The 2017 Content Marketing Trend That Surprised Us Most

Every January, we love to highlight what we think will be the top strategies of content marketers across every industry. And every December, we take a look back to see what stuck—and what didn’t. So as 2017 comes to an end, we took the time to reminisce on the trends we’ve seen this year in content marketing.

If you didn’t get a chance to check out our webinar in January, or it’s been too long of a year to even remember that you watched a webinar in January (trust me, I’m right there with ya), then check out the 2017 trends webinar here.

But while many trends have remained steady over the past few years, particularly as it relates to interactivity’s impact on content marketing strategies, there was one trend we saw in 2017 that really caught on. And we don’t think it’s going anywhere any time soon.

On the 50th episode (guys, that’s 5–0 episodes with her) of Ask Audrey, ion’s own Director of Customer Engagement takes the time during her last episode of the year to talk about what trend really surprised her in 2017, and what she hopes will stick in 2018. Check it out below, and celebrate with us the 50th Ask Audrey episode by commenting below and telling us what trend really took you by surprise this year!

[Transcript below]

Interviewer:

Was there a trend in content marketing this year that really surprised you?

Audrey Ross:

Yeah, actually. Looking back and just thinking about some of the trends that we presented in January of this year, we talked about interactive video and data visualization and of course interactive content and personalization and all that went along with it. But the thing that we covered in that webinar that actually really stood out and surprised me that became so present in what marketers are doing and what content marketers were doing, was interactive content for sales enablement. 

We actually featured this topic in August. And it was like as soon as we decided this was going to be the theme that we were going to cover that month and I brought in Asa Hochhauser our Director of Account Development to do a webinar with me and do some Ask Audrey videos together, it just seemed like once we decided that that was going to be the theme for the month, that every customer that I talked to and every marketer that I talked to was thinking about how they can create interactive content for sales enablement—so sales toolkits, really deep funnel assessments, and ROI calculators. 

I would say that that really surprised me because, while it was one of the trends that we covered, it felt like it got so much momentum really, really quickly. And I hope that that continues because I think that it's a really valuable place to invest effort and time into creating interactive pieces that can bring value to that stage of the funnel specifically, that sales enablement piece.

Interviewer:

To piggyback on that, in 2018, what are you hoping to see more marketers do with their content?

Audrey Ross:

I would say, there are billions of pieces of content being pushed live every single day, so we know that there's a ton of content. I don't think that that's going to change. I think the volume of content is going to stay the same and continue to climb.

But, what I would hope that marketers look to do in 2018 with their content marketing is create content marketing with purpose and content marketing for results. And I think that that's one of the places where interactive content has a really good home because it's not just creating content for content's sake. 

It's creating content that you want people to engage with, that you want to use to get them to convert and become a lead or an opportunity. Content that can help support the sales process and shorten that sales cycle. Really, looking at interactive content as a way to create content for purpose and content that gets results because interactive content does a better job at engaging and converting leads, profiling leads than static content does.

It can do all of those things, so if you have a goal of creating content with purpose that's going to get results, I would hope that they would look at interactive content to help support that.