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It’s that time of year where experts are sharing their predictions for the year ahead. Looking back over the past several years, it seems that the predictions are all very similar; each new year brings a slight twist.

This is because marketers problems with content are generally consistent. Through talking to marketers we’ve identified that the most persistent issues are;

  • Generally proving ROI is a challenge
  • It’s difficult to maintain control of content, particularly in large organisations
  • Content creation can be expensive and time consuming – more and more marketers are depending on expensive agencies to develop content
  • It can be difficult to plan and find truly engaging and converting content
  • It’s a real struggle to process the amount of data coming out of content, let alone action those insights
  • Content isn’t centralised, it’s stored ad hoc depending on teams and employees. As such marketers are wasting time and resources on searching for and redoing existing content

StoryStream’s content marketing prediction for 2018 is; AI is going to be used to answer the majority of the issues marketers have with content.

To be honest, we are cheating a bit here. We jumped on the ‘AI for marketers’ train quite a while ago and hired a highly skilled AI team to build our own proprietary AI solution that can solve all the above issues. If you’re curious and would like to know more, take a look at our main website.

But we’re not the only ones with predictions for 2018. We’ve pulled some of the most interesting together and we’d love to hear whether you agree or not.

AI will move from a buzzword to a reality. Arun Pattabhiraman, CMO, InMobi (source).

We wholeheartedly agree with Arun. But before getting carried away marketers should first define their problems, then sit down with an AI MarTech vendor to identify where AI can really add value.

User Generated Content will become more and more important in the content mix. Megan James, MGID (source).

The merits of User Generated Content (UGC) are well known by marketers and yet there are still brands that aren’t tapping into this treasure trove of content. It’s free and it’s ripe for the picking.

Adding the right amount of brand content along with UGC to create the perfect balance of authenticity, trust and facts to move customers along the purchasing journey. We don’t want people to engage with content, then wonder off.

We’ll definitely be doing our bit to encourage more brands to take advantage of their fanbase and happy customers’ content.

If you want to find out more about UGC, read our blog on the types of UGC out there and how to use them.

There will be a greater focus on scaling quality content. Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster (source).

The dreaded ‘S’ word that sounds like nails down a chalkboard – Scalability.

When it comes to scalability of quality content, marketers need to understand both what good content is and how to produce and distribute it in a timely manner. More time needs investing in this, especially the ‘quality’ part. It’s a garbage-in/garbage-out situation – if you scale with bad content, then you’ll create a content mess that will be harder to clean up.

Content will be established as the building block of all marketing. Rebecca Lieb, Kaleido Insights (source).

Marketing isn’t possible without content – but remember effective marketing isn’t possible without effective content.

If you use the data pulled from brand content and UGC and use that as a starting point for all your activities, you’ll find it much easier to create exciting content and send it to customers at the right time, via the right output.

Disappearing content will continue to rock the marketing world. Charlotte Day, Contentworks Agency (source).

We’re talking about Ephemeral content here – short-lived content that is only accessible for a short amount of time (think SnapChat).

It may sound like a scary venture for some marketers but there’s so much potential. As it’s short-lived it tends to be considered more authentic than spammy style adverts and sponsored content. It really captures customers attention, particularly playing on their fear-of-missing-out (FOMO).

UGC will become a pivotal research base for segmentation and hyper-personalisation. Shawn Cabral, Head of Marketing, StoryStream.

The top-down approach to audience segmentation is defective. Brands are using rigid, pigeon-holeing demographics based on their proposition to create large segments. They then communicate to these large segments at mass, hoping something sticks.

The spotlight needs shifting away from brand presumptions and onto the real-life customers. Segmentation needs flipping upside-down and starting from the bottom-up.

Bottom-up segmentation starts with making the customer (and their behaviour) the most active focal point within the segmentation process. And you can find very interesting, candid and impartial insights within the content they create across the social media landscape.

When you analyse thousands of content profiles and customers individual behaviours, you start to see patterns and clusters – at StoryStream we call these Social Tribes. You can then respond by targeting the clusters with content similar to what they initially created and use common attributes as content themes to catch the attentions of more potential customers.

 

Whatever the predictions or trends are for 2018, it’s safe to say that what really matters is the impact on a marketers role and a brands ROI. An exciting trend can quickly turn into a fad failure, but you still have targets to meet and customers to engage.

If you’re currently planning for 2018 and are questioning how you can transform the efficiency and performance of your content marketing – skip the predictions and take a look at a solution that has been proven to work.

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