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5 content trends for 2017 – our predictions

As we approach Q4 and the end of 2016, the team at Stratton Craig HQ has been thinking about the next big things in content. And despite our not-so-hidden agenda on the importance of content, our predictions for next year are not all based on text.

Yes, we’re devoted to the written word, but we recognise that content takes all forms – and, consequently, so do our predictions for 2017.

1. Live video
The value of truth cannot be overstated in advertising, and brands that engage with live video – in all its unedited, unscripted glory – can reap the benefits of telling more authentic stories. One key challenge will be ensuring your brand’s tone of voice is maintained by your presenter, if you have one.

Platforms like Facebook are already offering the opportunity to reach fans of your brand, while Virgin Holidays recently demonstrated how it can be used in more traditional TV slots with their live advert during an episode of The X Factor. Their minute-long promo included footage streaming live from destinations around the world, including New York City, Bangkok, South Africa, Florida and the Caribbean.

2. Vertical integration of brands and platforms
Remember in Inception when the team needed access to the First Class cabin of a plane, so one of them bought the entire airline? Take that thinking and apply it to brands wanting their stories published on media platforms.
It’s a tad pricier than paying for a one-off advertorial, of course, but owning the publication gives you complete editorial control. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a large consumer goods company taking ownership of a well-known online publication, to provide a platform for content about the brands it owns.

3. Virtual and augmented reality
Pokémon Go is just the beginning. As the hardware matures, we anticipate investors rushing to cement uptake with software, apps and content production. VR and AR obviously have applications when it comes to gaming, but start-ups like Magic Leap are demonstrating how it could be useful in education settings too. There may be additional written content required for support materials, be these print or digital.

Google’s Cardboard virtual reality headset (actually made of cardboard) uses your Android smartphone to provide a cheap and affordable way into VR, ending the need to spend hundreds of pounds on tech – beyond the cost of your phone, that is.

4. Personalised content and the Internet of Things
The advent of automated homes – from the internet-connected fridge to smart thermostats – will generate a huge quantity of data, and in turn insights into the way people use products. These insights will present brands with an opportunity to personalise content in ever-more specific ways.

From self-generating shopping lists to recipe ideas based on what you have in your fridge, there’s no end of content opportunities for brands.

5. Influencer marketing
Since we’re much more likely to trust a lay person than a brand, getting people to deliver your advertising messages for you – on their successful YouTube channel, online blog or Instagram story – can be an affordable way to reach your target consumer. This – influencer marketing – has already taken off in a huge way, and we expect it to see it snowball as the means by which media is distributed continues to diversify.

The huge array of channels now available enables brands to target audiences much more specifically, with each one – from Vine to Snapchat – having its own key players and stars.

Any more for any more?
Send your bets for 2017’s key content trends to us via Twitter, @strattoncraig.

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