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Takeaways from HubSpot Research on the future of content marketing


Content marketing has come a long way from the buzzword of six or seven years ago. And so has how we choose to consume it. While some best practices like quality over quantity and persona-focused content over generic are standing the test of time, here are some of the key findings that you should keep top of mind when developing or evolving your content marketing strategy:

HubSpot Research conducted a survey of 1,091 internet users around the globe on the future of content marketing.

How people search for content  

Social platforms are gaining traction as go-to sources of information. While Google is the reigning king, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and mobile notifications gained the most ground from the same info sources only two short years ago.

content marketing trend: where people go for content


The takeaways:

  • SEO, FTW. SEO still matters, even though it’s ever-changing. Make sure your posts and content utilize the best practices du jour. 
  • Post more often to drive organic traffic — but only with high-quality content (obvi)
  • Get more social media mileage from your posts. Share multiple times on multiple platforms and optimize along the way. Consider additional social platforms, but only if they’re relevant to your personas.
  • Enable push notifications for your posts so readers can be updated via desktop or mobile device that you just published some must-read content. There are several options out there to make this happen, even if all you have is a WordPress blog.


The TL;DR struggle is real  

Ok, no judgment. We all skim content or we’d never get anything done. But what may surprise you is that blog posts get skimmed more often than even long-form research pieces. Check it out:

Content marketing trend: what readers skim

The takeaways:

  • Help skimmers do their thang by using scannable subheads, highlighted key points and easy-to-digest nuggets throughout, even during podcasts.
  • Use on-screen text to call out main points used in videos and other multimedia content.


What viewers want more of

While the numbers vary slightly by device type, the top three content formats people want to see more of are news articles, social media posts and videos.

Content trend 3: what readers want

The takeaways:

  • Add more video to your content arsenal. It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production, but should be clear and engaging.  
  • Promote that video everywhere. Don’t be greedy with your videos. Post them on YouTube, Vimeo, social platforms and your own site. Ya never know who will come in from where.
  • Kill two birds with Facebook Live. Two out of three is pretty damn good, so give viewers what they want on the platform they’re frequenting by leveraging Facebook Live. You can still use the videos after the fact, too.
  • Don’t forget media relations. Instead of focusing solely on your owned media, try to pitch your content for publishing on relevant media outlets, including trade publications. You can also experiment with paid placement via Outbrain and Taboola, but don’t spend a ton in those channels unless you see that they are working for you (think quality leads, not volume).


Mobile-friendliness isn’t enough

With 44 percent of respondents citing phones and tablets as their primary devices for accessing the internet, having a site that’s optimized for mobile is just the starting point. Not surprisingly, mobile users want to see more social media posts and videos, but they also want to be notified via email and mobile when new content is published.

The takeaways:

  • Tailor content to be more relevant for mobile users. By using smart content, you can suggest that a mobile site visitor receives an email with a link to an e-book instead of a prompt to download. And you can serve up a thank you page full of links to more mobile-friendly content like quizzes and videos instead of blog posts and long-form content.
  • Push it good (sawwy). As mentioned earlier in this post, add push notifications to help communicate with viewers that new content is hot off the WordPress.


Now what?

So video, social and news articles are the content homecoming court — at the moment. That doesn’t mean you should scrap all other tactics.

Just be sure to track, analyze and optimize your content marketing mix, while accounting for these trends in how we crave and consume content. Who knows what next year, or even next week will bring.

Check out the full HubSpot Research report, or subscribe to my blog for future insights on content marketing trends.