The Biggest Content Marketing Trends in 2017

I’ve spent the last 12-plus months talking with enterprise marketers from around the globe to get a handle on where the content marketing industry is going. Through that process, in combination with our ongoing research, the CMI team puts together the schedule for Content Marketing World 2016.

Here are what I believe are some of the biggest issues enterprise marketers are dealing with, as well as some thought leaders who are covering this topic at #CMWorld (hint, hint).

Note: These are not in any particular order. They are all important, depending on where you are in your content marketing maturity.

One thing is for sure: Content creation and distribution in the enterprise, outside of the content about our products and services, have become both more important and more integrated over the past year.

Creation of a real content marketing strategy

In almost every keynote speech I give, I ask the audience members whether their organizations have a documented content marketing strategy. Sadly, most do not. Our research tells us that those organizations that do have one, and that review it consistently, are more likely to be successful. Even though you (the expert reading this) might think this is basic, it’s not. We are still too focused on campaigns and talking about our products, instead of truly driving value outside the products and services we offer.

In answer to this, Content Marketing World offers a specific workshop solely on how to create a documented content marketing strategy. To get started now, this essential e-book on creating a strategy will get you pointed in the right direction.

Native advertising

If you are a regular listener of the PNR: This Old Marketing podcast, you know that Robert Rose and I cover native advertising just about every week. I’ve often called native advertising the “gateway drug” to content marketing (in a good way). We are starting to see a number of enterprises experiment, and succeed, with paid, native promotion of their content.

Why is this so important? Five years ago, enterprises were spending 80% on content creation and 20% on content promotion. I believe this ratio has switched, with successful enterprises creating differentiated content and putting some advertising and promotion muscle behind it.

This is the first year that we are offering a dedicated track on native advertising at Content Marketing World. In addition, we have a panel on native with some of the leading experts in the world on the subject.

If you are unsure of native and how it can help your organization, check out this post.

Native advertising is the “gateway drug” to #contentmarketing (in a good way) says @joepulizzi. #cmworldCLICK TO TWEET

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has always been a “thing,” but in the last six months … wow … this topic has vaulted into the top five. It seems that every enterprise has some kind of content and influencer strategy, but few organizations execute a real strategy that makes sense.

The CMI team did an amazing job on the influencer marketing checklist (totally worth the download). For Content Marketing World, we have quite a few sessions on influencer marketing, including Bryan Kramer on how to create and manage an influencer marketing program.

Purpose-driven marketing

What’s your why? Why do you create your content? Does it have a real impact on your customers and prospects? Is there a deeper purpose behind what you do, instead of just creating content as part of your sales and marketing machine?

We have a number of sessions on finding your purpose at CMWorld this year, but we specifically recruited comedian Michael Jr. to talk about “why versus what.” If you haven’t had a chance to see this video on finding your why, here’s a sneak peek.

Video and visual

It doesn’t take “Chewbacca Mom” to show us how big and important using video and having a visual storytelling strategy are. But, most brands are still hanging their video strategy on the viral video, instead of building a process and organization around the ongoing delivery of valuable information through video.

We have a CMWorld track dedicated to visual content, including an excellent session on building a visual content marketing program that scales. In addition, we have the video architects behind the very successful visual/video programs at Marriott, Jyske Bank, and Foodable.TV.


I have to be honest. I don’t get Snapchat, but enough of my smart colleagues have said it is here to stay. Since Snapchat has surpassed Facebook in total video views, it’s about time we started to take notice at Content Marketing World.

Anyway, I broke down and asked Carlos Gil who heads social at BMC Software to teach us about Snapchat and the opportunities for business.


Well, most of us built our social houses on rented Facebook land, and now what do we have to show for it? Not much actually. But there is a better way, especially when it comes to promoting your content assets on this powerhouse of a channel.

Although we have a number of sessions that discuss Facebook, I’m curious about the benefits of leveraging Facebook as a way to drive your content for lead generation. Brian Carter is putting on both a workshop and a session that will help you use Facebook as a demand-generation tool.

Teams and workflow

I’ve seen so many examples of well-meaning content marketing programs die because of improper workflow and hiring inadequate people to make real content experiences.

Among other sessions, Amanda Todorovich, Content Marketer of the Year finalist, is putting on a session dedicated to how her team built Cleveland Clinic’s content hub.

Content strategy (pipes and process)

My take on both content strategy and intelligent content is that these core areas are about the pipes that the content moves through. Great content is one thing, but if you don’t build in a strategy that makes sense for a user experience or leverages technology in the right way, we are all doomed.

When I think of content strategy, I think of people like Kristina HalvorsonLisa Welchman, and, of course, Ann Rockley on the intelligent content side. We doubled down this year on sessions about setting up your content marketing process for success. To work properly over time, we need our processes to scale and be personalized. Most enterprises aren’t set up to do this outside of campaigns.

#Contentstrategy & #intelcontent are the pipes that the content moves through says @joepulizzi. #cmworldCLICK TO TWEET


Pokémon Go anyone? How many times have you heard that INSERT YEAR HERE is the year of mobile? Well, with all audiences with at least one untethered device, that year may be now. To put it simply, if your content isn’t easily digested on a mobile device, you have significant problems.

My good friend Jeff Rohrs, CMO at Yext, is putting on a mobile moments panel at CMWorld to look at the opportunities we might be missing, while we also added a new session this year on content design and the mobile device. We considered having a separate mobile track this year, but so many sessions integrate mobile — it’s the natural transformation where mobile is a priority with most of the digital content we develop.

Content technology

Disclaimer: Before you choose any technology for your content marketing, be sure to have a sound strategy first. OK, had to say it.