Content marketing has been a prominent strategy for years, and it’ll only continue to increase in importance in 2017. More small businesses are investing in content marketing and it’s paying off: while in 2015, only 30% of marketers said their content marketing was effective, in 2016, that number doubled to over 60%. As we prepare for 2017, integrate these top trends into your content marketing efforts.

Infuse Your Content with More Storytelling

In business school many years ago, marketers and entrepreneurs were told the elevator pitch was essential for landing business. This pitch was designed to be a quick rundown of who you are, your credentials, and your services. While these elements are still critical for defining your practice, the technique has changed. Now the focus is on a well-told story.

Americans consume over 100,000 digital words every single day but 92% say they want businesses to tell stories amongst all those words. Sharing your unique story of how and why you got into the business is much more compelling than listing off your degrees and work history. On your website, show visitors who you are through content, videos, and images. Use your story as your elevator pitch when you meet with prospects or hold events to keep your message consistent.

Republish Your Content

If there’s one trend that has remained consistent these past few years, it’s the power of blogging. Business blogging is on the rise for a good reason: businesses who blog receive more qualified leads, see an increase in website traffic, improve their SEO, and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry. However, a key to blogging is republication.

You won’t see results from your blogging efforts if you don’t spend time republishing and sharing your content on other channels. Marketers are republishing their content on multiple sites now more than ever because it garners their content more exposure and more traffic to their website. Furthermore, it helps your seem as though you’re creating more content than you actually are.

Republishing your content should be considered step two of your content marketing strategy. Beyond your initial republishing, reshare your content in a few months to breathe new life and traffic into it.

After you write a blog post, follow a republication checklist. This can include:

  • Sending your article via email to your contacts
  • Posting a segment of the post on LinkedIn’s publishing platform and linking to the rest of article on your site
  • Sharing on Facebook and Twitter
  • Submitting to content aggregators, like Flipboard
  • Sharing on LinkedIn groups
  • Repurposing as a presentation on Slideshare

Keep Your Content Succinct

Long-form content certainly has its place in the marketing world, but less so for business blogs and more for publications. Consumers, such as investors, spend a lot of time researching a service or professional before contacting them. Rather than read one long article, they’re more inclined to reach multiple shorter pieces around the Internet that they can consume within a few minutes. If you have significant information and data to share, by all means you should produce a thorough and in-depth post. But don’t let the fear of having too little to share stop you from writing a blog or sharing on social media. Focus less on the length or number of words and more on keeping your content succinct. Share a story, but don’t stray from the point you’re making.

Keep It Visual

Research from Content Marketing Institute reveals that content containing relevant images gets 94% more views than content without. There’s a reason that visuals, like videos and infographics, dominate content marketing: they’re more interesting to look at than words on a page. Break up your content with catchy headers, images, quote boxes, videos, and other visuals. It makes your content more dynamic and dimensional, which your readers will appreciate.

Along with stock photography, try using meaningful elements, such as a simple chart or graph. Two great services we recommend for creating visual elements are Infogram and Canva. Infogram is a free service that allows you to create really quick mobile-responsive charts that you can use on your website or in a blog. Canva is a paid service that allows you to easily create nicely designed artwork for social media, presentations, blogs, emails, and more.