I remember being a kid, when the summer felt like an eternity. Now that I’m all grown up, it seems like each year goes by faster and faster – and I’m not sure I like it. But until we figure out how to slow time down, we must move along with the trends and try to keep up in both our personal and professional lives.

As a digital media agency focused on the next big things in the marketing industry, we are constantly studying the trends and keeping tabs on innovative thoughts and ideas. I’ve done some research and put together this handy guide that sheds light on what I think will be some of the best content marketing practices in 2017. In fact, I’m confident that 2017 will be one of the best years yet!

Let’s dive into content marketing predictions for the coming year that you should have on your radar. This way, you’ll have a better idea for where to focus your efforts – and your resources.

The Power of Personalization in Content Marketing Strategies for Success

The idea of personalizing content has gotten more direct over the years thanks to highly intuitive targeting tools. Expect personalization to become even more specific in 2017. You can no longer create content that is geared toward a particular audience or group of people. Rather you must start thinking in terms of specific personas. When a person reads your content, it should feel like it’s speaking to them directly and not a group of readers.

Interactive Content

One of the ways that content will become more personalized is through interactivity. If readers can choose different paths, the content automatically becomes more personalized and useful to them.

Interactive content is in its infancy, and many brands have yet to use it in their content marketing strategies. But, with the direction that content is going, I believe interactive content is the future. It creates entertaining and memorable experiences, and it gives readers the option to choose the path that is most applicable to them.

For inspiration on how to make this type of content work for you, check out these examples of interactive content done right.

Data-Driven Content

Content should always be thoughtful and well-planned. It should never be created on a whim. Thanks to big data, content is going to become even more intentional in 2017. Data will tell content marketers which types of content and material readers are craving and why.

Using the applicable data, marketers will also have more incentive to put their resources into content marketing, whether it’s creating an infographic to go viral or designing a short video to tell an emotional story. Whatever the trajectory for the content might be, there will be no guessing. Data will lead content down the right path.

Rich Media Content

Content marketing is not dying or dead – it’s just getting started. What’s different is the types of content that people are wanting. Readers don’t always want to be stuck reading paragraphs and paragraphs of content – even if it is high in quality and valuable. They want to be engaged, entertained and enlightened, and the way to do this is through rich media content.

Rich media includes things like videos, gamification and interactive tools. It essentially makes the content come to life while keeping on track with the goals of personalization and interactivity. As you dust off your content marketing strategy and inject new life into it, make sure that you are making room for rich media.

Higher Rates for Content Creators

Content creators are going to be charging more for their services because they realize their talent and expertise are invaluable. This means that companies are going to need to invest more resources into their content marketing strategies if they want them done right. Content does more than just educate and entertain readers. It represents the brand, tells its story and builds an image.

At the same time, not all companies will be on board with investing more into their content marketing strategies. For those that haven’t seen the ROI they’ve expected, they might actually start to pull back on content marketing. Investing more will be out of the question. Let them do their thing, though. This will be good for the companies that are willing to play the game long term.

Native Advertising

When done correctly, native advertising is an amazing marketing tool. Just five years ago, we saw companies spending 80 percent of their time on the creation of content and 20 percent on the promotion of it. Today, we are seeing brands switch gears and recognize the importance of a well-constructed content promotion strategy. After all, it’s useless to create great content that doesn’t get into the hands of your audience.

To further embrace native advertising, we can expect to see native advertising networks and managed service providers offering cost per engagement (CPE) post-click buying options. This will be huge for content marketers because it means that they only have to pay when a user engages with the content. You can read more about cost per engagement and its effect on ROI in this article.

Genuine, Seamless, Natural

People are bombarded by information. They’re getting tired of it. If something isn’t easy or convenient to digest, you better believe that people will turn away from it.

When creating content, make sure that each piece is genuine and natural. Steer clear of sensationalist headlines (i.e., “Shocking truth!” “You won’t believe!”). If your blog is long, incorporate pictures and videos to demonstrate your point and break up the text.

Avoid having too many pop-ups. This is annoying and disrupts the natural reading experience. Get to the point quickly, but include supporting research and facts. Readers need to know that they can trust the information.

Above all, recognize that people are giving you their time. This is very valuable, and the last thing you want to do is waste it. If you do, the next time the person sees something with your name on it, they’re going to avoid it. However, if you provide readers with a good experience, they will be inclined to interact with your content.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about content marketing predictions for 2017. What do you think the trends will be? What is your brand planning to focus on?