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Last year, industry experts predicted that content marketers would need to focus on a variety of content types to be successful in 2017. This included quality storytelling, personalized and real-time content, augmented/virtual reality and visuals, such as gifs and video. Now that 2018 is just weeks away, what trends can we expect to see in the world of content marketing in the new year?

According to a Content Marketing Institute survey, “nearly 65% of respondents said their overall content marketing success has increased (much more/somewhat more) compared with one year ago,” attributed to higher-quality content creation, better distribution and overall prioritization of their content marketing efforts. With that in mind, some of the trends that are expected to take over next year include delivering quick and relevant content, producing engaging videos and ensuring that content creators communicate like a human being.

Take a look at what some industry experts predict for content marketing in 2018:

What Are Your 2018 Predictions for Content Marketing?

1. Andrea Tarrell, Principal of Sercante LLC & Blogger at TheSpotforPardot.com – @andreatarrell

Content marketing is here to stay. Content will continue to be the secret sauce of ultra-effective marketing teams and the backbone of omnichannel campaigns.

The rise of voice-based search will impact best practices for formatting and titling content. The name of the game is making it easy for the Alexas and Siris to find and share it.

Sales enablement platforms to put content in the hands of sales users will grow in sophistication

With the rise of Account Based Marketing, content efforts will need to focus more on the “consensus sales” rather than tailoring to narrowly defined personas.

2. Keyvan Hajiani, Co-founder and Director of Marketing at SocioFabrica – @SocioFabrica

We predict content marketing will get more niche in 2018. Brands will start using AIs like IBM Watson to parse through data—like chatter on Twitter—to help find underserved customer segments and convert them with targeted content that addresses concerns and interests.

We also predict content marketing will be used to boost retention and loyalty, with brands using it to market to consumers during the various stages of the customer journey. Airbnb’s neighborhood guides is a prime example of using content marketing to continue the conversation and keep users engaged even when they aren’t booking a place to stay.

3. Anna Lebedeva, Head of Media at SEMrush – @DigitalAnya

Gone are the days when the Skyscraper Technique worked seamlessly and you could simply rewrite someone else’s post. Editors are getting pickier while the audience is getting a fatigue from reading the same thing over and over again. So, original content, authentic research is the way to stand out with your content marketing. Another thing I see changing is the trend we saw working for many years now – evergreen content. Yes, it is still a good strategy, but 2018 is also the year for ephemeral content – FOMO from live videos that disappear within a day is often marketers’ best friend.

4. Britt Skrabanek, Co-Founder and Content Strategist at Superneat Marketing – @superneatmktg

In 2018 “less” and “better” will be the driving forces behind content marketing strategies. We know there is WAY too much noise, so a more inventive approach to content development is necessary for survival.

Additionally, Google’s mysterious algorithm continues to reward those brands who present themselves as authorities on any given topic. Churning out one-off blogs will be unseated by intentional long-form pillar content, bolstered by contextually related posts that are both refined and rooted by SEO research and audience intelligence.

5. Cassandra Jowett, Director of Content Marketing for LookBookHQ – @cassandrajowett

In 2018, content marketers will start to adapt to the shift that marketing departments are making from producing large quantities of content, to delivering the the most relevant content to the right audience at the right time. Those of us in content roles will have to work more closely with our peers in demand gen to ensure that we’re creating the right content to solve the biggest challenges in our businesses, and to ensure that we know how that content is performing for which segments of our audience on which channels. Content creation isn’t good enough anymore.

6. Elishia Ortiz, Content Marketing Manager at Fidelitas Development@_Fidelitas

Video is the future of content marketing for 2018. People find a deeper connection with video content so brands should figure out what their audience wants to see and create videos based on it. Vlogs are going to be the focus to really grow the following on Facebook & grow subscribers on YouTube while also driving traffic back to the website. It’s important to make sure that the title of your videos and vlogs are search-friendly so people can easily find them across all channels. Google Keyword planner is a great tool to find the keywords that your specific audience would be searching for in 2018 too!

7. Monika Jansen, Head Kick-Ass Copywriter and Strategist/CEO of Jansen Communications – @monikacjansen

Bye-bye to branded email templates

Emails that arrive in beautifully designed, branded templates feel like a marketing (or sales) message. But emails that arrive in plain text with a few simple links feel more personal, less sales-y, more conversational and hi-how-ya-doin’? With the rapid rise of hyper-personalized marketing, we are seeing a shift to email marketing that looks more “real”, less “designed.” I predict this trend will spread among B2B and B2C companies.

8. Nicole Pereira, CMO for Chief Martech Officer – @nicca619

Following the push from Google (with their four algorithm updates in 2017), content marketers are going to have to bring SEO strategy back into the mix. For example, rather than snappy headlines and funky visuals, web pages will begin to be highly structured and easy to navigate.

9. Chris Gregory, Founder and Managing Partner of DAGMAR Marketing – @DAGMARMarketing

Consumers are frustrated with fake news and the need to spend so much time discerning what is fake. They’re tired of content presented as educational but is really a thinly veiled commercial, exhausted by deceptive linkbait. In 2018, companies that create honest, authentic and transparent content that meets people’s needs will touch a chord with a large percentage of consumers who are burned out. “Cause marketing” is great and will be appreciated by Millennials as well as people from other generations, but only if it’s genuinely cause marketing.

10. Rob Albertson, Managing Director at Bandwidth Marketing – @bandwidthmktg

In 2018, content marketing will:

  • more frequently be bot-created, with a machine learning overlay — and even as it’s more visually driven
  • see a further embedding of “sponsor-as-info,” given rejection of “advert” posts
  • get activated more as ‘context’ marketing, with streams default delivered/organized by locale and medium
  • include more bullet points, but none as brilliant as these
  • be quant driven
  • With data leading the way, bots taking over our customer service chat
  • 2018 will be the year where content marketing will start to perfect combination of qual and quant

11. Bill West, Owner & Eyebrow Raiser of Bareknuckle. Brand Marketing.

2018 isn’t shaping up to be much of a trend year for content marketing, but when it comes to creating campaigns with substance across your channels, keep this in your brain space:

  • Your audience is human. Communicate like a human.
  • Humans are easily distracted by the million other bright-and-shinys on the interwebs. Be quick, get the necessary info across and grab them by their eyeballs. Content Marketing is speed dating, not The Bachelor.
  • Don’t underestimate what your reader knows. If you’re charged with increasing engagement for a cookie company, you don’t need to cover boggy-downy information like where flour comes from.

12. David Erickson, VP of Online Marketing for Karwoski & Courage – @derickson

Content marketers will get more serious about optimizing for voice searches.

With the proliferation of voice-activated devices such as Siri, Alexa and Google Home, and the parallel rise in voice search queries, marketers will hone in on understanding the questions customers are asking about their brands and products.

They will create new or optimize existing content to answer those questions.. As a result, there will be a much greater focus on earning rich snippet search rankings. There will also be experimentation around optimizing audio files to deliver answers.

The Speakable schema will gain traction for formatting web content.

13. Jessica Moreno, Social Media and Brand Account Manager for Active Web Group – @awg

Look for more brands to incorporate storytelling in their content strategies. The internet continues to become more content-saturated each year, therefore to stand out, brands will power 2018 campaigns with stories to encourage better engagement.

Developing storytelling campaigns will increase the virality of organic content, while helping to solidify their brand messaging simultaneously. This will integrate well with social media, advertising campaigns, as well as emerging technologies such as virtual reality.

14. Natalie Andrews, SEO Manager for MYCS

Content marketing in 2018 will be all about video. Consumption of video content has increased enormously over the last few years and looks set to continue. Message recall, social media engagement, and number of inbound links are all much higher for relevant video content than they are for the written word. In order to get the best ROI from your content, don’t just write – film.

15. Tosin Yussuf, Marketing Manager at Linkilaw

VR! With social media platforms like Snapchat already beginning to dive into the world of VR in order to further engage users, marketers will be (and to some extent already are) following suit. There will be a big push in content that makes use of VR, if not for the long term, at least for the initial novelty factor.

16. Ryan Woods, Director of Strategy for HW Creative Marketing

To get visitors’ attention and optimize for rank, marketers will have to produce engaging clusters of content on themes relevant to their audiences. This “content pillar” strategy isn’t new: just think about how Wikipedia entries associate related topics. That ecology of content helps to explain why Wikipedia articles always appear near the top of search results. Marketing practices will need to adapt to these changes in search engine use by creating premium material, curating it to create natural conversion paths, and ungating it to increase visibility. Following new approaches like this might be difficult, but it will become increasingly challenging to thrive in the digital landscape without them.

17. Kristine Neil, Owner and Creative Director for Markon Brands – @Thekneil

Everything will be under the microscope in 2018. Brands will need to bring a strengthened level of intentionality and consistency to their marketing and adopt a more public relations oriented approach to their communications. The slightest misstep or cultural faux pas can destroy a brand in our current cultural climate. This is why advances such as Twitter’s expanded character limit are a double entendre. With so many ways to reach your audience, there’s just as many ways to break your brand.

18. Jeff Roberts, Digital Marketing Director for Olive & Company – @ro6erts

2018 will be the year we take leaps and bounds in voice search. Content marketers will have to understand how to optimize sites, pages, and posts for natural speech and contextual relevance more than long-tail keywords based on manual search results. In addition, the rise in voice-related searches will make it incredibly difficult to track and measure audience behavior and thus, justify content creation. If it hasn’t done so already, voice search is going to make content marketing teams start thinking differently about how they quantify, target, and engage new audiences.

19. Callie Malvik, Content Marketing Manager for Collegis – @CallieMalvik11

I think the biggest shift we’ll be seeing in 2018 is that content marketing teams will need to diversify their talent. It’s no longer good enough to just have a team of great writers. The dynamic content today’s consumers are craving will require a variety of skillsets: graphic designers, editors, animators, front-end developers, video producers, SEOs, outreach specialists, data analysts, etc. We’ve passed the point of proving that investing in content is worth it – 2018 will be about companies acting on it by investing in the right personnel to assemble a truly dangerous content team.

20. Wes Marsh, Director of Digital Marketing for Solodev – @WesMarshDigital

  • Content marketing will embrace AI and machine learning to enhance content creation and delivery to consumers. These tools guide marketers through their buyer’s journey while suggesting the best related content for that user. It’s like Netflix style recommendations but for business-related content marketing pieces.
  • Video continues to expand as a content marketing strategy. Over 70 percent of web content consumers say they’d rather watch a Facebook video over reading blogs on the same subject. Video production will get easier thanks to apps like YouTube Director that put the power of video editing in the hands of anyone with a smartphone.

21. Leslie Carruthers, President of The Search Guru – @thesearchguru

Content marketers will allocate more resources on data-driven content (e.g. surveys, research) and the time for producing and promoting an asset will increase from 1-2 weeks to 3-4 months.

Content marketers who have an overall content mission and build content around a certain major topic will see more results from their efforts (more traffic coming to the site) as they will be able to re-engage users with old content.

22. Jacob Ingram, SEO Specialist and Content Expert for Eastside Co. – @_jacobingram

Everyone knows what content marketing is, and it is easy to ignore. Quite often, it just looks like a shameless brand advertisement. To speak directly to customers, content marketers are going to have to make this content dynamic and personal. Rather than catching a lot of potential customers in a very broad net, your marketing will be highly targeted, speaking directly to the needs of your customer. This customer comes in, looking for an answer to a specific question, then you serve them with an email, or even an adaptive page, that solves the problem. Imagine the increase in conversions, when you aren’t casting a broad net, but a single hook, with exactly the right bait.

23. Jason Scott, Digital Marketing Specialist at Archway Cards Ltd

To accurately make content marketing predictions, we need to first look at consumer attention. Nowadays, we are busier than ever before. The 9-5 working week is a thing of the past as more and more people are getting consumed by work emails, company presentations and client catch-ups. Our time is spread thinner than ever meaning the content we consume in our spare time needs to give us the most possible value in the shortest possible time. Long-form blog content is no longer a viable strategy, in 2018 companies will need to invest time and money into other formats such as short-form video, audio and images.

24. Gregory Golinski, Digital Marketing Executive at YourParkingSpace

In my opinion, video marketing will become even more prevalent in 2018. It’s never been easier to shoot videos and publish them on your website or social media channels. You don’t need expensive video cameras anymore; you can shoot videos with your smartphone.

Video is the fastest growing ad format in the world, and it is set to dominate the web by 2020. In 2018, businesses should shoot interesting, entertaining content and upload it to Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Youtube and other media channels. Good video content must be original, and eye-catching. If your videos are of a high quality, they’ll get shared online and will help you spread the word about your business.

25. Tieece Gordon, Marketing Executive at Kumo

Content marketing continues to evolve and marketers have to adapt to suit. We’ve seen the mainstream introduction of a wide range of formats over the years, each offering something different and unique.

With that being said, 2018 will belong to well-researched, structured content covering a multitude of formats. Articles and blog posts will still be important but video, AR and VR will carry on growing, especially as AR and VR are more obtainable for those with smaller budgets than before.

Don’t forget quizzes – almost anybody can be tempted by a quiz, even if it might be silly.

26. Neil Andrew, Marketing Manager for PPC Protect Limited

Content marketing has always been one of the most effective strategies of digital marketing. As you’ve probably heard people say: content is king!

In 2018 content marketing will be all about “super long form” content of 6000+ words. As you may have well seen from websites, super long content works wonders. Why have a series of 3 blog posts when you can combine them all together into one mega post? Not only does this improve your search rankings, but it also keeps the reader on the page longer. It’s always better to give readers too much information than not enough.

27. Arina Katrycheva, Marketing Manager for actiTIME – @arina_kayea

  • Strategic content marketing.

Companies and bloggers will stop publishing random content and start following they content strategy that contains plan, topics and goals.

  • Content marketing is not about long text anymore.

The more entertaining and interactive your content the more engaging it is. Lack of time and fragmentary thinking don’t allow us to stay focused while reading a long article. That’s why we like short video, Twitter and reading headlines instead of the whole news.

  • Non-promotional content.

People are getting tired of brand advertising and want more transparency. Companies will have to create more helpful content and less promotional one to gain the trust of their audience.

28. Derek Hales, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com – @ModernCastle

In 2018 I think we will continue to see a strong push towards mobile. We know Google’s mobile-first index is coming and I expect 2018 will be the year it launches. We will likely see the importance of user experience, page speed, page weight, and engagement all increase,

especially in how Google considers these as part of the algorithm. Exceptional content has always been the most important driving factor and will continue to be in 2018. However, the way in which that content is presented to users will become more important in a mobile-first world.

29. Frank Strong, Founder & President of Sword and the Script Media, LLC – @Frank_Strong

The competition for attention in content will continue to climb. Experience in building an audience, like digital, will become a sought after skill. The next year will show which organizations are truly committed to content marketing and which ones are dabbling. The former will be more likely to report satisfaction with the results, while the latter will be more likely to say content marketing doesn’t work.

30. Richard Heby, Marketing Manager for LiquidSpace – @rjheby

  • The lifespan of content has grown shorter of recent. Expect the same to be true in 2018. Our fast-paced, connected world means there’s less room for evergreen content than there once was. Consumers gravitate towards timely, relevant content. Consider the rise of YouTube, then Instagram and Snapchat. The content keeps getting more raw, immediate, and transient.
  • Also, event and experience based content will continue to rise. Content around events is a key way to create a lasting impression of those event experiences.
  • 2018 will be another big year for AI and chatbots. Many brands already employ these tools for content. We’ll see more of this.

31. Lauren Walter, Content Strategist at Online Optimism – @OnlineOptimism

Continued video content. Forecasted to account for over 80% of all online traffic by 2019, video will be big in 2018.

Better customer-centric content. More and more businesses are creating content, which means producing valuable, relevant, and interesting content will be the best way to cut through the clutter.

Increased voice-enabled content. Users are quickly moving to the interactive, immediate, hands-free and eyes-free realm of content on devices such as Amazon’s Echo.

32. Ling Wong, Content Strategist: Content Experience Design + Copywriting

Transparency is key in the upcoming years as both B2B and B2C customers care not only about the products or services but also the brand they do business with. Whether the content is about your brand story, company culture, a piece of advice, or a marketing campaign, honesty is the best policy to build trust and relationships with your audience.

33. Eric Dahan, CEO and Co-founder of Open Influence

An abundance of content has led to a continued trend towards richer content types, and more relevant content. It’s no surprise that we are seeing a rise in Story content such as the Snapchat stories and Instagram stories. Because its a format consisting of linkable images and videos it has a flexibility in terms of the number of permutations of content that can be created. Additionally, because it is ephemeral and has a short shelf-life, it is highly relevant and enticing for users to engage with- similar to a limited time offer at your favorite store. It is no wonder why Story content is being commoditized by the social platforms.

34. Megan James, Chief Content Officer for MGID

Native advertising will be crucial as part of the next-generation of content strategy. We’re going to see less divide between content marketing and native advertising, as the latter matures and becomes less obviously ‘pay-to-play.’ Stricter ad policies from tech giants like Facebook combined with increasingly-savvy consumers who won’t respond to obtrusive, poor-quality ads is forcing native advertising to completely differentiate itself from terms like clickbait and wormhole. Intelligent native advertising will be one of the largest distribution methods for high-end content that still drives conversions.

35. Nadeem Murad, PR Specialist for SIA Enterprises

  • Companies worldwide will increase their content marketing budgets
  • Video will still outperform other formats in 2018
  • Marketers and customers alike jumping to embrace live video content
  • Transparency will be king for companies
  • Brands will continue to experiment with Virtual Reality
  • Personalisation getting even savvier in 2018
  • IoT will take content off-screen
  • The lines between paid, owned and earned media will converge in 2018

36. Jon Cook, Founder and Principal Content Creator of Keynote Content

  • Original content will see a massive surge in popularity in 2018. Fortune 500 companies are already acquiring big-name media corporations in the spirit of creating original content. Live video is where original content will see its biggest emphasis.
  • Content creators must be multifaceted in their content development skills. Simply being a blogger or copywriter won’t cut it in 2018. Content creators need to understand that content demands across mediums require the ability to create different types of content at a high level.
  • Marketing funnels will be divided into a greater number of smaller segments throughout the buyer journey.

37. Tim Jernigan, Head of Product Marketing at Badger Maps – @BadgerMaps

Targeted content will be even bigger in 2018. There’s so much information in cyberspace that you’re at a huge disadvantage if you aren’t personalizing your content by your audience segments. No one wants to read something for everyone. They want a message targeted toward their specific life and problems. Smart marketers will become more savvy in how they research and segment their market.

Marketing has always been about communicating value to an audience, and each member of that audience has their own definition of value. Personalized content will be able to fully engage prospects based on their personal interests.

38. Diane Elizabeth, Founder of Skin Care Ox

Less Automated Content: For those search engine optimization content marketers out there, when it comes to ranking Google has placed a lot of weight on how users engage with your content. The longer a user stays on the page, the better your content’s engagement metrics will be. As a result, automatically generated content can’t really compete in search the way that it used to because users simply don’t enjoy shallow automated content. I think 2017 is the last year we’ll see automated content generation used as a content marketing/creation strategy.

39. Jessica Thiefels, Content Marketing Consultant

My content marketing prediction is that we’re doing to see a lot more crowdsourcing content. We see more and more of posts like this one right here, where publishers are turning to influencers and experts to share their insights. The power of influencers is in their extensive circles on social and otherwise; by using their insights, you automatically gain brand ambassadors who will promote your content for you, helping you extend your reach and build connections with experts, bloggers and social media celebrities who can humanize your brand.

40. Andrea Panno, Copywriter & Content Marketing Manager for Sagefrog Marketing Group – @angepanno

Content marketing in 2018 will latch onto the idea of authenticity, ditching fluff content and listicles for writing that conveys truths in a direct and engaging way. This also means more content marketers will double down on quality, developing content that is substantial in value and in length to replace short, irrelevant articles and offers. Content in 2018 will have more relevance, resonate with readers, solve problems and build trust between brands and their audiences through storytelling and the act of humanizing writers by putting a face to a name.

What are your predictions for the future of content marketing in 2018? Sound off in the comments section below!

Responses have been edited for length and clarity