We may know the current state of the blogging union, but in content marketing, success depends on more than the here and now.

What trends will carry over from this year to help shape 2017? What new advancements will change the way content marketers operate?

While no crystal ball can compete with the ever-changing world of content marketing, there are plenty of strategies gaining momentum heading into the new year.

Data shows content marketers are becoming more effective, with 62 percent of B2B marketers alone feeling more confident in their efforts compared to the previous year, according to a report from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute.

Eighty-five percent of marketers cited enhanced content creation as a key component for success. Meanwhile, changing up content strategies was the golden ticket for 72 percent of marketers.

By staying on top of tomorrow’s burgeoning content trends today, you can accomplish both.

Personalization

Regardless of industry, from fast food to banking, personalization is the wave of the future. However, in the realm of content marketing, this has less to do with providing tailored products and services than with crafting content that engages targeted audiences.

Sixty-seven percent of surveyed executives recently told Forrester Consulting they use behavior-based data to influence content creation. While content quality should be your primary concern, it’s clear putting data to work to shape that content is a close second.

Who is your target audience? What do they care about? More importantly, what keeps them up at night? Appealing to fears and anxieties can be a powerful way to show individuals you understand their situation. Offering a solution to their problem is even better.

Persona creation is an excellent way to get in the head of prospective audience members. Combined with data analysis, this takes the guesswork out of producing personalized content that resonates.

Light up your content marketing with new trends for 2017.

Light up your content marketing with a focus on personalization, storytelling and quality.

Storytelling

While the power of a well-told story isn’t breaking news, you can apply the lessons of literature to your content marketing strategy overall. Namely, this means connecting the dots for readers and viewers through unifying themes.

“I’m noticing that more people are reacting positively to a cohesive strategy, one that is built on an idea with a central story to tell,” said Brafton Vice President of Content Francis Ma. “Granted, I’m partial in wanting to tell stories, but when different pieces of content connect to each other, even subtly, the message is much stronger in the long run.”

Today’s technology makes telling stories across different mediums that much easier, spotlighting the value and potential of visual content.

“[The importance of] visuals and interactivity will rise,” Francis said. “The prominence of video will be an important element of the industry and one that should not be ignored. I think the conversation will start to dip into quality. It’s one thing to have a video up, but is it worthwhile, does it say anything, is it relaying a story you, the consumer, care about?”

Also, as Francis pointed out, there are new ways to make content more interactive, and therefore impactful.

“I am absolutely convinced of [virtual reality] and its wide reach,” he said. “I played around with Google’s Cardboard earlier this year and it was astounding. But the industry has only scratched the surface. Also, not everyone has the ability to enjoy VR just yet, but I do think that will change in 2017.”

“I am absolutely convinced of [virtual reality] and its wide reach.”

Quality

With so many voices in the crowd, you have to try twice as hard to be heard. Beyond standing out through branding and advertising, 2017 will illustrate the vital importance of original, high-quality content creation for getting noticed.

“I think we will see an increasing emphasis on research and original reporting in the editorial development of content marketing assets,” Brafton CEO Richard Pattinson said. “Tried and tested news gathering and research methods – interviewing, data analysis, thematic deep dives and so on – will help differentiate outstanding content marketing that brings a fresh perspective to an industry conversation from the digital noise.”

Check out Part 2 to learn more about the content marketing trends to know in 2017. Hint: We’re targeting mobile, native advertising, live video, email newsletters and SEO advancement.

Eric Wendt is a writer and editor at Brafton. He discovered his love of words after realizing he was terrible at math. If he's not updating his Tumblr with poetry he's too embarrassed to share, there's a good chance he's out in search of the perfect pale ale.