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What Content Marketing Will Look Like in 2016: 40+ Predictions


It’s hard to believe that this marks the eighth year of our annual content marketing predictions. In some ways, we’ve come a long way; yet in others, we’ve barely moved. Regardless, it’s still clear that the content marketing space is the most dynamic and exciting sector in the marketing industry.

In this e-book, 40+ Predictions on Content Marketing in 2016, you’ll see predictions related to data-driven marketing, a huge push toward creative, a call for all things visual, and a rather optimistic view on content marketing going mainstream.

While I am ever the optimist, my personal content marketing predictions for 2016 are a bit of a mixed bag (and are sure to be wrong). Either way, here’s a glimpse for your reading pleasure:

  1. While we will see shining examples of content marketing magic in action, the sheer majority of brands will continue to crash and burn with their content creation and distribution efforts. Simply put, most brands resist telling a truly differentiated story; and even those that do aren’t consistent or patient enough to build loyal audiences over time.
  1. While some media companies (like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times) will find their footing with sponsored content/native advertising, a few other enterprise media brands will be decimated by their lack of control over native advertising, which will kill their credibility – a deficit from which they will never fully recover.
  1. This will finally be the year when large brands consider purchasing media platforms and begin to set up the infrastructure to make these purchases possible. Media acquisitions by brands will start in the B2B arena, where large manufacturers like GE will purchase niche content sites with loyal audiences (buy vs. build). This momentum will continue in 2017 when Apple will buy Disney, at last bringing together Steve Jobs’ two greatest creations (Apple and Pixar).

A special thanks to our friends at Marketing.AI, who made the 2016 predictions collection possible.

We’ve compiled over 40 predictions from thought leaders who share their views on brand strategy, organizational structure, emerging technology and platforms, and other big developments that may be on the horizon for content marketing. Here are a few highlights:

2016 will be the year when the worlds of product-as-content and content-as-product collide. The hottest, most positive trend will be enterprises reorganizing their brand, product, marketing, sales, and customer service teams around innovation and customer experience. – Robert Rose, chief strategy officer, Content Marketing Institute

The focus will be shifting from simply creating ‘more’ content to serving the ‘right’ content; especially personalized content. We have the ability to beand users now expect personalized and hyper-relevant content delivered instantly to them wherever they are engaging — social, email, or any channel, for that matter. There is increased pressure to constantly deliver that seamless, engaging experience, and more brands will be stepping up to deliver exactly that. – Amanda Todorovich, content marketing director, Cleveland Clinic

All signs point to video. Whether it’s Facebook Live, video on Twitter, Periscope, Blab, Instagram, Vine, or the old standby YouTube, 2016 will be the year when video becomes a primary content marketing consideration for all brandseven B2B. – Jay Baer, president, Convince & Convert

I predict the emergence of ‘TweetRank.’ As sign-up growth slows, Twitter will boost its stock price by making ads more prominent. That means making some tweets less prominent. To decide which tweets get which treatment, there will be an algorithm. – Andy Crestodina, strategic director, Orbit Media Studios

Do you have a prediction on content marketing in 2016? Why don’t you share it with us in the comments section?

Curious about past predictions? Check out our forecasts for  2009, 20102011, 2012, 20132014, and 2015.                                                                                                                                        

Subscribe to the CMI blog to see how well these predictions fare in the new year or to stay ahead of the curve with your content marketing.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute