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5 Predictions on the Future of Content Marketing

I'm always wary of these kind of posts, but man it'd be cool if all of them came true! The dynamic of content marketing is changing, and from what I can see, the future of content marketing needs to take a turn at some point. 

I mean, how much longer can we go on creating content and lists and providing information before there's too much? There will surely be a point where the overwhelm of information (some would argue there already is overwhelm) will cause us to stop making content. I mean when you're designing a brilliant report, but it's then the 15th of it's kind, you've got to question the ROI potential of creating it. But then what?

This quick guide to the future of content marketing is in no way guaranteed. It's just a prediction based on my observations to date.

1. Bring on the VR/AR content marketing world

If you think virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are some kind of outer space concept, it's time to remove yourself from under that rock. We now have devices powerful enough to power some pretty kick-ass virtual reality games and apps. So then imagine ads within a platform like Pokemon Go.

Imagine you had to drink a virtual spring water for energy or that your character ran faster with the latest Nike trainers.

Pokemon Go had a lot of problems that led to it being a successful, yet short-lived 'flash in the pan' (you couldn't even battle friends, what's with that?). But it did a lot right and showed the potential that when you mix nostalgic platform games with reality, the result can be massive.

Key take away: Imagine brands being able to use virtual reality and augmented reality to influence virtual behaviours as a way of conditioning physical behaviours...

2. Reading your blog post out loud will get penalised.

Until now, some of the advice from the best content marketers has been to simply record yourself presenting the content of a blog post, splitting the audio as a podcast episode and spreading it far and wide. Up to today, that still works. 

I'd argue that it works better if you 're-purpose with a purpose'​ but as a simple starting point, creating content and re-purposing across multiple mediums will serve you better than simply writing it.

Of course, this whole post is about predicting what will happen, so read into it as far as you like. But I think we'll eventually see the automated checking of whether repurposed content is useful to the reader. In my mind, simply 'repurposing content' will no longer do it. 

See, search engines are businesses too. Google isn't just there for you with no other purpose. Their business is to make sure that search results are as relevant as possible.​ And if that means copy, audio and video, they'll do it.

Man talking to camera

In the future, we'll need to re-purpose with a purpose to avoid being penalised.

I think in time to come, simply reading will no longer be enough, and that's because it won't serve the audience as well unless proper effort is put into the production.

Key take away: Create a blog post with a video that assists or gives similar information but in a new, meaningful and engaging way and the SEO rewards will remain.

3. If information feeds the information age, what happens next?

I feel that eventually content will be less about what you can teach and more about what you are doing right now. And let's be honest, it kind of already is like this to some extent thanks to the rise of Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Your Day and Facebook Live and Twitter live streaming.

But as the market keeps flooding with 'content marketing' content, the value of things like tutorial re-writes and simple information provision can only diminish. I mean really, how many tutorials on fly fishing techniques can here be?

In the end, all that will be left will be the documenting of what your favourite brands are doing in real-time. I'm waiting for the first business hours or 24/7 constant live stream into a company office. That'll be fun!

Key take away: Get comfortable with live streaming, sharing your current events and documenting processes as a way of content marketing. It's here to stay.

4. The rules of the future: Be relevant to survive

Prediction four is that 'Interruption marketing' will die out and be replaced only with real-time timely assistance. This means it'll be a battle to be more relevant and helpful, rather than just the loudest.

In the good ol' days, TV advertising was revolutionary and worthwhile because all of a sudden brands could get themselves in front of eyeballs during a block of ads that would interrupt normal viewing.

multiple devices

These days we all watch TV while on FB, until we find out from our watch that our phone has a notification.

With multi-device viewing and especially with the rise of Netflix, Stan and TV channels on demand, the number of eyeballs on those TV ads has plummeted.

But everyone knows that...

In many ways, if you think about it, Facebook ads run in the same way as TV used to, just with more targeting potential. If you're simply 'marketing' to people on Facebook right now, you're interrupting their conversations with friends.

With Facebook ads, we're already seeing that strategies that incorporate the 'long game' (that is, educating and building a relationship over time within someone's newsfeed by paying to be there multiple times before any kind of offer) are more likely to succeed.

The introduction of messenger bots is a step in the right direction for Facebook, looking to be more like virtual assistance than interruption, meaning that you can assist in a timely way. And not with your brand message, but with questions and probes to see how you can help - albeit with an end-goal to still makes sales when you're being relevant and helpful!

5. The past will rule the future when it comes to content marketing

In my opinion, the classic strategies will still win. The best content marketing provides the most relevant, clear and concise information, and I don't think that will change. The information age runs on the provision of the best aggregators of information. The media types may change. It may be all video or all copy writing, but the principles will remain - if you can provide timely, findable, relevant information, the internet will love you for it. 

The more niche the better is the game at the moment. So instead of vegan recipes, it's recipes for menopause vegans or it's exercise plans for Australia children of vegans​. But how many sub-niche rabbit holes do we go down, until it just becomes sub-sub-sub-niche lunacy?

We're already at a point where information is so readily available that the house-hold debate over dinner can no longer be left lingering, it can be resolved in 10 seconds on a phone.

What do you think will happen in the future with content marketing? Leave a comment below.

Eric is a self-described 'cool geek'. When he's not skating on his pink Penny, running or riding with his son in tow in "the chariot", Eric loves to get stuck into the nitty gritty data and learn the latest info and techniques about digital marketing and website design.