Last month, I revisited my content marketing predictions for 2015 to see how my forecasting fared (not bad, if I do say so myself!). Instead of detailing our own predictions for 2016, we’ve decided to round up some of the many other prediction posts out there to discover and analyze some of the biggest trends for our growing industry.

Here’s what thought leaders from Content Marketing Institute, Contently and Mashable predict about content marketing in the year ahead.

Content Marketing Institute:

What Content Marketing Will Look Like in 2016: 40+ Predictions: Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and other marketing leaders outline more than 40 predictions in this FREE ebook

Most interesting insights:

  • Joe’s first prediction is that “the sheer majority of brands will crash and burn with their content creation and distribution efforts.” Interesting! I agree- while we definitely see more and more brands catching on and jumping on board when it comes to content, not all of them are necessarily thriving.
  • Get ready to open your wallets. Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media Studios predicts that 2016 is the year brands will need to start paying for visibility on Twitter (Think: the way Facebook has tweaked its algorithm in recent years).
  • It’s ALL about video. While this may not feel like a new prediction, with the emergence of Snapchat, Periscope, Blab and others, Jay Baer says “video will take its rightful place as the petri dish of great content marketing.”

Contently:

21 Content Marketing Predictions for 2016: Contently looked to several experts on their team to share their predictions for what’s ahead in 2016.

Most interesting insights:

  • Jordan Teicher, senior editor says that smart brands will actually publish LESS in 2016, instead putting more emphasis on larger projects. He says, “It’s easy to write 600 words about the latest trending topic, but it’s better to write 2,000 words on something that will shake up your industry.”
  • Similar to Joe Pulizzi’s prediction above about most brands crashing and burning with their efforts, Paul Fredrich, VP of product says, “There’ll be a very clear separation between the leaders and the suckers” when it comes to brands who get it…and brands who don’t. The gap is widening!
  • If you haven’t already embraced SEO, 2016 is the year to do it. Several experts agree that content creators and SEO folks will need to merge into the same role this year. Time to brush up on those SEO skills.

Mashable:

10 Content Marketing Game Changers to Look For in 2016: Shafqat Islam from NewsCred says we reached peak content marketing in 2015 and details how content marketers can up their game in the new year in this piece for Mashable.

Most interesting insights:

  • Ready for virtual reality? In 2016, photo and video won’t be enough to garner engagement and results. Islam predicts that major brands will start utilizing virtual and augmented reality to really make a splash.
  • Measurement will take center stage. For the longest time, we used vanity metrics to measure success, but now more brands will be paying attention to conversion and goal-based outcomes. This feels like a natural progression as content marketing becomes more common.
  • Content becomes even more important as savvy consumers have implemented ad blockers. Brands still need their messages to be heard, so native advertising and sponsored content begin to make more and more sense here.

The biggest trend? It appears that 2016 is the year that content marketing will grow up. No longer is content marketing something that sets a brand apart- instead, it’s a must-have and if you’re not already in the game, it’s time to join in. If content marketing is part of your current strategy, this is the year to get really serious about your efforts to take them to the next level. Good luck!