There’s been a paradigm shift in the past several years away from noisy, distracting ads.

A shift towards content.

Customers want value and engagement before they give you their trust. Likewise, Google has made it clear that content is pretty much the only thing that matters when it comes to SEO.

This means, whether it’s organic or direct traffic, content plays a key role in driving prospects and customers to your website. Smart marketers know that. In fact, we’ll see a huge increase in content marketing budgets and content production next year.

Content dominates but like any good marketing tactic, it also has to evolve. So, let’s have a look at what we can expect in the coming year.

#1. Niche Topics and Personalization

In email marketing, personalization is key. However, it hasn’t been applied to content marketing on a large scale yet.

With data about your audience being so easily accessible today, content marketing will trend towards a more customized approach.

According to a recent study by Forrester, senior marketing executives agree that content creation must be personalized and contextually relevant in order to truly succeed with consumers.

In fact, 67% said they used behavior-based data to develop content-based insights and emotions.

Content marketing is a pretty crowded space and will be even more so in 2017. Content personalization, as well as niche, highly targeted topics is a way to stand out in the crowd.

#2. Interactive Content

There’s so much noise out there and, as a result, our brains are rewired for constant distraction. That poses a huge challenge for content marketing.

A recent study by TrackMaven found that, while the output of content per brand increased 35% per channel across 2015, content engagement decreased by 17%.

That’s very bad news. Content that’s not engaging is basically useless. We’ve already seen the rise of interactive chat bots last year and this rise in interactive content is going to continue next year. There will be more quizzes, calculators, polls, flowcharts, and so on.

content marketing trends
Our friends at The Starr Conspiracy have absolutely mastered the art of interactive content with their Lightpaper.

#3. Better Written Content

There will be more content produced next year, both in the B2B and B2C markets. While there are some hot types of content that will define 2017, such as interactive content and video, writing is still dominant.

In fact, content creation is the number one skill that marketing departments currently lack, according to a joint survey by Curata and LinkedIn.

With so much content out there, the sad reality is that most of it is pretty mediocre, if not outright useless. Companies that stand out are the ones that deliver way more value through their content than anyone else.

There are a plethora of sites such as WriterAccess and Upwork that source freelance writers for all types of niche writing. Contracting a professional rather than always trying to tackle content in-house may lead to better quality in greater quantities for your small business.

content marketing trends

Next year, we’ll (hopefully) see better writing that’s captivating, value rich, easy to read, and highly engaging. There will be a big shift towards trends like 10x content and episodic content too.

#4. More Video

Video growth is skyrocketing. Snapchat has reached 100 million daily active users, Periscope has reached over 200 million broadcasts, and Facebook’s CEO just made a decision to put live video first.

Facebook-owned Instagram, an app with 300 million Daily Active Users, recently introduced ‘Stories,’ and has now launched a live video feature.

Video has been growing quickly for a while. There’s a good reason; it delivers results such as  reach, engagement, and sales.

This year, marketers will invest more time and money into creating video content; not only across social media like Snapchat and Instagram, but webinars and live video events too.