Original artilce: Sujan Patel
It’s that time of year again. A time to reflect on the state of online marketing over the past year and a time to figure out how to score big marketing wins over the year to come. Since every new year brings new marketing challenges, we can use these predictions to help build forward-thinking strategies that help us win tomorrow while our competitors fight to keep up.
Here are 6 predictions about digital marketing in 2016:
1. Less articles + More interactive content = Big Wins.
Content marketing has been around for a few years now. But the truth is, most marketers have focused almost solely on article writing than anything else. Sometimes, for good reason. Let’s be honest, videos, slideshows, podcasts, infographics, and quizzes, all usually take much more time to produce than the most finely tuned article. But the Internet is flooded with thousands of articles, good and bad, vying for the attention of potential customers who have the choice of enjoying cat videos or reading your 2,000 word listicle.
In 2016, if you want to be seen, interactive content is the way to do it. Why? Interactive content is often easier to digest, much more engaging, and can typically garner more backlinks than some of the best articles. In the past, creating interactive content was much more cost prohibitive and time consuming. But now, with tools like anyone can create beautiful, interactive Buzzfeed-like quizzes, web surveys, and calculators without the help of a designer or developer.
2. Creating and distributing content by yourself is no longer an effective strategy.
In 2016, it’s going to be rough for marketers. Not because it’s hard to produce content and publish it, quite the contrary. It’s the fact that it’s so simple to get your message out there that everyone is doing it and they’re doing a lot of it. The truth is, according to Web Strategies Incmarketers are forecasted to increase total digital marketing spend to 35% of total budgets in 2016. And 54.1% of marketers are prioritizing hiring for marketing content above all other marketing sub-groups. That means more content, from more brands, with bigger budgets. And this doesn’t include the content being produced by your prospect’s friends and family.
Remember, you’re competing with cat and baby videos too. So how do you get brand noticed in such a noisy world, without a huge marketing budget and lots of staff? Collaboration. The good news is, there are a ton of easy ways to collaborate with others to create interesting content that gets seen. You can use user-generated content, partner with other influencers in your field in an interview or tip style post and gets each contributor to share the content with their audience. Just be sure to let everyone mentioned or referenced in the article know they’re mentioned.
This can be as easy as tweeting or emailing everyone when the article goes live. Unfortunately, with big pieces of collaborative content, this can be a task. I’ve spent many hours sending researching and contacting people mentioned in a collaborative piece, so using something like Narrow that does the dirty work for you automatically can save a ton of time.
3. Pay to play is now the standard on more social networks.
We’ve seen evidence of “pay-to-play” across the top social media networks for years. But the truth is, now more than ever, it is much more difficult to get your content notified on social networks, for free. Don’t believe me? Consider this. According to Forrester Research, Facebook only shows each brand’s posts to 16% of its fans
On Twitter, the average tweet only reaches about 10% of followers because they are drowned out by other posts. And don’t forget the introduction of Facebook Instant. Facebook Instant delivers your article to Facebook users, directly on Facebook. This means they don’t have to actually visit your website to see your content in full.
Not only can this hurt your SEO strategy and website traffic, your content will be shared in full, for free to a only limited audience, unless you create custom content and PAY for the proper distribution, which increases your market budget.
4. Influencer marketing is going to become a requirement.
The average person’s Twitter and Facebook feeds are littered with viral memes, funny videos, inspirational quotes, and pics of their friend’s new baby. It’s more challenging than ever to get people aware and engaged with your brand. In 2016, more marketers will have to focus on reaching the communities within communities.
What that means is finding a way to reach your customers using another person’s or groups’ audience on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. One way to do this is with influencer marketing, which is simply partnering with other, non-competing leaders in your space and using them to spread your message.