By Joe Pulizzi published December 12, 2017

Are You Ready for Content Marketing in 2018? 60+ Predictions


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:

  1. Apple will buy Disney. Although I think this transaction is a few years away, I want to go on the record now. As Apple continues to invest in original content, it will discover an out-and-out acquisition makes far more sense. It will see the light and purchase what is perhaps the greatest media company on the planet.
Apple will buy Disney in a few years, says @JoePulizzi. #Predictions2018 Click To Tweet
  1. In 2018, at least two major Fortune 500 brands will hire former publishers and/or media executives to serve as their chief marketing officers.
2 major Fortune 500 brands will hire former publishers and/or media execs as CMOs. @JoePulizzi #Predictions2018 Click To Tweet
  1. At least one Fortune 100 company will announce it is transforming its marketing department into a true profit center.
1 Fortune 100 company will transform its #marketing dept into a profit center. @JoePulizzi #Predictions2018 Click To Tweet

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 Clinic

Expect 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, LinkedIn

A downfall of snake-oil salespeople who promise meaningless views & likes. @JasonMillerCA #Predictions2018 Click To Tweet

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, Writally

2018 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 LLC

Success will come from telling the truth. Always. @DMScott #Predictions2018 Click To Tweet

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 Shift

Marketers 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, 20102011, 2012, 20132014, 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                                                                           


Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Cathy McPhillips

    So happy I had a sneak peek at these. This is such a smart and fun list of predictions. Looking forward to seeing some of these come to fruition!

  • John Nycz

    It is like an early Christmas gift! Thanks.

  • heidicohen

    It seems like yesterday, not 10 years. We’ll miss you as our orange beacon at the forefront of content marketing.

    These 2018 predictions are packed with lots of smart insights that every marketer should read to figure out which tea leaves are most important for their business.

    I agree that we mustl look beyond getting the next big pop from our content but rather to build experiences and relationships over the long term.

    Happy marketing,

    Heidi Cohen
    Actionable Marketing Guide

    • Joe Pulizzi

      :). Thanks for everything Heidi.

  • Chuck MacDonald

    Content mother lode! Hearing from so many experts was a great approach.

  • Yam Regev

    What a fantasitc Slide, Joe <3

    My predication:
    Professionals will understand that consuming content on Social networks is fine, but consuming professional knowledge over there is a complete waste of time.

    As long as (biased) algorithms are functioning as our content editors and are responsible for the way we discover and consume content, us professional are being exposed to content that have a good relevancy level to our intents and professions, however, algorithms can not know yet whether a piece of content hold any added value for us and how insightful this piece of content actually is.

    Manipulable content is everywhere and relying on algos to serve us with the best of it just adding oil to the fire.

    Professionals will shift to platforms where the suggested content was already reviewed and approved by multiple processionals before.

    My two cents 🙂

  • ali ghahar

    that was good article

  • Johnny Duncan

    Apple to buy Disney?! thats madness! Disney I think are constantly increasing it’s value by buying up firms – Pixar, Marvel, Lucas Film & now 20th Century Fox.

    “Success will come from telling the truth” – Couldn’t agree more with this, the general public has been hurt in recent months with Hollywood scandals and this whole “fake news” nonsense, I agree a stance of truth telling will be adopted in 2018.

    My predictions for the 2018 –

    The GDPR in Europe will have firms terrified as marketers scramble to understand the consequences and what needs to be implemented before the deadline of May ’18.

    Dynamic ad’s are going to be a big thing in 2018, Linking search signals with new dynamic social advertising will be a new trend for 2018.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      The Apple buying Disney prediction is absolutely crazy…crazy until it actually happens 😉