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A Guide to Content Marketing in 2016: 3 Must-Know Trends

To help you kick off 2016 with a bang and take your content marketing to the next level, we’ve outlined the must-know content marketing trends.
BY Ollie Roddy - January 05, 2016

So 2016 is finally here, and we’ve all been thrusted back to our business duties in what seems like the blink of an eye.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though, the new year is often an exciting time for businesses like yours. 

“And why”  we hear you ask?

Well simply put, the new year is the perfect opportunity to start afresh. It provides the opportunity to build from past successes, address past weaknesses and to trial and develop new approaches and strategies.

This brings us to content marketing. If you’re at all familiar with our
blogs (you can subscribe on the right), you’ll know that content marketing has seen a rapid rise in popularity amongst businesses. You’ll also know that this is because content marketing works.

So, to help you kick off 2016 with a bang and take your content marketing to the next level, we’ve outlined the must-know content marketing trends you can expect to see in 2016.

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Quality will rule
An unfortunate byproduct of content marketing’s popularity is the “me too” strategy adopted by many brands and content creators. What we’re referring to here is poorly researched and repurposed content, which is then repurposed by others. When rinsed and repeated on an industrial scale, this presents a problem: a deluge of crap content that isn’t worth consuming.

The flipside of this though, is that it takes the emphasis away from quantity, pushing it back toward quality. This provides you with an opportunity to shine and carve out your own identity within your industry. Lucky you.

To do this, you’ll need to ditch the “me-too” model and create awesome targeted content that addresses pain-points and problems specific to your audience.

Quality first, quantity second.

This brings us to our second trend...

(Primary) research will be king
Ultimately, the value of content lies in its ability to address the audience’s needs. Therefore, to create content that is going to stand out from all the crap, it needs to be insightful and research-driven.

And this is where we see the importance of primary research. While secondary research can be invaluable to content creators in delivering quality content, it rarely leads to the level of unique content you expect from renowned industry thought leaders.

To genuinely differentiate your business in the world of content, you need to empower your audience with unique insights that aren’t available to every Tom, Dick and Harry. And this means investing in primary research.

Whether working with research partners or conducting your own focus groups or research surveys, primary research can provide that extra substance that your competitors’ content is lacking. And, given insight drives content, gaining the momentum you need is then just a case of adhering to SEO, social media and general content marketing best practices to effectively communicate your messages and insights. Simple.

Long-form content will make a comeback
At Catalyst, we love brevity. If you can say it in one word, say it in one word.

Short. Snappy. Sharp.

However, with Google’s algorithm placing serious weight on how your content connects to other pieces of content, long-form content is set to make a reappearance. This isn’t an excuse to take simple concepts and stretch them out across 1000 words of bloated copy. Instead, this is an opportunity to utilise long-form, well researched, search-engine-optimised (SEO) copy as part of your wider content marketing toolkit.

In fact, if you’re ahead of the curve and are already making use of primary research to drive content, long-form content is your best friend. Long-form copy allows you to delve into greater detail about the insights you’ve uncovered. This means more opportunities for search engine discovery, and more value for your audience.

The Takeaways
Always focus on quality over quantity: quality is the only thing that will differentiate you from the influx of crap content expected in 2016. 

Combine primary and secondary research for awesome content: combining secondary research with primary research can lead to some particularly powerful insights.

Be succinct, but embrace long-form content: Google loves long-form content and your audience loves insights. Find the balance.

If you’re looking to generate better results from your content marketing, you’ll need to consider these trends. However, you could always take the shortcut and work with an agency that knows how to generate real content marketing ROI for your business (*ahem*, that would be us).

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