Heads up: until some kind of brand new technology appears out of nowhere, content marketing is only going to continue gaining steam. Content marketing is hyper-relevant now, just as it will be until people stop consuming content and merely subsist as blobs, fed and supported by robots, who do all the thinking for us. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen anytime soon. 200 million people now use ad-blockers, and that number will only keep rising. Do you use an ad-blocker? How many times have you been annoyed and clicked away from a site that disparages it? For every site that’s anti-ad-blocker, there are a thousand sites that are figuring out new ways to monetize. One of those ways is content marketing. The people who do this well blow everyone else away, to the tune of 7.8 times more site-traffic than those who lag behind. Content marketing leaders know the essentially human nature of what they’re doing–the appeal to our humanity. They use personal narrative, which is a very important part of content marketing. As you’ll see, these tips will help you do what personal narrative does: evoke emotions, create memories, and engage your audience. When GoPro invites people to upload their videos and promotes those videos, the company is well aware of how much we all love visually appealing content. Video showcases the sight, sound, and dynamism of the human experience. This appeal translated into $1.6 billion in revenue for GoPro in 2015, as 16-45 year-olds watched just as much video online as they did traditional TV. That leads me to my first tip for 2017. #1. Create great video The reason is simple: video content marketing is easier to digest than text. About 65% of people will watch three-quarters of a video, but they won’t read a page of text. Video says what you want to say and shows what you want to show, and does it fast. Because of digital media, attention spans are down from 12 seconds to 8. Video works to capture attention unlike any other medium, because it fires on multiple senses at once. Ultimately, it’s an emotional medium. Body language and facial expression portray emotions like nothing else. Oh yeah, and Facebook prioritizes it in newsfeeds. #2. Be mobile-friendly If users can’t consume your content easily across multiple devices, you’re wasting your time and theirs. Analytics firm Amplitude reports that people consume up to 51% of digital media on mobile devices. As they move closer towards making a purchase, the spread looks something like this: If you’re housing content on a website, you can do several things to adapt to the multi-device reality: Use responsive design: This ensures that your content loads fast and looks great on any device Use Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP: Both of these allow your articles to load faster; for Facebook, Instant Articles lets users remain on Facebook and instantly view your content; for Google, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) caches your content in the cloud, which helps it load super-fast and places your content higher on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Take advantage of these options to ensure your content performs the way it should. It’ll look better on all screen sizes, load faster, and drive more conversions. #3. Be visual Great pictures equal social shares, they supplement blog content, and they translate well to the mobile experience. Just imagine what a blog post on summer road trips would be like without the pictures. Here are some teaser shots of what that does look like: Oh, and the photographer who shot these, Carley Rudd, has 50.3K followers on Instagram (@carleyscamera). Similar to influencer marketing, a great photographer with a large following can help drive traffic to your blog. Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Periscope, and Twitter all are great places to hook people with stunning photos that speak volumes on what you have to offer. It doesn’t stop at photos. Software solutions such as Canva and Stencil let you add logos and text, work with templates, and generally optimize visual content for social media and blog posts. Design Pickle, Brand Strong, and UnDullify are great for those of us who are a little inept in the graphic design department. #4. Create user-generated campaigns Authenticity is the keyword for the new generation of content consumers. What’s more authentic than content created by other users? Authenticity earns trust, to the point that 85% of people find user-generated content more influential than brand-generated content. Pizza giant Domino’s basically bribes people to take photos of freshly-delivered pizzas. Snap the photo, post it, tag it, and earn rewards points toward free pizza. That’s just one example of user-generated content. Greek yogurt company Chobani asked people to “Share your Chobani love story”, which helped lead to a 225.9% increase in revenue. Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign helped lead to a 2% increase in US sales. The soft drink company labeled bottles with people’s names and asked them to share pictures of the bottles on social media. The user-generated campaign requires you to get creative. Will people want to share stories or pictures or video or engage in taste-test style activities? How about a combination of these? Content from these campaigns can go up on social media, your blog, billboards (like Chobani did), traditional commercials, and video sites such as YouTube. #5. Personalize The data is there, and leaders that work hard at marketing are working hard at personalizing campaigns. But how are you to go about it? According to research from Forrester Consulting and Persado, 69% of senior marketers use data from loyalty and customer value programs to personalize offers. Here are the other most prevalent personalization methods: Behavior-based data can help you create relevant content from insights and emotions Customer data can help you choose a channel (social media, website, email, etc) on which to deliver offers and content to individuals Or, deliver individualized offers and content across through multiple channels Concentrate on demographic information, catering content to a whole swath of individuals based on commonalities and preferences Loyalty and customer value programs are the least intrusive–customers volunteer their info, and expect you to use it–and they’re the data-source head marketers use most for personalization. Think of how you can innovate with these programs. Do you offer multiple services or products? Give customers the option to choose what they want to earn most. What if there’s more than one way to earn rewards? Customers don’t just have to buy things, they could also create user-generated content. In 2017, content and consumer choice are king.