Four key content marketing trends for the rest of 2017

July 14th, 2017

It might not seem possible but we are already half way through 2017 and autumn is just a brace of weeks away. So now is a good time to take stock of how the content world has developed in the past six months, and what the key implications are for brands and their editorial teams.

The podcast revival continues

We have written many times about the growth of podcasting. The most unlikely revival since the return of TV show Twin Peaks, goes from strength to strength fuelled by highly successful crime and issue based podcasts from across the pond like Serial and Death, Sex and Money and humour based ones from the UK like this and this. Almost every significant media company now has a portfolio of podcasts on all manner of topics. Even the BBC, which has been issuing its programmes as podcasts for years, has hopped aboard the bandwagon with its Serial-esque Beyond Reasonable Doubt.

The impressive levels of engagement that podcasts attain makes them a perfect place for brands to reach out to attentive, invariably intelligent audiences. So far most of the brands that have produced their own podcasts, as opposed to sponsoring them, have tended to be startups like the excellent Backlisted podcast created by Unbound or B2B tech companies like this from Accenture. I do think that more brands, even FMCG ones, will experiment with podcasts over the coming months, perhaps taking inspiration from podcasts like Saints of Somewhere which build a series around a very smart concept.

The unstoppable Instagram

It seems to have been a very good year so far for the Facebook-owned Instagram platform and in particular the way it has successfully courted brands and media companies. After making a series of long overdue changes last year, which to be fair many of which were copied from Snapchat, like Instagram Stories, this year it has tweaked the platform further beefing up its analytics. Snapchat is still an enticing place for youth focused brands, but Instagram’s brand savvy, and large audience figures (700 million to Snapchat’s 200 million) mean it has the edge over its rival. Expect to see brands pour more and more resources into the platform as the year develops.

Addressing Voice Search

At the CMA Digital Breakfast earlier in the month Stephen Kenwright Head of Search of Branded3 quoted figures that predicted that by 2020 as many as 50% of online searches will be voice powered by Alexa, Cortana, Siri or whatever else that might come along in the coming years. Some of these voice searches will deliver traditional text results, while others will deliver voice only responses. It is the latter scenario then that presents both a problem and an opportunity for brands. The problem being that searchers are often only presented with a limited selection of responses by Google and Bing. But also opportunity in that if brands can perfect the way that they produce voice optimised content – in other words content that directly answers questions consumers are asking – they may find themselves securing that coveted key voice search position. There is a lot more about the topic on the write up from the Digital Breakfast here.

Email’s unlikely revival

There’s growing evidence that certain demographics feel more comfortable with email communications from brands as opposed to hearing from them via social media. Conversely email as a platform has become more attractive for brands as they own the channel and don’t have the filter the content via the politics and algorithms of social media. Really well thought out editorially-driven branded emails are becoming a major tool for brands again. The only caveat is that the implementation of GDPR in less than a year means that some brands might have to re-examine their email strategy.

Commissioned by The CMA

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