Content Marketing Strategies That Worked in 2016 But May Not Work in 2017

content marketing strategies

A client of ours recently asked us what content marketing strategies would work in 2017. We had considerable difficulty in coming to terms with that question.

For, the period in question was 2017 – an entire year. This is an eon in the digital marketing world, where consumer buying patterns are measured and tracked in months, if not weeks or days.

Yet, the question itself is valid in a way. For, strategy is as much what you don’t do as much as what you do. It’s no different with content marketing strategies.

So, we proceeded to analyze what content marketing strategies may not work in 2017 though they may have fetched rich digital dividends in 2016. We call them ‘lemons’.

We ended up with 5 such ‘lemon strategies’. Without further squeeze, here they are.

Lemon Strategy 1: Organic Reach

Perhaps the only area where the term ‘organic’ sets pulses racing and denotes an uptrend is gardening and farming. For, if you’re one of those who still swear by organic reach or organic growth on social platforms, prepare yourself for a rude shock.

As far as content marketing strategies go, organic reach is dead.

Don’t believe us?

Sample this. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has evolved over the years from EdgeRank to a more sophisticated version that factors in thousands of triggers to decide whether that post you published on your brand Page should be visible to your brand fans or not.

By one MarketingLand report, Facebook organic reach is down 52% for publishers’ Pages this year.

Now, there are over 50 million small business Pages on Facebook contending for eyeballs. Small then wonder that organic reach has dwindled to less than 2% in many cases. This means, if your brand Page has around 10,000 fans, your page posts are likely reaching only around 200. A thousand, tops.

And, Facebook is a gorilla. The biggest, in fact. It is the largest social network with over 1.5 billion active users and the platform more than 90% B2C marketers profess to distribute content on.

Ergo, if organic reach on Facebook is looking down the wrong end of the gun barrel, organic reach of your brand Page gets severely limited too.

Lemon Strategy 2: “More is more”

Quick! How many hours do you have in a day?

Okay, that’s a no-brainer.

Well, how many does your brand fan spend consuming content on the internet?

An hour, maybe. Two, tops.

This could mean a couple of blog posts, 10-15 videos, a few Facebook posts or photos and Twitter retweets, maybe a couple of discussions on Linkedin, and round it off with a few minutes on Instagram or Pinterest and the like.

Now, look at what’s being produced.

According to a BrandWatch report, over 56 million blog posts get churned out every month. That’s nearly 80,000 every hour. More than 27 million pieces of content get shared every day. Twitter generates close to 500 million tweets in a day. That’s 6,000 tweets every second. Youtube gets around 300 hours of videos uploaded every minute. 80 million photos get uploaded every day on Instagram, which translates to more than 3 million photos every hour. And it goes on.

Mind boggling?

You bet.

So, “more of the same” doesn’t cut it any more. Social media marketers swore by quantity of content, relying on “more” content to “deliver more” on brand objectives.

It used to be a numbers game. Not any more.

Today, a stronger business case exists for relevant content that’s also unique.

Lemon Strategy 3: Videos will always work

This has got to be the mother of all myths in 2016.

According to the earlier mentioned BrandWatch report, social video is hitting it bigtime with users. 300 hours of videos are uploaded every minute. While Facebook gets 8 billion video views every day, Snapchat gets 6 billion. 78% of people watch online video every week, while 55% watch every day. And the laundry list of statistics runs on.

What’s deceptively hidden below these statistics is the “glass half empty” perspective.

Not all 300 hours of those videos uploaded get viewed. Facebook’s 8 billion and Snapchat’s 6 billion video views are views of only a subset of well-made, creative, and engaging videos. The remaining videos become also-rans at best. 22% of people don’t watch online video every week. 45% don’t watch every day. And, there must be a solid reason they don’t.

Also read: Viral Fever: Video marketing gains traction

Lemon Strategy 4: Over-personalization

Micro-targeting. Custom audiences. Targeted email marketing. Machine learning.

Buzzwords that seem to have caught digital marketers’ fancy in the preceding years.

In a word, over-personalization.

Digital marketers are in danger of going over the cliff today when it comes to personalizing the online experience for consumers.

Consider this. Personalization requires advertisers to track consumer behavior to the extent that it may cross over into red territory – privacy.

When your brand fans figure out that every click or tap of theirs is being watched, they are more likely to distance themselves from the experience – and hence the brand – rather than come closer.

Which is counter-productive, don’t you think?

So, personalization does matter, but not beyond a point.

Lemon Strategy 5: Social is all about great content

A fellow marketer had an interesting observation about content marketing using social media: “On social, it’s all about the numbers and great content. It’s all about X number of content types and Y number of posts. Crack that and you’ll crack social.”

This is like saying movies are all about W number of songs, X number of action sequences, Y number of comedy scenes, and Z number of characters.

What’s missing?

The story. The engagement of the consumer (the moviegoer in this case).

Mind you, great content need not necessarily be very engaging. But, to be engaging, content not needs to hit the ball out of the park but also have that ‘Z’ factor.

Also read: Interactive Content: Let’s Get Engaged

So, as you step into chilly 2017, stock up on the cardigans (or snow shoes, depending on your latitude and longitude), revisit your content marketing strategies for the new year, and blaze away!

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