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It’s no secret that content marketing has a tremendous impact on the ability of digital agencies and PR firms to provide effective services to their clientele. As business demand for content grows, content marketing has also fueled agency growth, as found in our survey of more than 100 digital agency and PR firm executives.

In Tempesta Media’s first Current State of Content Marketing and Marketing Technology research report, we found that 90 percent of companies with growing revenue deployed content marketing campaigns.

In this article, we look at five notable trends to keep an eye on this year to help you stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing landscape of content marketing.

User-generated content

Marketers are seeing success with tapping into their customers to generate content for their business.

It works because of one simple reason: People are drawn to product/service experiences told from the perspective of an actual user. The Guardian reports that as much as 70 percent of consumers rank customer reviews and testimonials higher than professional content.

At its most basic, marketing with user-generated content means encouraging customers content and displaying it on your marketing platforms.

An example of this would Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, which called on customers to post photos of their personalized coke bottles on social media. The campaign reportedly led to a two percent increase in U.S. sales for the company.

Content amplification

Often cited as the missing ingredient in content marketing, content amplification refers to the science of promoting content. As Jonathan Perelman of BuzzFeed once said, “Content is king, distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.”

Much has been said about the anatomy of great content, and this year, we predict the game will focus on increasing the value of content through these methods:

  • Distribution on the most effective and most relevant channels
  • Growing your audience through social media and publisher networks
  • Targeting the right people and reaching out to them on the appropriate platforms
  • Audience engagement by optimizing content for conversions

Blurred lines between content marketing and SEO

More marketers are beginning to understand that SEO and content marketing feed off the other. Gone are the days of trying to game search engines with blackhat SEO techniques; today, the focus is on improving the search rankings of websites through powerful storytelling.

Companies no longer have to run the two as separate campaigns, not when combining both can lead to larger gains in traffic.

As content marketing guru Neil Patel puts it, “How can content marketing overtake SEO completely when the only way to successful content marketing is to have SEO? How can you tear the two apart like that?”

Content personalization

As content marketing becomes the de facto marketing method, the immediate challenge is to find a way to stand out.

Doing so will mean personalizing your content so that it connects with your audience at an entirely different level. As such, you need to inject narratives into your content that speaks directly to your audience.

Businesses that know how to integrate consumer data insights into their content are at an advantage this year, but they need to do it while going back to the basic tenet of content marketing: great storytelling.

Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP

Expect an intensified focus on pushing content on mobile, thanks to the efforts of Facebook with their Instant Articles and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project.

Using either Instant Articles or AMP, publishers can push fast-loading and streamlined pages for mobile users. Instant Articles is exclusive to content opened through Facebook’s app, while AMP is an open-source initiative for all publishers.

Both platforms are essentially the same: they use HTML5 documents that use custom tags to display text, images, video, maps and ads streamlined for mobile devices. And unlike responsive design, both Instant Articles and AMP offer a cleaner and notably faster experience when viewing content online.

In Summary

  • Content marketing continues to fuel growth among digital agencies and PR firms able to offer it as part of their core services
  • Ninety percent of companies offering content marketing saw growth in 2015, further fueling the demand for content marketing services
  • In 2016, a number of key trends will play a significant role in the success of your content marketing efforts
  • Trends include user-generated content, content amplification, a deeper relationship between SEO and content marketing, content personalization and a strong push for mobile courtesy of Facebook and Google

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