2016 content marketing trendsIt’s that time of year again when experts in the field of content marketing are casting their eye back over the developments of the past 12 months in an effort to read the signs of what might be yet to come. In this ever-evolving and dynamic industry, the ghost of content marketing past can indicate potential trends for the coming year, helping savvy marketers to stay one step ahead of the game.

So, as 2015 draws to a close, we take a look at some of the top content marketing trends thought leaders in this dynamic field are tipping as the ones to watch for 2016:

1. Social to become integral to SEO strategy

Social Media Week recently published an article charting the gradual change in user behaviour when it comes to searching out goods and services online. Although the search engines are still king, content marketers should not overlook the fact that the amount of users skipping the search engines and logging straight on to social media to find what they are looking for is on the rise. In 2016, marketers would do well to ensure a strong social element is built into their SEO strategy instead of focusing solely on climbing the ranks of Google.

2. Content needs to be all killer, no filler

Content creation shows no signs of slowing in the year ahead – in fact, we can expect to encounter more than ever. As a result, the emphasis on top-notch content will continue to grow in order to stand out from the crowd. Informative articles that add value for and build an affinity with customers will trump out-dated, blatant sales pitches in both the B2B and the B2C sector, according to Social Media Week. The rise in ad-blocking software goes to show just how tired users are with being bombarded with useless information. Content marketers need to strive harder for killer content and smarter promotion to stay ahead of the crowd.

3. The age of video dawns

Earlier this year, Cisco reported that by 2019, video will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic, up from 64% in 2014. Content marketers would do well to consider allocating a part of their budgets to gain a foothold in this lucrative market. Forbes suggests that we are likely to see a shift in the coming months away from slick, highly produced video to more user generated content. Technological innovations, such as Apple’s new iPhone with its 12 megapixel camera, would certainly demonstrate this to be the case – these days anyone can be a videographer, perhaps your company should take a slice of the pie too.

4. Mobile continues to grow

Sure, it’s predictable but that doesn’t mean that all content marketers are taking note. According to Forbes, there are an estimated 3.65bn unique mobile users around the globe and this number is only set to grow. Even the SME with a smaller budget ought to ensure their website and content is formatted and fully optimised for mobile success in order to reap the benefits.

5. Publishing and social media come together

Over the past couple of years we have watched networking site LinkedIn roll out a successful publishing platform and we can only expect this to increase across other social sites. Evidence built this year when Twitter launched a new feature permitting lengthier commentary on re-tweets and with reports that the 140 character limit will soon be removed -potentially changing the game for content marketers using the site. Additionally, the one to watch in the coming months is social giant Facebook with its Instant Articles feature gaining traction amongst major publishers as a way to instantly and constantly stream new content to the site.

6. The listicle post ain’t going nowhere

A final note on one of the most popular types of content, the 2015 Content Preferences Survey, published by Deman Gen Report earlier this year, demonstrated that consumers had a clear preference for prescriptive content such as the trusty listicle. Easy to scan and digest, this form of content won out over several other typical formats e.g. Q&A type conversational content and foundational content such as toolkits and the like.

Time to put our crystal ball away – let us know if you saw anything different in yours.