The surge of content marketing is almost incomprehensible. Stay ahead of this fast-moving industry with these five upcoming trends.

Success in content marketing requires that you constantly adapt to the latest trends that are directing the industry. Whether it’s the changing interests of your online audience or a new strategy that your top competitors use, you need to keep a sharp eye out for these changes if you want to keep up with this red hot industry.

Below are the five prominent content marketing trends that I believe strongly predict the direction of the industry in 2017:

1. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is one of the most valuable strategies that can propel your brand to the top. This strategy allows you to leverage the online reach of influencers such as bloggers, social media celebrities and thought leaders to gain exposure for your brand.

Throughout 2016, influencer marketing’s adoption rate grew significantly – with 84 percent of marketers using the strategy.

As a content marketer, you should know that authority means everything for the online audience. By associating your brand with influencers, they’ll be more likely to trust your content and take action. Furthermore, executing influencer outreach also benefits your SEO, since bloggers and site owners can provide your site with quality incoming links.

However, performing influencer outreach involves a lot of research and hundreds of personalized emails. To get started, you can use these resources from the Content Marketing Institute.

2. Video Content

Video content has been around for a few years, but it underwent explosive growth in 2016. According to statistics, videos on landing pages can increase conversions by over 80 percent. Videos on social media also receive 1,200 percent more shares than images and text combined.

It doesn’t take a content marketer to understand that videos have the ability to capture the audience’s attention and maintain engagement. However, you’ll need to refine the way you produce and leverage video content if you want to stay competitive. At X3 Digital, we use both pop up videos and background videos to make our website stand out from the static websites of our competitors.

Another strategy is to adopt growing social apps such as Snapchat that allows you to create and publish videos on the fly. Features such as Facebook Live and YouTube Live also allow marketers to leverage exclusivity to stir up conversions and engagement.

3. Faster Mobile Design

It’s not just about responsive design anymore – it’s about fast mobile design. Although most brands are quick to catch on to the mobile-friendliness trend for websites, some of them underachieved and failed to deliver outstanding performances for mobile users.

True, 4G LTE connection speeds continue to improve over time. But there are still areas around the world that can’t provide strong or reliable connections for mobile users. That said, always go for simplicity and function over looks when you make your own website. Make sure everything loads within 3 seconds. If you keep your audience waiting, they might abandon your site before clicking on anything else.

It also helps to have a long scrolling website to make navigation more effortless. This was a driving factor behind the design of my company, Metapress. In addition to simplicity and speed, the homepage also has a long scrolling layout – allowing mobile users to navigate the page just by swiping.

With the help of content management systems and blogging platforms, it should be easy to find mobile-friendly themes to get you started. But if you already have an existing website and would like to retain its design, then you may require help from a full-service web design company.

4. Email Automation

Marketing through emails is one of the oldest strategies in the book, but it continues to evolve and improve thanks to technology. Today, emails are powerful mediums that can be used throughout the sales cycle. They can be used for remarketing, up-selling, post-sale marketing and lead nurturing.

For example, scheduling automated follow-up messages whenever someone abandons their shopping cart is a great way to squeeze more sales. According to statistics, there is a 68.81 percent chance that prospective customers will cancel during the checkout process. Other than recovering lost sales, these follow-ups also provide you with opportunities to sell more by offering promos, product add-ons and upgrades.

Fortunately, implementing automation with your email marketing strategy doesn’t require any technical knowledge. Several email automation platforms allow you to construct workflows using a drag-and-drop editor.

5. AR

Marketers have only scratched the surface when it comes to VR and AR technology. A prime example of this would be Pokémon Go – a mobile app craze that utilizes GPS technology to enable users to “catch ‘em all.” Sure, it’s not as popular as it was during its launch, but it served as an example for other companies who are interested in augmented reality.

With Snapchat’s Geofilters and sponsored lens filters, marketers can promote brands using unique photo overlays that are only available in certain locations. KFC, for example, utilizes a lens filter that turns people into Colonel Sanders himself.

Given their cost, a sponsored lens filter is out of reach for startups and small businesses. However, content marketers can still use on-demand Geofilters to promote a brand with the AR charm. Of course, developing an AR or even VR app isn’t completely off the table either. If you have the budget, it could be one of your biggest content projects this 2017.

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