itself. – Andrew Davis, best-selling author, Monumental ShiftMarketers will transition from creating branded content to building content brands. @DrewDavisHere #Predictions Click To Tweet
Do you have a prediction on content marketing in 2018? Why don't you share it with us in the comments?
Curious about the accuracy of our past predictions? Check out our forecasts for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, to see what we got right, and where we went way off track.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute