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Content Marketing Predictions: 5 Trends for 2016 [Infographic]

As we head into the new year, many content marketers are taking a look at past achievements and beginning to plan their strategy and budget for the coming year.Many may be wondering: What will content marketing look like in 2016? Here are our content marketing predictions for 2016.

We asked 25+ of the most influential content marketers this exact question.

We compiled these predictions and mapped them out by five major categories: distribution, investment, content creation, measurement/ROI, and organizational structure.

Learn more about each of these categories in the following infographic, then read on to see all of the predictions. Looking for a guide to forming content strategy for 2016? Download our latest eBook: How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy.



Companies will increase investment in content marketing. As they continue to refine their strategy, they will see this investment pay off through a higher number of sales-ready leads.

arn“My prediction for 2016 is that Content Marketing will finally hit the mainstream. I base this on seeing the knowledge level of the people attending our content marketing workshops. The attendees are almost all from the marketing teams, and the questions the attendees ask are based on experiences (they are at least trying it). This is pretty different from just a couple years ago when everyone in our classes were wide-eyed neophytes, and most were SEOs.”

Arnie Kuenn, CEO, Vertical Measures

ann“In 2016, Content Marketing exits its crazy college years. Grows up. Gets real job. Pays its own bills.”

Ann Handley, Founder, MarketingProfs


Organizational Structure:

Content marketing teams will continue to grow and content marketing leads will be “given a seat at the table,” as more and more organizations realize that content is central to their business.

mg“Too many marketers are creating content on an island, failing to optimize its impact due to a lack of collaboration across the organization. 2016 will mark the beginning of the collapse of barriers between marketing functions such as content marketing, social media teams, product marketing, marketing operations and digital marketing teams.”

Michael Gerard, CMO, Curata

marcus-sheridan“Sales closing rates and even sales teams will be rendered less important than ever as companies continue to realize Marketing Departments are the ones actually handling the majority of the actual sale.”

Marcus Sherdian, The Sales Lion

scottabel“Content will be acknowledged as a business asset by an increasing number of organizations. Amongst these forward-thinking firms, content will find a place on the balance sheet. Its importance will be recognized and honored by upper management. The money, time, and effort invested to create, manage, and deliver it will be scrutinized. Successful brands will find ways to maximize its value, milking it for every ounce of ROI possible.”

Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler

amyhiggins“In 2016, the silos of content marketing will end, and a more unified team model will begin.”

Amy Higgins, Director of Content Marketing, Deem


Content Creation and Curation:

The smartest content marketers will continue to diversify the types of content they create, expanding to new categories such as video and interactive content.

ian-c“Interactive content will play an important role in content marketing as we strive for greater engagement and to keep visitors on our site.”

Ian Cleary, Founder, RazorSocial

robin-good“The near-future for content marketers wanting to leapfrog their top competitors is laser-focused on creating quality and depth vs. quantity and breadth; and away from writing articles and onto curating collections, galleries, guides and directories that save people time while providing useful verified information.”

Robin Good, Content Curation Expert

chris-brogan“2016 will be the year more people will wake up to making USEFUL content for the people they serve, not just entertaining material.”

Chris Brogan, CEO, Owner Media Group

neilpatel“Content marketing will become more customized, in which blog posts will be tailored towards the reader. For example if you were reading a link building post, you’ll see options at the beginning of the article asking you to select the type of website you own. Based on the industry you select, the suggestions on how you would build links would vary.”

Neil Patel, Co-Founder, Crazy Egg and KISSMetrics

heidi-cohen“2016 content will go both long and short. Longer form content like blogs, Medium and LinkedIn Publishing (expect Facebook to rollout a long form entrant) will increase to drive longer term marketing results. Short form content such as photographs (Instagram) and video will appeal to immediate information needs and entertainment yielding short-term traffic and brand impressions.”

Heidi Cohen, Chief Content Officer, Actionable Marketing Group

davidmeerman“After growing interest for five years, 2016 is the year Newsjacking – the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate tons of media coverage, get sales leads, and grow business – goes mainstream.”

David Meerman Scott, Online Marketing Strategist and Author

jay-baer“All signs point to video. Whether it’s Facebook Live, video on Twitter, Periscope, Blab, Instagram, Vine or the old standby YouTube, 2016 will be the year when video becomes a primary content and social marketing consideration for all brands – even B2B. Partially because customer appetite for video (even low-res, real-time video) is insatiable. And partially because video is the most efficient way to atomize your message. If you have video, you have audio. If you have video, you have text (via transcription). If you have video, you have photos. But it doesn’t work the other way around. In 2016, video will take its rightful place as the petri dish of great social media marketing.”

Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert

larry-kim“The biggest changes in my 2016 content plan include increased investment in video content and social media ads on Facebook.”

Larry Kim, Founder & CTO, Wordstream

sherry“I predict that we’ll see more and more content in new, exciting formats –beyond white papers and eBooks, beyond video, beyond podcasts – that make the most of interactivity. (And I’m looking forward to this as both a “reader” and a creator.)”

Sherry Lamoreaux, Senior Editor, Act-On

matt-carter“Content creation evolves into engagement programming, as more companies begin creating interactive social engagement programming on recurring schedules, i.e. the weekly podcast, live video chat, etc”

-Matt Carter, Program Director, Big Data & Analytics Category Digital Marketing, IBM



Content marketers will recognize the importance of using earned and paid media as on-ramps to their own media properties, with a focus on improving user experiences.

pam-didner“Brands will integrate content more efficiently in paid, earned and owned channels to deliver better user experiences.”

Pam Didner, Global Content Marketing

Untitled-1“I predict that in 2016 brands will begin reverse-engineering their approach to content: starting with the emotion that they want content to inspire from an audience; work backwards through the experience that triggers that emotion; and determine what content combination creates that experience.”

Carla Johnson, Type A Communications



Marketers will use data to determine content effectiveness and will begin to double down on the content that works, eliminating waste and ineffective content.

pd“Too much content is created on a hunch and doesn’t perform that well. 2016 will be the year marketers start to use data and a connection with leads and revenue to develop their strategy, to create better content, and to more smartly distribute it.”

Pawan Deshpande, Founder and CEO, Curata

lee“Content marketing in 2016 will be a year of convergence between data and storytelling, co-creation and curation, owned and earned media.”

Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing

russell“In 2016, brands will discover that through purpose they’ll find meaning, through meaning they’ll find alignment, and through this alignment they’ll create content that matters.”

Russell Sparkman, Co-Founder and CEO, Fusionspark Media

doug“2016 will be the year of the Content Marketing Backlash as the teams that weren’t very good at it start to blame the discipline instead of their own poor strategy, execution (or both). You heard it here first (ish).”

Doug Kessler, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Velocity Partners

ardath-albee“In 2016, B2B marketers will stop, take a breath and get to truly know their audiences before launching content marketing programs that will now be more relevant and compelling due to that knowledge.”

Ardath Albee, B2B Marketing Strategist

a00ecfafd9a22696432c24f3182bba05_400x400“More companies will exit than enter the arena because to everyone beside the companies who totally buy into and get into it, content marketing is a waste of resources.”

Barry Feldman, Feldman Creative

Ready to create a strategy for 2016? Take a look at our Content Marketing Pyramid Framework in our new eBook, How to Develop & Execute a Content Marketing Strategy.


Pawan Deshpande

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a Boston-based company offering content marketing software used by thousands of marketers around the world. He spearheaded the first-ever panel at SxSW on Content Marketing in 2011, and was a 2014 Finalist for MarketingProfs B2B Marketer of the Year. Pawan was an engineer at Microsoft and Google where he was awarded patents in social networking and machine learning. He previously attended MIT where his graduate thesis won top departmental and international awards.

Pawan is also a blogger for The Huffington Post, the Content Marketing Institute,, Forbes, Marketing Profs, and other technology and marketing publications.

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