Quietly’s content marketing predictions for 2016

At the beginning of 2015, we made our predictions for the year to come. By the end of it, we weighed in on whether we were right or not. Spoiler alert: we were not! 2015 was a quiet year for content marketing, but we learned a valuable lesson: it’s alright to be wrong, sometimes.

Enter now, the beginning of 2016. For our second year of predictions, we asked the Quietly Qrew (as we call ourselves) their hopes, thoughts, wishes, and content marketing predictions for 2016. Here’s what we came up with.

Quietly Content Marketing Predictions for 2016

By Emily E. Steck

  • **The medium through which consumers react to content will continue to evolve regardless of space and time.** The word of last year was emoji, but marketers have long known that reaction gifs, emojis and [reacjis](http://techcrunch.com/2015/07/09/slack-adds-emoji-reactions/) have dominated the conversation about content marketing. Reactionary visuals like this will continue to evolve, perhaps through the likes of repurposed old films, audio recordings and other digital artifacts.

  • **Emojis are the new #hashtags.** If brands fail to be fluent in emoji speak and fail to understand the sentiment, connotation and context around how they are used, they will fail when it comes to analysis around content reception and engagement.

  • **Brands will adapt channel-specific strategies and campaigns to attract eyeballs**. Brands will embrace Snapchat, Instagram's partner program, [Peach](https://blog.bufferapp.com/peach), messaging apps and whatever else gains traction this year with an emphasis on visual storytelling.

  • **Brands will experiment with creating original GIFs, podcasts, interactive quizzes, infographics, web series and live-streaming events.** B2C brands will continue to push the kinds of content they can create for their fans. It will be interesting to see how B2B brands will experiment with multimedia.

  • **Publishers’ branded content divisions will begin to take control of entire brand campaigns.** From _The New York Times'_ T Brand Studio to [Condé Nast's 23 Stories](http://www.adweek.com/fishbowlny/conde-nast-journalists-to-create-ads/330084) to[ _The New Republic's_ Novel](http://observer.com/2015/07/the-new-republic-native-advertising-studio/), 2015 saw plenty of publishers branch out to create native ad and content marketing studios for brands. This will only continue in 2016 and these departments will begin to grow even more to create other advertising material. As such, they'll focus more on content strategy and editorial value instead of advertorial value.

  • **Google (and other search engines) will perfect video SEO.** Video declared itself king in 2015; a report by Marketing Land states that videos make for [62% of all Google searches](http://marketingland.com/infographic-video-youtube-wins-google-universal-search-37971) universally. [A 2009 Forrester study](http://blogs.forrester.com/interactive_marketing/2009/01/the-easiest-way.html) stated said that web pages with videos are 53 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results. It's only a matter of time that in 2016, video will be even more important to SEO.

  • **@Mentions in comment sections of platforms will continue to reap organic referral traffic.** Brands won't need to try too hard to ask for tags/participation anymore, especially as friends will refer each other via mentions to check out this piece of content. With that in mind, moderating conversations and community management will become trickier with all the noise.

  • **Brands will dive deep into the podcast craze, both as advertisers and producers.** We're already seeing this to be true, with brands experimenting with [podcast advertising models](http://www.fastcompany.com/3054877/most-creative-people/beyond-mail-kimp-the-future-of-podcast-advertising) and [GE's podcast _The Message_](http://www.niemanlab.org/2015/11/how-did-the-ge-branded-podcast-the-message-hit-no-1-on-itunes-in-part-by-sounding-nothing-like-an-ad/) as prime examples of advertising and producing, respectively. But brands will want to jump in too, with making their own podcasts as a starting point.

  • **The way in which content creators share their 'takeaways' will evolve from plain text to visual-based media.** Using tools like [Canva](http://canva.com) and [Pablo](http://buffer.com/pablo), brands and content creators will elect for more visual ways to express recaps and summaries, especially of live-streaming events and webinars.

  • **Brand fails will be the new clickbait headlines and hate-reads.** From terribly executed pop cultural references to using overly colloquial or conversational phrases, brands will walk the line between getting more likes and yikes.

  • **Everyone is a thought leader, so no one is.** The buzzword for "thought leadership" is dying and there's an increased need to cut through this noise. Either true "thought leaders" will emerge aka super influencers, or everyone will try their hand at it, making the term irrelevant.

  • **We'll start to look at different analytics that are more indicative of content quality.** [Pageviews are dead](http://www.wired.com/2015/12/everyone-knows-page-views-dont-matter-but-they-just-wont-die/) (RIP). However, we'll struggle to find a better metric than pageviews (we already do). The only solution will be to judge the content quality.

  • **Brands will invest more in longer, written content.** Blog posts of 600 words are everywhere; 1,000 word blog posts—in addition to [ranking higher in Google](http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/12/20/the-science-behind-long-copy-how-more-content-increases-rankings-and-conversions/) —will become the divider. And then the new norm.

  • **Brands will adopt microsites like never before**. A microsite is a content hub separate from a company’s URL—essentially a branded publication. This way, brands can develop new verticals under one umbrella. It's worked for [GE](http://www.ge.com/), [Adobe](http://www.cmo.com/) and [Red Bull](http://www.redbulletin.com/us/us). 

  • **Virtual reality will become the hot new thing, then fade away.** Content marketers and brands will experiment with virtual reality this year, taking cues from Hyundai, _The New York Times_ and GE. However, there will be either resistance from consumers or the tech involved. That's not to say there isn't a future in VR; it's just not in 2016.

  • **Repurposing evergreen content will be a top priority.** Does content ever age? Not if content marketers can help it! CMI’s [2016 benchmarks report](http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2016_B2B_Report_Final.pdf) found that 44% of marketers want to repurpose content this year.

Image: ahmadreza sajadi/Unsplash

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