This text initially appeared on Column Five.

“Content material is king.”

“Everybody’s investing in content material.”

“Content material advertising and marketing is the one kind of selling left.”

We’ve all heard these sound bites. However what do they actually imply? I don’t know.

What I do know is that the content marketing industry is growing and maturing at a quick tempo.

As extra folks (each as manufacturers and businesses) pursue content material in earnest, extra content material is produced. A few of it’s good, however a number of it’s unhealthy. As we come to the top of the yr, it’s time to consider how we are able to do higher. How can we course right (when wanted) or improve our content material advertising and marketing efforts?

Listed below are a number of concepts for what we plan, need, and hope to see in 2017.


Committing to or investing in good content material advertising and marketing doesn’t imply producing a ton of content material; it means producing good content material. What’s that? Content material that engages, educates, and conjures up folks—not worthless fluff that rehashes the highest three articles discovered on Google.

Effective content marketers produce sufficient content material to interact their viewers and hold them coming again. The precedence ought to all the time be high quality first, scale second.


I hope there will probably be much less reliance on bullshit and jargon and extra efforts to speak clear, concise, and compelling messages. Need a good instance of an genuine voice? Have a look at Seth Godin’s blog. Let’s all attempt to communicate to people like people.


The phrase “storytelling” is bandied about fairly a bit within the promoting and artistic company world. Typically this phrase has turn out to be a thinly veiled time period for regardless of the company is doing.

However in its true sense, storytelling is an unbelievable solution to convey folks into the fold and join with them in an emotional manner. Listed below are a number of nice examples of name storytelling:

Underneath Armor’s “I Will What I Need” video


Bose’s “Get Nearer” video

[vimeo 187054010 w=700 h=394]

Harvy Nichols’ safety got here video


Different favorites:


Video is simply on the rise. By 2020, international shopper Web video site visitors will account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic. The medium is unmatched as a wealthy viewing expertise that asks little or no of the viewers. Whether it’s explainer videos, motion graphics, or model movies, that is an enviornment price exploring.

Even when you don’t have an enormous price range, a video advert for social or easy Instagram video might be efficient.

(For extra on video, be taught how to write a great video script and keep away from these 10 mistakes in video production.)


Interactive experiences are particularly participating, permitting your viewers to comply with their curiosity. (Be taught extra concerning the 7 ways interactive infographics can tell your story.) Relying in your objectives, you’ll be able to present a singular storytelling expertise by guiding your viewers by the interactive or letting them management the story.

Narrative interactives information your viewers by one storyline. Instance: the Anatomy of a Breach interactive we made for Microsoft.

Explorative interactives enable your viewers to discover what they like, dig into information, and so forth. Instance: The Media Use in the Middle East interactive we made for Northwestern College.

Interactive content material can also be an amazing digital substitute for tactile studying, which is a confirmed efficient studying device.


Pokémon Go was insane—and solely the tip of the iceberg. I’m not as bullish on digital actuality (VR) as a few of my friends are, however AR is already right here. I imagine that MR adoption will enhance in 2017. And in about two years out, we’ll see extra VR executions built-in into content material advertising and marketing methods, vs being a novelty.

I imagine that MR adoption will enhance in 2017. About two years out, we’ll see extra VR executions built-in into content material advertising and marketing methods vs. being a novelty.


Most manufacturers are performing some content material, however they aren’t essentially “all in.” To supply content material successfully, you must haven’t solely a imaginative and prescient but additionally the infrastructure, strategy, proper team, and different smart partners to fill in your gaps.

This isn’t one thing you are able to do halfheartedly.

My prediction is that the manufacturers that take this severely will make investments severely. They are going to thoughtfully inform the very best tales by their content material and develop their provide chain to constantly ship priceless content material, main their industries in coming a long time.


Folks care concerning the people behind the brands they assist. They care concerning the origin tales, the values, and the shared culture. They care about what makes a model distinctive, which comes right down to the individuals who work for that model.

I might even go as far as to say that individuals yearn to really feel a connection to those issues. However you’ll be able to’t obtain this connection when you by no means open up and present your true colours.

At our company, we dedicate our skills to inner tasks that mirror passions, values, and causes we care about. For instance, we created the People For Periods interactive infographic to assist de-stigmatize menstruation, a taboo that impacts every little thing from ladies’ schooling to laws worldwide. We’ve additionally turned a few of our philosophies into fine-art posters.


I personally hope that 2017 is the yr that everybody in our business learns the distinction between gross sales content material and advertising and marketing content material. The worst solution to convey audiences into your model is to drive gross sales content material down their throat.

Many content material entrepreneurs get stress from their bosses to weave point out of their model (e.g., how nice their model is and their distinctive worth proposition) into their materials. However editorial content material is supposed to draw folks on the consciousness stage. The gross sales pitch ought to keep out of it. As an alternative, discover ways to educate your viewers and develop a killer shopping for expertise.


We plan to pursue these ways ourselves and suggest our companions do the identical. Content material advertising and marketing is rarely simple, but it surely’s an pleasing problem. As you proceed your content material advertising and marketing efforts and methods within the new yr, I want you and your staff a profitable 2017.

For extra methods to do nice advertising and marketing, learn our team’s top 10 tips for creating nice content material, be taught how to work with the 4 types of creative thinkers, and keep away from these 5 content mistakes.

Need assistance creating highly effective branded content material? Let Column Five hook you up.

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